Clearing the Path for Business Women on the Move
As a woman in a position of leadership, I see some exciting things happening for women entrepreneurs. The growing success rate of women business owners shows we are resourceful, and able to succeed despite the odds. Women business owners have experienced the ups and downs of the economy firsthand, and yet we continue building and growing our businesses. This makes us feel very successful because we have balanced smart risk-taking with running a business during very challenging economic times.
Women in business are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity and are great at winning the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success. Women in business today not only anticipate change, they create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation. The 21st century business woman needs to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, and then help her company fulfill that vision. She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there.
Some people see all powerful women as acting more like men. This is a short-sighted, unfair and damaging assessment. I think we can also transform our thoughts around what is acceptable behavior for both men and women without labeling them one way or the other. We should honor the individuality of people and the strengths they bring to the table, whatever they are. If we focus on results instead of gender, everyone wins.
As women gain more freedom, education and economic power, they are becoming more confident and assertive. Women are in a position to bring both their financial capacity, business skills and experience to support the growth and success of innovating small businesses. Corporate America needs to understand the important contributions women make to the American workforce and to American society. All major corporations should promote and institute initiatives to promote women’s entry and advancement in the workplace and ensure the well-being and future prosperity of America.
“What’s the difference between an ordinary woman and an extraordinary woman? The belief that she’s ordinary.” Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Today’s business women are just as technologically savvy as our peers, but our skill with staff and customers is “high-touch” which gives us a critical edge. When business is threatened, it’s our relationships that will help us succeed. We know that most importantly at the end of the day relationship trumps all. Communicating value and creating extraordinary relationships will not only improve profitability but create longevity in our business. Women place more value on interpersonal dynamics and have more awareness of how feelings and relationships impact an organization’s ability to achieve results.
I feel that growth, expansion, and income are all desired outcomes for any entrepreneur, but women know doing something useful with our lives is really what counts. Today’s business woman has the ability to see opportunities that others may not see. Women do so much to make communities stronger. We embody the delicate balance of strength and compassion, fight for our beliefs, and are strong collaborators who know how to get things done. Our resourcefulness and creativity is leading to real change throughout the United States. That’s what we bring to our community’s table: a commitment to long-term solutions-through leadership, fundraising, advocacy and mentoring.
Today women are building alliances, creating partnerships, and leveraging financial capital to achieve sustained economic security and growth. I am one of a movement of women entrepreneurs that will continue to keep our economy going…and growing. I will tell my story, sharing my successes and failures, so that others taking the entrepreneurial path can learn.
As a business owner myself I understand the importance of mentoring. The vast majority of today’s young professionals are in serious need of strong mentors. They need the guidance and are eager to gain our support. Having or acting as a mentor in the workplace does not involve an exchange of money. Instead, a mentor provides free advice and a relationship based on mutual respect. We should ensure women and girls have the opportunities they need to create a better future. Women not only lead businesses, they lead in their community. Young women should have mentors who encourage their ambition, empower their confidence, and keep them on track by helping them set goals and work toward achieving them.
We should foster and support the personal and communal growth of all women. We affirm women’s experience and the ability of women to learn, share, connect and grow, both individually and together, in an environment of safety and trust. . Leading women philanthropists have long pointed to the empowerment of women and girls as a successful strategy for achieving sustained economic growth and productivity in communities around the world. Money isn’t the only way women can make a significant contribution to their charity of choice. Donating time and labor is an excellent gift. A variety of professional skills would be welcomed by most nonprofits.
The world is in an amazing state of transformation. I believe that many women will rise up with strong voices. We should all seek to celebrate women who have created their own paths, become pioneers in their fields, and achieved both professional and personal successes.
Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP
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