Kylie Woods, Founder of Chic Geek

In this edition of FinanciElle “Statements” I got the opportunity to Interview Kylie Woods, Founder of Chic Geek.

Chic Geek is a non-profit building a welcoming, supportive community for women in technology and entrepreneurship. Through monthly tech talks, a mentorship program and a conference, Chic Geek helps women build their confidence learning new technologies, profiles more women as leaders and role-models and ultimately, increases diversity in technology.

Started in 2013, Chic Geek has hosted over 140 events, profiled 200 women as leaders, role-models, mentors and speakers, and welcomes on average 1,100 people through its programs and events every year. We envision more women as makers, builders and creators, leveraging technology to change the world! Join the movement at Chic Geek.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
Kylie:

Spend the time and effort upfront to set up a strong financial infrastructure that will carry you as the business grows.

Strong financial practices weren’t a priority in the early days of Chic Geek. We used to keep receipts in a digital shoebox and financial policies were non-existent. Because of that, we’ve spent a lot of time building our financial infrastructure, including financial controls, budgets and processes for reporting. When you know things like this are running smoothly, it opens up the capacity to focus on other initiatives that drive the organization or business forward.

Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?

Kylie:

Take a basic budgeting or finance for non-profits course. Knowledge is power.

I don’t have a background in business or anything finance related. The last math class I took was in high school. As a leader, I need to be able to make decisions based on facts and budget. To be honest, I’m still reliant on experts on my team, from our bookkeeper to our Treasurer on the board. There’s a lot of confidence and competency that comes from being able to make decisions when you understand the numbers.

Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?

Kylie:

Project accounting.

This is especially relevant for non-profits because we run programs and receive grants. We need to be able to clearly see what profits and expenses are related to each program as well as clearly track any expenditures related to specific grants. Project accounting is something we’re exploring at Chic Geek so at a glance, we can understand which programs are performing, make improvements and iterate on our operations.

In 2017, Kylie was included in betakit’s 40 women in Canadian tech worth knowing. Listen to Kylie on building a community for female entrepreneurs in this Startup Canada Podcast.

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