This is the third and last of three recaps of the panels addressing issues founding a company with fourteen wonderful women deeply involved in the startup community written by one of the co-organizers of the night, Annika Khan.
Founding a Start-up as a Woman: Finding Solutions
This powerful group of founders included Jules Pieri (The Grommet), Beth O’Sullivan and Mary McGowan (Science Club for Girls) and serial entrepreneurs Bettina Hein (Pixability) and Stefania Mallett (ezCater) moderated by Jennifer Jordan of Mass Ventures.
“My profession is overcoming obstacles…” when asked what the biggest obstacle is as a founder. It’s difficult to point to just one because it is a daily challenge moving from one obstacle to the next. Funding is one of the biggest challenges; money tends to follow good ideas that are market ready. Businesses that get funded are those with high return; those tend to be big businesses in a large market, so go for the big business.
Over time family has helped shape and morph the way these women approach business. It is up to us as female founders to make sure family is important, that it’s not something that is not talked about at the office. Founders with children become more understanding of employees needs to take care of family. It can also shape the way you approach employee development in the sense of the long game; what you can do for your employees today that will help them succeed long-term.
How are these women creating change in their companies? Gender diversity—seeing a gender diverse team at the C-level is encouraging for all employees to think they can achieve that level. In addition, teams with at least 30% gender diversity are more successful overall. Diversity of gender, culture, background, etc. has become a strategic advantage in recruiting talent. Investment returns from gender diverse teams is higher. Additionally, women can call each other on behavior that is counter-productive, such as taking blame and apologizing.