Women…note to self, get more press
Years ago when I sat down for breakfast with Nancy Hechinger, my co-founder of WeFestival she commented that there are not enough women entrepreneurs. I didn’t agree. I was seeing women founders daily. The issue is that women network differently. Women don’t care about going to that dinner where there might be people to meet. They don’t care about going to events. They focus on their business and their family and friends. After that they do the business things which means mostly never. That means it is not a priority to network. Their heads are down in their business.
I have been talking to people about WeFestival 2016. One of the women I talked to was Maxine Clark. An impressive take no prisoners get shit done woman. You might ask yourself, who is Maxine Clark? Maxine Clark is the founder of Build-A-Bear. She founded the company in 1997, brought it public and continued overseeing the company for eleven years after that. In 2013 they did $380m in revenues.
One of the things I want to do at WeFestival this year is have a panel of women who have now raised significant capital who I believe will be the next generation of women who have broken the ceiling. Maxine said that I should talk to her friend who started Gymboree. A woman started Gymboree? Yep. In 1976 Gymboree was founded by Joan Barnes. In 2014 Gymboree did $375m in gross sales.
There is always a keynote at WeFestival and that keynote is usually a woman entrepreneur that people know. When I start thinking about it every year I find the list not as big as I’d like to see. Many of the women who have been as successful as Maxine and Joan most people have never heard of. Why is that? I believe it goes right back to the fact that women network differently. They don’t care if their name is on the front page of the WSJ but here is the thing…they should.
The importance of the next generation of founders that are starting to hit the high notes is one that should be noted in the press and noted often. The ones that we can start to feel quite confident about that they will have positive exits be it an IPO or a sale of the company in the hundreds of millions need to get into the limelight. They need to be in the media so that the next generation of women, those girls who are in elementary school, junior high school, high school or college read about them and say to themselves “I want to be like that”. It could be a top scientist, a leader in the banking industry, a top media executive, a female founder but in order for the next generation to know about the many successful women out there they need to know about them. All these women are entrepreneurs. You don’t get to the top of the ladder without having an entrepreneurial spirit.
So all you women out there who are killing it…do yourself a favor and be the role model we want you to be and get into the press so others will know and see that there are plenty of women entrepreneurs out there.