When a colleague asked Breen about incorporating a boys-only investment club, Breen discovered a hidden ecosystem: male founders, business execs and investors meet and exchange information, investments, and board seats, all for the benefit of overwhelmingly male participants.
Breen founded The Fourth Floor to flip cycle, with a twist: Female founders are missing out on growth opportunities and female legal executives are underrepresented on Advisory Boards of early stage companies- so why not connect these two groups of women as the first step toward building a self-contained ecosystem to jump start innovation and growth opportunities for overwhelmingly female participants!
For the long version of this story, see The Fourth Floor
An early stage services start-up had been steadily building market share and was hoping to take its usership to the next level and attract more investment. Through The Fourth Floor, the founder was connected with a C Level business leader whose company was perfectly positioned for a partnership. They are currently in negotiations to forge a mutually beneficial relationship that would drive growth and attract investment opportunities for the start-up.
Credibility with Investors l Valuable Advisor l Business Opportunity
An experienced GC who has guided many companies through uncertainty, has much to offer a young company as an Advisor. One such member wanted to act as an Angel Investor and Advisor to an early stage start-up with growth potential. By leveraging The Fourth Floor’s network, she connected with a founder of an exciting start-up, and became an Angel Investor and Advisor to that early stage company. The GC can now point to tangible experience as a business leader in tech start-ups, and she is on her way to building personal wealth.
Fund Raising l Angel Investing l Career Advancement I Leadership
A member (Founder) thought her lease’s exclusivity agreement was breached because her landlord was selling products to which she had exclusive sales rights. Rightfully furious, she consulted with a member (GC) of The Fourth Floor. Instead of recommending initiating a costly legal battle, the GC suggested strategy that would earn her business more money while maintaining a positive relationship with her landlord. Because of this direction, the landlord agreed to purchase product directly from her store and include her brand in his marketing.
Avoid disputes I facilitate growth l Navigate Outside Counsel
Event coordinators, professional groups, and journalists reach out to The Fourth Floor for speaking, writing, and media opportunities. Once, we were asked to recommend a speaker to contribute to an exclusive conference. We examined our database. A highly talented member (Founder) of The Fourth Floor did a fantastic job at the panel and was quoted by a journalist who was covering the event. Because of this attention, her business received several new and lucrative opportunities.
Career Advancement I Professional Development I Press
The Fourth Floor is an exciting community dedicated to fostering female entrepreneurship and the advancement of female careers. As a member of The Fourth Floor, you will be invited to networking and educational events. You may also participate in a hand-selected Cohort. More information on Cohorts is found below.
Founded by two career general counsels and one serial entrepreneur, we believe that when executives meet founders magic happens, investments are made, and board seats are exchanged. Our membership is limited to founders ready to scale and executives with a history of providing companies with strategic business guidance.
The Fourth Floor aims to support founders and executives through board opportunity matching. Our community is not intended to be a space for client acquisition and we know that certain service provider executives, law firm lawyers, recruiters, and consultants, have value in our ecosystem. That’s why we offer service providers with targeted opportunities, and participation in certain events, as SUN MEMBERS.
We want to shout your successes from the rooftops. Members are required to promptly disclose to The Fourth Floor all formal relationships entered into, due to membership activities. We can’t wait to cheer you on as we scale together.
The Fourth Floor is primarily made up of female identifying and non-binary individuals. We also welcome male allies who provide a professional referral and/or information pertaining to actions taken to support equality. Please exclude all references to mothers, daughters, and sisters.
That is not our immediate goal. We aim to connect early stage companies with female legal executives for mutual benefit. In order to scale, companies need diverse and thoughtful board members /Advisors. Talented attorneys can use the experience gained from this relationship in a professional capacity. If a member of The Fourth Floor aims to join a public board, this is a good first step. As the best way to get a board seat is by having board experience.
Yes! However, Founders and their potential Advisors may need to build towards an Advisory Board Membership over time. The Fourth Floor aims to cultivate a female ecosystem of entrepreneurship, and a variety of relationships help achieve this goal. We make introductions, provide resources to cultivate relationships, and profile success stories. We may feature inspirational stories on our website and through our social media accounts.
A "Cohort" is a hand-selected group of early stage Founders/Co-founders, legal executives and industry leaders chosen to participate in a series of matching events.
The Fourth Floor will host events for all Members, and facilitate matches between early stage companies and legal executives via hand-selected Cohorts.
Resources may include:
· Rules of Engagement for legal executives who are acting as Advisors to early stage companies;
· Recommended Playbook for establishing and advancing the range of meaningful relationships from Mentor to Advisory Board Member
· Template Advisory Board Membership Agreements and Angel Investment related paperwork
The Fourth Floor represents the time in a woman’s career (and life) when she has attained the necessary perspective to effectively use the expertise and influence she has gained to enact positive change in response to landscape challenges. The Fourth Floor exists above the noise, but offers room to continue to rise up!
As a member you are expected to share expertise and resources, and in return you can expect to receive opportunities that benefit you. The exchange of Give and Gets is how we grow the careers and companies of our next level community.
They may choose to suggest resources, offer best practices, spot issues, and/or provide timing and billing estimates when working with outside counsel or other professionals that routinely service early stage companies, but perhaps most importantly they can support growth through strategic guidance, advice and connections. Each relationship will be unique and membership is not a substitution for receiving specific legal advice from your in-house or outside counsel. Legal Executive Members are not expected, for example, to draft corporate documents, file trademarks, appear in court, review legal bills, or negotiate a dispute on behalf of a Founder.
A Legal Executive in our community is a career in-house attorney who has worked for a company in its legal function for at least 8 years and is in a leadership position. Attorneys that primarily work in a law firm setting are not included in this definition.
You can expect to meet great people, have interesting conversations and hopefully make lasting relationships that could turn into prosperous investments. But we can’t promise anything. We do not guarantee you will fill or receive an advisory role or board seat or obtain funding opportunities.