Audrey Bellis, the founder of ‘Worthy Women’, the podcast #BrownGirlsRising and ‘StartUp DTLA’ strongly believes in the necessity of building up a female community, beyond sex and color prejudice. For this reason, she is making Los Angeles citizens, and – with podcast series – world-wide population share her opinion on the issue.

Audrey Bellis, a Los Angeles-based Founder of ‘Worthy Women’ and ‘StartUp DTLA’, is supporting women of color, as well as helping to bring tech & creative companies into Downtown LA during the period of ‘downtown renaissance’. She states that one of her greatest joys is to connect these companies with office space, resources, and funding, all this – in order to build a city. LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti’s office honored her as 1 of 5 «Inspiring Latina’s of LA» as well as «One of 20 people changing Tech in LA». TechOutLA named Bellis «a key player in the Eastside/DTLA tech movement». Pershing Square ReNew gave her «The Voice of DTLA».

Audrey Bellis for Bunch Magazine, poses in The Gas Company Tower, a Brookfield Property Oct. 9th, 2015

‘Worthy Women’: Empowering Female Leaders

A graduate with Bachelor of Arts from California State University – Long Beach, in August 2015 founded ‘Worthy Women’, a community for women «who want to play big in the world». Its agenda mainly contains a series of free to enter events as well as an annual conference. Also ‘Worthy Women’ works with enterprises through which their support women in workplace advancement by embodying Diversity & Inclusion programs.

On her official page, Bellis sincerely admits: «However, while I love serving the tech community, the #WorthyWomen tribe holds a special place in my heart. Through this platform, I have had the opportunity to not only serve the public, but I’ve also been able to work with enterprise leaders and top female executives. Worthy Women is the story of how I found my deepest self worth and aided women in finding their’s».

«Worthy Women is a women’s empowerment movement. My team and I produce free public events for female creatives & entrepreneurs, support in house Diversity & Inclusion/ Multicultural programs for enterprise companies; and host a podcast called #BrownGirlsRising in partnership with NYLON Espanol Magazine. Our events support a 70% + WOC (women of color) audience that is comprised primarily of self identified Latina’s and African American women», – Bellis says in the interview for Inc.

 

#BrownGirlsRising

The story of #BrownGirlsRising dates back to one day when she heard a powerful phrase from her community member, which sounded like something very wrong and unnatural. She was told that at tech events «there are more ginger beards in plaid shirts than there are women, much less women of color». The conclusion, made up with the sense of statistics sounded like: «If gingers are 2% of the population and we’re half, how does that statistically even make sense, especially in a city like Los Angeles, to be so under represented?». That is the main reason why Bellis is proud of her ‘Worthy Women’ campaign, as it was set up only for women and what is more – it went locally viral. «In our 2nd year now, we have produced 20 events including a 3-day conference without any marketing or advertising, solely by word of mouth from our audience and are currently on a national tour», – Bellis says.

Following the Women’s Marches in January this year, Bellis was absolutely struck by the stories of «white girl feminism» or «black girl magic». Then she undestood that such stories needed to be told and wanted  mixed women, as Bellis herself is, shared their stories. «I wanted a broader encompassing spectrum of stories of Native American women, Southeast Asian, Latina’s, Afro Latina’s, etc. basically anyone that self identified as a ‘woman of color’», – she says. That is the story how the podcast was born, aimed to share women of color experiences of driving action and lifting up their communities by positive messaging via music and other forms of art, community organizing, and intersectional feminism. Immediately when the initiative was set up, NYLON Espanol jumped on board as their media partner. In 2017 they are producing 40 episodes going on air each Thursday on iTunes and Soundcloud.

 

Looking Into Brighter Future

For future plans 2017, ‘Worthy Women’ is planning to hold free, one-day, mini conferences in 7 cities. «Our commitment to free programming for women of color stems from our mission statement. I don’t believe that access to peer mentorship and community are things that should be hidden behind a paywall. We make our money on the Diversity & Inclusion side working with companies contracted with us to elevate their ‘Women Of…’ and Multicultural programming. Thanks to our national partners and local partners like CrossFire Sound who step up in kind sponsorship for our upcoming 4/19 Brooklyn event, we are able to support this mission on the road for a broader audiences. The tour will culminate back in LA in November for our 2nd annual national conference (also free to the public)», – Bellis comments for Inc.

 

 

Bringing Tech & Creative Companies Into Downtown LA

Four months earlier than ‘Worthy Women’ in April 2015, Bellis founded ‘StartUpDTLA’, also based in Los Angeles. Through this organization tech & creative companies are brought into downtown LA in partnership with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti & CD14 Coucilman Jose Huizar. Together with her colleagues, Bellis is curating the only central calendar for all things happening in tech and creative fields within Downtown LA. As they state, «Our community resource center is home to daily low cost & free programming open to the public. We host a quarterly tech job fair and home of the only VC lounge in town where local companies can get in front of local investors».

Public Speaking Experience

Audrey Bellis is holding workshops as a guest panelist and making keynote speaking engagements by the inquire on her official website. Her experience in public speaking includes the Women of Mattel conference, where she was delivering an hour long keynote entitled ‘Dirty to Worthy’. In 2015 Huffpost published an article on this topic written by Bellis.  There she emotionally shares her believes and ideas about platonic and intimate relationships, finances and work, spirit, community and physical health. «Release the blocks and feel the feelings…Screw the dirty 30 experience. I want my worthy 30s. This is my coming. This is living», – says Bellis, summing up her story. Bellis was also delivering keynotes at Swimlessons for MAGIC about living your purpose with the speech names «My Business is My Spiritual Practice». She also spoke about the state of Los Angeles tech at Gov2.0.

The whole variety of recorded public speaking and talks (such as Women’s Empowerment Initiative, 6 Tips for #FemaleFounders, Finding Your Self Worth, CEO Roundtable and others), keynotes and panels can be witnessed on Bellis’ official website.

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