Sarah Benken is passionate about supporting women, specifically high-achieving businesswomen that are overworked and lacking community with like-minded women. Why? Because she has been there – in the wrong rooms, stretched thin, and feeling like she was alone on the journey.
As an accomplished CEO of 12 years, Sarah has built and scaled her own brands internationally. She is an award-winning entrepreneur that knows first hand what it is like to feel the need to connect with ‘her people’ and have trouble finding them.
She is on a mission to provide space for dynamic female leaders to gather, collaborate, and be celebrated for their successes and hard work. KNOW is a high-achieving culture that elevates and connects all women and their businesses, professions, and communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression, socioeconomic status, or physical appearance. KNOW is united by differences.
Over the last three years, KNOW has helped thousands of dynamic women quickly find their community and experience sisterhood.
What inspired you to start The KNOW Women?
I started the KNOW Women to bring more dynamic women to the table, to help them be known for their hard work and achievements. Too often women are behind-the-scenes working hard and go undiscovered. My mission is to change that. I believe women should be celebrated, heard, and seen. We do that through publishing them in the KNOW Book and building a collaborative community around them.
Tell us more about The KNOW Women, who are your clients, what are they looking for?
The KNOW Women is a community-focused media company, which seeks to elevate the voices of the female leader, creator, and businesswoman. We do that by giving them the mic and the pen to share their stories and expertise. We are community-focused, which means we also host events (in-person and virtual), have global membership, a summit, and a non-profit, which empowers women to reach their next level of achievement.
We meet every professional woman where she is and help her get where she is going by creating opportunities for her to be promoted and published, supported through a community of like-minded women, educated through classes and fire-side chats, and much more.
The KNOW Women’s membership is filled with high-performing businesswomen who know they need a posse of like-minded women to help them get to the next level.
How did you start with The KNOW Women?
I started the KNOW Women as a Founder of Lifestyle Management Co, a personal assisting firm I started in 2009 and scaled through licensing. In the first year, KNOW was actually my fun passion project.
Being a CEO of a large brand, I knew first hand what it was like being in the wrong room and was tired of wasting time trying to find my people. I also believed community and access to elevate was important. So, I created the KNOW Book, a who’s who guide of women to KNOW and do business with, for my city of Phoenix. I wanted to showcase amazing women doing big things – disrupting their industries, growing the community and changing the world. The Book featured 130 women and was released 4 months from conception.
As we shaped our mission to support women to their next level, I added an event series for our women featured in KNOW. The mix and mingles allowed a safe space for the building of relationships, collaborations, and partnerships. The women in our first Book have grown their businesses, become best friends, and found balance with one another
How has The KNOW Women grown so big?
Over the last three years, KNOW has expanded beyond our birthplace of Phoenix, Arizona to 15 chapters across North America and 6700 women connected. Our growth has come by way of referrals and nominations from our current KNOW Women. They have shared our mission with their female friends, colleagues, and counterparts, who have also chosen to link arms with KNOW. We are truly a network of dynamic women who pay it forward.
Now, we are proud to offer a global opportunity for any woman to engage. Our Global Membership and Elite Status open access to women anywhere in the world.
What are the do’s and don’t when starting a business?
Do be flexible. Allow intution to take control.
Do know your numbers. Data is sexy.
Do take social media breaks.
Don’t compare yourself to others. You are you for a reason!
Don’t be afraid to leap. You have to leap to propel forward.
Don’t ever be the smartest person in the room.
What have you learned most from entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is not easy. Everyday brings big challenges, but if you take a step forward every single day, regardless of how big or small each step is, you will keep going. Some days are filled with leaps, others are inches – being a business owner is about staying buckled in and not stopping. Simply keep moving forward.
What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?
Women must learn to ASK! This means asking for help, asking to be connected, asking for advice – ALL OF IT. We have to ask for what we want and need. It is the only way to truly move the needle in your life and career. If you are waiting for it to come, it won’t happen. You have to go out and get it.
Share two pieces of advice for female entrepreneurs
I have learned that I am me…and only I can do what I do. I believe that we are given a purpose in life and that our unique characteristics are gifts that will help us reach our purpose. Rather than trying to be like everyone else, if you can lean into your uniqueness, or what I like to call, your unfair advantage, you’ll be able to reach your goals faster. Stop comparing yourself with others – you are not them, they are not you. It is meant to be that way.
If it isn’t a 100% yes, it is an absolute NO – or at least a not right now. It is very easy to get distracted with all of the noise out there. Staying in tune with your intuition is critical. When you are making choices that will impact your business, ask yourself if it brings passion, fills you with joy, makes sense, and creates impact. It doesn’t have to always be sexy, but it should fit easily.
What is the one piece of advice that has impacted you the most?
What got you here today, will not get you there tomorrow. You have to keep evolving and leveling up.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
My proudest moment was seeing my son, who is now 23, cross the stage at his college graduation. As a young teen mom, life could have gone differently for us, but it didn’t. We both worked hard, stayed focused, and it paid off. He will never have to endure the sacrifices and struggles that come with being a teen parent. There is no award or write-up that could compare; he is my biggest success.