For Jaclyn Johnson, being the founder of Create & Cultivate — a multimillion dollar online platform and conference for women looking to nurture their dream careers — wasn’t enough. The platform she built is made up of over 500,000 women, with speakers including Meghan Markle, Gloria Steinem, and Issa Rae. Still, Johnson wanted to deepen her connection to the community, and has authored a new book, WorkParty, where she takes a deep dive into the failures and successes of her own professional trajectory in the hope of helping women better navigate their own careers.
As she began writing, Johnson said she felt it necessary to create a candid exploration of how she channelled her own experiences of distrust, frustration, and heartache into a booming business ventures. “I get the honor of meeting amazing women and hearing their stories, their successes and struggles,” Johnson told Refinery29. “People are very vulnerable and it inspired me to do the same.”
The book's candid, approachable tone, coupled with its practical advice and anecdotes, make it the perfect resource for anyone wanting entrepreneurial inspiration. WorkParty also includes insight from several women entrepreneurs — including Blavity founder Morgan Debaun, Kendra Scott, and Rebecca Minkoff — who share their own thoughts on passion, happiness, and success.
Johnson also felt the need to unearth all that it took for her to reach the point she is at today. “I don’t really tell my story that often, but the community inspired me because people think you’re an overnight success,” Johnson said. “It’s like, no, we’ve been around a really long time.” In WorkParty, Johnson combats the idea that women entrepreneurs must be stoic, unwavering, and at times unfeeling. “Media wants us to be perfect [and] in reality that’s not true,” Johnson said. “It’s normal to fail. But you have to pick yourself back up.”
She envisions WorkParty as both a manual and a source of inspiration, one that readers can pick up when they need tactical advice or insight. “I am not the Wolf of Wall Street. I am not a Tony Robbins figure, here to espouse my great theories on life,” Johnson wrote of the book earlier this year. “WorkParty is comprised of the lessons I learned and the advice I had wished I’d gotten when I was 21 and at my first major job.”
Ultimately, Johnson hopes that the book will serve to uplift and inspire women entrepreneurs as well as encourage more collaboration amongst them. After all, as stated in the book's acknowledgements, Johnson recognizes that her own success is partly in thanks to all of the women who have given her a leg up. “The narrative is that we need to be in competition with each other, that there’s not enough space,” Johnson said. “[But] we really are better together.”