As a former Hollywood studio executive, Dee Poku knows how to truly champion women in the workplace, because she's been a woman in the workplace. And an incredibly successful one at that! Her platform and membership network called WIE (Women, Inspiration & Enterprise) is designed to specifically help women leaders and creators continue to thrive and succeed in the industries, engaging them in powerful, educational conversations through a series of global symposiums, salons, dinners, and more.
Who inspires you?
There are lots of women I admire for their success and tenacity but the ones who inspire me, are those who use their success to pay it forward.
What do you hope to inspire in other women?
I personally hope to inspire women to be stronger allies to one another. To invest in other women, do business with each other and hire one another.
Is there an example you can share of how another woman has lifted you up?
My closest friend Celine is an incredible example of someone who never judges, gives honest straightforward advice and makes me feel like I can achieve anything. Everyone should have someone like that in their lives...women who support both your personal and professional success and who you can be your most vulnerable with. It’s what I aim to emulate with WIE.
I spent the majority of my career in the movie industry. I had an amazing career and worked with some incredible filmmakers but the filmbiz isn’t exactly known for diversity in the executive ranks. Corporate culture as a whole is tough and I didn’t really have an internal support network or mentors to draw on to help me navigate. WIE was inspired by my desire to create what I wished I’d had - a community of women working together to help one another succeed.
How has confidence played a role in your life?
Self confidence is at the heart of our ability to ascend in our careers. I remember when I first started my business and how vulnerable it felt. I hadn’t realized how much of my identity was bound up in the status of the previous companies I’d worked for. When I left all that behind, I had to figure out how to stand on my own two feet and be confident in my own abilities outside those jobs.
What's the best part of your job?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is definitely the autonomy. I spent several years in the corporate sector and the politics of it all can be draining. I appreciate being able to act on my own ideas and the freedom to choose who to work with. And of course given the nature of the work I do, I get to meet amazing women at the top of their game on a daily basis. And that is no hardship.
What are you most proud of?
WIE started out as a conference called the WIE Symposium. It was one of the first women’s conferences of its kind and broke a few boundaries. Now of course there are a ton of women’s forums and clubs but we helped pave the way and I’m pretty proud of that.
What has been the most useful advice you've received?
The best advice I’ve received is: always have a plan for your life. Know where you’re going and set goals. But be open to opportunities that may arise along the way and be flexible enough to pivot and take advantage.
What is your motto or mantra?
The key to your success is in the power of your network.
What are you most excited for next?
Next year my private invitation-only women’s community and supper club opens up to the public. The existing group is pretty incredible - from magazine editors to CMOs, tech founders to social entrepreneurs. High level women executives, founders and creators who want to join our community can apply via our website.
[Photo by Yumi Matsuo]