It’s time we seek out women leaders. I’ve worked for male led companies my whole career. While I have always connected with some mentors to coach and develop me, mostly the companies that I’ve worked for have been harsh and competitive environments. The women that succeeded in these environments had to be as cut throat – if not more – than the men, having to sacrifice their personal lives to get ahead at work.
My wife, Courtney, just went back to work after five years at home raising our kids. She joined StitchFix because there was just something different about that company. Founded and led by women. Purposeful about how they develop their people. They encourage their people to take time off and actually check out of work when they do. They encourage their people to not over work themselves and to spend time with their families. Many employees are working moms with impressively balanced lives. And, yet, it’s an incredibly healthy business that hasn’t gotten caught up in the media and capital-raising frenzy of Silicon Valley, even though it’s founded and headquartered there. This opened my eyes to what women led companies can accomplish.
I recently joined WP Engine, another women led company. 2/3 of our executive team are women, including the CEO, CFO, CMO and SVP of Customer Experience. The company is values driven and has won no less than 5 best places to work awards in the last 2 years. The people are incredibly collaborative. The business is also very heathy and growing rapidly. It’s an exciting place to be. And, it’s a testament to the values and culture that our Founder and CTO (a man) instilled in the business from the beginning and that our leadership team has embraced and built upon.
My eyes have opened up to the power of female leadership. We need more women to step up into leadership roles – even if they don’t believe they’re ready yet. Statistically, women tend to hold back from pursuing new roles until they feel they are qualified and have the experience the role needs, while men tend to pursue new roles despite not having the experience. So, we need more women to step up and take the leap of faith that they are capable. As men, we need to actively seek out and encourage more women to step up into leadership roles. I think our world, businesses, governments and families will be better for it.
I discovered this TED Talk from Halla Tómasdóttir about her journey running for president of Iceland. It touches on the struggles that women face in becoming leaders, but maintains an inspiring tone. My favorite quote from the talk and the video below. Take a look.
“What we see, we can be. So, screw fear and challenges. It matters that women run. It’s time for women to run for office – whether it be the office of the CEO or the office of the President.”