Salutations! Web Co-Founder Jessica Walden, here.

When Russell Smith told me he wanted to join The Web, I laughed. Then, I realized he was serious. Even though our work club was created by women and is designed for woman’s work-life blend, there is nothing in our application process that denies membership to those who identify as a guy.

So, together, we filled out his application. When asked the Web application question, “How do you intend to support this community, as a member?”

Russell’s response: I’m going to add a diverse perspective.

I can always count on Russell for an unexpected laugh and a diverse perspective. It’s truly an honor to have him as The Web’s first – and as of right now – only male member. He’s really proud of it, too.

When we sent out the Member Survey in late March, we were seeking online programming ideas from our membership. We were also seeking members who could provide programming. Based on survey result, most members replied they wanted programming tailored to business resilience and recovery during this uncertain time, when our work-life blend is being ruled by COVID-19.

Russell was one of the first to respond that he could provide a program on lessons learned from economic downturn. After all, he is a bona fide entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “start-up junkie” who survived the economic downturns of 9/11 and the Great Recession with his telecom company RTS Associates. (

So on April 8, we gathered around the online table for a Member Lunch programming featuring Russell and his presentation on lessons learned. To access his presentation click here. (LINK TO POWERPOINT?)

Among the advice gleaned:


  •     Do a 360 analysis of your business – look at the problem from all angles and find your issues and options.
  •     Separate what you can’t control from what you can control
  •     Trust your instincts – that’s your most powerful tool!
  •     Take the emotion out of your decisions. And don’t delay those hard decisions.
  •     If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done. Those are your key performance indicators. That’s where a dashboard is necessary.
  •     Use a forum for business input and advice – a key take-away of what the Web is here to do and needs to formalize and make official.
  •     Know what makes you different.
  •     Be ruthless about the things that make you happy.


Russell offered frank, funny and punch-gut insight we all need during this ever-changing, strange, uncertain and nimble time. As your fellow Web member, he’s part of our people resources, here for each other, which is what makes the Web Club different than any other online resource you’ll actually find on the web.

Thank you, Russell. Our Web can always count on you to bring it home. And to quote Cara Heard, Web Member and owner of Lush Art and Escape Artists War Town, “Today was great! I love his frankness, and I also have a potty mouth.”

Here’s to being ruthless about the things that make you happy.