The best part of my job is that I spend a fair amount of time planning The Channel Company’s events for female executives, and I have the privilege of listening to and being inspired by many successful women, each with a story more fascinating than the last.
In recent years, a topic of much debate has been the inequality gap that still exists not only for women in technology, but women in business. The statistics are there, and they are sobering if not defeatist. In 2012, leanin.org partnered with McKinsey to do a long-term study of why this gap exists and what we can do about it. Much of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” is based on this research, which has become the de facto standard of how women approach this gap. http://womenintheworkplace.com/
The findings boil down to this (my interpretation):
No offense, Sheryl, great book, but I want to know how women can change the game, not just keep up. How do we do it differently and make a difference? What if a woman doesn’t want to “lean in” but wants to “leapfrog”?
This leads me to Sandra Gault, one of our upcoming conference speakers. She's highly educated in technology, having worked for IBM and Kodak and as a marketing executive at two successful technology startups. Pretty impressive stats for any woman in technology. She then did the unthinkable: She pulled a leapfrog. Rather than chasing the C-suite, she created her own destiny.
Her inspiration came at a technology event as she was standing in her painful high heels: Why not use her technology and business savvy to create something completely different and solve a major problem for women? You could wear ugly sensible shoes, but isn’t that just conforming?
TrueGault was launched as a service to provide custom-fit, made-to-order shoes for working women. Using 3-D digital imaging, TrueGault allows women to be fierce in the office or boardroom without the pain and suffering that comes with it. The company uses meet-ups, pop-ups and social media to drive working women to their on-site “fitting” events. Makes you wish you had thought of it!
The moral of the story is we don’t all have to adapt to the social and business norms that may not suit our goals, desires and strengths as women. Sandra, and many like her, should inspire us to follow our passions and create a destiny for ourselves using the tools we were given. This is how we become powerful. Where have you found inspiration from women? Would love to hear your thoughts!