**Special Advertising Section**
LKW Home Team
Jennifer Kessel-White & Lauren Lucas
How LKW Home Team is helping women-owned business boom
Jennifer Kessel-White and Lauren Lucas, co-owners of LKW Home Team, have built a top-one-percent real estate team, and now they are ready to invite Columbus to their “passion project”—they’re driven to help other women succeed as business owners, as well.
So, in 2021, in partnership with 614 Media Group, they launched their newest business venture Empow(HER).
“We’re very passionate about female entrepreneurship,” Lucas said. “In 2020, when the pandemic hit, we saw people losing their jobs and starting to research how to have a business of their own.”
“It was individuals who realized how important life was, and how valuable being happy in your career is,” Kessel-White continued. “It was ‘The Great Resignation’—we knew so many people who were starting their own business.”
The pair decided to help those women who were exploring a transition to real estate, mortgage, even candle-making—really, any field they desired that would bring them fulfillment and income.
Their first Empow(HER) panel discussion, in May 2021, addressed the question “How did you start your business?” and sold out in 24 hours. COVID restrictions limited the event to 35 participants and four panelists, but the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“It was awesome,” Lucas recalled. “We were getting messages afterward, of ‘I knew I was coming for empowerment, but I got so much more than I ever imagined.’”
“Almost all of the women showed up alone, knowing no one, and made connections,” Kessel-White noted.
Their second panel discussion, in late summer, drew 50 participants for the topic of “Growing your business.” For the $25 registration fee, each woman received a professional headshot, drink tickets, snacks, and networking before and after the event.
The panels are set up to be interactive, with ample time for the question and answer period. Panelists are encouraged to be candid and real. They’re also encouraged to share their business plans.
“We want them to share their heartaches, their glorious moments, things they’ve learned, things they would never do again,” Kessel-White continued. “It’s fun, and it’s funny; we laugh, we cry, we do all the things, and we build great relationships.”
The result is that, as Lucas said, “women are really asking questions and feeling like they have the ability to go out there and do it. They’re hearing from other women who started with nothing.”
Their primary audience is between 25 and 45 years old, although the founders don’t target any particular age group. And they realize that the rewards reach far beyond the entrepreneurs themselves. “My family never owned their own home until I was an adult. Our children are going to have different outcomes, because someone helped me change mine,” Kessel-White said.
“Our mission is to become a resource for women to create their dream career or level-up their business, encouraging pride, growth and financial success, while changing family trees.”
Kessel-White and Lucas are growing their panel discussions to quarterly in 2022 and starting what Lucas calls a “raw and authentic” podcast aimed at emerging business owners, featuring established, local, female entrepreneurs also named Empow(HER)
And as Empow(HER) grows and secures nonprofit status, the founders plan to introduce a membership program, where women ready to take the leap will be able to ask questions and work with established women business owners in a mentoring process. Membership money will fund a “scholarship” program to start new businesses.
“It’s inclusive; everyone is welcome,” Lucas said. “It’s a new era. We’re not in competition; we’re here to share our wins, our failures. Let’s get to where we want to be, quicker.”