A panel of strong, smart, and bold women sit in front the room, including our own President Meredith Leapley along with Mitzi Moore (President, Sundial Plumbing), Susan Nethero (Founder and CEO Emerita of Intimacy, now Golden Seeds) and Moderator Erin Wolf. The inspirational women discussed everything from challenges of starting a new business to overcoming adversity in order to find success to finding your passion.
Here are a few of the highlights:
What is your best trait?
Meredith: “I really value my creativity and how it helps me in my business to see things in a different light.”
Erin: “Do you think that a man would answer that the same way?”
Meredith: “I don’t think they would, but only because they usually value different things more than creativity.”
Susan: “I would say that I’m a modern day yenta, both in life and in business. I love figuring out if people will work well together.”
Erin: “And do you think that a man would answer that the same way?”
Susan: “I think guys would say they value things like leadership and control. I’m more about empowerment.”
What professional lessons can you share?
Mitzi on work-life balance: “I created a very clear priority pyramid and I also had to accept that I needed people around me to help.”
Meredith: “Let fear be a motivator to help you through your journey.”
Mitzi: “Learn the math and understand your numbers so you know the difference between a good accountant and a bad one.”
Is it more difficult to get capital funding as women?
Mitzi: “That is definitely the case. Not now that I’m established. They drive the papers to me now. But before they would ask, ‘Do you have a husband or dad that can co-sign?'”
Meredith: “I got my first loan from my mother – at 7% interest, the going rate at the time.”
Susan: “This is exactly why my new business is women investing in women. Most venture capital goes to men, but women are creating more businesses than men.”
Habits for success?
Meredith: “In the beginning of my business and even well past the first decade, I was in the office early and I put in long hours. My presence was a consistency my team could count on. I also read. A lot. I read business books and personal improvement books because we can all keep improving ourselves and our business.”
Mitzi: “Positive words have power. I always use positive words in correspondence and when talking to people.”
Reasons you have seen for failures in businesses?
Meredith: “The leadership is too harsh and fails to connect with the team.”
Susan: “New businesses fail because the people who start them aren’t living within their means. You can’t always have all the resources you need to accomplish every aspect in the beginning and you’ll have to be creative on how things get done. The odds are against you but you can’t listen to that.”
The panel was an exclusive event held by Girls Inc., a non-profit aimed at inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, providing more than 140,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges girls face. The Girls Inc. Experience consists of people, an environment, and programming that, together, empower girls to succeed. Trained staff and volunteers build lasting, mentoring relationships in girls-only spaces that are physically and emotionally safe and where girls find a sisterhood of support with shared drive, mutual respect, and high expectations. Hands-on, research-based programs provide girls with the skills and knowledge to set goals, overcome obstacles, and improve academic performance. Informed by girls and their families, Girls Inc. also works with policymakers to advocate for legislation and initiatives that increase opportunities for girls.