CEO's First Annual Report (2021Q3)

Earlier today I sat down with a friend of mine for lunch. Preetma was one of the few people I saw in person in 2020, in between the waves, outside a restaurant in Jersey City that was preceded by my first NYC ferry ride (it was awesome--highly recommend!). We had first met at one of these incredible dinners for women investors and entrepreneurs hosted pre-pandemic by the incomparable Alli McCartney. We saw each other again at the last event I attended before the city shut down in March 2021. We stayed in touch and earlier this year I introduced her to an All Places client, Azora Zoe Paknad, the founder of Goldune, who had come to us via another client, Roxana Saidi, the founder of Táche Pistachio Milk. Today over lunch we caught up on the first year of life at All Places and her first few months at . . . Goldune. Afterwards, feeling emotionally and sartorially full (Preetma used to work at Vogue and is always très chic), I sauntered back to The Wing to write up this annual report.

Why am I sharing this story? Because it is a good encapsulation of our first year of life and why it has been such a success: this community. If you count up all the women-helping-women moments in that little blurb, you will get a slice of what our days here have been like. We have been supported by so many incredible people, who we have likewise tried to support ourselves. And it works that way because we are similarly united in one mission: helping to create greater cultural equality by equalizing the ownership and control of capital. This is not a philanthropic endeavor. It’s about increasing access to, and influence on, the greatest source of power in this country, for ourselves and others. That will get you out of bed in the morning!

With all that out of the way [drumroll] here are the stats for our first full year of existence:

Number of Clients. Forty-one. That’s right, in our first year we have worked with forty-one separate clients. When I wrote out our announcements last week I said thirty-eight, but we missed a few! You will not be surprised to hear that that is more new client relationships than I generated in my entire time as a big law firm partner. Why? All shall be revealed in next week’s Lessons Learned. ;)

Client Breakdown. Just over 50% are entrepreneurs, over 40% are asset managers, and the remainder are large companies and individuals. Over 80% are women, with the remaining 20% being men who are mission-aligned or were just looking for a great attorney. Over 40% of our clients were founded by one or more people of color. 

How Clients Find Us. Only a third of our clients are people with whom I had a relationship pre-All Places. Yep, two-thirds of our clients are brand spanking new relationships that have been generated entirely during COVID. For anyone who thought you couldn’t build trust over Zoom . . . snap.  Nearly half of our clients have been referrals from existing clients or other amazing people in my network (I’m looking at you Maggie Arvedlund, Linda Honan, Danielle Beyer, Kristin Meister, Anna Marie Curran, Noramay Cadena, Shayna Harris, and Virginie Raphael, to name but a few). They found us on Twitter, through Elpha, after reading Roxana's incredibly kind words on Create & Cultivate, or seeing us speak at an event.

Meetings with Entrepreneurs. This year I have met directly with over one hundred entrepreneurs and asset managers. That’s business development but also amazing market research and education. Some of these have been one-on-one calls or Zooms that often started with my receiving an email from a client or friend saying “I’m not sure why exactly, but I know you have to meet each other.” Others have been the result of hosting small group events throughout this past year, connecting founders to each other on topics of mutual interest (e.g., fundraising, hiring, PR), and getting to participate in those conversations myself. I’m also very excited to announce that over the next four months I’ll be meeting with forty entrepreneurs as part of a partnership with Sophia Amoruso’s Business Class. Wow. Forty. Wow.

The Team. Many founders say that the greatest challenge they face is hiring. That is one problem (and I almost feel guilty about this) that we have not had. Serendipity has brought two absolutely brilliant, warm, kind, strong-willed, and opinionated women into the All Places fold. Shelly Roberson handles all things back office for us and brings real creativity and a wry sense of humor to everything. She has been with me from the beginning, her role expanding with each new talent she shares with us. Molly Tranbaugh is my partner in crime (maybe that’s not the right turn of phrase in this instance) on the legal side. She was (quite accurately) widely considered to be the best associate in the New York office of the firm where we worked together before All Places. They are true, true catches and I still can’t believe that they have both chosen to put their remarkable skills to use at All Places.

Here’s the thing about finishing the first year, I’m of course thrilled we have managed to stay in business, been incredibly busy, and continue to move (very quickly) in the right direction. But at the same time it feels like things have shifted. The period of pure scrappiness has passed and it’s time to get serious. So what are we thinking about now? Putting systems in place, growing the team, eliminating inefficiencies, scaling. In other words, we’re ready to set some big goals for 2022, even if it terrifies us. Because we know that you all will have our backs all the way.

--Jessie Gabriel