“No man is an island” was a famous quote from the 15th Century by John Donne.
“No woman is an island” has not appeared in the lexicon. Why is that? Is it because it’s blindingly obvious to most women that going it alone is a bad idea? I’ll leave the nurture vs nature debates to others.
Am I a people person? Not really. Most of my career has been in either leadership or autonomous roles. I’m fiercely independent and know my own mind. I do have certain “lone wolf” characteristics. Some may say I lack some of the more traditional feminine traits.
I am a child of the 80’s where, as a woman, I was going to university and having a career. Anything else let the side down.
I delivered. I went to university, got some very good jobs, travelled the world and got some even better jobs. I ticked all the boxes on career corporate woman (I’m so glad we moved beyond the big shoes, big hair and shoulder pads……….).
In 2010 I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, which was to turn my back on corporate for health reasons. I thought I was leaving my career behind. Accepting that was no small thing.
I setup a business as a freelance CFO with a focus on the emerging tech start up sector. From a career viewpoint, the opposite has been true. Last year I was the CFO who took Flamingo public via Cre8tek Limited. As a CFO that is the pinnacle, it doesn’t get any better than that.
As a business owner I have been extraordinarily successful. So what’s the secret sauce?
In 2011 I joined a group called She Business, a group for business women. I’ve been a member ever since and this year I’ve joined their advisory board.
They were not a community I was ever going to get business from in my business model. I may in future but this wasn’t a client acquisition strategy.
From an education standpoint, over 25 years I’ve effectively done an MBA on the job. So education wasn’t it. If anything I did some coaching for some of the members from time to time as a way of giving back.
So what was it? Why stay with a business community for 6 years when there is no measurable business benefit? At least in the traditional sense. Remember I’m the person who will make you justify every line on your profit & loss statement!
The answer is pretty simple. I knew (intuitively) that I needed to find a support network during this transition. The fact they weren’t tied up in my business model was the key factor.
This is something that isn’t easily measured, so it doesn’t get a lot of focus.
One of my favourite quotes is from Lou Gerstner, who turned IBM around in the 1990’s. “People don’t do what you expect, but what you inspect”. If it’s not measurable, it’s “soft” and “fluffy” and doesn’t get a lot of attention.
The other factor was gender.
My business model was (still is) deeply tied to male dominated areas. Especially in technology. Last year was the exception. I had the privilege to work with two awesome female CEO’s, Dr Catriona Wallace (Flamingo ASX:CR8) and Dr Anna Cicognani (NZX:GEO).
She Business, being a female community, was a balance to this.
Dr Catriona Wallace has spoken about the need for female founders to deliver results. She’s right. We will never get to gender equality until those results start coming through.
The She Business community has been a core ingredient of my success. They have helped me deliver results. Can I quantify it? No. This is one my female intuition tells me is true and I have learned, with the help of some magnificent women in this community, to trust it.
Very simply, I’d like to say thankyou to you all. #shebiztribe