Last night I had the honor of speaking on a panel to a group of women for Girls in Tech’s “Women as Entrepreneurs, Women as Leaders” event at Babson College. The discussion focused on leadership lessons and advice from – and for – women entrepreneurs in today’s technology and business communities. My co-panelists, Amy Cueva, Founder & Chief Experience Officer of Mad*Pow, Heather Margolis, Founder & President of Channel Maven Consulting, and Lynn Andres Stein of Olin College, were inspiring and thoughtful. They shared many tips with the audience based on various years of entrepreneurship – from nine months up to nearly 20 years. Some of my favorite tips, lessons and observations included:
- Don’t be afraid to be different – entrepreneurs are the core of innovation by thinking differently
- Women tend to be more emotional leaders – an attribute that can be both helpful and a hindrance
- Take time for yourself on a personal level – a personal life makes you a better business leader and a happier person all around
- Leaders make tough decisions every day (the right choices, not the popular ones) – you’ll never have everyone’s approval so stop waiting for it and trust your instincts
- Be definitive and decisive – know your values and stick to them
- Women are often their own worst enemies – support each other and our choices to work, to not work; to have a family or not. Only we can force the change we seek in respect for our gender’s choices.
What tough lessons have you learned that you’d share with other women considering the leap to entrepreneurship?
In addition, the audience was chock full of inspiring women. Two of my favorite were these brilliant ladies from Leotus Home Cooling. Katherine Harty, President and Beeni Mathew, VP, have created an innovative home cooling system with a few team members that is “the first effortless air conditioner — providing the comfort you want, without the compromises.” The design is sleek, innovative and sure to be a smash success. I’m sure these ladies will have many lessons of their own to share with future entrepreneurs. If you’d like to support their efforts today, be sure to vote for them in ideablob’s October sprint, where the participant receiving the most votes will win $10,000 from ideablob to further their business idea. (Although, unfortunately, I think requiring registration to vote is hindering the process.)
A special thanks to Kate Brodock of Boston Girls in Tech for asking me to participate.