What is BrainTrust?
- BrainTrust is a peer-to-peer membership for women business owners who are intent on growing their businesses, their financial independence, and their influence in the community and beyond.
Who are ideal candidates for BrainTrust?
- Ideal candidates are those with significant growth goals and who possess a “learn it all” attitude.
Do I qualify?
- To qualify for BrainTrust, your business must be a legal entity already generating revenue, have an established accounting system, and you must own at least 25% of the company. Entrepreneurs who are pre-revenue may join if they are already a legal entity engaging in foundational work for the business (raising capital, building technology, etc.). Further, we look at multiple factors to determine eligibility: number of employees or plans to become an employer organization; length of time in business; revenue growth trajectory; your ability and willingness to provide P&L reporting; your propensity to be open and vulnerable in sharing such data with your Vault.
- If you meet the above criteria, you may submit an application. The application allows the BrainTrust team to learn more about you, your goals and where you are on your entrepreneurial journey. Once your application is reviewed and accepted, the next step is a short interview with the Director of Member Services. After final approval, you will be required to attend a training session which begins the onboarding process.
Under what circumstance would BrainTrust NOT accept me as a member?
There are several reasons why you might not be accepted, including the following:
- You are too early in your journey and need more foundational knowledge. Don’t worry – we will connect you to the resources you need and work with you to get you ready for BrainTrust.
- The interview process reveals that your primary interest is in the social aspect of the group, not in growing your business. We love to socialize too, but the members of BrainTrust are focused on growing sustainable, profitable companies.
- The interview reveals that you’re more interested in teaching or coaching others, exhibiting a “know it all” attitude instead of having a “learn it all” attitude.
- In the sole discretion of the BrainTrust team, your business is not yet viable.
- You are not open to being part of our openly anti-racist organization.
How does it work? What am I committing to?
- The primary tool that BrainTrust members use to grow and scale their businesses is a process and group called “Vault”. After being trained in the Vault process, each member is placed in a carefully selected group of six other business owners who, together then become a “Vault” – a safe place that holds great value. Following a specific meeting protocol, your Vault meets monthly, with each of you sharing your business challenges and obstacles and learning to navigate that issue by listening to and learning from the relevant experiences of the other Vault members. The Vault peer-to-peer learning method, learning from the experiences of others, has proven to be the fastest, most effective learning model for adults, dramatically shortening your learning curve.
What makes BrainTrust Vault different from other entrepreneurial education programs?
- Unlike most workshops, cohorts, mentor programs, and courses, BrainTrust’s Vault utilizes peer-to-peer learning strategies. This means that you will learn from the experiences of one another, not from coaches or teachers who’ve never been in your shoes.
- There is no “graduation” from the Vault. Members quickly become deeply engaged and find their monthly meetings essential to the professional and personal growth.
- Vault members hold one another accountable to goals, pushing each other to achieve and grow.
Are there structured lessons? Is there a curriculum or something that guides the discussion?
- There is no curriculum in Vault meetings, though they have great structure and pre-planned agendas.
- Every member must attend a 3-hour training session before being assigned to a Vault, learning how the process works and how to both give and get the most value from the experience. The first 3-4 meetings are moderated by a BrainTrust facilitator, but then become self-led, with members of the Vault serving as moderator in one-year increments. Beyond the Vault meetings, BrainTrust provides additional workshops and other learning opportunities.
Who will be in my Vault?
- BrainTrust carefully curates the group to which you are assigned, assuring diversity of industry, education, age of business, stage of business, and racial/ethnic background. Such curation ensures that there is a wealth of varying experiences around your Vault table – allowing every member to give and get value, not despite their differences, but BECAUSE of them.
- Your Vault will not have any direct competitors, key clients, close friends, or family members. If you are a partnership, your partner would not be allowed to be in your Vault. Prior to your assignment to a Vault, you will be given the profiles of all suggested Vault members so you can notify BrainTrust if there are any potential conflicts or other reasons why a person should not be in your group.
Who organizes the meetings?
- The initial Vaults are organized by BrainTrust. Once a group is established, it is up to each Vault to schedule their meetings. Since the seven members are in full agreement as to their meeting dates and times, there will rarely be a scheduling conflict. The Vault schedules meetings several months in advance to prevent such conflicts.
Where do the Vaults meet?
- The individual Vaults will determine a meeting space, with the offices of fellow members being the preferred choice. If no members of the Vault have such a meeting space, BrainTrust will work with local professional organizations (law practices, accounting offices, banking institutions) to provide a meeting room that affords privacy and comfort.
What is the time commitment?
- Vaults meet once a month for 3-4 hours. Beyond that, the individual Vaults determine any other meeting rhythm that is good for them.
What is the duration of BrainTrust membership?
- Unlike cohort or curriculum-based learning, BrainTrust doesn’t have an end date or “graduation” as the women are committed to continual learning and growth.
Is what I share in a Vault meeting going to stay confidential? I don’t want anyone to know my business strategy or potential problems I’m facing.
- Yes, everything discussed in a Vault meeting remains completely confidential. All members are required to sign a Membership Confidentially Agreement that states they agree to keep all discussions private and will not discuss them with anyone outside of a Vault meeting, including with other Vault members. The code of confidentiality is unyielding and any member breaching a confidence is subject to immediate termination of membership and possible legal action.
Do I change Vaults every year?
- No, you will likely stay with your Vault forever. This allows you to build strong bonds with fellow Vault members, making you essential to one another. This also gives you an extra layer of accountability as your fellow members will see patterns and behaviors that are holding you back, bringing those to your attention and holding you liable for the change and growth to which you’ve committed.
Do the Vaults meet in person?
- Vaults may meet in person or virtually – that is up to the group. Prior to being assigned to a Vault, members can choose which meeting model is best for them.
Besides Vault, what else can BrainTrust do for me?
- Virtual sessions known as Lunch with Lucy with our founder, addressing topics identified by members.
- Workshop Wednesday sessions featuring highly qualified instructors (who share their knowledge in 1–2-hour increments. As a member, Workshop Wednesdays are always free.
- Thought Leader Thursdays, where we focus on the human side of running a business.
- Community! Through our custom portal, members are able to interact with members in other Vaults and other cities. Whether she is seeking a connection to a woman who is in her industry in another region of the country or is seeking a professional in her area, she’ll be able to do a quick search to find the right person.
- Book Publishing, in partnership with Greenleaf Book Group of Austin, Texas, BrainTrust INK provides a professional team of book experts to help members share their stories and their expertise
- Discounts, Members are eligible for discounted rates to regional workshops and annual conferences.
What does it cost to join BrainTrust?
- There is no cost to apply for membership. Prior to Vault assignment, there is a one-time $79 training fee. After training, Members pay $199 a month for a BrainTrust Vault Membership via automated draft, with the monthly dues beginning once the Member is assigned to a Vault.