Society can stop telling women how to live their lives. One of our main messages is: “Just be who you want to be. There’s no one right way to live.” If women were allowed to be whatever version of themselves they wanted to be without judgement, scrutiny, or societal pressure, there would be no need for a separate community that is a safe space for women to push the boundaries set upon them by society.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristina Roth.
Entrepreneur Kristina Roth launched a successful tech consulting firm that skyrocketed from zero to $65 million in revenue between 2008 to 2016, earning her a coveted spot on Forbes’ list of Top 10 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned or Led Companies — twice. Throughout Roth’s illustrious IT career in multiple countries, she felt there were very few women she could turn to for support and guidance, inspiring her to create an innovative women’s lifestyle brand : SuperShe
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kristina! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
This career found me at a time when — after many years in management consulting and successfully selling a tech consulting company — I decided to chill out, find a passion project that I believed in, and meet interesting women around the globe who inspire me or who I can inspire. This career was a very happy accident, rather than a choice!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
The most interesting story so far is definitely that I bought an island in Scandinavia and decided to make it my passion project — I opened it only to my female community, and the world truly went nuts over it! SuperShe Island really went viral.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funny story — rather than a mistake — is that SuperShe truly began as a passion project with no business plan in mind, and it emerged into a company where I literally work my butt off 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The lesson I learned was to never underestimate where passion might lead you. If you would have told me three years ago that SuperShe would become the global, virtual community live in 154 countries that is today, that we would have a physical office space, that we would have an island for women, that we would have created an entire brand, and that we would have created around 20 products, I would have told you that you must be smoking something hallucinatory. The lesson in black and white: don’t underestimate the power of creation when you really immerse yourself in a passion project.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
SuperShe is making a significant social impact by disrupting the all-talk-no-action reality of the “women supporting women” movement. More often than not, we begin with these amazing ideals of lifting other women up, but there’s no follow through. At SuperShe, we’re actually putting our money where our mouth is. Not only does the SuperShe Millionaire Contest literally invest back into women and the SuperShe community by giving a $1,000,000 grant to one community member’s idea or project, but our app also gives women from all over the world (154 countries and counting!) a space where they can showcase their skills, learn from one another, and meet new people who shake up their perspectives. We’ve created an uncensored place where women can be their truest selves and get out what they put in.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
There are so many amazing stories! There is Diane, who started her own business after being part of SuperShe. Another woman named Ramona got some investment tips and decided to make some successful cash flow investments into real estate. Another SuperShe named Cat wanted to become a freelance videographer with Red Bull, and her dream came true. There’s also Jessica, who after having a male partner in her company for 8 years, made the courageous move to take over the business after being a part of SuperShe. Another SuperShe who was impacted was Nini, a woman who lost 10 pounds after a SuperShe Island retreat and kept working hard towards her goal. There is also Vivien, who left her boyfriend and started an independent life. Last — but not least — I can proudly say that this project changed me for the better and makes me work harder for the greater good than I would ever have anticipated.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Society can stop telling women how to live their lives. One of our main messages is: “Just be who you want to be. There’s no one right way to live.” If women were allowed to be whatever version of themselves they wanted to be without judgement, scrutiny, or societal pressure, there would be no need for a separate community that is a safe space for women to push the boundaries set upon them by society.
- The global community could stop censoring any content related to women as being “indecent” or “inappropriate.” Showing a woman’s nipple or talking about vaginas isn’t inappropriate — it’s just part of being a woman. Since all of this is censored, we created our app to solve the problem of egregious censorship that mutes women’s identities.
- Society can stop modeling what is “cool” or “the next big thing” off of the same 10 celebrities and influencers. There are real, everyday women out there and on the SuperShe app who are inspirational and influential, and whose forward-thinking ideas are given no attention because they don’t have 5 million followers on a popular social media platform. The SuperShe app levels the playing field.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
To me, leadership means possessing the qualities that make your team want to follow you, your actions, and your plans. There are different types of leaders: some good, some bad. To me, good leadership is a balance between firmness and compassion, assertion and empathy, and being loved but also being respected. It’s a delicate balance. You can learn most of these traits in books, but the one trait you can’t teach or learn is charisma — that’s a natural gift.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Start today
- Don’t be afraid
- The time is now
- What’s the worst-case scenario?
- It’s ok to fail
I personally like to start projects with confidence in my success, no matter how long it takes to get there. The rest you can figure out along the way. Being a quick learner helps; you’ll make mistakes, but rather than beating yourself down, use that energy to fix problems and march forward. Put one foot in front of the other and know that the path will never be how you imagined it. Sometimes it will be easier than you anticipated, and sometimes it will be so hard that you think you need to stop. Find an alternate route and realize your goal, your dreams, and your future.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am working on that movement myself with SuperShe, a global community for women worldwide on an uncensored, ad-free platform — it is truly my dream movement. For me, change for women can only happen if we really find a platform where we can support each other and learn from each other — rather than having our nipples censored on platforms that were all built by men with certain business plans in mind. I am living my dream and making SuperShe — my passion project — work in sync with how I want to change this world. We’re starting the movement with the help of one woman at a time joining and working towards major change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The time is now.” It’s tattooed on my wrist, and it is a constant reminder. We really don’t know what tomorrow brings. In times like these, with the global pandemic looming, it’s more relevant than ever. We need to try as much as possible to stay in the moment and take advantage of the present — which can be hard, because our brain really is programmed to worry about what’s coming down the road. Try to find the power to override your worries and live in the moment; don’t worry too much about the future and — unless it is to learn some lessons — don’t look back into the past.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Carly Fiorina — as a female tech CEO, she was absolutely groundbreaking. She was the first female CEO of a Fortune 100 company, Hewlett-Packard, back in the day, and she was the original SuperShe of tech CEOs!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can follow @wearesupershe on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I do all of my social networking on the SuperShe app, though, so that’s the best place to follow me! But they can follow me @TheKristinaRoth on Instagram and Twitter, too.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!