With my mission to connect older and younger women to help start conversations, share experiences and facilitate mentoring between generations, I recently found myself in the middle of two great communities. I interviewed Elaine Kunda, the dynamic CEO of B5 Media (home to such websites as The Grindstone) for Women 2.0, an inspiring organization dedicated to increasing the number of female founders of technology startups. With an amazing community of founders, partners, mentors and sponsors they are coming together the make it happen with a wealth of networking events, workshops, founder stories, founder labs, advocacy and leadership.
“Tech startups with a female founder are proven to be bigger, faster, and stronger. And those most inclusive of women in top management achieve a better total return to shareholders. Women 2.0 is focused on converting raw talent into new entrepreneurs that will create jobs in the U.S. while developing the business leaders of tomorrow.” – Shaherose Charania, CEO and Co-Founder, Women 2.0
Women 2.0 have found that one of the major needs of young entrepreneurs is mentoring. Entrepreneurs don’t have an established hierarchy to easily find counsel and are hungry for what one serial female entrepreneur I met called “used wisdom”. Enter Elaine Kunda, an experienced entrepreneur with a knack for restructuring growth companies. Elaine, a long-time mentor and one-time eager mentee, was happy to share what she has learned from her experiences…what she wishes she knew then. Some of the highlights:
On making tough decisions…
“The faster you cut what’s not working the better. It’s awful but the alternative is that everybody loses. You can’t stay emotionally tied to something that is not working…and there will be a lot of things not working.
On what it takes to be an entrepreneur…
“Massive curiosity and drive. You have to enjoy figuring stuff out and seeing what you are capable of doing. I like to push myself. I often say, “It chose me, I didn’t choose it.”
On common mistakes young entrepreneurs make…
“Getting too caught up in the details. Is what you are spending your time on moving?you forward or just maintaining the status quo? You can feel busy 24/7 but you’re not doing yourself any favors if what you are doing is not progressing the company toward its goals.”
Find out more about why Elaine says, “being an entrepreneur is not a job, it’s a disruption.”