The Importance of Respecting Female Entrepreneurs — Don’t Call Me Baby

Good morning everyone! Well, yesterday was fun. I have been a small business owner for quite a few years now and this subject doesn’t rear it’s ugly head very often here, but it sure does happen and it’s something we don’t hear enough about.

I suppose that when you see a female sitting at a front desk, assumptions about her role can come to mind if you have a 1950’s mindset….but you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover in this life. And we should all be very careful what we say in a professional business environment.

Of course, when we are raised to respect everyone, regardless of what they look like, don’t need to be careful (BUT I digress..)

So, we had a “gentleman” (and I use this term loosely) stop in yesterday asking to meet with me without an appointment. When my assistant offered him a seat and told him she would go to my office and see if I had a moment, he responded with..

“Okay, you do that baby ’Cause I wanna WATCH. YOU. WORK.”

I’m sorry….WHAT? Let’s communicate intelligently for a moment, shall we?

First, we are not in a bar. And when you disrespect anyone in this office that tells me all I need to know about your integrity and professionalism. Fortunately, the women in this office have the option to choose who we will and who we will not do business with, and, unfortunately it is against our policy to work with individuals who express blatant disrespect for me, my staff, or any of my clients.

Let me break this down in the simplest terms possible.

We are not girls, we are women. We are intelligent, empowered, enlightened, victorious and we do not tolerate disrespect.

As it turns out, our visitor didn’t realize he had met his match with us, but my assistant responded with such dignity and self respect it made me proud to be a woman!

“I don’t know who you think you are, sir, but we do NOT PLAY THAT here. You will not disrespect me.”

Her empowerment speech went on for about 6o seconds, and as he placed his hands in his pockets, looked towards the floor and apologized she didn’t miss a beat as she continued…

“Oh, your apology is accepted, but you just showed me who YOU are, so I just showed you exactly who I am. You JUST. MET. ME.”

Quite honestly, if your goal is to work with a woman owned business, you should really consider your big picture goal when you interact with them.

“Unfortunately, I will not be able to accommodate your needs at this time. I wish I could help you, but we will not be proceeding with a business relationship of any kind. You really should go now.”

I know we hear a lot of about gender dynamics in business, but this issue is very real. In my years as a business owner, I’ve had more than one encounter like this. In fact, this event was actually pretty minor in comparison and I’ve learned that if a person doesn’t show you the respect you deserve the first time you meet them, they never will. Unfortunately, with certain personality types, if you seem submissive in any way during these tests, it only gets worse.

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power. ~ Clint Eastwood

We can go back and forth about the stereotypes women face in this world, but at the end of the day the only way we can combat this issue is with self respect. We aren’t going to change people, and we can’t control how they approach us, but we certainly can control the way we react. I was so proud of the way my assistant handled herself yesterday. She carried herself with class, dignity and self-respect, and her reaction could not have been more appropriate as far as I am concerned.

You are worthy. Never forget that!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Be blessed!

Sandy Meeks, Owner

EBS Executive Suites

301 North Main Street, Suite 2400

Winston-Salem, NC 27101