Dee Poku is the CEO and co-founder of the WIE Network, which stands for Women, Inspiration and Enterprise. After a hectic life as a Hollywood Studio Executive, Poku decided to focus on another goal, which is arguably more hectic: becoming a social entrepreneur. Now an accomplished philanthropist, the WIE Network is an organization with annual symposiums in London, Cape Town, Hong Kong and New York, empowering women across the globe. Even more impressive, the speaker roster for this upcoming NYC event includes huge names like Katie Couric, Nadja Swarovski and Laura Lang the CEO of Time Inc.
Trend Hunter had the chance to sit down with Poku before heading off to the 2013 NYC WIE Symposium on September 20th and 21st.
10 Questions with Dee Poku
1) How did you come up with the idea of the WIE Network and what motivates you to continue?
Poku explained, "This idea evolved over time. There were issues that I saw with how women were in the workplace. Women needed additional support to get them to the top." Hungry to change things, Poku attended an event with some powerful ladies speaking and in attendance and felt inspired. She describes the process of creating WIE as "organic" to her.
2) What are your long-term aspirations for the WIE Network?
Poku had a clear vision for this. She stated that she "wants it to be a global network" and that she's "already put down that foundation" to do just that. She also has "ambitions to expand into Asia and Latin America as well."
3) How do you reset yourself to be creative?
Poku had a creatively unique answer to this question. She explained, "I have a girlfriend who runs a production company and we get together every three months for 'power walks.'" She went on to describe that her and her close confidant walk for two or three hours (or more) while talking and helping each other overcome any obstacles and brainstorm where they're trying to get to. "It's hard for people to find that sort of person."
4) What is the most vital thing when it comes to running your own business?
"Passion -- it's the only thing that's going to get you through tricky moments. You need to have courage in your convictions and passion," stated Poku.
5) What is a major trend you are seeing when it comes to women in enterprise?
Poku unsurprisingly had wealth of answers for this question. Among them, she noted that she's seen a lot of collaboration amongst women lately, more than in the past. Another trend she mentioned is growing in popularity is "social mission-driven e-commerce companies," ones using organic materials, sustainable practices, etc. Poku is a firm believer that it's important to think about what and how we all consume.
6) What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?
"You have to be in tune with culture. You need to know what's about to hit. It's important to be out there looking at culture," stated Poku.
7) What is an example of a time where you have thrown away an existing idea to force yourself to find something new?
"Most entrepreneurs have a lot of ideas, and it's about focusing on that key one," started Poku. She mentioned that she's had plenty, but the great idea she finally got to is the need of a multicultural women's magazine. She plans to launch this in the near future.
8) What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
"I'd love to have an organization with offices around the world that supports our mission," Poku told us, while going on to say that improving the lives of women and seeing tangible results are also important to her.
9) What are your most important hobbies?
Poku stated travel as how she connects and understands culture as well as what women are thinking. Aside from travel, she runs and does yoga to unwind.
10) Describe what this year's WIE conference will be like in NYC in three words.
"Disruptive. Informative. Exciting."