Sisterhood of Success: Female Founders Share Insights on Thriving Together

We asked six members of EO to share the number one thing they’ve learned from another inspiring woman in business. Here’s what they said.

Stop multitasking, stop comparing and stop being quiet.

Stop multitasking. Many people think multitasking is a skill that women are naturally good at, but eventually working as an entrepreneur at a million miles an hour will take its toll. Stop multitasking and instead, do one thing. Be more present. Enjoy each activity.

Stop comparing. When we compare ourselves to other people, whether it is physically or how big one’s business is, it never leaves us with a feeling of being enough. Be aware that you are on your own journey. Honor that journey and be happy for others more successful than you. Help them celebrate.

Stop being quiet. Make noise about things that matter to you. When your values are challenged, do something about it. Don’t just shut up. Think about it. Express your view in a calm and professional way. The other person may or may not get it, but do the part that is within your circle of influence.

— Shivani Gupta, EO Queensland, multi-business founder, author, speaker and coach

Profit from profit

My big learning from EO Malaysia member Fong Leng Wong is: Profit from profit. As business owners, we often have a huge amount of wealth tied up within our businesses, but don’t form the habit of creating other income streams and forms of wealth, such as investments outside our businesses.

As female entrepreneurs, we are independent-minded and innovative, and this advice is critical for securing our future and the future of our families. When women have more money, not only is there gender equality and economic growth, but there’s also stronger and healthier communities for our children and generations to come. This advice inspires me every day.”

— Sarah Bartholomeusz, EO Adelaide, principal at You Legal

Find female mentors and community

Without the guidance of other female mentors, Be Fit Food would not be where it is today. My first female mentor was the incredible Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice. She provided me with so much advice on business strategy, business channels and HR. The best advice she ever gave me, though, was to join the EO to build my leadership skills and my support network. Through the EO, I have met so many incredible female entrepreneurs, including the former female president in EO, founder of Cupcake Central and League of Extraordinary Women, Sheryl Thai.

EO empowers me to share my business journey with other like-minded entrepreneurs and get their experience when I’m seeking solutions in my business.

— Kate Save, EO Melbourne, Founder of Be Fit Food

It’s OK to take up space

I’m a single mum and started my business at the same time I separated from the father of my three children after 14 years. I knew nothing about running a business and had no management experience. My overwhelming subconscious desire to forget about the reality of my personal life breaking down, combined with my ability to learn very quickly and the need to financially provide for all my kids, helped me to propel my business into what it is today. I have never worked so hard in all my life, but the rewards and personal growth have been worth every bit.

About a year and a half after starting my business, I joined EO and was quickly invited onto the board of directors where I sat with a woman who is so unapologetically herself. She is assertive, asks questions and stands up for what she believes in. As women, we are often socialized to “shrink ourselves”. I have always liked people that go against the grain.

I have learned that it’s not just OK to take up space, it’s necessary in the path to believing that my voice is valid.

— Sian Williams, EO Adelaide, Founder and CEO of Here2Home

Expect the unexpected, and run with it

As a female entrepreneur, I’m constantly made aware that I’m part of a minority, but that’s not always a bad thing. I believe we are moving into a new era. I hope we keep pushing boundaries and moving forward to become a generation of empowered female leaders for the next generation — for our daughters.

Through Women of EO, I’ve met so many inspiring women and learned to be supportive, open, vulnerable and to constantly seek knowledge. I have come to see that female leaders carry so much more in their work, in addition to the many juggling home life and family relations.

From my mentor, Jane Bianchini, I’ve learnt so many things, both about business and about myself. I’ve learnt how to slice the equity pie for VC investors, and gained so much insight about the still male-dominated tech world from this successful tech business veteran. Male-dominated industries can feel like smoke and mirrors sometimes, so having an experienced female mentor with years, if not decades of knowledge ahead of you is truly vital.

— Emilya Colliver, EO Sydney, founder and managing director of Art Pharmacy and Sugar Glider Digital  

Find community, even if it’s not in your industry

As a female business owner in a heavily male-dominated industry, I thought I had to “go it alone.” However, since joining EO Sydney in 2012, I’ve had the pleasure of being surrounded by inspirational women who have not only had my back, but supported me on the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship and inspired me to be “more”.

What I’ve learned from other women is that they’re community-oriented, values-based and brilliant at supporting each other in the good times and the bad. And that a network of empowered women is supportive and, in the challenging world of business, necessary. 

Let’s keep our focus on the end goal, which is to get 50–50 equality in entrepreneurship and pave the way for our children and future generations of leaders. Women need to raise each other up, collaborate and support each other to make a difference. They need to realize that competing isn’t the answer and that we are most successful when surrounded with an army of strong, supportive women.

— Kim Liddell, EO Sydney, founder and managing director of Non Destructive Excavations Australia

Contributed to EO by Karen Farr, chapter manager for EO Adelaide, who is also the owner and director of Executive Office Limited, which provides admin support across all  operations for membership organizations.

This post first appeared on CEO Magazine and is reposted here with permission from the author.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

Categories: Best Practices WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS


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