Business

5 Lessons From Women in Business

Wise Words With Women

When it comes to navigating the entrepreneurial landscape as a woman, there’s no better person to ask for directions than a woman herself. We’ve rounded up some wise words female trailblazers have shared with us over the years, who have helped pave the way for the rest of us.

They speak to how we might have a better chance of battling sexism in the workplace, lift up other women in the corporate world, or gather the courage and resources to start our own business.

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Practicing imperfection with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code

“I tell women to send a consequential email with a typo in it. Think about how much time you spend rewriting and reading your emails, putting in the perfect amount of emojis and exclamation points—you don’t get to what you want to say. You could be spending time doing something else. So, practice imperfection, whatever that means to you. The next thing is doing something you suck at, not for the sake of getting better at it, but for feeling what it’s like to just enjoy something you like even if you’re mediocre. The third thing is just start. All of us have something we want to do: starting a company or a podcast, looking at a messy closet, cooking a dish that we’ve been dying to try. Just take one step.”

Understanding our limits with Eva Wong, co-founder of Borrowell

An obstacle Wong had to overcome in her professional career is “the feeling that you should know something. What I had to overcome was recognizing that it was okay not to have all the answers and that if I didn’t ask I would never find out the answers. I do think a lot of times it’s in your own head, not wanting to come across as not being knowledgeable, so I tried to be smart around like are there things I can look up and find on my own? Are there things I could ask? When is the appropriate time to ask things? I think sort of figuring all that out was helpful in sort of me getting up to speed in a new industry.”

Leveraging privilege with Trang Trinh, CEO and founding director of TREC

“It’s all about doing good first. I’ve always been a believer that do good first and whatever your next mission is, the money or the profits will come. I think as human beings, we all have a responsibility to be able to give back. I’ve realized [that] we can’t continue to operate in the corporate world because our world is not built to last another generation of the way we’re doing things. To me, being able to leave a legacy that my kids and my [grandchildren] s are proud of.”

Confidence with Aliza Lakhani, CEO and Dean of Northeastern University

“I think confidence is everything for young women. I wish I had learned that a long time ago. I used to think that the way to get ahead was by putting your head down and just doing really good work—that’s only going to take you so far. I didn’t realize that you need to build your brand, to make your work known to other people because everyone else is doing it too. 

If you are the only woman in the room, you know, take that seat at the table. Have a voice, have a comment. Don’t quiet down that little voice in your head because if you’re in the room, then your voice should be heard. Don’t worry about what other people think of you because quite honestly, they’re worried about themselves.”

Kindness with Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO

“The business environment in general is very much dog-eat-dog, step over each other to win, winner takes all mindset. ‘It’s just business,’ is an excuse to treat people poorly. It’s really difficult to reach your potential in that kind of environment. I started thinking about when I felt strong and powerful. It was when I was in environments surrounded by people who were supporting me. In the first four years of this model we have proven that when you’re surrounded by radically generous women, your results are off the charts.”