In honor of the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week and Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, IBM hosted a WomenSpeak Webcast where the top international female businesswomen gave advice to other rising superstars.
This initiative was started by the Kauffman Foundation, but IBM took it to the next level with the webcast themed “Women Entrepreneurs Leading Innovation Globally.” You may be thinking that entrepreneurship is only a business thing but both innovation and entrepreneurship are essentials for the superwomen of tomorrow. These tips can be used in both the office and the classroom, not to mention the after graduation job hunt.
“Innovation means different things to different people. For me it is improvement on an existing product or process that betters our quality of life” says Bola Olabisi who called in from the UK. She also believes that we superwomen must be realistic when pursuing our ideas. Doing the research, weighing the pros and cons and staying tenacious are all important for taking your new “it” thing to the top and succeeding in any endeavor.
Another panelist, Maria Contreras-Sweet, who founded the first and only woman-owned bank in California, had special advice for young innovators. She says “Trust your own instincts. Figure out what would make your life easier and patent it. What you feel, everyone else feels and that is the next innovation.”
IBM exec, Amparo Martinez, explained to listeners the three essential ingredients for future entrepreneurs (and superwomen): leadership, innovation and talent. She also stressed the importance of collaboration. “None of us are as strong as all of us.” Remember every superwoman needs a super role model and other superwomen for support.
Marsha Firestone expanded on these important innovator traits when she gave the scoop on an unreleased study by the Center for Women’s Business Research which polled the top grossing female owned companies to find the 7 characteristics of every successful businesswoman. The list included the desire for lifelong learning and a continued push for overall growth. For more visit womensbusinessresearch.org in a few weeks when the official numbers are revealed.
Other tips on innovation included asking your team for ideas because sometimes leading can require following. Communicating with your peer group can also be vital to getting ahead. As well as strategizing for that promotion by finding a mentor and asking other superwomen how they made it to superhero status.
Moderator and IBM VP, Marilyn Johnson wrapped it up with the perfect call to arms for superwomen worldwide, “Don’t just multitask but hypertask, and do it with style.”
See you innovators in the skies…