Friday, September 19, 2014

A roomful of Inspiring Houston Women at HubDot Houston launch

Through my Inspiring Houston Women blog and because of my love of storytelling, I recently became involved with a new event called HubDot which was about to launch in Houston.
Simona Barbieri,
HubDot's founder

HubDot was founded in London in 2012 by a remarkable Italian lady, Simona Barbieri and it is now spreading across Europe and the US.  The central mission for HubDot is a simple one:

“When we put women together in the same space and put storytelling at the center, incredible things happen.” 

HubDot’s networking events for women of all ages, cultures and backgrounds have one striking difference to the events we have all been to at professional conferences. First, they take place in somewhere women are generally very comfortable – a clothes store – with the beautiful Anthropologie stores joining HubDot to host these events on the shop-floor in their vision, allowing wine, nibbles and shopping to form part of the experience.

Secondly, no one wears a label with her name or her job title or company.  Instead, each woman chooses from a selection of five colored dots (hence the name) which serves as a means of introduction to other guests. For example, if you wear a yellow dot, it means “I have an idea, can anyone help?” or a green dot means “I’m here to be inspired”.  This makes it easier for you to approach someone wearing perhaps a purple dot and ask, “What is your story?” rather than, “What do you do?”  

For those who are really looking for an evening with absolutely no pressure at all, there is even a blue dot for “I am here to socialize and shop”. To get the storytelling between the guests flowing and some ideas sparking, each event also has a handful of speakers, given only one minute to present their story, and also some music, often from a musician who has her own story to tell.  

Leslie Loftis,
Houston Organizer
This week saw the US launch of HubDot here in Houston, organized by a team led by Leslie Loftis, a native Texan who met Simona when they both lived in London and who decided she wanted to share the HubDot philosophy in her home town. 

I was so proud to have been one of the storytellers invited to speak by Simona and Leslie. Because we were only given one minute to share a story we wanted to tell, I focused on the amazing women I have interviewed for  

I was delighted too that one of my IHW interviewees, Anita Kruse of PurpleSongs Can Fly at Texas Children’s Hospital, gave one of the most moving speeches of the night.

Anita talked of her work with young cancer patients at TCH, helping them to write and record their own songs during their treatment programs in the Cancer Center.  She had brought along with her Christian Spear, herself a cancer survivor. Christian sang an excerpt from the Purple Songs single No one fights alone (you can watch the full music video here)

Other speakers included Dorothy Gibbons, founder of The Rose, a breast cancer charity which provides mammograms and cancer treatment to women without medical insurance. For every three insured women who have a mammogram at The Rose, they are able to give another mammogram free to a woman who cannot afford one. Dorothy told us, ‘No woman should die of breast cancer because she could not afford $150 for a mammogram.’

Another speaker, Elizabeth Pudwill, told the assembled group of her battle against a series of addictions which led her to time in jail. Determined to put her life back together again, she founded I Know Somebody – Houston, an organization which aims to connect women to each other so that someone in need of something can find help.

Simona opens the storytelling with story of HubDot
at Anthropologie City Center

We also heard from two young chef/entrepreneurs, the founder of a non-profit organization which aims to help those with chronic headaches such as migraines, and from one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Air Force who then became a stay at home mom, and then found her third vocation as a pastor.

I was not surprised to find any number of inspiring women in that room who would be perfect subjects for future interview, and I will be contacting them in the next week or so to invite them to take part.

HubDot will be continuing its events in London, Milan, Naples, Luxembourg and Houston and over the coming months, will also launch HubDot chapters in Oregon and Barcelona, as well as in South Africa and Gambia.

It was a fantastic evening, and even if I say so myself, I rather summed up the general feeling of the gathering in the last ten seconds of my one minutes speech:

“I know that I am preaching to the converted here when I say that this amazing city, and indeed, this room, is full of truly Inspiring Houston Women, so I have a long job ahead of me to talk to them all.”

If you are interested in finding out more about HubDot in Houston, or in one of the other cities above, please visit the website at