We are now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort. The application will be open until December 31, 2018. Selections will be announced by January 9th.

We are hosting an Founder Series Information Session on Friday, December 14 at 9:00 am (821 E. Washington Ave, 8th Floor). We will provide an overview of the Founder Series and answer any questions you may have.

Click HERE to register for the Founder Series Information Session on December 14.

Click HERE to complete the Founder Series Application.

Founder Series

The Doyenne Founders Series is a private, year-long group coaching program for women business owners and entrepreneurs, who have launched a product or service, are scaling a business and are experiencing all that comes with being the CEO of their company.

The program brings together a cohort of 6-10 women who work closely throughout the year, in an authentic and safe environment, working on their individual business goals, while also supporting and collaborating with each other. Participants gain skills to more confidently grow their businesses, improve profitability by strengthening their knowledge around business fundamentals (legal, financials, sales and marketing, and technology). The program is tailored to the needs of the group with some pre-planned coursework, as well as on-demand customized content that is developed based on challenges facing cohort members at that time.

The series is facilitated by Laura Gmeinder, along with a team of expert mentors and coaches. The program is designed with the understanding that being an entrepreneur is an iterative and often, messy process, that requires trial and error. The Founders Series was created to provide a safe space for women to work through this experience together, in a very real way.

The goals of the Founder Series is to help the entrepreneurs:

  • clarify their business model and strategy — what exactly is the business trying to achieve?
  • develop their identity as CEO and leader — how does each entrepreneur authentically embody this role and play to her strengths?
  • learn the key business fundamentals — what infrastructure does the business need to achieve its goals?
  • craft the story (pitch) – how does she effectively articulate all of the above within 5 minutes?
  • expand their network – who can help you along the journey?

It is hard to be an entrepreneur.Multiply that by 100 when you are a female entrepreneur.Multiply that by another 100 when you also have a family!The Doyenne Founders Series helped to connect me with other women who were “in the same shoes” as me, and helped me to stay focused on my goals. I now have a small network of women that I know will always be there for me. Amy, specifically, helped keep me accountable. Together, we identified actionable steps to take so my business can keep progressing. I recommend this series, and Amy, to all women entrepreneurs.It will be the nudge network you need!

Miranda Rochol, CEO of Lifebook by plumleaf

Founder Series, 2017 Cohort

The Experience - How It Works

The Founder Series is a 12-month, cohort-based program. A maximum of 10 entrepreneurs are admitted each year. Every month, entrepreneurs will engage with either an intensive workshop on the four business fundamentals (these include individualized activities and coaching from content experts) or a one-on-one coaching session with their personally matched Mentor.
Month Activity
January 24-26th Retreat (2.5 days) Meet Your Cohort & Set Goals for 2019
February One-on-One with your Mentor
March 19th Workshop 1 — Crafting Your Pitch
April One-on-One with your Mentor
May 21st Workshop 2 — Listening to Your Customers
June One-on-One with your Mentor
July 23rd Workshop 3 — Designing Your Sales Process
August One-on-One with your Mentor
September 17th Workshop 4 — Running Your Numbers
October One-on-One with your Mentor
November 14-16th Closing Retreat (2 Days) Pitch Practice & 2020 Goal Setting
December 10th Wrap-Up & Celebration
All Year Private Online Discussion Forum with Peers and Experts

The Founders Series changed the way that I think about myself as a leader. I now know what it means to be a CEO, and have a strategic framework that I can use to plan my vision for my business. Coming into a circle of other kickass women was good for the soul–there are a lot of things about being an entrepreneur that even our partners don’t understand. The insights I gained were both time-efficient – we make good use of our time together as a cohort, and our 1-on-1 time with Amy, who is a phenomenal business coach. They were also the resources I wasn’t able to find anywhere else…in bootcamps, mentoring relationships, books. Can’t recommend this enough for other female entrepreneurs who are willing to take things to the next level.

Sarah Best, CEO of Sarah Best Strategy

Founder Series, 2017 Cohort

The Facilitator

Laura Gmeinder is a top rated coach and national speaker passionate about business strategy and leadership development.

Her story? She survived a quarter life crisis, made friends with her fear, left her corporate HR job (after 14 years) and set out to make an impact in the world. Laura’s entrepreneurial pursuits include Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting, Disrupt Madison (and Milwaukee) and Disruptive Productions, which is currently producing the short documentary “If you Won’t, Who Will?” focused on women’s empowerment. She is an InBusiness Magazine “40 Under 40”, honored for her business savvy and civic contributions, and a BRAVA magazine 2018 Woman to Watch.

Laura holds a degree in adult education from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She has studied through the prestigious Coach Training Institute and the Wright Institute. Laura holds certifications in both coaching and Human Resources. She is a proud member of the Doyenne Group and has served as the Event Planning Committee Chair supporting the retreats and Founders Series for the Madison chapter.

She strives to live an interesting life; the above was accomplished in the spirit of “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Criteria, Value and Cost

Criteria: The Founder Series is open to Doyenne members only. You can sign up to become a member when you apply for the Founder Series.

The Founders Series is for people who have already started a business. This is not for people who are just in the initial idea phase. If that sounds more like you consider applying to our Doyenne Retreat.

In order to be accepted to the Founder Series, you must meet the following criteria and agree to the expectations:

  • You have at least a prototype of your product or design for your service
  • You have the intention to scale the business to a regional or national level in the future
  • You are working full-time in your venture or hope to do so within 12-24 months
  • You are committed to attending the Launch and Closing Retreats, ALL four workshops & Celebration
  • You are committed to coming to the workshops prepared to engage the topic
  • You are prepared to be transparent about your experiences with your peers – sharing the good, bad, and ugly of your entrepreneurial journey

Value: The Founders Series is an experience that will transform you and your business. There are not many opportunities available to women entrepreneurs to get the training, support, and access to networks that will help them scale without mammoth price tags.

  • 50+ hours of high quality professional development over a 12-month period
  • 10 hours of one-on-one coaching with some of Madison’s best entrepreneurship coaches
  • 5 customized 3-hour training and feedback sessions with experts in their fields
  • 12-months access to a private discussion forum with peers and invited experts
  • Membership in a cohort of peers who will supportively hold you accountable to your dream

The value of this professional development opportunity, if we charged at full-price, is $5,000+. Doyenne is offering it at $1800 per entrepreneur, which can be paid in annual ($1,800), quarterly ($450), or monthly ($150) installments. We are committed to making entrepreneurial training and development accessible to more people in our ecosystem, so Doyenne finds ways to off-set the price through fundraising and other revenue streams.

If you are serious about growing your business in 2018, then do it with like-minded women in the Doyenne Founder Series. The Series was valuable in that it equipped me with know-how about my business’ strategy, and my decision making process. I increased my skill in defining problems to better frame possible solutions. My attitude shifted too: I am in charge in this endeavor. Also, I laughed a bunch.

Gillian Fink, CEO of Red Rainboots Apothecary creator of Pussyfoot Tape

Founder Series, 2017 Cohort


We are now accepting applications for the 2019 Founder Series Cohort. The application will be open until Friday, December 31, 2018 and entrepreneurs will be notified by Monday, January 9, 2019. We suggest you tentatively reserve the workshop dates on your calendar as soon as you apply – see dates above.

Click HERE to access the Founder Series Application.

Questions & Contact

If you have any questions about the Doyenne Founder Series, please contact Laura Gmeinder.

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