I am lucky enough to have 2 females on my board of directors who I consistently turn to for advice. As a woman founder and CEO of a
startup, I was faced with a lot of doubt (from both men and women) in the beginning because:
1. I was young
2. I am a woman
3. I had a product that no one had ever heard of
In my first search for capital investment, I recall an older man telling me "I won't invest in you because you won't have enough time to do this. You've got anklebiters and you won't be able to focus"
He was referring to my 2 children.
Eventually I approached enough other men and women, from all walks of industry, to gather a nice well-rounded circle of funding. I have found that although some men can gain clout on a good vocabulary and well-read business conversation (while having no money of their own)
a woman with money, particularly her own earned money, is often a prerequisite for her to be respected in the business world. By having such women invested in my company, Pretty Pushers, Inc., the ears of male investors perked a little quicker than they did when I was pitching on
my own to them. Being that our flagship product is a hospital gown for women giving birth, it was naturally something that women understood. My first 3 investors were women, followed by a handful of men.
The women invested in Pretty Pushers have brought invaluable expertise to the table from various backgrounds including Systems Engineering, Marketing, and Business Appraisal. They serve as mentors for me on a regular basis, and I know the advice is honest and true,
and without special interest, because they are invested in the company. It is SO important for female entrepreneurs to have successful women on their side, because they have a role model to follow. I can look at my first 3 investors and say to myself
"She has made her own money, so she must have done something right. She is also a mother and wife, so she has found balance. I am going to listen to her advice."