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Meet Startup Ladies Board Member Diana Morris, Mortgage Consultant, First Merchant

1. What is your role at First Merchant?

As a Mortgage Consultant, my focus is providing insights and solutions to clients looking to purchase and/or refinance their home, investment property or vacation home. My work includes home buyer workshops and blogging about the process.

2. Tell us about your startup and what do you hope to accomplish!

For the past three years, I have taken my startup from concept and ideas, to clarifying and defining what problem it seeks to solve. In December 2016, Ladybug Collaborative, Inc was formally organized in the state of Indiana.

Our focus is to provide Clarity to Thrive by cooperating with innovators, creatives and changemakers, developing tools and resources to improve in the moment financial decisions. At the core, our work is about Financial Wellness - aligning daily financial decisions with personal priorities and values.

Currently I am sharing short video clips on Youtube to build followers, get feedback and engagement to better address market needs, as well as better define our Persona. On my blog I will be adding forms, spreadsheets and tools to go along with the videos.The short term goal is to develop a digital version of these Financial Wellness tools to be accessible in real time, as a Platform As a Service.

3. Have you experienced any setbacks?

As with most entrepreneurs, I question my abilities and feel out of my league. One of my setbacks last year was being distracted by well-intentioned mentors who insisted that I needed a technical co-founder. This search actually strengthened my conviction and resolve to validate the business model first.

4. What did feminism look like for you growing up?

So many images come to mind, especially from the 1970’s. Fortunately, I was raised in an environment where all hands were on deck. At the same time, I was surrounded by women from all walks of life that were strong, determined, committed to making the world better or at least their little piece of the world. In churches, food pantries, shelters, political action and refugee programs in the US and in Brazil women were the primary drivers of social change. I was inspired and committed to doing my part.

5. Who is someone you look up to?

While I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in Sociology, I discovered Marian Wright Edelman. She’s the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, an activist, civil-rights attorney and author. For over forty years she has labored to improve the welfare of children caught in the legal system and giving them a voice.

5. What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs?

Build a strong network and support system as early as possible. Tap into this network to test ideas, get insights and feedback. Get deep and be willing to be vulnerable, teachable. Hold your ideas very loosely and test, test and test again. Keep refining and diluting down to the simplest, clearest solution. Report back often.

6. When and why did you join The Startup Ladies?

My first introduction to The Startup Ladies was at the 1st anniversary luncheon at Tilly’s in Fishers in 2015. I was blown away by the caliber and collaboration of so many women. Right away I began following on social media and attended as many Startup Study Halls as possible. The platform and structure were very focused and relevant, making it really easy to implement and learn quickly.

Over the past two years (almost) I have gained such insights from some of the most talented startup leaders in Indy. Kristen does a phenomenal job in curating mentors that provide useful tools and experiences. The relationships developed through the study halls and luncheons would take a lifetime to build, if ever, on my own.

7. What are you hoping to accomplish as a board member?

As a board member I want to pitch in with logistics before, during and after events, so Kristen has time to focus even more on connections and matchmaking. I will continue to share what we do and be a greater advocate in the community. I’m really excited for the vision and future of The Startup Ladies.

YouTube: First video -

Twitter: @dmorrisandco


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