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#ThriveThursday: Jessica Bargenquast, Founder & CEO Lady Changemakers

thrive thursday Aug 26, 2021

What is your story? Or in other words, what made you your awesome self you are today?

I struggled to maintain meaningful relationships for most of my life. There were very few people that knew everything about me. I liked to keep people at a distance because it made me feel safer. I wanted to appear to everyone on the outside that I was a happy-go-lucky person all the time. 

It wasn’t until I got a life coach that I started to learn that my way of living was not serving me in any way. A switch finally turned on, and I realized I was craving real connections with women. So I started to build on my relationships, and this is really where my life started to change.

I found that I was always craving ways to support and show up for women around me. A feeling of knowing I was meant to support women in a major way but not being sure exactly how.

It took a few failed blog and business attempts for me to finally come to the idea for Lady ChangeMakers. Previously I had a blog for brunch reviews, but all the places I went to would eventually close or stop serving brunch! 

I found myself constantly saving women-owned businesses that I found on Instagram. I would screenshot them or bookmark them and then forget about them when I was out and about. I was getting frustrated and knew there had to be a better place to put all these amazing women-owned businesses I was finding.

I started searching for women-owned business directories. To my surprise, the only types I could find were ones you had to pay for or ones that lacked the technology for anyone to easily use. I decided that I would make Lady ChangeMakers for myself at first to house a directory of women-owned businesses that I could easily refer to when I was out and see which women-owned businesses were around me.

Now Lady ChangeMakers has over 300 businesses, with over 200 in the Phoenix area. It’s the Yelp for women! Consumers can now easily find women-owned businesses to support. The directory gives you directions and lets you search by category, city, zip code, and more. 

My dream is to be able to travel anywhere and be able to easily find and support a woman-owned business.


What message do you promote?

I want to shed light on women and their businesses. Whether they’ve been in businesses for 20 years, craft on the side, sell honey at a farmer’s market or are influencers, I want to shine a spotlight on all of them. 


In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?

I empower women to be seen. I provide a platform where women can easily find and support other women. I provide connections and support for women-owned businesses.


In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to

I’ve struggled throughout my career with being in male-dominated environments. I've been in a workplace setting where I've been physically grabbed and told to "shut my mouth and do my job and don't question my authority." 

I've experienced sexual harassment at more than one job by not only customers but coworkers as well.

I've been told by a business partner that while we equal partners, my role didn’t warrant the same pay as him.

I’ve experienced these situations all throughout my career but never knew how to speak up and stand up for myself. It took me to go on my self-improvement journey and look inward before I saw changes in my career. I know how difficult it can be to leave a job that you feel you need – I’ve been there. In the end, you are in control of your situation. There’s a solution. You just need to be open to seeing it.


What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

Seeing how receptive and excited women are for Lady ChangeMakers. I knew I was on to something when I decided to create it, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t wait to see how many businesses start to thrive because of it!


How do you SHOW UP?

I show up by showing up for others. I connect with women who I see are doing amazing things and then find ways that I can support them. I offer my services and volunteer where needed. I say YES to events, even when I’m uncomfortable. 


If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business what would that be? 

If you’re struggling to find something you’re passionate about, just remember to take action. You won’t figure it out by not saying yes to new experiences and not taking action.


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