The Dallas Morning News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Shelbie Hamilton reports, “Social worker and entrepreneur Cortney Gumbleton thinks there’s no better time than now for women to start their own businesses.”
To encourage more women to launch, she’s turning to those who’ve been there and done that.
Gumbleton, assistant director of Fort Worth startup incubator TechFW, created a podcast series called The FoundHers Club, where she tells the stories of “unapologetically ambitious women founders who are redefining the wild world of entrepreneurship.” She wants others to learn from the womens’ successes and failures.
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“I just feel like there has never been a better time than right now for us to focus on women and women business founders. I don’t believe that the future is women; I believe right now is women,” Gumbleton said.
The podcast is named for Gumbleton’s eagerness to “actively welcome [women] to the club.” The first episode, released Jan. 21, featured The Bright Factory’s founder, Meghan Forest Farmer, who started a sustainable T-shirt factory that employs formerly incarcerated women.
Gumbleton, a 37-year-old Wisconsin native who now lives in what she describes as a “steel barndominium” in Azle, landed in Fort Worth during her eight years in the U.S. Navy, where she served as a military police officer and a plane captain.
After serving two tours, she stayed in Texas to complete degrees in social work from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington. Her social work included hosting a health and wellness radio show on the TCU radio station KTCU-FM, helping to prepare her for her move into podcasting. She founded her first business — Locavore, a commercial kitchen incubator — in 2018.
The pandemic forced her to shut down Locavore in December, but Grumbleton says her experience as a founder shaped the list of prospective guests for her podcast.
“They have to be a founder, and the reason why is because the founder’s story is different than an entrepreneur’s story,” she said. “The founder, that’s what I want to capture because the founder is about the person who came up with the idea. What inspired them? What happened in their life?”
Gumbleton says her motivations are deep connections with small business owners paired with her desire to lift up women. She started putting down names of potential interview subjects and quickly found herself with a spreadsheet filled with 400 women founders in Fort Worth alone.
While other entrepreneur-oriented podcasts like NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz served as inspiration, Gumbleton was set on avoiding the familiar interview style.
“I’m not interviewing anybody. In my mind, I’m just having, basically, an adult version of a girl-to-girl conversation,” she said.
In each hour-long episode, Gumbleton welcomes vulnerability and humor. The conversation with Meghan Forest Farmer delved into topics like a love for karaoke dance parties and why cats “really can be jerks.”
“I want a whole new generation of women to create businesses because they were so inspired by all of these other ladies,” she said.
Four podcasts into her series, Gumbleton has found that women founders tend to single out a “pain point,” a moment of need that inspired them to create what they considered to be missing.
“For a lot of women who create businesses, they had an a-ha moment of ‘Man, I bet a lot of other people would need that, too.’ ”
Her long-term goal is not to “become an influencer,” she said. She just wants to empower women.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care how much money I make,” she said, noting that her podcast already has paid sponsors. “I’d also really love to be able to give money away.”
The FoundHers Club podcast is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Transistor and YouTube.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.