Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Amanda McIntyre-Chavis is Women of Wearables Ambassador in New York, USA. A philanthropist, motivational speaker, brand strategist and entrepreneur, Amanda McIntyre-Chavis has an unquenchable passion for music, art and technology. She is the CEO and Founder of LegendFactory, a interactive brand management company and two new tech initiatives: Muzaik, a social media aggregator and Myndfull, a wearable tech company. She is also an active mentor, arts advocate and supporter of various social causes.
Amanda has over 18 years of experience in media and entertainment, spearheading development projects for Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Universal, BMG and EMI. She’s worked with world-renowned talent and brands such as Queen Latifah, Sum 41, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, P!nk, Altec Lansing, Absolut, Pepsi, Playstation, Monster audio and many more. Based in New York, Amanda is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. (NARAS), the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment (NABFEME), National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the ELLEVATE Network and Women In Music.
Amanda, welcome to our team! Tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and how you became interested in world of technology and wearable and fashion technology in particular. And how did you find out about Women of Wearables?
I'm always on the search for ladies who are gadget geeks such as myself. After going to a few CES, Gizmodo and Fast Company events, I became more and more interested in wearables. I was having trouble finding and connecting with female engineers for a new wearable tech project that I plan to launch. So I literally googled "women in wearable tech" and here we are!
You are an entrepreneur yourself. What are the projects you're working on at the moment?
Really excited about the relaunch of my interactive brand management company, Legendfactory and two new tech initiatives, Muzaik - which is a social media aggregator and Myndfull - which is my wearable tech and wellness project.
What was the biggest obstacle during your entrepreneurial journey? How about biggest achievement?
Securing capital is always a challenge but surprisingly my biggest obstacle was finding female mentors in the beginning. It was as though they didn't want to share info because I was going to steal their secrets or challenge their position. It was so disappointing and it really became a huge part of my mission to become a great mentor to someone. So that is my biggest achievement, watching some of my mentees grow from being an intern to presidents/founders of their own companies. Just knowing that I was a part of their journey brings me joy everyday.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
It's still very much a boys game in music and tech, so while there has been some steps toward changing that dynamic... we still have a long way to go. I still have male colleagues who offer to present my ideas or concepts for me so that I'll be taken seriously. Some of them mean well but I quickly remind them that I'm quite capable to present myself and have successfully done so many times over.
Why is #WomenInTech movement important to you?
Innovation! Women have been innovative from the beginning of time. We were supporting our families and communities in innovative ways but not getting credit for it. Technology impacts our everyday lives and we as women are constantly thinking, feeling, working on new ideas on how to make lives better. Women have a unique way of thinking and as we build new tech for the future, we need to be involved in the tech that will affect our everyday lives. Our young female leaders of the future need to see our impact and watch how we pave the way.
How does the tech ecosystem look in New York?
There are amazing opportunities out here. We need to get more ladies into leadership positions but there's a lot of potential.
What will be your main goals as Women of Wearables Ambassador in New York?
Awareness, inclusion and community. There are many organizations here in NY that we can partner and raise awareness with. I truly hope to build a great support system for women of all ages that are looking to launch or scale their business. I'm looking forward to creating great opportunities and partnerships. I'm so excited to be a part of WoW's journey and community.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech and fashion tech industries in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
Wearable tech is going to get increasingly practical for everyday use and I believe VR is going to become more mainstream. What I'm excited about is the use of tactile touch in fashion tech. We love buying online but how cool would it be to feel the fabric at home before it's shipped? Or touch your favourite artist's hand at a virtual concert? The possibilities are endless.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in wearable tech and fashion tech?
I'll give you 4!
Heidi Farrell-Senior Mechanical Engineer at RINGLY
Rebecca Minkoff- CEO,Designer and Women In Tech ambassador
Diana Skaar- Head of Business Development, Robotics at X-Google
Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of Uncharted Power
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.