International Women’s Day – 2 Women You Should Know
Today is International Women’s Day, which is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a day that promotes a call to action for gender parity.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Living TRUE interviewed Dale Noelle (DN) and Katie Ford (KF), two women who have been trail blazers in both the fashion industry and in their philanthropic pursuits.
TRUE Model Management, is founded by Dale Noelle, a woman who embodies and believes in not only gender parity, but the power and potential of all women. As a strong woman in business, Dale strives to surround herself with other exemplary leaders, and is passionate about empowering other women, especially those who do not have a strong female role model. Dale, is involved in a number of charity organizations and is on the board of the Women & Fashion Film Fest, an affiliate of the UN. Causes close to Dale’s heart include (but are not limited to) the following: Cancer, Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy and Alzheimer’s Research, Empowering Women, Education, eradicating Human Trafficking, Homeland Security, Manufacturing in America, and Assisting the impoverished. Dale’s passion for philanthropy is shared by TRUE staff members, and many of TRUE’s events raise money and/or awareness for a number of charitable causes.
Katie Ford, Dale Noelle’s former modeling agent and former CEO of Ford Models founded Freedom for All. Freedom for All is a not-for-profit that is actively working towards ending slavery. As a passionate activist against modern day slavery and human trafficking, Katie uses her experience and networking to partner with on the ground organizations that create long-term, systemic changes to end slavery in the countries where they work, and to save lives by freeing people who are held in slavery. Visit the website, if you are interested in learning more about Freedom For All, and/or making a donation towards the cause.
An Interview with Dale Noelle and Katie Ford
TM: What is one of your earliest and/or most significant entrepreneurial experiences as a young professional?
DN: When I was 6 years old I started my first “business” by forming my own “Mickey Mouse Club.” I loved watching the show and wanted to be a Mouseketeer, but Disney did not cast me. Instead of getting upset, I created my own show, the way I envisioned it, and earned money to buy Christmas presents for my family while having fun. I’d sell tickets to family, friends, and neighbors and turned my family’s backyard into a theater. My sister, girlfriends from first grade and I sang songs, danced, performed gymnastics and baton twirling routines. It was an annual event and it became the talk of the town for a few years. I learned a great lesson for entrepreneurs of any age; if You Can Imagine It ~ You Can Be It!
KF: My parents were entrepreneurs. Models lived in our home with us. Photographers and editors were guests in the country house on the weekend. It was around us all the time.
TM: Can you speak about your experience as a female in business?
DN: Experiences as a female business person in the modeling industry have all been very positive. However, when I worked and owned businesses in other industries, I needed to work extra hard to prove myself, earn respect for being smart, and get men to look me in the eyes.
KF: I was lucky to have been a woman in the fashion business and in my family’s business. There weren’t any barriers to achieving whatever I was hoping to do. In my previous employment, I had seen men do things such as bring out porn magazines at a restaurant. I was shocked that such antiquated behavior still existed and that was the 1980’s. I doubt you would see that at a corporate lunch today.
TM: What inspired you to pursue your career?
DN: My passion is meeting and connecting many interesting people to create synergy, attain goals, and make companies more profitable. Assisting models to fulfill their dreams and improve their health, training them to secure jobs that empower them, and foster financial independence has great appeal to me.
KF: I was a model agent because I wanted to be in a business connected with an art form and where people gave me a sense of gratitude and accomplishment. That was more important to me than the amount of money I made.
TM: What is your recommendation for balancing work and your personal life?
DN: I’m continually striving for this balance and admit that I struggle with dividing my time equally on a daily basis. I am an intense person and when I give 100% of myself to an important work project, I then give 100% to myself and/or family when the project is completed. Everyone views balance differently and for me, I am living life to the fullest when I am passionate about something and give it my all. Some practices that do help me with balance are improving efficiency, creating to-do lists, identifying priorities and developing plans with time lines. I usually group tasks that are related together and schedule meetings and errands that are in geographically close proximity. I find that drinking plenty of water, stretching, deep breathing, and meditation help me be focused.
KF: It is very difficult to balance work and a personal life. I thought of it as a pendulum. Sometimes you would spend more time on one and then on the other.
TM: What makes you feel the most empowered?
DN: Knowing when I’ve made a positive difference in another being’s life.
KF: I feel most empowered when I have accomplished something for someone. When I was an agent, I felt empowered when I signed a contract for a job that a model really wanted. Today, I feel empowered when I free someone who has been enslaved.
TM: What is your best advice for dealing with adversity and/or overcoming obstacles?
DN: Be optimistic and see the good in all. Take deep breaths, think before you speak, be resourceful, be persistent and stay focused. Over all, be kind.
KF: When facing adversity, I would imagine building a house brick by brick and keeping my concentration on the next brick- complete focus. In regards to Freedom for All, the obstacle is getting people to truly understand that slavery really exists- sometimes next door.
TM: What is your favorite pastime?
DN: Spending time with family and friends. I love the outdoors and my favorite locations and activities are at beautiful waterfronts/beaches or mountains.
KF: Spending time with my family. Sailing. Biking.
TM: Are there any resources, tools, or mentors that you’d like to share that have helped you in creating your dream career?
DN: Reading BOOKS are amazing resources! I love all the Harvard Business Reviews, advice from Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, and the Bible. My grandmother and my father were my mentors. They instilled a strong work ethic and focused on the importance of supporting others. These lessons, combined with first-hand practical experience were far more impactful than learning any other way. I believe mentorship is pivotal to success and satisfaction, and the lessons you can learn from teaching are as valuable and fulfilling as the lessons you can learn from being taught.
KF: In my work in fighting trafficking, I have had many mentors. I turned to them to learn initially. Now I turn to them when I am stuck or need to make connections. I read as much as I can on the subject- even long government reports.
TM: If you could give young women any advice on entering into business or pursuing their dreams, what would it be?
DN: Follow your heart, do your homework before starting your business and write a detailed plan, align yourself with smart business associates, obtain a law degree, know at least basic accounting, be aggressive and bold while being kind and compassionate. Take calculated risks, be optimistic, resilient and persistent. Save money and Rest up for the ride!
KF: If you are pursuing a dream, you still need to look at it from the business point of view. Is it realistic? What is the marketplace like? Doing a business plan in the beginning is very important. Then working more and harder than anyone else is the bare minimum for success
TM: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
DN: Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process and promote growth. Accept challenges and have FUN along the journey!
KF: The good and bad about being an entrepreneur is that you are responsible for every thing. You have to be sure that is something you are able and want to do. It is more difficult than you can imagine. It is also exhilarating.
Regarding Human Trafficking: When I attended a conference at the United Nations, I couldn’t believe that there are over 27 million people in slavery today. That human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing crime, second to drug trafficking.
How people are trafficked was similar to how we scouted models. Many people who are trafficked are promised jobs with good salaries in a foreign country. country. When they arrive in the country where they have been promised jobs, they find out that they have been duped. The pay and job are different than what they were promised. For women, they are frequently locked into brothels and cannot escape. I had to do something about this.
It is an urgent matter that just takes our collective will to end. We all need to say it is not ok to allow slavery to continue.
Slavery is a choice.
Ending it is a choice.