Over the weekend, I discovered that my kids, nieces, and many of their friends keep Narcan at their homes and in their bags. It should come as no surprise how Americans love their vices.

This is not because their peers are engaging in heroin, but it is because of the Fentanyl that is laced into illegal drugs. As each state passes laws making marijuana legal, farms adhere to the state rules and regulations that sell their wares to legal dispensaries. The revenue driven by each state hits the gas when this takes place. Even my friend noted this past weekend, “I didn’t realize how many of my friends do gummies, etc!”.

Most NYers have no idea that the vast majority (highlighting vast) of dispensaries in NYC are illegal. Why is the state not aggressively closing down the illegal dispensaries? At what point will one of these illegal dispensaries find themselves selling a product that has been cut with Fentanyl? Do they know where their products are coming from?

Why is the Federal Government not passing a banking law or rolling back 280E so that each state can legally allow this new industry to flourish? Instead, they are focusing on stopping the Fentanyl trade. Have they not learned from the past that this angle doesn’t work? Look at the past “war on drugs” and what a tremendous loss leader that was. Why not support what is legal, and embrace what is happening? The consumers will make intelligent decisions knowing that buying legally means that whatever they consume has been approved by the state’s regulators and is safe. I find comfort in that, and I know the customers at Gotham certainly do.

I wonder what an elected official would think if they discovered, as I did, that an entire generation is walking around with Narcan for fear that one of their friends ingests something that causes them to overdose or, worse, die. Isn’t it time to pay attention to the data? Americans want legal drugs.

This new industry will hire countless people, create opportunities and pay taxes. Isn’t that what all good businesses should be doing? Instead, the Government is forcing all of us to compete with the illegal market and keep Narcan handy.

This is not a reality that any of us should have to live in. It scares the shit out of me.


I am a little late to the party, but we finally got to the theater this past week to see Barbie. I played with Barbies, my kids played with Barbies, and we have a box of them in the basement when kids come over to play. Barbie is iconic.

The movie is campy, yet there is so much more there. To take an iconic doll and write a film that has already grossed over a billion dollars worldwide is epic. Greta Gerwig has made a social statement, and people are paying attention. This is very much about girl power, and in many ways, we have all been waiting for something like this. Who would have thought it would have been a heavily pink movie with dolls as the main characters?

Living in Barbie world, a perfectly pink world where the classic Barbie, played by Margo Robbie, only stands on her tiptoes with the supposedly ideal figure hanging out with other Barbies who are doctors, lawyers, Presidents, bricklayers, and every single profession is perfect. Women rule the world. How delightful.

When Barbie and Ken take flight to the real world for a short stint, it appears that, in reality, women do not rule the world. I think about myself entering the work world and realizing how much harder it is for women to navigate their careers. I came across too many men who had been pushed up the ladder without the intellect behind them, and it was genuinely depressing. Gerwig is making a statement that many women like myself were already aware of.

As they return to Barbie land, the Kens have taken over. What has happened to all the Barbies as they play into subservient roles so men can feel good about themselves? Why exactly are women taking a second seat?

Mattel’s board of directors, all men, of course, run by Will Farrell, as the CEO, are a bunch of shills. They can not even figure out how to get through the turnstiles to exit their building by themselves. A bunch of sheep. Surprisingly, Mattel signed off on this.

As life returns to normal, and the Barbies snap out of it and return to running the world, they choose to give the Ken’s some lower positions in society, but they will not sit on the Supreme Court. Ken is the anti-role model. His prior life was only to give pure adoration to Barbie, but since this minor snag in the film being exposed to the real world, they have given Ken something minor he can hang his hat on. Sound familiar?

No wonder so many women loved Barbie. Gerwig allowed us to look at ourselves in a different light and certainly men in a different light too. It is a social statement, even when it comes to being able to talk about having a vagina. Just like menstrual cycles, something that (gasp) should never be discussed out loud. Barbie is just starting to get her groove on.

Sinead O’Connor

To many, Sinead O’Connor was a troublemaker. To me, she was an incredibly honest truth-telling rule breaker whose singing voice was a gift to all of us.

The Lion and the Cobra was her first solo album produced at Chrysalis Records, where my sister eventually worked, but it was I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got that I played over and over and over again. That voice!

She was vocal against the Catholic Church living through abuse from their own hands. People were outraged that she would call them out as the enemy. She dared to speak out, but instead of listening, people condemned her for dismissing the Church.

Although the norm inside the Catholic Church was to dismiss homosexuality, with strong anti-abortion and divorce beliefs, the abuse inside the Church has been overwhelming. We continue to find out about other abuse cases today. In Ireland, that continued to dismiss all accusations ended up being one of the worst abuses of power preying on young children.

The media and the Catholic Church dismissed O’Connor publicly. Some would look the other way, but as we have become more aware and open about mental health, being blasted publicly for telling one’s truth makes an impact.

When people condemn those who speak out about the Church after the abuse and havoc they have created with their power is something I will never understand. Sinead said that the Church is a house built on sand and that it is a smoke screen. Religion, like politics, is rooted in power. Sinead paid for being vocal about both.

RIP, Sinead O’Connor. Your voice was a gift to all of us. Your voice should have been applauded. We should all learn from how awful O’Connor was treated.

Feminism is on the Rise

In 2016, at the last Women’s Entrepreneur Conference we put on, I spoke about the history of women in our country. That our businesses are our voices. I started to see the rise of women being able to work and balance their family lives simultaneously during the 90s when companies began to create different jobs as we began the technology revolution. In the post-Covid world, women became more empowered to take the jobs that they deserve.

Many people find the rise of women’s empowerment scary like the right-wing party, but equality is expected for the next generation. I do not quite understand Moms for Liberty, which seems to be getting more traction than one would hope, but perhaps it is purely media-related. The strength of their movement might not be as strong as it appears in the media. It just grabs eyeballs. John Birch’s society has never succeeded.

Women have taken the back seat to their male counterparts for a long time, which is beginning to change across every industry. There are more women in higher ranks and on boards than there were in the mid-90s. Perhaps it has just been a quiet surge that is starting to peak? Perhaps we are starting to move down a new road in this post-Covid world and are beginning to see change.

I went back and read my speech. I will share it with all of you.

The path for women has been uphill from the beginning of history.  The definition of gender roles begin with the simple fact that women can have children and men can not.  Certainly our physical strengths are different but nothing else should make a difference yet it has for hundreds of years.  

Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  In 1848 those citizens were four women having tea to discuss that 70 years after the American revolution it was time for women to play a more active role in all parts of society.  They drafted a Declaration of Sentiments that set an agenda for the equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.  And so the Women’s Rights Movement began.  That was almost 170 years ago.  It took another 42 years for the 19th Amendment to be passed in 1920, granting women voting rights.  A lot has happened since then.  

After women secured the right to vote, Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which evolved into Planned Parenthood in 1942.  A group of black women also created a coalition against job discrimination, sexism, and racism in 1935.  Through the next few decades, the fight for birth control continued until 1960, when the FDA approved the birth control pill.  Now we are making progress.  

In 1963 John F Kennedy established a commission on the status of women and selected Eleanor Roosevelt to chair it.  The commission found substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and recommended fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care.  Progress, progress.  

That same year Betty Friedan came out with the Feminine Mystique. It resonated with women across the country who were feeling dissatisfied in their lives.  I remember my Mom reading that book and starting her own business soon afterward.  That book galvanized women, and in 1966 the National Organization for Women was formed.  It was the next evolution of the women’s liberation movement fighting for equal rights, social justice, and opportunities in education and employment. 

Soon laws were passed regarding common property and no-fault divorce.  Ms. Magazine was born in 1971, and a new voice of feminism entered the scene.  Title IX was passed, and the Roe V Wade decision was handed down.  Times were changing for women.  

Title IX has been transformative.  It allowed women equal access to education, which began changing gender stereotypes in the classroom.  The law also gave women a right to fight sexual harassment and get scholarships to schools, and all of this gave women a new sense of self-confidence.  It was a landmark shift.

But I can’t help but wonder if all this supposed empowerment let the women of the next generation off the hook. Did we stop waving the flag and moving forward for true equality?

I didn’t realize I would be discriminated against as a woman until I hit a snag a few years into my first job.  I was charging along as quickly as possible, and someone held out their palm and said, “Stop; women do not move as quickly as men.” Really?  Well, nobody was going to stop me.  I quickly left that job and began to forge my path.  That path included staying home at points while having three kids along the way.  

I was in the middle of the technology revolution throughout my many careers.  I was having breakfast with Nancy Hechinger, the co-founder of WeFestival and a professor at NYU’s ITP school. Nancy told me, “There aren’t enough women in technology”  Nancy is a role model for working women.  She has had several careers and children along the way.  She was concerned that not enough women were continuing the fight.  I told her that many women are starting businesses, but they network differently, so you don’t always see them.  Our answer was to have an event that celebrates those women.  And so WeFestival was born.  That was almost seven years ago.  This event today is the 6th WeFestival.  We incubated this festival for five years at NYU, and now it is moving into its next life.

Six years ago, there wasn’t much conversation about women entrepreneurs.  Since then, women-owned businesses have grown by almost 30%.  Women want more control of their careers while attempting to have a balanced life and a flexible work schedule.  Being an entrepreneur is not for the fearful.  It is for strong, powerful women like yourselves who have taken that leap into the unknown to own your destiny.  

We know it is more difficult for women to raise money for their businesses.  I can tell you firsthand that women take longer to build the foundations of their companies before stepping on the gas.  When I look around at the landscape of gender equality, it is refreshing to see many of the large companies that were started in the past twenty years making policy changes that push for equality, such as maternity and paternity leave.  We live in a time when families must have two incomes to survive, and we are seeing companies make changes.  Letting men take time off to have their children change the game.  It forces gender equality at home, and that bleeds into everything else. 

The ROI on companies that have women at the helm is higher.  Companies with women on the C team make for a healthier and more successful business.  All of these things start to add up, and that is why I believe we are on the edge of a significant change. It is a new era of women’s lib.  You can feel it in the air.

Women and equality are a conversation in every business today. Women superstars who are building companies are being written about daily. More data is being analyzed around gender-balanced companies, and we have a pretty good shot that the next President of the United States will be a woman.  

How do we continue to move forward?  I believe women need to unite as a community while building our companies.  I considered calling it a day after five years of this event. Still, it was a night of multiple margaritas right before WeFestival 5 with my husband and sister that changed the trajectory of this business.  My husband told me, “You can’t give this up.  The impact this event has made on women entrepreneurs is significant.  Take it to the next level”.  My sister chimed in and said she’d run it; that is how we all got here today. 

It is powerful to have a place where women can gather, hear and see other women who have forged their paths.  It is essential to be in a room with 400 other women who can talk about their business, how challenging the climb is, and when they have time to shop.  I want this community to continue to grow. And so, like all of you, we are beginning an entrepreneurial path alongside you.  Our Slack channel will evolve; we will bring this event to LA in November and add Berlin in 2017.  We want to be the place where women can connect and be heard.  We want to be where you have the loudest voice in the room.  We want to be where you can meet friends, business partners, think differently, and be validated that you are on the right path.  

I think about those four women sitting around the table wanting equal rights for themselves and other women.  The reality is that change comes from the outside.  We have to continue pushing this movement ahead.  So as you grow your business with the hope of going public, having a big exit, starting several companies, or just building something that makes a difference, all of you need to stay in the public eye while doing that.  We are the role models for the next generation of women to continue the equal rights movement for all.  We need to do that for the next young woman, age 8 or 12, so she can point to any of us and say, “I want to be that person.  I can do it because she did it”.  There are not enough of us at that level. I believe that we are getting there after seeing so many women’s businesses get funded and grow over the past decade.  This is an ongoing women’s movement that started back in 1848.  Let’s continue building this community so all glass ceilings are broken.  All of you are in this room, women entrepreneurs taking control of their lives by making companies help establish equal opportunities for all women.  

Our businesses are our voice…let’s use them.

If you got this far, you would note that I never built the festival past this stage. For many reasons, companies did not want to sponsor an intimate event of 300 women who paid the price an entrepreneur could afford, they wanted more bang for the buck, and I did not want to do that. And so, I am now building Gotham.

Pay Attention To The Youth

In the past week, I have watched a few videos that speak to the next generation’s expectations and desires. They are concerned, as we all should be, about what havoc we have wreaked on our climate that has created global warming. It is scary and will continue to get more alarming in the future.

Seeing the destruction of art to get the point across is not something I applaud, but the movement is forcing people to stand up and notice.

I watched a young woman stand up at a White House press conference to prod press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the new legislation expanding oil drilling on public lands. Although Biden wants to block oil drilling in the future in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, he is limiting some drilling to take place now. This young woman asked the question we should all be asking. Why? To change the rapid pace of global warming, shouldn’t we only put massive capital and tax benefits into new energy?

I also watched a woman who attended the Citibank shareholders meeting. She got up and asked why Citibank was giving capital and investing in oil and gas companies. She wanted to know how Sunil Garg wants to leave this world for our children and future generations. He commented that it was a tiny portion of Citi’s investment portfolio. She pushed again and asked so why even bother? She has a point.

As this generation grows up and puts their capital into the markets, they won’t put their cash in “evil” corporations. They won’t support companies in China that are destroying the environment. They won’t support cigarette companies. They won’t support banks that lend and invest in companies creating havoc on the earth. They want to support those who are thinking about a better world. One person multiplies into many, and shareholders can make a difference.

This is no different than their interest in younger politicians who represent their views vs. the aging politicians who are out of touch with the realities of today. The world is shifting, and it is unclear to me that public companies that have been around for hundreds-plus years will survive unless they start making changes that speak to what the next generation wants to get behind and financially support.

Will Big Companies Ever Change?

Being involved and on the ground floor of the tech industry in the mid-’90s was exciting. There was a lot to be excited about, from how our lives would change with efficiencies to my hope that these companies would do the right thing for their employees. That they would create different environments that would not look like corporate America. The woman would be treated equally.

My most significant experience with corporate America was working at Macy’s. I felt like I was making an impact in the company, but as time passed, the culture of power that I was privy to was not pretty. Bureaucracy is never a good look.

I had hoped that the big tech companies would change all that. That people would be respected, that they would be paid appropriately, that they would get full-health care without having to pay a dime for it, and that they would allow people to shine in their lanes.

Now many of them have lobbyists, are fighting off unions, and are figuring out ways to pay zero taxes. They build products where labor is cheap, and laws are lax. Maybe I would do the same thing if I were at that level, but I do not believe I would. I am just as much a capitalist as the next person, but I also have a bit of socialism tossed in.

As we grow Gotham, I have been thinking about this as we grow our company. Our team is highly entrepreneurial, and we all contribute to growth, growth, and growth in an innovative, scrappy way. Everyone is also socially responsible. We try to be environmentally conscious. We think through how we acknowledge each other’s gender and celebrate that. We fully pay for everyone’s health care, period. We educate everyone on the company’s products. We are transparent about what we are hoping to build. We give back a large part of our profits to a non-profit, and that will continue as we grow. I hope everyone does exceptionally well financially and enjoys coming to work with their peers. I expect everyone to respect each other.

That sounds like a big ask, but I am trying to make that work. Can that work in all our companies, or am I just being unrealistic and naive?

A Week in the City

I spend more time in the city this summer than in years. I forgot how the city felt in the summer. The beat of the city and people watching is at an all-time high, and the vibe is quite casual, with lots of skin and there is the dew factor that creates a film on your skin, but the best part is the city isn’t that crowded and getting into restaurants isn’t that hard.

Last week I spent some time at Gotham. The dog program is pretty epic.

A highlight was dinner at Mimi. If anyone of you remember, Mimis opened years ago to rave reviews from two people who went on to open Horses in Los Angeles; regardless of what happened there, the place is fantastic. After the chefs moved on, Mimi’s continued onward with new chefs. The new chef is young, 22, and executing some good food.

He is a little heavy-handed, but the flavor profiles are smart. The menu changes daily. This tuna combo was delicious. The steak was buttery, yet the fries were fried perfectly, crispy yet soft and warm inside. The vibe feels a bit like Paris when Edith Piaf reigned. It is fun to be somewhere dining where this is a young chef finding his way.

I read about Sally Saul installation called People + Vases at Venus over Manhattan. I am such a huge fan of her work. Definitely worth a trip. Great show.

Went to the new Port Sa’id, which was very disappointing. The prices are not too high, the food comes quickly, the music is extremely loud, and the place is cavernous. Maybe I am not the customer. I am a huge fan of Miznon and Shmone. I had higher hopes for the tomato sourdough salad.

I am in and out in August, so new spots coming.

Random Questions

In the past week, I have been dealing with bank signatures. Dealing with banks is never fun. I am convinced they are all still operating on back-end systems built forty years ago. Considering how much money the banks have made in the past forty years, it is truly amazing.

This week, I had the “good” fortune of talking to the IT people. I also got the surveys they make you fill out to see if you are legit. If you have any privacy concerns, it is evident that there is none with the questions asked.

The questions run the gamut from asking about six addresses that you might have lived at in your life, people you know, and random things, but the most annoying question is what car you have essentially owned in your life.

Here is what I know about cars, they get me from one location to another. Sure, I have had some fun cars over the years. In high school, I had a completely falling apart 1961 Mustang convertible and our Honda mini-van when the kids were young. Yes, I loved my mini-van.

But ask me if I have any idea what year, what the “brand” name was of the car, I have zero idea. There are few women that I know who know cars. When I took Fred’s Rivian for a spin to get something, I chuckled to myself about how many men wanted to talk about the car or even noticed the car.

I do not want to be judgemental, but I find those questions masculine. I asked everyone in the Gotham office, and our conclusion was a rousing yes. My suggestion to the banks is that if they ever consider building their software, they might want to consider rethinking the questions they ask about our past, which are ones that any of us could quickly answer.


Years ago, I had a steel Lego block made the size of your hand that I gave to Fred that says on the side, “because we love to build things.” It defines us in many ways.

I am in the midst of building a business, Gotham and Gotham Goods, and I am having the best time. As with all start-ups, we have had some adjustments, such as upgrading my status from Founder to CEO. I have run and built other people’s businesses, but this opportunity capitalizes on everything I have learned and continue to learn.

All of this has made me reflect on where I am. There was a time a few years ago when I told myself I needed to do more of this or less of that. Spend more time being leisurely. After all these years, these small notes to self would suddenly be heard like a New Year’s resolution. You want to be something, but perhaps that is not who you are, so most don’t follow through. You must want to change, and I would prefer to become more self-aware.

Perhaps something about being in your 60s makes you more self-aware and accepting of yourself and others. What I am realizing is that I am very happy building.