Amanda Hofman is a whirlwind of energy. After a casual chat with this bubbly and vibrant yet down-to-earth woman, you would never believe she’s the founder and CEO of Urban Girl Squad, one of New York City’s most popular networking groups for women in their 20s and 30s.
She says, “I worked really hard in school. I made the Dean’s List, I got good grades; I was an RA. I was doing, doing, doing, and then school ended. I had a really tough transition.” After being a star student who spent all of her time striving to excel, naturally transitioning into the working world would be a challenge. Working entry-level jobs left her feeling drained and unfulfilled by the monotony of office work. She yearned for something that challenged her the same way she had been previously.
As an escape from her blasé work life, she started a knitting group for her friends. This would be the precursor to Urban Girl Squad. Hofman says she loves to create fun social gatherings for herself and her acquaintances. She often throws big parties to introduce her friends to each other and help them to create opportunities of their own. She says, “I was always trying to find ways to introduce my friends to each other. I was trying to make connections, and hook up my friends with jobs and dates. I set up four of my friends with people who they then married.”
After calling herself a “yenta,” Hofman went on to sum it all up. “I like to bring people together and connect people to opportunities,” she says.
After being advised to expand her knitting group to something more than what it was, she was naturally skeptical that it would be a success. But Hofman figured there was nothing wrong with taking a chance. So, to bring things to the next level, she decided to “take out the knitting and have this network of women doing fun exciting things, giving them the opportunity to meet each other and make connections. It gave me an identity. It really helped me to have something that felt right.”
At first Urban Girl Squad started with one or two social networking events a month. Now they’ve moved up to four or five events a week. They range in subject; there are craft parties, cooking classes, wine tastings, spa parties and even group exercise events. By looking at Hofman, you would never guess that she’s running such an empire; she’s poised, put-together and extremely well-polished. She’s our definition of a true hard-working Diva who keeps herself together even under possibly stressful situations.
But don’t think for a second that she ever fails to learn new things about herself and her career. Hofman explains, “I feel challenged all the time.” She adds, “My rate of growth in terms of my knowledge base and skill set is higher than it’s ever been. Maybe it was similar at some point in college but compared to how much I was learning in my other jobs. For me to be challenged like I have been lately is exciting. I’ve learned a lot doing my own thing.”
We love a lady who can put on her big girl panties and stand apart from the rest by taking risks that ultimately lead to success.
You go, girl.
Photo credit: Amanda Hofman