By: Dipali Trivedi | CTO & Co-Founder of Everyday Life Insurance
At a recent entrepreneurship event for technology startups, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of women in the room full of founders. It reminded me of board meetings and leadership workshops during corporate life where women were underrepresented, and a woman of color was a rare finding.
Yet, as a parent of two, I have seen young girls excel at STEM at a young age. The lack of women executives serving at the corporate or startup founder level puzzled me; either women are losing the drive to climb to the top or not getting the support to break the glass ceiling.
It led me to mentor and support women in middle-management roles, and here are a few lessons I’ve learned.
1. Don’t apologize for being assertive
In an industry dominated by male founders, women are aware of the stereotypes that others attach to their gender. You must speak up, even if others confuse your ambition with your being difficult. Startups require a 150% commitment. Don’t apologize for being assertive to meet deadlines and achieve goals just because you are a woman.
2. Be authentic
Technology startups come with plenty of difficulties. Disagreements with your cofounder, investor, or business partner are common. If you’re a female founder working with another cofounder, don’t hold back when speaking your mind. In my experience, the most successful ideas seem outlandish at first. Be authentic and share your craziest ideas.
3. Hire diversity
Women – especially women of color – are grossly underrepresented in the technology industry. As you scale your team, hiring diverse individuals is essential. A diversified group can bring innovative ideas that are much needed to grow a startup.
“Your customers are not limited to any one race, gender or age group, why should your workforce be? Diversity brings much needed creativity and innovation to the organization.”
4. Don’t let others get to you
Entrepreneurship is difficult, and tech startups can be especially brutal. You’ll hear several “no’s” before a single “yes.” I’ve seen criticism cause women to feel discouraged or lose confidence. Most successful entrepreneurs are only successful after a few failed attempts. Failure can teach you more than your success, so don’t give up on entrepreneurship too easily.
5. Always be in networking mode
Going to a networking event and talking to a stranger about your company is uncomfortable. Women tend to struggle with networking more than men, primarily because there’s a significant lack of other females in the room. However, you should embrace networking opportunities, whether you’re with friends and family or at a professional event. You never know when something useful will come from those discussions.
Dipali Trivedi is an MIT graduate and a serial entrepreneur. She is currently working as co-founder and CTO of Everyday Life, a FinTech startup that serves middle-income families with innovative insurance products and financial planning. Prior to Everyday Life, she founded CloudFountain Inc., a consulting firm focused on big data and Salesforce CRM consulting. Dipali has 10+ years of corporate leadership experience prior to entrepreneurship. She lives in Belmont MA with her husband and her kids, she loves to run, hike and travel.
This article first published in Women who Win: A global women empowerment media platform whose mission is to connect and create conversation between global women across industries to empower, educate, connect,and collaborate with each other. For more information, please visit: https://www.womenwhowin100.com/about-us