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At The Hatchery's recent 2013 Women Leaders Summit, attendees had an opportunity to hear from highly accomplished women leaders including author Christine Comaford, President and CEO of Leader to Leader Institute Frances Hesselbein, and author and motivational speaker Carole Hyatt.
In a panel moderated by the Wall Street Journal's Gabriella Stern, the women offered their collective knowledge on topics ranging from discrimination (Hyatt couldn’t take out an American Express card to start her first business in 1960), to work-life balance, to failure. Fast Company's Cecelia Bittner had a chance to attend. Here's what she heard: 
According to Hesselbein, facing and overcoming failure requires a sense of exuberance that young people today are bringing into the work force. She describes it as a positive attitude that allows one to view a challenge not as a burden but as ”an opportunity to do something remarkable.” 
Hyatt said it’s all about how one handles the disappointment, explaining that an individual can choose to focus their energy on moving past and growing from event. 
When asked for 15-minutes of wisdom, Comaford shared the secret to influencing anyone. Emotional intelligence. Comaford explained that all humans crave one of three things: safety, belonging, or mattering. If you can figure out which of those things an individual needs, you can make them do what you want. (Comaford made the entire audience promise to only use that power for good.)

[Image from The Hatchery]

At The Hatchery's recent 2013 Women Leaders Summit, attendees had an opportunity to hear from highly accomplished women leaders including author Christine Comaford, President and CEO of Leader to Leader Institute Frances Hesselbein, and author and motivational speaker Carole Hyatt.

In a panel moderated by the Wall Street Journal's Gabriella Stern, the women offered their collective knowledge on topics ranging from discrimination (Hyatt couldn’t take out an American Express card to start her first business in 1960), to work-life balance, to failure. Fast Company's Cecelia Bittner had a chance to attend. Here's what she heard: 

  • According to Hesselbein, facing and overcoming failure requires a sense of exuberance that young people today are bringing into the work force. She describes it as a positive attitude that allows one to view a challenge not as a burden but as ”an opportunity to do something remarkable.” 

  • Hyatt said it’s all about how one handles the disappointment, explaining that an individual can choose to focus their energy on moving past and growing from event. 

  • When asked for 15-minutes of wisdom, Comaford shared the secret to influencing anyone. Emotional intelligence. Comaford explained that all humans crave one of three things: safety, belonging, or mattering. If you can figure out which of those things an individual needs, you can make them do what you want. (Comaford made the entire audience promise to only use that power for good.)

[Image from The Hatchery]

For most people, the idea of chasing a personal passion or being entrepreneurial is simply something they don’t think of themselves doing. We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying. Nothing is more haunting than thinking, ‘I wish I had…’.

This is the advice that Tim Westergren, the founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Pandora, would have given to his younger self.

When Julie Smolyansky’s father the founder of Lifeway Foods had a sudden heart attack and passed away the running of his $12 million company fell to her… 

What motivates the young CEO is the fact that Lifeway is driven by bringing the health benefits of kefir—a cultured dairy drink popular in Eastern Europe for many, many years—to the world. 

These questions may help you find the passion that will power your business into Lifeway-level success:

1. What is your pre-existing commitment?

2. What community are you here to serve?

3. If you set aside market trends and opportunities, and instead committed to your passion, to something you are willing to persist through slammed doors for, what would that thing be?

I decided to become a designer, but I had no design skills… So I taught myself—everyday I would do my day job in record time and rush home to learn design. Super talented people go to RISD for 4 years and learn design properly. I hacked together my piecemeal design education in 6 months—there was no way I was ready to become a designer. But I was so ready to leave Microsoft. So I started the job search and got rejected a few times. Then I got the job at Exec.

Cheng’s after-hours side hustle is evidence of one of the principles of building an antifragile career: When you have a secure but unsatisfying day job, you can take an unbridled bent to your next calling by night. 


Here’s more from Karen Cheng on how to become more unstoppable every day.

Take big risks and take big challenges. The worst thing that can happen is that you learn.

We asked Jason Sosa, founder of IMRSV, one of Time.com’s 10 startups to watch in 2013, what advice he’d give to people trying to get a startup off the ground. 

IMRSV is the company behind Cara, a software that allows developers to turn any webcam into a real-time video analytics sensor. In a fast-food restaurant, it could track how many people are standing in line. In a house, it could help control the temperature based on who is home. It could even monitor a driver’s attention, alerting him if he falls asleep…

A recent Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup about learning from your career mistakes was full of actionable pieces of advice, particularly on finding and keeping good mentors. Here are some of the best quotes of the night:

On the importance of having mentors:

"Build a network of women. You don’t have to be on your own." -AT&T’s Amanda Stent

"Have a strong network both at work and outside of work. Talking about work issues helps you get through them." -Catherine Hui 

 On choosing your mentors:
"Do your homework in approaching a mentor - don’t ask someone just based on reputation" -Tweeted by @AmyVernon

"If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor, maybe that person isn’t the right mentor. " -Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui 

On being mentored:

"If you go to therapy, you don’t lie to your shrink. Same philosophy applies to mentors. Be honest with them." - Nikki Stevens (@drnikki)

Who are your mentors? How did you find them? How important is it to you to have a mentor?

(Photos by M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger)

"Every morning I wake up and I tell myself I’m gonna do the very best job that I can today." —CTO of Shopbevel Nikki Stevens shared her personal morning pep-talk with us at a recent Girls In Tech meetup. 

Here, more advice from tech’s leading ladies