New York’s First All Female Festival — The Other Festival — Starts This Week

This all female festival could potentially blow your mind.

In just four days on June 11, 2016, the biggest, boldest female makers and creators in American business will participate in the launch of the nation’s first ever all female talks and music festival – The Other Festival.

The Other Festival showcases the makers and creators of this generation, the women who are redefining how to do business, setting their own rules, putting new systems in place, pushing their own agendas — inventors, storytellers, founders, and artists who can’t be boxed in.

Speakers will include Naomi Campbell, Rosario Dawson, Reshma Saujani (Girls Who Code), Justine Skye, Brooke Candy, Chelsea Leyland, members from out very own Galore team, and many more celebrated female makers and creators at Tribeca’s premiere event space Spring Studios.

Dee Poku-Spalding, founder of The Other Festival, is a social entrepreneur and former Hollywood studio executive. She’s also the the founder of WIE (Women Inspiration and Enterprise), a social enterprise that works to provide emerging women leaders with the tools to succeed in their careers.

Dee conceived of The Other Festival while attending a major festival in 2015. After seeing an endless array of all male bands and searching for food that wasn’t deep fried, she knew there had to be a better way. We caught up with Dee to find out just what to except from this year’s festival. Here’s what she had to say:

What made you want to start Other festival?

For two reasons: The first was to support the incredible entrepreneurial spirit I was seeing in millennial women, who are now starting new businesses at twice the rate of men. Also, I wanted to create a business and cultural event that addressed the lack of female headliners at all the major festivals. Women are a powerful force in the music business and that needs to be acknowledged.

How has your experience as a studio executive and in brand marketing lead you to Other fest?

As a studio executive, I witnessed the power of culture and content to move the needle and change lives. I worked on documentaries such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth which opened the world’s eyes to the issue of climate change. And Brokeback Mountain starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal which explored LGBT rights. These were all topics that reached the public through clever content and marketing. It was truly a life changing experience. The Other Festival is just an extension of that approach – the power of content, branding, cultural leaders coming together to make a difference.

What are the types of convos we can expect to be had at Other festival?

There are two main themes we’re exploring: The first is female disruption. We have a lot of women up on that stage who are breaking the mold and devising new ways of doing things. How do we all go about innovating in our careers? How do you find the white space? We’re also exploring the concept of expanding from an idea into a brand. So many of us have big ideas for business or are running small companies, but how do you go from that to being a lucrative brand that makes money and impact?

How did you select the speakers/performers?

As always, I look for women who inspire me and will inspire our audience. We’ve covered everything – we have designers, inventors, investors, chefs, writers – if they make or create they’ll be at The Other Festival. Our audience will get a fascinating range of perspectives. It’s an invaluable experience.

What ideas do you hope guests will take home from Other festival?

I want them to leave feeling like they have some or all of the answers. And I want them to feel confident and strong within themselves. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely place to be. You’re constantly pushing a boulder up a hill. Hopefully as a result of what they see and hear, our guests will leave armed with the tools to push all the way to the top.

Any advice for staying true to yourself as a woman in the industry?

Stop trying to be something you’re not. I did that throughout my 20s. It’s so exhausting and it’s not believable. Also, speak up for yourself. People appreciate that.

When you hire your employees, what traits do you look for?

Whoever I hire – male or female – I want them to have passion. And believe in my mission. Solution driven employees who don’t wait to be asked. I’m looking for people with great ideas who want to change the world. So, I’m not asking for much really…

Will Other fest ever come to Los Angeles?

It sure will! I lived in LA for 4 years and I love it there. I keep looking for excuses to go back. Watch this space.

Any tips for networking at the actual event?

Go up to everyone and anyone you like and say hello. You never know what might come of it. We have a no mean girl policy at my events!

If there’s one piece of advice you could give the younger you… what would it be?

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself.

Media partners include NYLON Media, Galore, Bustle and theSkimm. General admission tickets start at $75 and can be purchased online:

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