March 12, 2008 -- Imagine sitting in on a conversation between women you've always admired — learning what they think, what concerns them and what makes them laugh, all over a cup of coffee.
A new Web site, Women on the Web (WowOWow.com), gives women that opportunity.
Created by a group of remarkable women, the site is designed to be a community for a unique audience of accomplished women over 40, featuring daily conversations, a "Question of the Day," even a "Hair Day Weather Report" (which analyzes the weather in your area, and tells how it will affect your hair). Regularly updated articles about women in the workforce, conversations about politics, and practical info every successful woman wants to know will keep the site fresh daily.
To celebrate its launch, six of the 15 founders, or so-called "Wow Women," joined "Good Morning America" to talk about their idea, including Leslie Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Liz Smith, Joni Evans, Mary Wells Lawrence and Lily Tomlin.
"We went to lunch, we were talking about the fact that there was nothing on the Web at all for women, say over 30, let alone 40. I mean, everything was really throwaway for kids, you know, unless you wanted to find a hotel," said Wells Lawrence, an advertising executive behind memorable campaigns such as "I Love New York."
"The conversation that I dream of is that we bounce around … just the way women do when they go to lunch. So we'll talk about the campaign. And in the middle of it someone will say, 'where you'd get those shoes?' And we're off on shoes," explained Stahl, a journalist currently in her 17th season of "60 Minutes" on CBS.
Though each of these women has been enormously successful, trailblazing the way for women in their industry, they say women from all walks of life should feel like this is a forum for them.
"We were all very poor when we started," said Wells Lawrence.
"No one came from money here," said Evans.
Now accomplished and powerful, each says confidence is still an issue and something the site will address. Stahl jokingly compared her confidence to "Swiss cheese … I mean, some day you wake up and you've got it. And maybe more days you have it than you did when you were young."
"I thought I had confidence … but then I'd read a review that wasn't particularly favorable about something I really thought was great, so I lost confidence in the reviews. And I got my confidence back," explained Tomlin, an actress and comedienne who is currently producing the Off-Broadway play "Beebo Brinker Chronicles."
The women agreed that coming together for WowOWow has also brought them more confidence. "There is an enormous empowerment in being associated with these names," said Smith, the legendary gossip columnist and author of "What's Next."
GMA Anchor Diane Sawyer asked the women what they thought had been their biggest failure.
"To ever pay any attention to how much money I was making or invest wisely or, learn anything that women were supposed to learn, because I always thought, you know, a guy would come along and take care of me, and that just never happened," said Smith. "Some of them came along but I had to take care of them, so…[laughs]."
Said Wells Lawrence, "My biggest mistake was selling my company. I sold my company to take care of a sick husband … I should not have done that … I think a lot of women do that — they get into a business and then they leave it because they think that — they're needed more elsewhere. And actually, sooner or later, you're going to be alone, having done that. And you will regret that you don't have your career."
A Woman President
The group agreed that Sen. Hilary Clinton's run for president has exposed many of the challenges they've faced themselves with being a powerful woman, and it's already a hot topic on WowOWow.
"It's hard to find that balance … If you're really tough, well you're a b**ch. If you're really sweet, then you're too soft to be president. You can't be commander-in-chief," said Stahl.
"It's very hard for a woman to flirt. All male candidates have a good time flirting. And if Hillary flirts, it's unattractive for many, many reasons," said Evans.
"Well, who's ever seen her flirt?" asked Smith.
"Well, she can't. That's the point [laughs] … A woman cannot do that," said Stahl.
"When I was running the company, I couldn't even really smile," said Wells Lawrence.
"Now Mary, you didn't sleep your way to the top, is that what you're saying?" joked Smith.
"I don't think I even slept," Wells Lawrence quipped back.