Rachel Stander

Producer behind the independent film spotlighting the homelessness crisis.

location: Los Angeles, CA

Company: SCRAP Film

Role: Producer


According to a recent study, 66,433 people now live on the streets, in shelters, and in vehicles in LA. That's up 12.7% from 2019. People who were once middle-class are now struggling to make ends meet. Scrap shines a light on this issue via one woman's journey.

On being a founder.

More than anything, the significance of being a woman founder is that it means I have personal agency – not just in terms of the projects I choose to work on, but in the company culture that I’m able to create around me. Of course, as a founder, all of the responsibility and challenges ultimately fall at my feet.

One of the challenges I’ve faced on my journey is time. On the one hand, you’ve got this incredible new venture that you want to nurture and pour all your energy into, but you still have most, if not all, of the responsibilities you had before starting your company. It’s definitely a tricky balancing act at the beginning, and coffee becomes a staple in your life.

To aspiring women entrepreneurs - don’t wait for an invitation. So many women (myself included) are raised with “good girl syndrome,” where we worry too much about following the rules and doing things right and making sure everyone around us is happy. It’s exhausting, and if you take all of that energy and instead put it towards protecting and honoring the spirit of your project, the right supporters will show up.

When it comes to my personal heroes, I have long held a special place in my heart for Martha Graham. She had incredible clarity about what she was doing in the world, and would have surprising moments of humor. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more and more impressed by Martha’s willingness to lean into her own severity, to be intimidating, to not try to soften herself for other people’s comfort if it meant sacrificing anything of her artistic vision.

I’ve also had to re-define resiliency for myself. I used to think of it as a kind of “practice makes perfect” thing — where over time resiliency would make uncomfortable tasks or conversations easier to get through. I’ve come to realize that resiliency is actually about your ability to continue doing the thing — over and over and over — even when it remains as uncomfortable as it was the first time.

A heartening part of being a woman founder has been seeing how many people are interested in investing in specifically woman-founded companies. Of course I’d like to get to a day where we don’t have to think of ourselves as *women* founders, but until then, it’s really encouraging that individuals are using their investments to support this kind of change.