International Women’s Day is on Sunday, so we have asked several women in business to give their advice to the next generation of female entrepreneurs, or existing female entrepreneurs, in order to encourage and inspire more female execs and business owners.
Women in Australia still represent only 25 per cent of the ASX-listed executive leadership team and face an average gender gap of up to 21.3% in higher level positions.
At Dynamic Business, we pride ourselves in using our platform to start important conversations – and what better way to do this than by celebrating inspiring women who have taken the business world head on?
We’ve summarised their stances and included their kick-ass quotes below.
Amanda Behre, Head of Marketing, Gumtree
For Amanda, great leadership – and the learning that comes with it – should be informed by many different places and people. It is important to surround yourself with individuals from diverse backgrounds, both male and female, who share your cultural values and inform your decision making. Personal involvement with your business, and the team that drives it, is key.
“Allow open exchange of ideas and look after your team – show you genuinely care.”
Developing (and maintaining) a positive perspective is just as important as having the right people on board.
“You can’t teach resilience and a growth mindset but in fast paced environments, particularly in start-ups and small businesses, the right mindset is critical to driving innovation and productivity.”
Amanda advises future female entrepreneurs to “show passion in what you do and be transparent. This, coupled with the art of story-telling, will guide your team to rally around your vision and strategy.”
Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, HR Leader, Procter & Gamble Australia & New Zealand
Self-confidence, public speaking, personal branding and leadership are pivotal areas that women in the boardroom need to develop. For Mofoluwaso, it’s all about harnessing your brand’s power “to overcome stereotypes and spark important conversations.” Procter & Gamble currently employ over 35 nationalities, of which more than 50% are female leaders – a shining example that businesses of all levels should look up to.
Her advice to upcoming female entrepreneurs? Play to your strengths, be authentic, stop comparing yourself to others and, above all, seize every opportunity with confidence.
“A confident woman shines from within, focusing on her strengths, her uniqueness, and the value she brings to those around her. Many of us work so hard behind the scenes and wait for others to highlight our success.”
The takeaway message for future female entrepreneurs from Mofoluwaso is to not be afraid of sharing your accomplishments. After all, taking pride in them will “boost your credibility and your ongoing confidence to help you achieve your goals.”
Vicky Skipp, Head of Growth ANZ, Workplace by Facebook
For Vicky, success in business boils down to an unwavering sense of self-belief and a clear vision – even in the face of adversity.
“All entrepreneurs start off with a vision, however the successful ones are those that hold on to their vision. If you can endure the tough times without being thrown off-course and instead use them as opportunities to learn then you’re already a step ahead of the rest.”
Vicky advises women in leadership roles to always be committed to learning, and to be on the lookout for a new opinion or voice that can serve as a positive influence.
“It’s always easy to focus on what you’re good at, but the key is to find the areas where you need to improve and identify mentors who can take you there. A fresh soundboard is pivotal to growth.”
The final piece of advice from Vicky to future female entrepreneurs is to listen to your customers, especially when market sentiment fails to inform you about your own successes and failures.
“If you surround yourself with ideas, opinions and mentors that challenge you on a daily basis, you’ll always be striving for new heights!”
Danielle Peate, SMB and Channel Marketing Manager, Lenovo ANZ
According to Danielle, every business leader should strive to be confident in their abilities. Trusting your inner voice, speaking up and preventing self-doubt from creeping in can be challenging feats – but embracing these qualities is what can ultimately make you stand out in (and stand up to) a male dominated industry.
Danielle attributes her own success in business and self-development to a strong support network and employees who stand behind her ideas: “if you have an opinion trust yourself in voicing it” – and trust that those around you will hear it loud and clear.
As a takeaway for future female entrepreneurs, Danielle stresses the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.
“Whether it’s an opportunity or a new skill – there is no better way to grow than tackle a new challenge. You never know – it could change your life and open a few doors that you never even thought was possible.”
Mina Radhakrishnan, Co-founder at :Different
With her roots in Silicon Valley, Mina co-founded :Different, an Aussie tech startup revolutionising property management in Australia. Her time in senior-level roles at multinational companies, such as Google and Uber, gave her plenty of experience to delve head-first into her own business ventures.
Mina’s advice to leading ladies in business is to always be true to themselves, and never lose sight of their own progress, achievements and goals.
“As a woman in leadership it is tempting to conform to what you think the notion of being a leader should be. But this can really hold you back.”
Her advice? Own your voice and don’t let the notion of appearing intimidating to others get the better of you – a mentality that can be hard to crack.
“The best way I’ve found to check myself here is to simply ask if I was being candid and respectful in the situation. As long as I can honestly say yes to that question, I move on.”
Belinda Hogan, CFO at 86 400
As a highly experienced and accomplished finance leader and banking executive, Belinda developed her own recipe for a rewarding career: finding, or building, a company that aligns with your personal strengths and values.
In addition to having an overarching set of ideals and principles, organisation and self-efficiency are also crucial aspects of any business venture – after all, these qualities have contributed to Belinda’s own rise as the CFO of Australia’s first smartbank, 86 400.
For Belinda, being a successful female entrepreneur comes down to having – and displaying – an overarching willingness to help people out, even if it means putting aside personal goals and ambitions.
Sheryl Thai, CEO and Co-Founder at League of Extraordinary Women
Having worked with high-profile brands such as Telstra, HP, American Express and The Body Shop, Sheryl is not afraid to tell women in business to “stand on the shoulders of giants.” After all, learning through – and from – the mistakes of others can often save you from making them yourself.
“I’ve learnt that those that have climbed the peak before us are often very willing to share their experiences and learnings with those of us on the same path. These insights can give us a life changing perspective, allowing us to forge a stronger path forward with the time and energy we’re able to redirect from making mistakes we can avoid.”
When advising future female entrepreneurs, Sheryl stresses the importance of networking and sharing experiences – both the good and bad – with like-minded individuals, such as startup and small business founders.
“You never know where these connections can land you, so seek out those mentors, mavens, icons and drum up the courage to share with them where you’re at in your journey and ask them to share theirs.”