Q&A with M3 Awardee Valerie Lecoeur
|This month, CMI catches up with 2010 M3 Awardee Valerie Lecoeur . Valerie is the founder of Zoë b Organic, which distributes a variety of eco-friendly products for babies and kids that are healthier and safer for the planet. Valerie balances her desire to grow her business toward the million $ mark, with the day-to-day of being a wife and mother of two in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Here, she discusses the support she's found through the M3 community and her plans to turn a launch tour for her new product line - the world's first biodegradable beach toys - into a family vacation adventure this summer.
CMI: Since being named an M3 Awardee in June 2010, what has been the most valuable benefit you've found in the program?
VL: The most valuable thing for me has been access to the M3 Yahoo! group. The wisdom and support of these women has been so amazing! It's good to be in such good company. Before M3, I did not have a network of local entrepreneurs or women professionals. M3 helped me realize how important networking is - it motivates you and puts that "I can do it!" message in your mind. Sometimes you feel so alone when you work by yourself at home, so just to have someone to talk to has been wonderful. Read more.
CMI: You've recently become an M3 Meet Up organizer on the local level. With so much on your plate, what made you decide to add this?
VL: At my first Meet Up, I met Jan Alison (2008 M3 Awardee), who was the Meet Up organizer for the area at the time. After that meeting, I called to ask her advice on the M3 pitch competition and she was very helpful. It's part of what motivated me to go through it! When Jen stepped down as Meet Up organizer, CMI reached out to me to see if I was interested in taking over. I thought, "If I'm in a position to help other women while continuing my own networking, why not?" Read more.
CMI: Any advice for women business owners new to the M3 experience?
VL: I'm terrified to speak in public so doing the pitch competition was more about challenging myself. I was scared, but having a day to prepare and practice, getting feedback, and working with partners instead of just being thrown out there, it all made it a great experience.
Learn more about Valerie, her company and this summer's Fantastic Anti Plastic Family Beach Tour: www.zoeborganic.com