1. How often will I see Erin?

Black Dress Circle Evolve members see Erin twice per month: once at the half-day roundtable session, and once at a private one-hour session. Black Dress Circle Emerge members see Erin once a month at the roundtable session and then join Erin and peers for a monthly group coaching call. In addition, members with pressing business issues can always reach Erin by phone, text, or email.

2. Why can’t I do business with the other Circle members?

Doing business with fellow Circle members dramatically changes the tone of roundtable sessions. When the focus shifts from sharing experiences to promoting one’s enterprise, productive roundtable dynamics are disrupted.

3. What do I need to know about working with Erin?

Specializing in the intersection of business and psychology, Erin detects organizational strengths and weaknesses from a unique perspective, and delivers observations that can transform businesses.

4. What about confidentiality?

Competitors are never placed in the same circle, ensuring roundtable discussions and topics take place in a safe setting and that all topics discussed remain confidential. Black Dress Circle members also annually sign a strict confidentiality agreement.

5. How many people are in Black Dress Circle? Who are they?

Each Circle has a maximum capacity of 12 female participants, comprised of a growing roster of business leaders from right here in St. Louis. During orientation, we review the membership list together to ensure that there are no competing or conflicting interests. If there are, you’ll become a Founding Member of an additional St. Louis chapter of Black Dress Circle.

6. What are the other women like? Will I work closely with them?

Black Dress Circle Emerge members are ambitious women steering growing organizations; Black Dress Circle Evolve members are second-stage women business owners leading complex businesses. All members are hand-selected by Erin based in part on their commitment to personal and professional growth. You’ll work closely with fellow Circle members during each roundtable session, and will also have the option of partnering with another member for support.

7. When and where do the Circle roundtables take place?

BDC Emerge takes place on the 1st Tuesday of the month, and BDC Evolve takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Erin coordinates the venue, which is always a neutral, private space in a professional setting, unaffiliated with any member’s respective enterprise.

8. Where do we meet for our monthly 1:1 session (BDC Evolve only)?

Monthly 1:1 sessions are for BDC Evolve members only and are held in the central corridor. Some sessions may occur over the phone, per member needs.

9. What kind of time commitment can I expect?

For BDC Evolve members, the primary commitment is for the monthly half-day facilitated Circle roundtable, a single monthly 1:1 session with Erin, one, full-day off-site meeting, and an annual three day, two night retreat. For BDC Emerge members, the primary commitment is for the monthly half-day facilitated Circle roundtable and the monthly group coaching call.

10. How is Black Dress Circle different from other local roundtables and peer groups?

Black Dress Circle is different in several ways: We’ve created a safe, supportive space for women business owners to connect with other female leaders—hosted by Erin, who is not only an experienced and trained group facilitator, but a small business owner herself. Moreover, unlike other peer groups, members also benefit from either their private session with Erin once a month (Evolve members only) or the monthly group coaching call (Emerge members only).

11. Tell me more about the annual Black Dress Circle retreat exclusively for Evolve members.

Each year, Erin selects a venue within driving distance of St. Louis for a three day, two night retreat. The venue always has private sleeping rooms, delicious meals (members pay their own lodging and meals), and beautiful grounds. The fine balance of classroom work and unstructured alone time allows you to get the most from the experience.

12. What’s the cost of Black Dress Circle?

For Evolve members, it’s a predictable monthly fee of $795. For Emerge members, it’s a predictable monthly fee of $395. Black Dress Circle is a year-long commitment, with the option to renew.

13. How do I get started with Black Dress Circle?

For Emerge members, your first month’s investment of $395 provides a strengths-based assessment and a 2-hour, 1:1 kickstarter session with Erin to debrief your assessment, dive deep into your business, and define goals for the coming year. For Evolve members, your first month’s investment of $795 provides one personality/ leadership/strengths-based assessment, a 360° business assessment, and a 4-hour, 1:1 kickstarter session to debrief your assessments, dive deep into your business, and define goals for the coming year.

14. What are some commonly addressed subjects?

Discussions usually revolve around business associates, employees, and family members, with topics ranging from company culture, personnel issues, and marketing, to the direction of the organization, succession planning, and finances.

15. What does the PeerSpectives certification signify?

PeerSpectives sets itself apart from other CEO roundtables with its methodology. Procedures are in place to help the group focus on identifying and processing core issues, and ensure a balanced discussion that isn’t dominated by any one topic or individual. The PeerSpectives system emphasizes sharing experiences rather than giving advice.

16. What happens at each Black Dress Circle meeting?

Each session revolves around a planned agenda, with specific topics for conversation. Along with the “workshop” segment Erin delivers, members also present business issues for discussion.

Sound good? Email Erin at erin.joy@blackdresspartners.com and let’s talk.

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The amount of talent among women business owners in St. Louis continually blows me away. Everyone has a distinct story, their own particular triumph, even a transformational defeat—everyone has someTHING that someONE will identify with, take to heart, and use to change their life, business or outlook.
–Erin Joy