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Female entrepreneurship, male- dominated industries, and COVID-19: Part 1

Even 100 years after the ratification of the19th Amendment, women are still making strides towards equality, especially in business. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) created the Industrious Women’s Summit (IWS) three years ago, to uplift women in traditionally male-dominated industries. The event date was picked specifically to coincide with Women’s Equality Day, which falls on August 26th.

2020 provided new challenges, but female entrepreneurs skyrocketed over them and sprinted to the finish line. With a global virtual event, entrepreneurs came together to honor, celebrate, and learn from women in businesses and female entrepreneurship.

A common theme: Be real and authentically YOU. 

Fill up your cup, you can’t pour from an empty one

It’s been…well, an interesting year thus far. Attending to our mental health and making time for self-care is important, especially throughout challenges. IWS began with a guided sound immersion by Kari Ann Levine, Yoga Teacher and Sound Meditation Facilitator. She prefaced the moment by teaching us that, “Sound moving through us is a guided journey. And the sounds themselves, when we let go, help us navigate our inner terrain.” She led us through the meditation using a variety of soothing instruments to set the tone. “This in turn, will move us more deeply into ourselves and help us let go of expectations, which is good life instruction as well,” emphasized Levine.

Lead with the real you 

As women, “We’ve been taught to minimize the acknowledgment of being a mother, wife, sister, leader and more,” affirmed Kristin Sexton, Senior Managing Director at CBRE Labor Analytics. In female entrepreneurship, women have the immense privilege to guide and support others in the mission, so Sexton reminds us to “Share with your team who you are, in a way that they understand you have a personal life. Lead with empathy, respect the person and not just the business position.” She explained to tap into ourselves by listening to what our inner voice tells us. By understanding that we’re capable of leading is a big first step. “If you have confidence you can lead. Know that you have a seat at the table to share your voice. Doubts will erode your self-worth.”  

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable

“Failure is part of the discovery,” said Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D, President of Oberon Fuels. “One of my business mentors told me if I didn’t feel sick to my stomach at least once a day, I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. Our circumstances can make us feel uncomfortable but push through it, accept the challenges and persevere! Play for the long game but make sure you celebrate the wins along the way,” shared Boudreaux, the morning keynote speaker. She reminded us to “Know your strengths and how to use them. At different periods of your life, this may look different. Some days just showing up is a win, and that’s ok.”

Be bold and fearless in whatever you do

“If you think you can do something and your whole body believes you can do it, you can!” exclaimed Kassidy Haselton, CEO & Founder of HardHats. “No matter what challenges we face in life or 2020, the universe is going to get out of your way. There will be people who don’t like you but keep putting in that effort, don’t be afraid to ask questions, use the free resources out there, and eventually, things will go your way. Own your weaknesses, stand up, and be your weird, amazing self!” shared Haselton.

For more insights into female entrepreneurship and how women leaders are changing male dominated industries, be sure to check out all of our articles here on #OpenWeStand.