Medley, a membership-based networking platform, has officially launched as of Tuesday. Founded by mother-daughter entrepreneurs Edith Cooper and Jordan Taylor, Medley is meant to be a place where individuality is fostered, where people from all walks of life can come together and grow.
Those interested in joining must fill out an application that gauges what kind of person they are and what they’re hoping to get out of the program. Each member is then placed in a group with about seven other people who have expressed similar goals in joining the platform. This is so everyone can coalesce and support each other more effectively.
Going forward, the groups will meet once a month for panels, forums, workshops with industry leaders and discussions guided by certified coaches, during which time each member can voice their opinions and listen to one another.
“Small groups are a really interesting medium that have existed throughout history in a lot of different contexts,” Taylor told Built In. “Whether it’s formal or informal, this concept of having a sounding board of people out there is something many executives practice themselves, as well as formally seek out, in existing professional networks. What we’ve found is that having a small group that meets consistently enables you to get a sense of perspective outside of your day-to-day routine that otherwise is hard to find.”
Indeed, there are lots of other spaces where professional peers can interact with each other, like Chief, an NYC-based networking platform for women executives, or Seattle’s The Riveter. Recently, Boston CEO Kristina Liburd launched a new collective to promote Black-owned businesses that will eventually also serve as a space where Black entrepreneurs can connect with each other.
Instead, Cooper and Taylor decided to forge their own path in this sector by creating a place where everyone can come together regardless of gender, race, age, location or job title. Medley is meant for anyone who wants to interact with a diverse group of people.
“There’s benefits of having a space where you can be with your more demographically defined communities. But we also think that there needs to be a space where you gain from other people’s perspectives,” Cooper told Built In. “It’s so important for people to own their individual responsibility, to learn and grow with and through other people.”
A diversity in perspectives is at Medley’s core, with Cooper and Taylor at completely different points in their professional lives. In the decade or so since graduating from Harvard University, Taylor has worked as a chief of staff at media company Mic and a consultant for Boston Consulting Group. Meanwhile, Cooper was a partner at Goldman Sachs for 20 years until she retired, and is now an independent board director at the likes of Etsy, EQT and Slack.
But, at the end of the day, the mother-daughter duo view their relationship and their differences as an asset.
“We came into creating Medley from a place of true trust. Neither of us have ever had a moment where we didn’t believe deeply that the other person had not only our own best interest at heart, but also the business’ best interest at heart. I think, for co-founders, trust is so critical because, with that validation, you can really go through learning moments and push each other in a way that you can’t otherwise,” Taylor said. “We both understand and recognize each other’s strengths and we both approach each other with a level of humility that comes along with that trust.”
So far, the company has received backing from the likes of Away co-founder Jen Rubio and former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Medley was also supposed to be in a physical space in SoHo but, like virtually everything else, it has been moved online for the time being, which Cooper and Taylor now see as an opportunity rather than a hurdle.
“We realized that this is a huge opportunity to expand the community of potential members outside of New York, which is our first physical location, to all over the country and all over the world,” Cooper said. However, they do hope to offer an in-person experience to members at some point when it is safe.
Until then, Medley is currently accepting applications for founding members until July 31. The monthly membership price ranges from $50 to $250, with founding members paying $150. Some members will pay out of pocket, but Medley will also allow members to be sponsored by their employers.