Who is The Other? Conversation with Dee Poku-Spalding

Five minutes ago, I laid my phone down on its cradle (yes a landline!), and realized that I was smiling from ear to ear and feeling oh-so- powerful as a woman! What caused this feeling of empowerment was not a call from a suitor and no, I did not win the lottery- in every way this call was almost BETTER!

I had the honor of speaking with founder of the The Other Festival and WIE, Dee Poku-Spalding and I cannot stop replaying her words in my head. From her very candid quips about our current state of the world to her inspiring messages about what it takes to be a GirlBoss, I was hooked on every accented word!

the other festival 1What is The Other? Who is The Other? And What is this festival I keep raving about on social media, you ask?

The Other Festival is an all female, all day event of celebrating the makers and creators in this day and age. From photographers, to coding specialists, to models, designers and journalists, The Other Festival is an event that supports “The Other” gender’s entrepreneurial spirit and all around bad-assness and I am completely here for it!

The very first question I had to ask Dee Poku-Spalding was: Where did the name come from? “The Other?”

She instantly laughed and explained this in two ways. After attending so many music festivals in the past and seeing that 60% of attendees were female yet most of the acts were male, her keen entrepreneurial sense went into overdrive! Why not create an event with all female musical performances but with an edge. Business (work hard) during the first part of the event and pleasure (play hard) during the second part and alas The Other Festival was born. The second inspiration is the one that had me feverishly taking notes and nodding my head in agreement, heck I may have even finger snapped! The Other is an ode to the young women who refuse to conform to society’s notion of what being a woman should be. The Other are the trailblazers. The Other are the women who own their differences! As Dee stated: “We are showing that it is a great thing to be The Other”!

Dee Poku

With an impressive background as a former studio executive in Hollywood and being the co-founder of WIE, an organization geared towards supporting and empowering women with their career ambitions, it was only natural for her to gather an incredible team to help make her vision a reality. On June 11 in New York City, a conglomeration of all the ultimate girl bosses in a variety of fields will come together to dole out knowledge and then have a rock star good time listening to talented female performers, all thanks to Dee Poku-Spalding, my choice for Ultimate Girl Boss!

I asked her a plethora of questions ranging from her fashion choices to raising her 3 year old and her answers will have you even more proud to be a woman!

What is your favorite article of clothing?

“My dungarees!” She exclaimed. “Do they still call them that?” “Those are my go-to because I can easily dress them up or down. I have had them for ages and they are the perfect cut”

Besides the lack of female headliners at music festivals, what was your inspiration for The Other Festival?

“Hands down the entrepreneurial spirit of this generation!” When asked to elaborate further, I got such a great lesson on business and gender inequality! “In NYC alone there are 400,00 female owned companies or females bosses. We are creating companies at twice the rate of men but the companies are not scaling to enough of a lucrative level. My goal is to help support not only the spirit but teaching my fellow women how to take their ideas to the next level!”

Well, Mrs. Spalding, I have some ideas and I need to take them to the next level!

With an amazing lineup of musical acts and speakers, I had to know what prompted her to choose these specific people? What kind of “Je Ne Sais Quoi” did they possess?

“Well, I was particular. I wanted the right people to cater to my audience. I chose people that inspired me personally and I did not care what others thought about it. I feel as if I have a strong pulse on my demographic so I wanted an interesting mix of women that could speak to them. Like for instance, Rosario Dawson! She has a great fashion company, Studio 189 with an amazing philosophy!”

Well, you hit the nail on the head!

I tread carefully asking the next question because of the connotation of the word but the risk taker in me went for it! Are you a feminist?

Without hesitation and with the utmost confidence, Dee stated: “Oh absolutely! I believe in gender equality! Women are making significant contributions to society and not receiving the same recognition as their counterparts! It is a simple premise after all. Women should receive the same equal opportunities in life and not have to work harder just for half.”

I commented that I was a bit nervous using the term and she instantly reassured me “It is an aggressive label but it has also lost its meaning with time. I am actually thinking of developing a documentary about the term: Feminist. The meaning of the word and why it sparks so much debate!”

We spoke briefly about the joys of motherhood and what it is like raising a 3 year old in the Concrete Jungle. For her, 3, is a “fun age! He is a defiant little person, finding his own way and I love it. Just the other day he told me that something was “not acceptable”. While Dee is an advocate of instilling discipline and teaching the importance of boundaries, she also remarked that “I am extremely loving as well. It is all about balance”

Before ending the call, I had to know….

Who are your top 2 choices for Ultimate Girl Bosses?

“Those are easy! Hillary Clinton of course and Diane Von Furstenberg”

Oh Dee! You have hit the nail on the head yet again! I could have continued the conversation for another 30 minutes but I wanted to be respectful of her time. This was my second interview and I wanted it to flow like a conversation among friends. Yes I said it.. friends! Because truthfully, I believe we as women should treat each other as friends whether or not we have established that type of relationship. I am typically not a fan of workshops because of past history attending a few that left me feeling as if I could have just “googled” the tips and tricks that were shared. But in all honesty, I am beyond giddy to attend and learn at this one. There is just something about the spirit of the whole team involved that has my instincts roaring to say: “The Other Festival is going to be the GO-TO event for all femme-preneurs”

I am writing here today to ask all of you to attend if it suits your schedule. This is a must attend! You may say NO but after my conversation with Dee Poku-Spalding, I am comfortable with hearing NO. It no longer phases me! I will keep trying because I believe in this mission and I believe in ALL MY WOMEN!

Thank you for reading and I look forward to meeting some of you on Saturday in New York!

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