I’m a female entrepreneur and now, more than ever, I need….men.
Weird I know, particularly when women are fighting more for equal pay, recognition, and respect. During a time when equality is seemingly fleeting and value appears to be driven more by the letters in your salutation, than the letters on your resume. And yes, during a time when regardless of the successes we’ve achieved as a society, there are still men who refuse to recognize the positive change, financial growth, and societal improvements we have contributed.
So why then? Because, without men we cannot grow.
In order to grow you must be challenged. And in order to be challenged you need something that challenges you. For many, the gender biases that exist today challenge us more than ever. This reality is igniting a spark that is brighter and more powerful than ever.
But there’s more to growth than challenges. We recognize that in order to grow you need to surround yourself with a diversified group of peers. That means we need both women and men to succeed.
Interesting enough we are also undoubtedly blessed to be living during a time when women have more opportunities than ever to grow their career, launch companies, and implement change. As the cofounder of blistabloc, I learned very quickly that the success of an entrepreneur depends not only on your stamina and internal drive, but your network of supporters.
And if one things for sure in this whirlwind startup journey, some of our most supportive and dedicated mentors are not women, but men.
Yes, men. Many male mentors willingly and wholeheartedly continuously step up for us; not only infusing us with strategic knowledge and sincere support, but also providing financial backing, entrepreneurial expertise, and infectious optimism. These leaders sacrifice time, money, and resources on our behalf for no other reason than pure generosity. And truth be told, without these men we would not be where we are today.
Sheryl Sandberg taught us to lean in. To take risks, own our space, and speak up as loud as possible. But she also taught me there is no way females can succeed without the help of men. We need them: husbands, fathers, brothers, mentors, peers, friends. Many of these men are not only allowing us to pursue our dreams, but are helping us in doing so.
While some may feel men are an obstacle to female entrepreneurship, I’d argue the opposite — that many are the reason we are here. Or maybe it’s just the ones I choose to surround myself with. Either way, I know without four tough brothers and one relentlessly supportive father, I’d never be the entrepreneur I am today.
Challenge us or support us. Call us crazy or call us brilliant. Regardless of the role men play, they’re making us stronger, smarter, and more inspired than ever before, and for that I am thankful.