Actress Sharon Gless and CEO Dawn Lafreeda know a thing or two about trailblazing.
Many know Gless as Christine Cagney from the groundbreaking hit television show “Cagney and Lacey.”
Lafreeda is the CEO of Den-Tex Central, a Denny’s Restaurant franchise group, and an owner of nearly 100 Denny’s locations. When she was just 23 years old she owned her first Denny’s restaurant.
The duo’s chance meeting in the casino of a cruise has now led to the making of a documentary about investing in women. It’s called ‘Show Her The Money,” which they hope will raise awareness and change.
“This film is going to teach women the avenues to go down to be able to get those resources to create that product that we’ve all been waiting for, that maybe we weren’t able to get the men through the traditional routes of getting money,” Lafreeda explained to KTLA 5’s Dayna Devon.
The businesswoman revealed that these opportunities weren’t available for her when she started out 40 years ago. She also learned that only 2% of venture capital dollars go to women.
The initiative caught the eye of Gless, who said was born and raised in a time when women didn’t talk about money- only the men did. She credited her drama “Cagney and Lacey” for giving women “a step up.”
“We were thrown off the air three times. Two women in a drama- unheard of. Nobody wanted to know about us,” she explained. “When they brought us back, by popular demand, we ended up being the highest-paid women in television.”
“I’m from the era where we had to fight for everything we had,” the actress said.
“We still do,” Lafreeda, who serves as the documentary’s executive producer, added.
In the meantime, Lafreeda shared some advice for women looking to find investors.
“Look into a female founder fund to get started,” she explained. “Have a passion! Know what you want to do. Have a vision. If you have a great product and you can sell what you have and get someone to believe in you- everybody’s going to want to get on that train.”
“Show Me the Money” is set to be released in late- 2023.