Natalie Franke: Empowering the Creative Community to Rise Together
There may not be anything wrong with a little healthy competition, but at the end of day, human beings are social creatures with a need to connect and build community. Natalie Franke is on a mission to transform the way creative entrepreneurs see each other, moving away from a model of rivalry and opposition to one of collaboration for the common good.
Raised by a single mother, Natalie Franke started photographing weddings in high school to earn supplemental income. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Visual Studies, she built a photography business from the ground up and celebrated a great deal of success. But Franke was lonely, and she realized that the only people who would understand exactly what she was going through were her competitors.
A self-proclaimed neuroscience nerd, Franke had been introduced to the discipline as part of the visual arts program in college, and she understood that the human brain was wired for connection and collaboration. She created Rising Tide to foster a spirit of community over competition with other creative entrepreneurs, starting small with coffee meetups in Annapolis. By 2015, the organization had grown to 12 cities along the eastern seaboard, and today it encompasses a community of 70,000 creative entrepreneurs—84% of whom are women—in 400 local chapters all over the world. On this episode of The Female Insight Zone, she shares the role neuroscience plays in how she thinks about business, the achievements of the Rising Tide community, and the speak up, stand up philosophy that fuels inclusiveness in the organization.
Key Interview Takeaways
Humans are wired to be social creatures. The female brain, in particular, is equipped for collaboration, having four times more connections between the hemispheres.
Small business owners may compete on a financial level, but it is mutually beneficial to collaborate for the common good. The Rising Tide Society was founded to allow entrepreneurs to connect and innovate, rather than just compete.
Rising Tide has built a network that transcends business. In addition to providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to rise, the community has evolved into a support system that galvanizes in times of need.
Rising Tide grew from a desire to change the way small business owners see each other. Franke was lonely, and she realized that only her competitors would understand the struggles she faced as an entrepreneur. She conceived of Rising Tide in an effort to shift the perspective from a lens of scarcity to one of camaraderie.
To promote inclusion, elevate the voices that are often overlooked. Rising Tide makes it a point to ensure that its lineups reflect the beauty and diversity of the community.
Connect with Natalie Franke
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