I had the pleasure of interviewing Summer Y.L. and Jaclynn Brennan of FYLI.
Summer Y.L. (Yanyi Li) is the founder of NuWa Marketing (NuWaMarketing.com) and theNuWa.com. NuWa Marketing is one of the most comprehensive content marketing agencies between the U.S. and China, serving diverse cultural millennial brands without changing their identities. She has worked with over 30 international and national clients, including a public traded company, Anta.
She launched and initiated more than 10 marketing campaigns and worked with more than 250 top influencers across different industries. She has been featured in Marie Claire China, People China, Guest of a Guest, getty image and BFA. Summer is the co-founder of Fyli NYC (fylinyc.com), an executive master-mind group that focuses on bringing together female leaders.
Jaclynn Brennan is a creative director & branding expert that coined the term “Creative Duality”- the ability to think through strategies while making the connection between business and branding.
Jaclynn has worked closely with over 22 major corporations and leading entrepreneurs to efficiently design & execute branding strategies for multiple industries in the clothing, photography, sports, art, medical, real estate, jewelry, consumer goods and fashion industries to name a few.
Jaclynn is also the co-Founder of Fyli, a female executive master-mind based in NYC that help women RISE (Renew, Inspire, Support, Empower) in collaboration with Soho House & CORE:Club. She continues to leave her mark as a woman with drive, determination, and the creative genius that takes brands + organizations + entrepreneurs to their next level of success.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
We were both so sick of the fluffy ‘brunches’ or ’networking happy hours’ other women’s organizations focused on. We wanted to talk about fundraising our Series A, which VC’s to hit, how to better negotiate our contracts, how to be compassionate leaders for our teams, and how to build fully engaged advisory boards.
We originally met at a female founders pitch event and kept bumping into each other at our co-working space for creatives, The Soho House. What began as a causal sharing of ideas between one another grew to become a supportive partnership. Other female founders and executives began to notice and gravitated toward us. Ultimately, they wanted in. Eventually, we started filling up tables with women who wanted to be a part of this supportive community. It was evident something was missing for women, and we decided to take action. We both tried to find a female executive and entrepreneur oriented mastermind in NYC, but we couldn’t find exactly what we had been looking for. So we created fyli.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are not another prestigious country club. We are not another female co-working place. We are not another conference or event series. We are a master-mind, a peer to peer leadership group coupled with action. Our tribe consists of amazing women who are high-achievers across different fields coming from diverse backgrounds.
With everyone working from home right now how has FYLI been able to pivot? Can you share a story or things you have been doing?
When we received word that NYC would be under quarantine (just a few days after our March 8th International Women’s Day event) we worked together as a team and successfully pivoted a whole month’s worth of programming online within a few hours. We made A TON of phone calls, we leaned into our community, and we made it happen. Our goal was to take immediate action, we didn’t want to just sit around and wait for something to happen, we made it happen. There were so many new learning curves from zoom, to choosing what programming to run, to deciding if we should charge for these events or leave them open to our larger community.
While our “Friends of Fyli” community continued to grow, we also decided to keep adding immense value to our closed master-mind cohort 1 members. We kept our monthly closed member round tables, added more virtual sessions, and extended partnerships with some amazing companies such as WW( formerly weight watchers, Partida Tequila, Sundays Studio, and DVF to name a few.
Unless you are an “essential worker” many of us are stuck at home working, how has FYLI helped it’s community take the time to focus on self-care?
Fyli has created and successfully executed 4 months of FREE virtual programming for our larger global community, known as “friends of Fyli”. Our vision was to make these events open and accessible to everyone who wanted to attend. We understood so many people were stuck home struggling, or sick, or under serious financial stress. We wanted to be a source of inspiration and hope. Fyli has brought in some of the BEST experts and leaders from various fields to teach our community and add value.
We empowered our 1st cohort by making very special programming closed just for them, we found ways to hit all 5 senses (even through virtual events), and we TRIPLED programming since everyone is home and isolated. Fyli’s programs range from mediation, to fitness, at home cooking lessons, fundraising during times of crisis, and even learning from some of the top CEO’s in the country.
We wanted to create community and a sense of connectedness, to enforce self-care and compassion as part of a daily routine. Fyli has been extremely well received over the past few months and we are gearing up to launch our online monthly subscription in August 2020 so we can continue to empower and add value to our global community.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
We are EXTREMELY grateful to our entire community. For their openness, support, for the willingness to participate and get involved. We are also deeply grateful for to the amazing experts and leaders who have constantly empowered and supported us during every step of the way including Susan Rockefeller (EIC of MUSINGS Mag & Philanthropist), Sandra Campos (CEO of DVF), and Shelley Zalis (Founder & CEO of the Female Quotient). Nothing great is ever accomplished alone, we believe in the power of collaboration. When women come together incredible things happen!
What’s your favorite quote and why? How has it inspired you in business today?
“When something bad happens, you have three choices: you can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.” – unknown
We love this quote because it focuses on resiliency, with every bad situation or tough circumstance comes great opportunity.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The original term “master-mind” was coined by author Napoleon Hill in 1925. In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon knew he needed to surround himself with the smartest men in different industries to bring together the best of the best. The support of his group and close community gave him the tools and resources he needed to succeed in business and beyond.
In simple terms, a master-mind group brings together extremely smart people from different industries with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, meeting weekly or monthly to help each other solve problems and share knowledge and ideas. The group shares business connections and resources, strategies, advice, and offers personal and professional support.
Fyli was built out of a need to level up personally and professionally and to have a solid support system of like-minded strong female leaders that each have something unique to contribute. To date, Fyli has created an active network of over 2,500 female founders, executives, and entrepreneurs globally with a core focus in NYC.
There is a level of commitment, synergy, camaraderie and collaboration that each member brings to the group which literally MOVES MOUNTAINS. It’s amazing what happens when women come together and start asking for what they want and need.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We believe in STARTING THE MOVEMENT TO JOIN A MASTER-MIND! Fyli is currently accepting applications for Cohort 2 launching November 2020.
Here are the 5 reasons why you should join a master-mind:
- COMMUNITY: Are you the “leader” in your current group? Who is inspiring you or building you up? A master-mind group usually has a specific “vetting” or application process that truly brings together the best of the best. It’s an invitation only membership to ensure quality – each member brings a certain level of knowledge and expertise to the table. This community will not only be there to support you professionally in your career, but also personally. Women face many difficult life transitions, from motherhood to selling your first business and everything in between. You will have a community that supports you, offers advice and new perspectives, and feels like family.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: You are forced to think bigger and take ACTION on your ideas. Once you speak them out loud, every member within the group holds you responsible for bringing them to life, and supports you along the way. Master- mind members want to see each other succeed and achieve their unique goals and values.
- CONFIDENCE: You will never feel like a solo founder, even if you are one. A master-mind group helps you form a new level of confidence because you now have the structure and network of resources needed to get to your next level of “success”- however you define it. Each member acts like an “advisor” to each other – you will have a team surrounding you anytime you need to make a tough decision or feel unsure of yourself.
- EDUCATION: Joining a master-mind means you will constantly be learning and growing at all times. From problem solving to strategy sessions to workshops with some of the best experts and leaders in the world, you are getting a PhD in life. Each member brings a new set of skills and experience to the table, sharing tactics that are extremely valuable.
- ELEVATION: Master-mind groups work together to help each other grow and scale. From collaborations to partnerships and new business ventures, each member brings a network to the table which in turn expands the awareness of your brand and leads to new opportunities. Your network is your net-worth and the networking potential of this group of high performers together in one room makes us UNSTOPPABLE!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can reach Summer YL @Summer_y_l
You can reach Jaclynn Brennan @JaclynnBrennan