I recently attended an event hosted by The Committee of 200, a group of senior women business leaders from around the country to who have focused their limited free time and abundant talent on building the next generation of women leaders. The braintrust in the room would have been the envy of many a consulting firm or President ; the fact that it was focused on building women leaders was awe-inspiring.
The panel discussion, moderated by SWSG Board Member Fiona Wilson, focused on the question of how to create an eco-system that fosters women-led innovation and entrepreneurship. The panelists highlighted a range of perspectives. At Strong Women, Strong Girls, showcasing real-life role models is an integral part of our work, so I want to take a minute to give a snapshot of the panelists. If you’re looking for great insights and a mighty dose of inspiration, I would recommend adding these ladies to your Twitter feed and Google Reader, stat.
- Serial entrepreneur Susan Hunt Stevens
- Rock star researcher Dr. Patricia Greene, who is currently on-loan from Babson College to one of our favorite initiatives: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
- Angel Investor Anita Brearton
- And dynamo up-and-comer Megan Shea
While the panelists brought diverse perspectives on starting and leading companies, were more grounded in research or more grounded in practice, their take on the core elements essential for supporting women-led innovation were identical. The key ingredients: resources and role models. However, too few women have access to either.
It was striking that the ingredients that are essential for supporting young girls to be leaders in their classrooms and communities are the same ingredients required for helping women to launch successful businesses. By giving girls the skills to access, and ask for, these key elements in their lives, we have the opportunity to put them on a pathway to success that is limitless.
The panel ended with a call to action to the women in the room: invest in other women, sign on as a mentor or adviser.
The call to action here is the same. Before we get to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take the time to do two things: invest in women and girls, sign on as a mentor or adviser.
Let us know what YOU plan to do, or share your stories of things you’ve already done, by adding your comments and thoughts below.