Lauren Zander, Beth Weissenberg, The Handel Group, Women Entrepreneurs and sisters
I was introduced to a woman that worked for both Lauren and Beth through a very good friend of mine. She thought that her voice would be an interesting addition to the Womens Entrepreneur Festival. I met her and she said to me that I must meet the women who started the company she works for. The company is the Handel Group and the women behind it are Beth Weissenberg and Lauren Zander. What they have built is a life coach, corporate coach, personal coach method to living your life to the fullest and that means being the best at whatever you do. I am a huge fan of coaching particularly for entrepreneurs who start a company with an idea and before they know it have 50 people working for them and are just overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of managment while building the vision and maintaining some resemblence of a personal life. A great coach can be the key to success.
Both Lauren and Beth grew up in a modern orthodox family in Long Island. Beth is the older of the two by more than a decade. Their are other siblings that are actually involved in their business too. Their father is a lawyer and has been a managing partner since he was 30. Their Mom, who they refer to as Super Mom, stayed home and raised the four kids. None of the kids are orthodox as adults but practice Judaism in their own way with their own personal rituals.
Beth started her college years at University of Michigan. She stayed a year and a half and returned to NYU because she was set on being an actress. She came back, majored in theater and graduated in 3 years. Her first job, obviously she need to eat, was working for an education company where she would lead seminars. No doubt she was effective on stage after spending the last years training to be an actress. The actress part of her life was not happening and Beth took another job as a stockbroker at Drexel. It was not for her and she found herself back in education at a company that had a bit of a cult thing going on as she stayed for 15 years leading personal education seminars around the world.
At one point Beth got married and moved to Laguna Beach with a young daughter in tow to take a job in a managing consultant company that worked with public companies on their growth challenges. She was miserable. She had a desire to transform the world but not working for someone elses company. It was a call one night from Lauren that changed her direction.
Lauren went to University of Denver. She wanted to be in Colorado after skiing several times and just loved it. She did not realize how slow it would be from the fast pace of NY. She stuck it out two years before transferring to George Washington University. She was originally a philosophy major but moved into environmental studies with a minor in philosophy. After graduating college she went to work for the UN at the Global Environmental facility. She had spent her summers working for environmental companies. At 22 she was working at the UN and had the realization that I will die if I continue doing this for a living. She thought if I could work saving people instead of trees I will be a lot better off. She decided to follow in her sisters footsteps in the education company she had worked for. She stayed seven years.
When Beth left the company they treated her terribly. Lauren was aghast and decided she should leave too. She knew that she did not want to become an old lady going from Motel 6 to Motel 6 all over the country teaching personal seminars. It was 1998/99. Lauren was already doing private coaching but was almost too young to understand exactly what she was creating. In the education company she was running this large volunteer program where she got people to volunteer to help their own lives. She would say to these people I will help you stop smoking or lose weight or whatever if you volunteer. She was doing on the side what the company was doing internally because she cared.
When she walked out on her job she was scared to death. She thought if I charge $125 an hour to all the people I am coaching, how many people would I need to replace my salary? It ended up that it wasn't that much and she did not realize how big her following was. She was 28 years old and she just wanted to help people. In six months she went from quitting her job to making $200K a year coaching people. It happened over night because Lauren is real. She has an incredible amount of energy and insight into people that is pretty amazing. It is just part of her DNA.
So back to Beth. Beth is out in CA being flown around the country fixing businesses. She is literally tripling revenues of businesses through coaching. Lauren and Beth speak one night for about 20 minutes. Beth loves the corporate angle and Lauren loves the people. Lauren gives Beth some homework on thinking about her life. Lauren has a way of pushing you to see what should be so obvious but isn't. Beth then decides to return to NYC, get rid of the husband and start a new life. In the meantime she hooks Lauren up with one of her favorite clients who is interested in building an empire around the world of personal coaching.
Six weeks into the new partnership, Lauren and the favorite client, the favorite client says I do not want to build and empire. Her friends say you should build your empire with Beth. She calls Beth and in 24 hours Beth says "I'm in" and the Handel Group is formed.
They are now building on a vision that Beth had years ago but it was fear that kept her from doing it. The Handel Group is 8 years old. They have 60 people that work for them. They work for corporations, start-ups, universities (MIT for one) and individuals. Beth does mostly corporate and Lauren does the rest. They have a method and it works. They believe they can take anyones dreams and bring them to fruition. They understand how to build businesses but businesses with a soft side which make for a better environment which in turn creates a happier workplace and higher revenues. There is definitely more for this company down the line. They are honestly repackaging and remarketing peoples souls.
I plan on meeting with Lauren a few times to see what she can do for my fears and insecurities. Maybe figure out a way we can work together with the companies I am invested with. We will see. I know one thing that when I left that meeting with both Beth and Lauren, I wanted to talk more.