About the Work of Joya Dass
LadyDrinks started as a business development exercise.
I had launched a small documentary production company. I had cut my teeth in the news business for over a decade by 2012. But news was a grind. Each day, we got stuff out the door, rarely stopping to make things beautiful (except our faces and hair of course). I started this company, with a view to create longer format pieces, which i had the luxury of time to go back and revise. Make beautiful.
I partnered with a woman from Toronto to launch the company. When we went to city hall to register Avenue Media, Greta asked me if we could host “LadyDrinks” in New York. She enjoyed success with these meetups for professional women in film and tv in Toronto.
I said, ‘sure’
The first event was July 2012. Eight women showed up. The next month, 40 women showed up. By 2013, 300 women were showing up to network at LadyDrinks events.
I was overwhelmed. Someone had turned on a spigot and a sea of Indian women were flooding through the door.
I realized two things.
I had wanted to be a tv anchor since I was 4 years old. My immigrant parents weren’t behind the dream. So I left home at 18. I paid for college by myself. Graduate school by myself. I paid for every move around the country to come to New York City and cover business news for the last 20 years. I, unapologetically, told this story over and over. I even gave a TedTalk on it.
I had no idea that anybody had been listening. The 300 women who started showing up were listening. And now they were coming to share their businesses. Businesses that lie outside the Indian-parent-approved professions of “doctor, lawyer, engineer.”
I thought two things:
“What if I connected the dots here?” What if I interviewed CEOs and titans of business, not on the stock exchange floor for the TV camera, but in front of this audience. An audience that is eager to learn about business success.
I had access.
I was a master at building my own support systems in the absence of family. Over the years, as I moved from city to city, job to job, I built allies. I identified them early and made them my best friends. They were my supports and my sounding boards. What if I created support systems for other Indian women. But I just got folks there faster?