Business Women Who Lead

5 Tips for Women in Business from Female Founders

leading women

To celebrate International Women’s Day Bay Street Bull rounds up 5 tips from 5 female founders leading in business and entrepreneurship.

1. Advocate for yourself and be confident in your ideas

“Over the years I’ve had very few women ask me for promotions or raises. We don’t have that many men in our business, but [have] had several men be more verbal and confident in their ask… The point is, you should always advocate for yourself and even if it’s a no that you’re met with, you actually make huge strides because you stood up for yourself.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO, Bumble 

“If an idea is worth doing, 20 percent of people are not going to like it. But who cares if someone doesn’t like your idea? I am very, very fierce about protecting my joy — no one touches it. I don’t really have to defend my ideas because I’ve done the homework, I’m confident in my curiosity, and I ask a lot of questions… If you can’t handle it, if you want to crawl into the fetal position crying because someone didn’t like your idea, then don’t lead. Go follow. That’s okay, too.”

Barb Stegemann, Founder 7 Virtues

2. Challenge your notions

“I think great leaders are able to constantly paint a vision of what is not there, but what could be, and conceal their own fears. Because, the reality is when you lead, you have no idea what is next… It’s not an un-genuine hiding. It’s that you need someone to say, ‘If this is going to happen, I believe in it.’ Good leaders make good plans. They can rally good teams. Really great leaders just continue to see the future, and not share their fears as they bring the team along. Which is why it is so lonely as a leader.”

Michele Romanow, entrepreneur

Michele-Romanow-International Women's day

3. Never stop networking and cultivating community

“Invite criticism. It’s kind of like radical exposure therapy to desensitize yourself…The more you do this, the easier it gets, and the faster you’ll go from feeling kicked in the gut by criticism to feeling grateful and empowered by it.”

Reshma Saujani, Founder Girls Who Code

“It’s always about remembering the last conversation you had with an investor. There are a lot of them that say they don’t invest in straight lines, but in all the dots along the way. If you’re at a networking event, say hello and give a quick update even when you’re not fundraising. Give people a reason to stay in touch with your story and think about you. By the time you’re ready to fundraise, [investors] will have heard about you and generally know where you’re at. It’s about building relationships, and that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Marie Chevrier, CEO, Samplr

4. Don’t ever be afraid of taking risks

“There are moments when we make decisions that shape our destiny, and in those moments, we have to listen to our intuition.”

Shiza Shahid, NOW Ventures

Shiza Shahid

“I think women need to learn to take risks more and be comfortable with that. I think women can sometimes worry too much whether they’ve done the job before or whether they have the right skills. I took a risk on an industry and an opportunity with an absolutely stellar team. I did my homework and made sure I’d be working with people who were well-regarded in the industry. ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ is the motto we have in our family.”

Nadia Vattovaz, Executive VP, Finance; Fire & Flower

5. Define your own success and manifest that vision

“Success is such a tricky topic. I just want to be able to wake up feeling good. I don’t think success is tied to finance or anything like that. My mom always taught me that if you can feed and shelter yourself, [you’re on the right track]. When you reach your personal definition of success, you can give back to people who don’t have those two important things.”

Rachel Kelly, Founder of Make Lemonade

leading female