Step one: This conversation.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of speaking at Penn State University’s wonderful “Powerful Women Paving the Way” conference. I love the conference name. I love that it was organized by a student organization, Women in Business. And I love that there was a diverse mixture of women and men both in the students and in the professionals and sponsoring organizations who attended.
But most of all, I love that conferences like this are the right first step. They are the conversation.
If we want a work environment where women can be authentic, we’re going to need to create that environment from scratch. That means more women building businesses – significant businesses.
It’s going to happen in three steps.
Conferences, discussions and interactions – even online, on websites like this one – are creating the possibility in many more women’s minds of building significant businesses (businesses that strive to be the Fortune 500 companies 40 years from now). I believe we can build these businesses faster than we can change the current corporate structures, which don’t really want to change. But first – we have to talk about it.
The second step is development – generating ideas and building business plans. Now the conversation is ready for action.
The third step is about funding the launch of these new businesses. Women will have to put their money where their mouth is! We have money, but we are not oriented to putting it in to vehicles that will invest in women-led businesses – because there are very few today. We are going to have to create new investment structures too.
These three steps are what GirlAuthentic is about – being the platform for conversation, facilitating the development of ideas, and finding funding for the ideas and businesses that are ready.
It all starts with conversation. We need to be talking about women building significant businesses – women who are just coming out of school, and especially women who have two or three decades of experience under our belts. When they do they will create workplaces that are in balance for women – and for the men who seek that same balance, but have an even harder time asking for it!
We can make a different world together. But we start by imagining it together. We start in conversation.