People Women SEEN

Meagan Ward: The Community Cultivator

May 4, 2020

With Femology, Meagan Ward brings Detroit’s women entrepreneurs together

By Jeanelle Olson

Photography by Erin Kirkland

When Meagan Ward talks about her proudest accomplishments, they’re not about her. They’re about community — in particular, the community of women in metro Detroit she simultaneously cultivates, serves and learns from.

As co-founder and CEO of Detroit women’s coworking space Femology (as well as the owner of her own brand-strategy agency, Creatively Flawless), the energetic 29-year-old has built a career on her belief that women are most successful when connected to each other and empowered to lift each other up. Someone with Ward’s vibrancy could easily make a name based on her own charisma and vision, but what feels most impressive is her drive to use those gifts as a way to elevate everyone around her.

Ward founded Femology in 2017 as a way to hold literal space for the women she sought to connect with and empower. With over 100 members since its inception, the coworking space is a place to collaborate and network with other local female entrepreneurs. It offers mentoring, business-building tools and templates, and also hosts events. “Women from metro Detroit are insanely special,” she says. Despite the struggles the city has experienced in recent years, Ward sees the ways that translates to heart and hustle in its business owners. “We have one of the most optimistic mindsets here. Women here are open to collaboration, open to learning from one another.”

Ward, who grew up in Detroit and now lives in Belleville, had what she calls “an a-ha moment” during college at Western Michigan University. Ward was originally hoping to pursue a degree in fashion, but her mother encouraged her to study business marketing, like she did, in order to have a successful career. (In a time when women didn’t typically attend college or own businesses, Ward’s mother did both. “My mom is one of the most progressive thought leaders I’ve ever come across,” Ward says.)

Ward knew she wanted to be a wife and a mom, and be serious about a career. But at that time, “I didn’t think those three things were possible. You see so many things in society about, if you want a family you can’t have a career. Or if you want a career you can’t have a family.” It was then that Ward realized she wanted to change these limiting beliefs — not just for herself, but for other women as well.

At first, she was stumped. “How do you create a living out of something you don’t see other people making a living from?” she wondered. Around 2012, the answer materialized.

As a full-time college student working three jobs, Ward yearned to connect with other women, but her schedule didn’t allow for much socializing. One day, she posted on social media asking if any women in her network would be interested in doing a luncheon in Detroit. After dozens of comments expressing interest, 30 people attended. It was “more like just a meetup,” Ward laughs, with 30 separate checks and a lot of confusion at the end. But it was also a resounding success. “It just felt good. We all gained value from each other and kind of built this new ecosystem.”

She was encouraged to organize another event, and this time Ward was determined to set it up as the smooth-running affair she envisioned. In the span of just a few days, more than 100 women signed up. “My eyes lit up,” she recalls. “It was a confirmation: This is what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Ultimately, Ward’s passion for fashion manifested itself in a new way. Her eye for design, her degree in marketing and her talent for connecting with people aligned with Creatively Flawless, which she founded in 2014. Through the agency, Ward consults with local women entrepreneurs looking for ways to enhance their businesses, from skincare company owners to bloggers to PR managers. “My skill set is marketing and branding, but my passion and purpose are women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship,” she says.

Now married with a young son, Ward says that instead of the outdated idea that a family would hold her back, they’re a grounding force in her life. “They don’t put me in a box,” she says. “I like to do a lot of things — I like to cook and be home, but I also love my work.”

Ward has a full plate: She recently wrapped a campaign and shoot with Nike — she’s the face of a new shoe the brand launched in March. That Nike reached out to involve Femology and Detroit in their 2020 campaign means “we’re doing something right here,” she says.

She’s also thrilled to unveil the new Femology space in Detroit’s Rivertown-Warehouse District (opening date is TBD). “We’ve been working on it for quite some time now,” she says, “but we wanted to do it in excellence.” That means a female-led team of architects and interior designers, and a thoughtful, well-equipped space featuring a podcast studio, private office suites and more.

But on a day-to-day basis, what still drives Ward is connecting the dots among a vibrant community of women and seeing them succeed. “We’re rising by lifting each other up,” she says. “It’s as simple as that.”

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