Amita Paul and I held a SXSW conversation on March 13, 2011 at 5:00PM. Late on a Sunday afternoon, with already so many parties going on, we only expected a tiny committee; instead we found a full house. Nice surprise, but our greatest joy was that the whole room enthusiastically participated in creating what we called a Women Manifesto. As we all know, it’s very hard for any group to come up with actionable items in just one-hour. Yet, forward-looking women can! So, if you are interested, join this group on our Facebook Page. Here is a copy of the inaugural text of this Women Manifesto:
Breaking the glass ceiling is an ambiguous metaphor, as glass debris may fall on your head. So don’t stay inside, get out the building, and look at the sky: that’s what “fearless” women entrepreneurs do!
Keep on relentlessly: Starting a company is risky. It would be reckless for women, just like for men, to be unafraid. Yet, do not let fear stop you. Pursue your goal and be relentless, i.e. stubborn with a purpose.
Define success for you: Thinking “too small” or thinking “big” aren’t what matters. Size your initiative based on what you feel comfortable with, execute on your vision, i.e. build, deliver, and grow.
Ask for help: We are used to doing things by ourselves and handling work overload just to show that we are able to do it. But this is not the only way, or the best. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
Be beautiful: Beauty comes in multiple forms, ranging from outside prettiness to sheer internal charisma. Off-putting or boring faces are do not have to be a business paradigm for women (neither is it for men). Doing business is the art of communicating. So smile!
Make it a personal duty to help other women: First generations of women entrepreneurs may be interesting because of what they sometimes endured, but they are inspiring only if they make it easier for other women to succeed. Change comes one person at a time.
Yes, there are a lot of women support groups, but there can’t be too many as long as the percentage of businesses started by women remains so low. Feel free to post this on your blog in part or in full.