Black Dress Circle® FAQs

Specializing in the intersection of business and psychology, Erin detects individual and organizational strengths and weaknesses from a unique perspective, and delivers observations that can transform businesses.

Black Dress Circle® is different in several ways: We’ve created a safe, supportive space for women business owners to connect with other female leaders—hosted by Erin, who is not only an experienced and trained group facilitator, but a business owner herself. Moreover, unlike other peer groups, members also benefit from either their private session with Erin once a month (Evolve members only) or the monthly group coaching call (Emerge members only).
Each Circle has a maximum capacity of 10 female participants, comprised of a growing roster of business leaders from right here in St. Louis. During orientation, we review the membership list together to ensure that there are no competing or conflicting interests. If there are, you’ll become a Founding Member of an additional St. Louis chapter of Black Dress Circle®.
Black Dress Circle® Emerge members are female entrepreneurs steering organizations with less than $1 million in annual revenue; Black Dress Circle® Evolve members are second-stage women business owners leading complex businesses with $1-$50 million in annual revenue. All members are hand-selected by Erin based in part on their commitment to personal growth and professional accomplishment. You’ll work closely with fellow Circle members during each roundtable session, and will also have the option of partnering with another member for support.

Each session revolves around a planned agenda, with specific topics for conversation. Along with the “workshop” segment Erin delivers, members also present business issues for discussion.

Discussions usually revolve around business associates, employees, and family members, with topics ranging from company culture, employee issues, and marketing, to the direction of the organization, succession planning, and finances. In addition, work-life balance and mindset are often explored.

For BDC Evolve members, the primary commitment is for the monthly half-day facilitated Circle roundtable, a single monthly 1:1 session with Erin, and an annual retreat. For BDC Emerge members, the primary commitment is for the monthly half-day facilitated Circle roundtable and the monthly group coaching call.

BDC Emerge and BDC Evolve occur on a variety of dates. Please email Erin for more information. These roundtables take place in the Black Dress Circle office.

Black Dress Circle® Evolve members see Erin twice per month: once at the half-day roundtable session, and once at a private one-hour session. Black Dress Circle® Emerge members see Erin once a month at the roundtable session and then join Erin and peers for monthly group video coaching call. In addition, members with pressing business issues can always reach Erin by phone, text, or email.

Monthly 1:1 sessions are for BDC Evolve members only and are held at the Black Dress Circle office. Some sessions may occur over the phone, per member needs.

Each year, Erin selects a venue within driving distance of St. Louis for a retreat. The venue always has private sleeping rooms, delicious meals (members pay their own lodging and meals), and beautiful grounds. The fine balance of classroom work and unstructured alone time allows you to get the most from the experience.

Doing business with fellow Circle members dramatically changes the tone of roundtable sessions. When the focus shifts from sharing experiences to promoting one’s enterprise, productive roundtable dynamics are disrupted.

Competitors are never placed in the same circle, ensuring roundtable discussions and topics take place in a safe setting and that all topics discussed remain confidential. Black Dress Circle® members also annually sign a strict confidentiality agreement.

For Evolve members, it’s a predictable monthly fee of $795. For Emerge members, it’s a predictable monthly fee of $395. Black Dress Circle® is a 13-month commitment, with the option to renew.

For both Emerge and Evolve members, your first month’s investment provides a business assessment to examine the current state of your organization, which is then discussed in an in-depth session with Erin. This debriefing discussion includes assistance with defining goals and strategies for the upcoming year. You’ll also complete a brief survey to show where you are today, and you’ll be surveyed again in one year so you can look back at your progress.

Still have questions or want to know more? Email Erin at erin.joy@blackdresscircle.com or schedule a call here.

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“Erin’s ability to guide the conversations so they are impactful for everyone is masterful and sets the tone for the Black Dress Circle experience. The diversity of personalities, businesses, and industries results in some powerful knowledge.”

– Nancy Cripe, President/Auctioneer at GRS Auctions

“Black Dress Circle provides the time, resources, and structure to be forward-thinking about my business.”

– Kathy Jordan, CEO and Founder, Jordan Search Consultants

“I learned how to build the processes to support my intentions.”

– Jackie Hoyt, CEO, Hillsboro Title Company

“Erin does a masterful job of putting these groups together. The energy from all of the women in the group—and their varying perspectives—has helped me make some key decisions.”

– Suzanne Woodard, Owner, The Refind Room

“No matter how you feel when you walk into that room, you are going to leave feeling energized, positive, and motivated.”

– Angela Sandler, Co-Founder, xplor

“Black Dress Circle has given me the confidence and perspective necessary to do what needs to be done. It has helped me commit to and believe in my decisions, systems, strategies, and processes.”

– Kim Sagartz, CEO, Seventh Wave Laboratories

“As a result of my involvement in Black Dress Circle, I am better equipped to handle a wide variety of issues with my business. It has expanded my capabilities and my capacity.”

– Emily Castle, Managing Principal, Castle Design

“Erin has assisted me tremendously with identifying systems to incorporate into my daily practices to increase my efficiency and grow my business. She has also provided referrals to strategic business partners to assist me in these endeavors.”

– Joanne Johnson, Owner and Principal Broker, Insurance Solutions Plus

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