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.)
“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.
“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.
“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 recentGirls in Tech/Facebook meetupabout 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.