Over the years we have been lucky enough to attend numerous networking panels and conferences and we want to give one of you the chance to attend one of these insightful events.
In order to win this prize, we want to hear who your business role models are. Let us know on LinkedIn and we will announce the winner on Friday September 15.
This event is specially important in our eyes as Cucumber Marketing was founded by Helen who was four months pregnant at the time. How’s that for a powerful business woman!? There are some challenges women can face in business and we asked Helen about her experiences.
Have you ever faced any challenges in business that you don’t think you would have faced as a male?
“Interesting question! I was attending many “women-only” business events in the early years of Cucumber and I remember wondering why there are so many “women in business” groups, but not many “men in business”. I first didn’t like that we women, put ourselves in a “separate box” so to speak. But after a few events where women would share their stories I quickly realized that there was a huge difference in how women and men run a business. I do realize that I might sound clichéd, but I personally believe that most (not all) women work from their heart, and men from their head. Women take things more personally, they care more and with that comes the challenge of making tough decisions when it comes to “people matters” – like letting people go, or standing firm in your own conviction when making business decisions. I think women are more likely to create a more inclusive environment with their team, but then again, it’s harder to put your foot down when you have to. It’s all work in progress, but I do believe these aspects don’t come naturally to most women, so this has to be a learnt behaviour. The “women-only” business groups allow women to share and learn from each other about how to keep working from the heart, while making smart business decisions that help you and your team grow!”
Do you believe there are any damaging stereotypes of powerful women in business that still exist?
“Yes, definitely. And unfortunately we women tend to perpetuate some of them. We think we need to be tough in the cold-blooded business world. At least I thought that at first. But this is what backfires. If you are naturally not a hard-a$$, tough person, it will be very hard to portray that image, which in the end will come across as just b*tchy and not powerful. Knowing who you are is key. A friend of mine (and a powerful woman at that) Heather White speaks a lot about authenticity – check her out! So, yes, being soft and caring is a good thing in business. So I hope the stereotype of b*tchy business women will fade away soon – creating more room for a powerful, yet nurturing conversation.”
Are they any women in business that you feel are particularly admirable?
“I admire Oprah, specifically her ability to listen and to always find something new for herself through the countless interviews she’s done over the years. You’d think that woman has seen and heard it all, yet, she seems to always find something new to be enthusiastic and excited about.”
We look forward to hearing who your business role models are. You’ve got until 9am Friday September 15 (PT) to submit your answer.