This is part two of a three-part series by Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Magazine on inspiring women.
Today’s aspiring businesswoman is lucky to have an array of impressive inspiring women to look up to. This Forbes article on The World’s Most Powerful Women says it all – we can find inspiration from political leaders like Hillary Clinton, authors like J.K. Rowling, and business women like Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo.) No matter where you look, including sports, movies, television, journalism, business and non-profits, there are women who are doing incredible things and whom we can all look up to.
While it is important to have ‘high profile’ role models like these, we also need to realize that there are inspiring women role models in the business world all around us. Most of these Founding Moms don’t get big-time media attention, but their incredible stories can provide you with motivation and lessons for your own journey.
At Smart Hustle Magazine, I have the pleasure of conducting interviews with all sorts of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Along the way, I have interviewed many inspiring women who provide motivation for the next generation of business owners to come. Here are a few of my favorites.
In one of my recent interviews, I spoke with Maria Contreras-Sweet, the current administrator of the SBA. This impressive title is her most recent achievement in a long line of accomplishments in the business world, from working as the Director of Public Affairs for 7-Up/RC Bottling Company to founding her own businesses, including ProAmerica Bank, a bank that helps SMBs with funding. She is currently a champion for American small business owners, whose goal is to “amplify the voice of small business.”
FoodtoEat.com is an online ordering service that offers users the convenience of pre-ordering from their favorite restaurants and food trucks. In addition to providing a service to everyday people, she has used her business to help empower food vendors, who can use the site to increase customer engagement in sales. In my interview with Deepti, she spoke about the many situations she has encountered in her career where she had been questioned or underestimated simply because she is a woman. The harsh reality is that this form of stereotyping still exists – but Deepti demonstrates that you can power through it and rise above.
In Blue Handmade, Inc. is a leather crafting company that sells leather items such as journals, handbags, wallets and more. Like many women who are small business owners, she once held a good 9-5 job and suddenly decided to give it all up to pursue her passions. With no prior experience in making leather goods, she bought herself a sewing machine and created her company, which she calls “a labor of love.” Mary Lynn’s journey is proof that if you are passionate, you can make your business dreams come true.
This is just a sample of the many inspiring women entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed over the years who have amazing stories and advice to share with others. These women are proof that there are role models all around us if we look. Go to local business events, join a LinkedIn group, sign up for that conference or expo. Networking may be the key to finding your next role model, mentor or business partner. What are you waiting for?