Twin Cities Women-Focused Nonprofit MPLS MadWomen Shifts Focus
The kickoff event for MPLS MadWomen's latest mentorship program session. ( Photo by : Madeira Creative Photography)

Twin Cities Women-Focused Nonprofit MPLS MadWomen Shifts Focus

The organization is moving away from large-scale discussion events to focus on mentorship-based programming.

MPLS MadWomen, a nonprofit aimed at boosting gender equality in creative businesses, has retooled its look and purpose.

Originally focused on large-scale events, the organization is now zeroing in on mentorship. The group launched its membership program in 2016 after hearing a strong demand among women working in creative fields, says Erin Simle, MPLS MadWomen president.

“Women do better in the creative industry when we have real relationships and real connections to help us navigate these sometimes very tricky, male-dominated, white-dominated spaces,” she says.

As part of the program, MadWomen matches mentees with mentors and organizes a series of small-scale meetings, workshops, happy hours, and other activities to create bonds and foster professional development.

In Simle’s view, the time is ripe to go all in on mentorship. Ticket sales for large-scale MadWomen events have been on the decline amid a flurry of similar events, she notes.

“We're very proud of our larger format programs, but as we started to think about the evolution of our organization, it really became clear to us that those relationship opportunities are very, very important to the women of this community,” she says. “The whole idea this year was that this could be the cornerstone of our entire organization.”

With a shift in focus, MadWomen hopes it can nearly double the number of mentee-mentor matchups—soon adding 151 matches to the 200 pairings it’s coordinated since 2016.

To highlight the change in MadWomen’s mission, Minneapolis-based design and branding agency Little & Co. offered a pro bono brand identity refreshment.

“[They] gave us a really great opportunity to say ‘it’s a new day, we’re excited about the pivot, we’re excited about the new brand, there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about,’” says Simle.

At the heart of the new identity is the new logo.

“An organization’s identity should represent who the organization is in a way that’s authentic and meaningful to their audience,” says Joe Cecere, president and chief creative officer of Little & Company. “This is an organization that’s about conversation, action—it’s a very bold, strong organization that’s very dynamic.”

To reflect this, the new logo features a darker color palette and more pronounced lines, says Cecere.  

Armed with its new look, MadWomen is looking forward to its new era.

Says Simle: “We’re just really passionate about creating those connections and a forum for women to feel that support so they can go out and kick whatever ass they want.”