Identity Sponsor, B.I.G. (Believe, Inspire, Grow) is an nationwide networking, support and education group for women entrepreneurs. Together Identity and B.I.G support women like you to make or continue your move in life. Follow your passion. You deserve to be featured and spotlighted.
June Feature: B.I.G. Founders
A bumper sticker, “Remember Who You Wanted to Be” not only caught Tara Gilvar’s eye one day in her children’s school parking lot, it inspired her to take action.
After being frustrated with her unsuccessful attempts to become professionally fulfilled and maintain her personal responsibilities to her home and family, Gilvar wanted to build a support system that would enable her and other women to achieve professional and personal fulfillment.
“I sent an email to the many smart and intelligent women I knew in my community and invited them to my home to discuss the life challenge that bumper sticker presented,” said Gilvar. “And, 42 women showed up. So, there was a real need for a platform like that where women could ask themselves, ‘what obstacles are preventing us from moving our life goals forward?’”
Gilvar, a graduate of Boston College with more than 25 years of public relations and marketing expertise, says magic happened in her living room that day through sharing stories and joining together to find real solutions and support one another as they began building confidence in one another to take those next steps in each of their lives. “The concept of believing (B) in each other, inspiring (I) each other with support and confidence and helping each other grow our ideas and businesses (G) quickly became B.I.G., in both the figurative and literal sense,” said Gilvar, founder and CEO of B.I.G.
Rebecca (Becky) Hull was one of the 42 women who showed up in Gilvar’s New Jersey home that morning more than a year ago and is now B.I.G.’s chief operating officer. Hull graduated from Yale University and Columbia Business School and has more than 20 years experience in marketing and business management. So, two women with corporate backgrounds joined forces with the other women in their community to take a leap of faith into the entrepreneur pool.
With Jackie Somers, a Merrill Lynch refugee, heading up the B.I.G. leaders, as Director of Leader Development, the company was formulated.
“It feels great being an entrepreneur. It allows me to get out of the corporate comfort zone that I relied on and has enabled me to grow as business person through that. I personally feel much more confident about my ability!” says Hull.
So, who is B.I.G.? Well, on their Web site justthinkbig.us it’s clearly defined as a community of women from all walks of life who are working towards attaining their dreams in life. B.I.G. offers a forum for these women to connect and brainstorm with each other, learn from each other, and nudge each other forward to continue on their journey to achieving their goals.
“The most rewarding part of being part of B.I.G. is when women tell us that there is nothing out there like B.I.G.,” says Hull. “We know there are many networking organizations, job boards, and women-only support groups. Our three-pronged platform of face-to-face support through local monthly meetings, networking and education coupled with a phenomenal Web site that provides our members with a educational articles, and videos as well as a Facebook-like platform to communicate and make connections is pretty unique.”
Hull and Gilvar agree that hearing the stories of the women who attend their meetings is inspiring and has been an invaluable experience. They love hearing their members’ success stories and being able to create an environment where women can work to make dreams into reality. Along with the rewards B.I.G. presents to its members, there are also challenges.
“The challenging part is that there are not enough hours in the day to do all that we want to do for our members as we expand throughout the United States,” says Hull. “As women, we become each other’s support group. We understand each other’s challenges as we try to fit what could be a 24-hour work day into a manageable life/work/balance scenario.”
B.I.G. currently has communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts with interest from women in Illinois, California, and Ohio. Gilvar and Hull are looking for strong leaders who want to bring B.I.G. to their towns all across the country.
“The journey we’ve been on for the past year and half has been worth every dollar and every moment of our time,” says Gilvar. “It would be great to just keep that journey moving forward and bringing this positive B.I.G. concept to other women.”
To learn more about B.I.G. visit justthinkbig.us
In keeping with Identity’s mission of ‘Accept, Appreciate, Achieve’ below are some questions, known as the Identity Five:
1. What have you accepted in your life that took time?
Hull: I have accepted that there are certain things in my life that are somewhat out of my control. Having moved cross country twice with four children, I have learned that sometimes the best way to deal with situations is to assess the situation and give it some thought, and then react to it. Immediate reactions are not always the best way at a problem. Gilvar: I've been very conscience of delegating throughout this process rather than trying to have everything done my way, by me. So I guess, giving up control has been a challenge for me, and I can happily say that whenever I do give up exclusive control on an issue, it's been very freeing and satisfying.
2. What do you appreciate the most in your life?
Hull: I appreciate my health and the love and support of my family and friends. Gilvar: I think most people would have the same answer: my family. What's been so nice about B.I.G. and is that I'm really able to offer my two daughters a female role model that they can follow throughout their lives and give my son "a birds eye view" of what women working together can truly accomplish.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life?
Hull: I am amazed that we have been able to truly help the women who have been a part of the B.I.G. community. Beyond the wonderful family that we have created, I would say that providing women with the forum we have created in B.I.G. is very rewarding. Gilvar: I would have to say that building B.I.G. is definitely heading near the top of my achievement pile.
4. What is your not so perfect way?
Hull: My not so perfect way is to use common sense first to assess situations. This has worked for me throughout my professional career—numbers and research can back me up, but it seems that my gut reaction comes first. Certainly not the most conventional way, but it works for me. Gilvar: I'm a better talker than a listener – I need to work on that!
5. Susan also has an “I Love My…” section of her Web site where you can say something that you love…it can be anything…I love my cat, I love my friends, I love the weekends….how would you complete the phrase “I Love My…”?
Gilvar: I love my…..B.I.G. sisterhood!! Hull: Same here! It is fulfilling and fun simultaneously!