In recognition of National Business Womens Week, we felt it appropriate to focus on women we admire and respect within various industries. Those of us who have launched our own businesses became female entrepreneurs for a variety of reasons and all with different goals.
In the end, success is what we make it. For some women entrepreneurs, success is about having the ability to better dictate their schedules because of family commitments while maintaining a professional career. For others, success is about creative independence, taking business in different directions with unique concepts and for others it is a drive to “be the boss.” Regardless of the reasons behind embarking upon your own business, whether male or female, it deserves recognition and applause.
One of Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous sayings is, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Believe me, running a business is scary. But it is also exciting, invigorating and you find motivation with every success.
Maybe I was naïve, but I don’t remember being scared of starting my own company in 2004. I saw it as an avenue to have a career that would once again challenge and inspire me. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, I had a career in Indianapolis, Indiana that I absolutely loved writing, producing and hosting a television series. Some of those topics sparked me to become a Registered Lobbyist and fight for those who weren’t able to speak for themselves. I lobbied on a state and national level to pursue stronger dog fighting legislation and another bill that would consider animal abuse a felony charge in Indiana.
When I moved to Pittsburgh, my job didn’t challenge me. I took a leap of faith and started my Media & Marketing Company (the event planning component of the company kicked off about a year later).
Launching my company was the challenge I needed, there’s an adrenaline rush with each successful endeavor. My drive to be successful isn’t just about me. It’s for my team members who depend on the company’s success for their own personal growth and for my clients who believed in our capabilities when hiring us. I always want to make my team members and clients proud.
As any business owner will tell you, the scary part is how business can fluctuate, but what remains is one’s determination. I believe that it’s about putting yourself out there, networking and having a confidence to pursue new business opportunities.
According to the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, “there are 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States.” It seems that over the past few years, we have witnessed more women-owned businesses launch. It’s a thrill to watch others take the same risks I took in 2004.
There are numerous businesswomen who I have the utmost respect for and consider mentors. Without a doubt, one of those women is my sister. A majority of her career has been spent in the automotive industry working on international business projects, logistics and environmental affairs for one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the world. In a business world that is driven (no-pun-intended) by a male workforce, she had to work twice as hard to demonstrate her intelligence and strength to her male counterparts. Her self-assurance helped her become one of the most respected individuals within her industry. Growing up, we watched our Dad handle international business affairs with honesty, strength and respect. He taught us that your reputation within your industry is one of the most important aspects of a successful career.
When I think of successful women entrepreneurs, one of our longtime clients, Regina Beatty, a financial planner who works with business owners and their families, immediately comes to mind. She is the ideal example of how strength, commitment and compassion defines the way she does business. “As women, we care. We put our hearts into everything we do. It’s in our nature,” Regina recently told me.
She started her company over 20 years ago with a desire to help others best handle their financial well-being. Within our own conversations, Regina has shared with me that she believes that “with true leadership also comes a quiet confidence.” She and I have often discussed how the most appropriate style of communication among leaders is one that creates an environment where decisions are made to best benefit the team or client.
One of the greatest challenges for any business leader is finding your own style of communication with clients, associates and those within your company. For me, I want to pick up the phone and talk to a client on a regular basis. It’s so much more effective to create a lasting relationship. I look at each of my clients as a relationship and one that I want to maintain for years. Effective communication helps create a level of respect and trust between all parties to lead to more successful adventures. I firmly believe that Regina’s mantra of “being authentic” is one of the many reasons why she is successful in business. She is authentic within herself and in her honest communication with her clients.
I am proud of the women who are a part of my company’s history and our present. They all have had a drive to “think outside the box” and dedicate themselves to being an entrepreneur. This week is about bringing attention to these women, continuing discussions between working women and sharing in our success. When I see the determination in the next generation of women business leaders, I am inspired by what’s to come.