On Wednesday, the San Francisco Business Times hosted a wonderfully inspiring event at the Fairmont Hotel highlighting successful women in business.
Moderated by Mary Huss, President and publisher of the SF Times, the sold-out event featured a panel of successful women in business sharing their challenges, successes and advice to other women. Karen Boone, CFO of Restoration Hardware and owner of a local CrossFit gym, kicked off the event with a refreshingly authentic keynote revealing that growing up she dreamed of becoming a dolphin trainer. Not a business woman.
Authenticity. Transparency. Connection. Every woman on the panel exuded a beautiful sense of comfort in her own skin and willingly shared her personal challenges.
Lost marriages, bankruptcy, death of a spouse and the neverending struggle to find balance between raising children, personal pursuits and business goals, these women shared their advice on how to "have it all". While demonstrating the humility that they, too, are still trying to figure it all out.
The five lessons I learned from the Women Who Lead:
- Be cautious about starting a business with your significant other. Very quickly, your conversations may become all about the company. And according to Burr Leonard (Founder and President of The Bar Method) your work-life balance will turn into work-work balance.
- Stay present. Many of the ladies echoed the importance of handling situations as they arise and being fully engaged in the moment. Otherwise, overwhelm can quickly take over.
- Find a support network. As business owners there are times when you'll need a safe place to share your concerns and to get advice from other CEOs. Consider joining the Women's President Association or Alliance for CEOs.
- Practice your communication skills. As a leader, you'll have to learn how to communicate and connect with individuals from various backgrounds
- Stay the course. At the end of the day, hard work and grit is what will ultimately make you successful. Check out this Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth entited, "The Key to Success? Grit".
I attended the event with my lovely friend, Gemma, and afterwards we reflected on our takeways over some delicious food and cocktails at Osha Thai on 2nd Street in San Francisco.
As two highly ambitious women we are constantly trying to balance our drive with our personal lives. A mom to two boys, Gemma found the event to be exactly what she needed because "there aren't many events for professional women to hear other women speak candidly about their challenges." The women on the panel were highly successful but also showed that they are no different from the rest of us. And that we are not alone in our fears, setbacks and challenges.
Authenticity. Transparency. Connection. A simple beautiful gift you can give to another woman.
Danetha Doe (@danethadoe) is a financial growth consultant, a member of the Marketing & Communications committee for the Financial Women of San Francisco and passionate about helping women succeed as entrepreneurs. Her firm, Danetha Doe Consulting, provides marketing and growth consulting services to B2B SaaS companies, Fintech solutions and accounting practices. Click here to view her portfolio and you can connect with her at [email protected]