Women Who Lead – Think Like a SheEO…and Let Success Become Your Calling Card

“Maverick”… Now that’s the best way that I can think to describe my guest this week – Vicki Saunders. She is the co-founder and president of SheEO that’s capital S, small H, small E, capital E, capital O, and obviously to take off of that little traditional term “CEO.” But SheEO is a global platform and network whose mandate is to create women-led businesses around the world based on new models, new mindsets and new solutions, created by women for women committed to building a different world – indeed a better world. Vicki’s vision and business strategy goes well beyond merely hope and good intention. For 16 unrelenting years of commitment, outstanding innovation and tireless work ethic has recently placed Vicky Saunders on the esteemed list of the 100 most influential leaders of 2015 from E.B.W standing for “Empowering a Billion Women.” Not just to give this some relevance her peers include Marissa Mayer, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg and Michelle Obama – not bad company I would say. This acknowledgment followed Vicki’s selection as a global leader for tomorrow by the world economic form. Now Vicki is a master entrepreneur comes by her ability to take on such aggress of change agendas from her own experience co-founding and operating ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley, ending up selling to fortune 500 companies as well as going public on the Toronto stock exchange. Now that’s what I call experience. It’s extremely daunting – you know—to introduce the woman of this caliber. So, to get a bigger story as well as more on her latest venture called “Radical Generosity,” you can go to her website at WWW.SheEO.world. That’s capital S, small H, small E, capital E, capital O dot world w-o-r-l-d. Now, well, we can only get a slice of this amazing woman’s mind. You can get more of the full-meal deal in her latest book “Think like a SheEO – succeeding in the age of creators, makers and entrepreneurs.” I can tell you that her 8 principles really surprised me as I sure…I’m sure they will surprise you. You can find this book and order it on amazon. But now let’s listen to the first voice of this truly inspiring change maker. And just as we go to the interview, I’d like to mention that when Vicki talks about Prague and the breaking down of the Berlin wall, she’s not talking about watching it on television, this change maker was there live experiencing it in real time.

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Lesley:  Hey Vicki Saunders, great that you would’ve joined us and I have a question for you. Given that you have been the master craft maker of this enormous movement called “SheEO,” and I would like to know which generation are you in? Are you in generation 1, generation 2, generation 3? Which one are you in the evolution of this movement?

 

Vicki:     Uh…that’s such a great question, I don’t know… There are definitions of what each of those generations are. In many ways I feel like an elder who has had some experience, I would last 20 years as an entrepreneur but it also feel like a millennial in spirit, which is… You know, there’s just no way I’m gonna…I never really wanted to be a participant in the world that we’ve designed. I’d like to see it completely different world to come forth… The world’s caught up with my…

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Lesley:  With your hunger for change.

Vicki:     Yes exactly.

Lesley:  So, where did you first…I mean, your story in your book is really telling, which is “Think like a SheEO,” which is when the Berlin wall came down. And all of a sudden you’re witnessing this incredible moment in history and you realized that the world has change, something has shifted. When do you start to realize that the mindset by which we operate is one of the fundamentals that we have to shift?

 

Vicki:     I actually think that I realized it before prog. What prog gave me was a sense of…you know… So before that I kept looking around, I’ve wanted to have a new way, I wanted to do good and make money in the world. I wanted a third way as it were and that was considered ridiculous in the 80s and 90s. It was like go get a job, make a bunch of money and then give it back. And I say, “I want to spend my life doing something that matters and make money.” And so, it was –you know—that desire and something happened and prog felt like a point of…you know, potentially redefinition, right? Like tanks are in your country one day and you’re not free in your mind. The tanks drive away and everyone’s flips the switch like I experienced that. Like in an instant, if you can figure out what the metaphor is that stopping people from thriving, and flying and doing what they want to do in the world, how do you figure that out? And so, my journey has been really…how do we get the tanks out of our head? How do we do that? How do we find a way to unleash ourselves and believe that’s possible? And prog gave me an experience to reinvent myself. And anything that changes, like, in order to change your narrative you have to have an experience.

 

Lesley:  Absolutely. And I want to ask, I want to keep on the tank metaphor for a second.

 

Vicki:     Yeah sure.

 

Lesley:  Because, you know, you’ve been evolving this business for how many years?

 

Vicki:     Uh forever… 15 or 16 years like I’ve been trying to avoid doing this essentially, I wish I wasn’t…like the world, like it’s not any different 15 years now forward from when I first really experienced it in a huge way.

 

Lesley:  And so, have the tanks that we want to get out of the mind change at all? So if I’m thinking about we as women have got these tanks in our head and in our experience, have they change at all in the experience of this last 15 years as far as you can say?

 

Vicki:     Uh no. I actually don’t think that they have it all. I mean, I feel like the narrative that we have entrenched is stronger than it’s ever been — go bigger, go home, winner takes all. In 85 people in the planet have the same wealth as three and a half billion people, and still we’re walking around trying to convert more people into that model. What are we doing? You know, I think that the 1% in the movement set of sort of kicked off have been trying to get underneath this, but we lack another alternative like what’s the new model? How do we monetize positive impact? How do we create a more inclusive society that doesn’t feel restrictive and just leveling, so how do you do that? So from that perspective I don’t think it is… From another perspective, “Oh my God, there’s something in the water right now for women,” right? Like, “Oh, that’s rough on.” Look at Canada what’s just happened in the last couple of weeks. This new Prime Minister came in and we have a balance cabinet 50-50 with the…you know, his hands and his heart opened, saying, “Because it’s 2015.”

 

Lesley:  It’s like…perfect statement.

 

Vicki:     Right, it’s just incredible.

 

Lesley:  So we’ve got these stores opening, and yet we’ve got this kind of intractable reality that we’re still marching up the hill towards. And what are the intractable ones that I find absolutely fascinating is that women’s businesses earn on average 25 cents to the dollar compared to men in their own business. If they were in the private sector, they’d be around 83% of the male counterpart. So I guess I’m asking you Vicki like what’s the incentive when I know I’m going to make 25 cents on the dollar compared to my male counterpart, when if I went into my private sector world I could be hell of a lot more competitive against my male counterpart?

 

Vicki:     Well, from a money perspective, but then you have to put up with politics the pain of the organization. These organizations are so broken to go work inside, most of them is incredibly difficult and we are driving people into the ground from what I see working 24/7 to be successful like that’s the new norm. You can’t really have a life outside and everyone’s stressed and exhausted with no control over what they’re doing. And so I think…I don’t think women decide to go start a business because they’re “Okay, I feel like taking a 50% paycheck, no problem.” They don’t think you’re doing that…that’s a choice. But I also believe that we sort of step back and say, “I don’t need to put up with all of this and I can go setup my own thing.” A challenge that we have in a big opportunity is…you know, imagine if there is a little bit more support for those ventures that are out there to get them from the 25%, to the 50%, to the 75%. That’s where we’ve designed our model because we think that there’s a huge opportunity to create some support there. And I think, you know, the biggest challenging factor there is that women generally put their heads down and just crank and get a dung on their own and they don’t ask for help.

 

Lesley:  So this is what I’m interested in because you offer so many platforms. You offer coaching platform, a mentoring platform, a networking platform, a seed funding platform. I mean it’s a multifaceted…

 

Vicki:     It needs to be. I mean that’s the only way to solve this, it’s the only way to solve this. Yeah.

 

Lesley:  So if you think about…actually this many streams of support, which is the one that you feel has the most potential to make a difference?

Vicki:     I think…I mean here’s the hard part, right? I think you need them all. So when I look at a full system and women tend to look at things holistically, right? So, when I step back and go, okay, if I put the next 20 years of my life towards this, how do you get underneath this problem, how do you solve it? Because in the past I had a venture firm and then I quote, “I have money so let me help with the money,” but the money without the support network isn’t enough. No, support network without the money isn’t enough. And then the big one that’s really missing are the stories like where is the inspiration? Where are the stories of success? Where is the redefining of winning, the redefining of success? There are so many companies out there with 5 million, 10 million, 15 million dollars in revenue that nobody hears about. The only thing we’ve put on the cover of a magazine is the IPL that huge, huge success story and that’s not just attainable by almost everybody. So unless we start to show these different pieces I don’t think we get there. And so when I step back I thought…you know, I had really thought about it like acupuncture. You know, you’re going to acupuncture and look at the system. They take the pulse and put needles in three different places, the needle put in the right place opens up the system to a whole different possibility. And so I thought, what are the acupuncture points to change this system? And for me it was finance media and education we need to operate…

 

Lesley:  Let’s talk about the education for a moment because one of the things that I find interesting is that we go back into some of the studies about women, and you’ve got them in your book which I think fascinating about young women…who right young women who plateau early because they feel they have an innate set of skills and talents. And then there’s this latest college study that says women are actually scoring lower than their male counterpart on entrepreneurial efficacy. Because they don’t see themselves in believing that they have the risk capability, or even the belief in themselves to be able to take on the type of ingenuity that needs to be taken on when you’re an entrepreneur. How do we go after those innate belief systems?

 

Vicki:     Yeah it’s interesting. Um, so I actually…this is it’s…um, we’ve been lecturing people on the rationality of things, right? “Just be bolder, just be more confident.” You know, “Suck it up!” That just doesn’t work, it hasn’t worked for decades. It’s not what women needs for whatever reason society brings us have to not be as confident. We’re like encouraged to be perfect and only stay in the perfect zone. And to struggle through things and to be validated for struggling through things isn’t something that happens with the girls and it happens with boys, right? So that’s one piece of the other pieces just…someone said to me yesterday at this event, “The thing I love about your approach is it’s a little bit different,” and I see people go out there and…it’s all about hugs and no business, or it’s all about business and no hugs and you’re in the middle. Like half of the work I do is just looking someone in the eyes when they’re totally struggling, and saying, “You can do it, you’ve got this. I know you can do it.” Like, “It’s hard to going through this but you’ve got it.” We’re not just surrounded by people who are being radically generous like that with each other. We’re saying, “Oh you don’t feel confident.” First of all we don’t even say, “I don’t feel confident,” there’s no safe place to do it. It’s only when we’re getting groups of women that we go, “Oh my God, do you feel this way too? Oh thank God, I thought I was crazy,” right?” Because we’re surrounded by all these like boisterous boldness, “I’m going to disrupt the universe 28 year old hoodie wearing dude.” And then we think, “Oh there’s something wrong with us if we don’t feel that way.”

 

Lesley:  And I think the whole notion of this perfectionism that we have is something unique, in a sense that failure is not an option. So, I don’t know…I mean I took a soaring rise in my career and then at 34 years of age face my first failure. Why couldn’t I have had it before that? Because when you finally hit that noggin, like you just crash. If you had no experience, on my case, no experience about what disappointing myself was really looking like. And I think that that becomes really a hard lesson to swallow for many of us women who get on a trajectory. And then something goes normal which is we get off the trajectory and we don’t know what to do with that.

 

Vicki:     Yeah. Well I think I faced a ton of failure points along the way, and it’s scary to get back on after, right? Like once you’ve done that. But the thing for me is my desire to create an impact is far greater than the fear I feel, far greater. And I have a friend Gina Mollicone-Long who ask me this question which I hate, neither she makes me crazy when she does this but it’s such a good question. She’s like, “How much do you really want it?” Like, “If you really wanted it, you’d be pushing through your fear.” And so I think about that a lot, right? Like if I’m really afraid to kind of go in this direction, how much do I really want to go in this direction? So, um, I think that’s part of it but there’s absolutely…without a support network, without supportive people around you, to help you when you’re feeling like it’s really rough…there’s no way I would be here without having 4 or 5 key people in my life that when it’s really rough I call them and they just make me laugh. They get me out of my own way…

 

Lesley:  Oh my gosh! “Making us laugh.” I think that’s probably the best thing that anyone can do for us.

 

Vicki:     It’s just huge. Like I get on the phone crying, going, “Nobody gets it, it’s so hard. Da da da…” And they just like totally gig, make me giggle. And then I feel like, “Okay really? Get over yourself moving on.” Of course it’s hard, this is the point, you know.

 

Lesley:  I wouldn’t be here unless it was hard, and I wouldn’t get through it unless…

 

Vicki:     It wouldn’t be worth it, you know. And I mean what’s hard, it’s just we’re trying to control things that’s not working at this moment. “It’ll change, it does.”

 

Lesley:  Well that’s one of your principles, isn’t it?

 

Vicki:     Yeah. I mean, it really doesn’t have to be…I find it when it’s “hard” it’s because I have the wrong design, or the timing is off or something like that. Because my experience has been that is effortless when you’re in the right zone doing things for the right reason and the timing is on. You know, the challenge of life is tapping into that.

 

Lesley:  Yeah. Now, I’m curious about the market definition of those that come into your enterprise. Is there a demographic in terms of age, past life?

 

Vicki:     Yeah, past life exactly, there’s tribe for sure. So there’s…the greatest feedback I get from my book is, “It’s like you’re inside my head.” I hear that all the time, right? Um, so, there are people that just feel deeply dissatisfied with the way things are and really want to make a change, and feel kind of scared going there, and aren’t really sure where to start but have the deep desire to do that. That’s the kind of people that are showing up, and there is no demographic around that. So, you know, it’s really interesting. So, with the program that we’re doing now that’s called “Radical Generosity,” we have 90 year old grandmother showing up to contribute capital with 20 year olds coming together and pulling their money so they can be part of a new model to women who have been incredibly successful. I think if there is any sort of chunk of demographic, it would be 45 to 60 year old women who’ve been quite successful getting to whatever level in their organization, who are just like enough of this already. Really, like another generation of us being the only ones here, it makes no sense.

 

Lesley:  So let me fill the list here define Radical Generosity, and this campaign is 1,000 women contributing 1,000 dollars and the total pot is 1 million, and that 1 million dollars is going to be distributed using some very interesting criteria to ten ventures. Now, is there a demographic around the ventures who are showing up for that funding?

 

Vicki:     25 to 60.

 

Lesley:  Really? Interesting!

 

Vicki:     Seriously, like…

 

Lesley:  I’ve got this mindset that this is

 

Vicki:     It’s all young? Yeah.

 

Lesley:  Yeah.

 

Vicki:     No not at all. I mean it’s…so, our thing is you have to be majority woman-ant, woman-led and at least 50,000 dollars in revenue. The fastest growing group of entrepreneurs right now –50 plus women, women that are over 50. Talk about an awesome, low risk, amazing group to get behind, then we do every ton of experience who aren’t going to bail probably, who really understand the definition of whatever problem they’re solving and are stepping out, like that’s an awesome group to get behind. So now there hasn’t been…isn’t particularly young focused at all.

 

Lesley:  So that for me…you know, when I look at the literature and I interact with your website, whether the pictures that are taken or whatever, I have bias that is probably younger women.

 

Vicki:     Yeah.

 

Lesley:  This is very, very, enlightening because I think that…yes, we go on stages and faces of our entrepreneurial life, and we may start out young or we may be in mid-career doing extremely well and something happens. And we decide, “I want to breakout on my own,” and off we go again. So I’d love the fact that it’s inside different age ranges. But here’s my question, how do you get down to the ten ventures that you’re going to consider?

 

Vicki:     Yes, so we had 239 applications in eight weeks, and it’s the first time we launch this so it’s pretty good number from across the country in Canada. And out of that group what we did is we sent an email out to everyone who had contributed their thousand dollars up until that point, and said, “How many people would like to be involved in revealing the applications?” And we broke them down into 20 folders. It’s all done online, and so you would go and spend about an hour if you wanted to, that was the promise. Some of the women got so excited; one of them did 176 applications. She’s like, “I love this so much! Give me another one, give me another one!” We’re just laughing and she kept going through, but she had such a blast kind of going through in leading the different dreams that are out there. Where’s the stages of the business, how they describe where they are. And so, we had a very simple process, three questions that we ask you to consider. And the number one thing was, “Please be biased,” which is kind of the opposite of what most people tell you.

 

Lesley:  I love it.

 

Vicki:     Incredibly biased. And we’d like you to…. So, look at this business and say, “Is this a product or service that you’ve loved, that you would use or prefer to your friends?” –number one question, because otherwise what’s the point, right? It’s going to be a lot harder to support if they don’t really care about it. The number one was that, number two, “Do you think this entrepreneur has what it takes? Is there something about them in a spark that you’re kind of falling in love with?” And number three, “Do you think this business can grow?” Very simple, there were ten questions and it was green, yellow, red.

 

Lesley:  Like it. That’s it.

Vicki:     Now, 2 out of 5 on question 3, 6 out of 7 on questions like those things are so complicated, and at the end of the day you could be months and months of the diligence. And really, 9 out of 10 businesses fail in this venture space anyway, so nobody has got this figured out. I’m like, “Let’s simplify it and get to the core of what really matters.” And I think it’s that blink instinct, get incredible intuition where you just go, “Oh my god, I could’ve been thinking about this company how close that ideas…” That’s the kind of stuff that will light a fire under you that you’ll talk about at dinner parties that we know we’re going to deal with the impact. But now the next part is we’re going to get to the top 30. And then the first week of December we’ll have everybody go in and look through those 30 applications and you’ll have a video to look at, the application and some basic financials and you’ll just pick your top 10. Everybody go in and pick their top 10, and we hope it’s really easy to decide on the top 10 from that.

 

Lesley:  So, one of the things that interest in is as well is that one of other pieces of research I’ve done is that women tend to start businesses in areas that they are already interested in. In other words, service-based industry, they’re solving a problem that they themselves as a mother, as some kind of participant in the marketplace is having. And so they move into a service that solves a problem that they know well. One of the challenges with that is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re moving into product innovation or export level business that is where our male counterpart tends to take off in. So in other words, we do things that we kind of like doing and we try to extend ourselves into the marketplace of a problem that we’re having. But our male counterpart tends to look at the situation from a more global perspective, is that right or wrong?

 

Vicki:     I don’t know. I disagree a little bit with it. I think that everybody comes…I mean, you can’t create an innovation outside of the scope of what you foresee. And so, I think we come out and go what’s the problem that you see in your life that you want to solve and you get on it? So, the number one things that are getting funded in Silicon Valley these days are created by mostly young men under 30. And there was this great article written recently that said everything that’s getting finance there is things your mother no longer does for you. That’s the problem… Yeah, that’s the problem these guys have. So, “Mom I need a ride Uber,” “Mom what’s for dinner?” –Grub hug. “Mom I don’t have any clean clothes. –Alfred.” Right? Like, you can literally billions and billions of dollars…those are the problems that they have. Whereas, you know, some of the companies that we’re seeing show up are feminine products are toxic. So we have a company “Lunapads” that’s focused on that. Our plastic wrap which we wrap around our leftover food is made out of plastic. So a woman has come up with a new approach which is made out of bees was and it’s reusable called “Abeego,” and it’s just come to market. And there’s an app company that’s focused on autism and really interesting apps around that. From an educational perspective there’s a company 21toys which has 21st centuries …toys based on 21st century skills like failure and empathy. So, these are the kinds of companies that are emerging which are incredibly super meaningful. And you know, I rarely see women come forth with an app that isn’t going to do something for a better world, really. Like I…you know, we look much more deeply at these things. We don’t do things that are just like, “Oh, let’s create Angry Birds.” You know, “How about happy birds based on neuroscience that makes us feel better?” Like, “What? Why do we need Angry Birds?”

 

Lesley:  Because we live in a toxic world.

Vicki:     We live in a toxic world, yeah.

 

Lesley:  So, you have 10 days to go. Where you at in terms of your 1,000?

 

Vicki:     We are at about 360; we are surprised that it’s not at a thousand. Especially me of course, I thought it was going to be done in a week. And so that’s actually been a big surprise. And now our network is going, “What’s up with this?” You know, part of the thing is we didn’t have a deadline, and so we created a deadline now and that’s….

 

Lesley:  So hold on. That’s an interesting…

 

Vicki:     Yes it is.

 

Lesley:  Yes it is! So, when you started the initiative “Radical Generosity,” you didn’t actually put a timeframe on it?

 

Vicki:     We have no deadline for applications, because we literally… You know, I sat down with the sponsors who are behind us and most of my friends, and said…like we thought we’re going to have a waiting list. We sat and the problem we were thinking about is, “Oh my God! What do we do with all the people in the waiting list?” It’s quite surprising that this is where we are. I mean, I may have done this in another city, like if we done it in New York it might have….we’ll see where New York will be one of my next ones. But in Canada you felt these like new ideas don’t necessarily take off like wildfire. You know, it takes a while for things to sort of impact… So that’s interesting, yeah.

 

Lesley:  ….have you thought of changing price point? I mean, you’re not going to do it this campaign, but is it going to stay…?

 

Vicki:     Well, yeah, I think there are all kinds of different models around this. The thing with this is we want to keep it super simple. And there’s a bit of a…these are a thousand women that can help you as an entrepreneur get where you need to go. Imagine having a mindshare of a thousand amazing women across the country from coast to coast, thinking about your business and investing in your success. There is just a whole story around to why that matter, if we need to kind of tweak it we will. I still think a thousand as… The thing that’s most interesting to me is if we hit a thousand immediately and it’s always easy to like go back and –you know—tweak your story on these things. But, if we hit a thousand immediately – you know—there wouldn’t be as much of a chance for engagement like there is right now. There are 350 women and going 360, saying, “Why aren’t we at a thousand? What’s up? Come on, people!” And so, it’s now shifted over to them, they’re totally taking ownership of this. They’re calling they’re friends, they’re emailing me, they’re having dinner parties talking about these things and that’s powerful. I’m excited about that and if we are… I mean, if we only get to 500 it’s not a conversation I really want to have, but if we only get to something like that then we look at that and go, “Hmm this is where we are. Why is this so difficult for us to write checks for a thousand dollars? –Because it is. Um, men are much more likely and much more used to writing big checks.

 

Lesley:  Jesus, murphy for a golf round…

 

Vicki:     But we will think about this three times, we spend money on our kids first; we’re almost always last, right? And so, if we think about this from our perspectives, and so… I think there’s some good data, there’s a really interesting learning…

 

Lesley:  Meaning is the new money girlfriend, so what do we learn from this that we can translate? You know, I think that’s something definitely to be set forth. So, the other thing that I’m absolutely intrigue by is the collaborative venture of having the women decide amongst themselves. So, to the audience who may not know, you take the ten ventures that have received the top award and they have to decide which of them are going to get what and you give two principles. One is that they can equally divide it amongst themselves. And the second one is, we can’t all give it one. Alright, so first of all, how you did came of the two principles?

 

Vicki:     Well, first of all, winner takes all model, it is what we’ve got out there right? So there’s a million enterprise, that’s what we do everywhere. And that’s not working because 85 people on the planet have the same wealth as three and a half billion people because of winner takes all. That’s “see you later.” Okay, so we need a different one. So we knew we didn’t want that. And then the next thought was…because this was an experiment like how we’ve done it twice before with a smaller amount of money and we’re looking for new models. Like, what do you do when you have full of capital, how do you use it to have the biggest impact? And what if we turned it over to the peer group as supposed to be “experts” who really don’t know what they know. Yeah, anyway, and I thought what would be the natural next thing that women would do up there in a room together, and for sure that would be divided up evenly? That’s the easy copout, right? That’s the easy thing to do. But just so I’d love all these women, they’re so, “We’ll just all take a hundred thousand dollars. That’s easy.” And I thought, “No, no, no, you can’t get off that easy. There’s a work to be done here.” And, you know, one of the other…there’s a whole bunch of design principles in this but another one is, “It’s in general quite challenging for us to stand up and fight for our worth and negotiate.” I mean, basically you come in and however they decide to do we have no idea, they set up how they’re going to figure it out. It’s so far and the two times we’ve done it. In the first time it took six hours, they asked everyone to come in with a budget and asked for a number, and they went line by line through each other’s budgets. And they said, “Why are you spending money on that? Why would you do that?” Or, “I know somebody who can give you a discount on that.” Or like, literally, line by line so they got to know each other’s business as well and why are you getting that much. So that was interesting and it was radically collaborative. And they walked out and they came to me. Honestly, I was super surprised everybody got money the first time they did it. And as I started reading off the numbers, they said, “You know, 5 thousand…it was 50 thousand dollar pool, 5208, 6000.” And I’m like, “Hmm, that sounds kind of like dividing it up evenly to me as they were going through the numbers, but I think the highest was 7 thousand and the lowest was a thousand. And so I said after, “Well, I don’t get this. Why is everybody getting money?” There’s three ventures here that are definitely ahead of the others that could have a bigger impact. And that was the first time I’d sort of invoked this authority figure, and they say, “Let us think about it.” And so they close the door, and then a couple of hours later they came back and now they were mad. “You know what, we’re sticking with this and here’s why. Everybody here is incredible; everybody is going to do something amazing with their life. If it’s not, this business, it’ll be another business and we all want to be here to help each other succeed.”

 

Lesley:  And what I understand from reading part of that story is that they created a network amongst themselves to continue to support each other. And what I thought really interesting is like, you know, if I’m in a group of women and you can take my 4 thousand dollar problem away for me because you can offer me that service and barter, then I can do that. And that’s a kind of cultural impact that you’re having, Vicky, with this kind of work. So, we’re coming near the end of our time and I’m curious if you were to look, let’s go three years from now. What would you like to see that would have demonstrated think like a SheEO is actually gaining serious traction?

 

Vicki:     Yeah. Well I would love to see us in 500 cities around the world; I’d like to see this model replicated all over the place. I would love to see these groups of…this is really the starting point, this active radical generosity, this thousand dollar contribution. What I’d love to see is a bunch of spin-offs coming off at. So for example in this first round that we’re doing, we help those companies grow 50% in revenue for example. And they went from 350k to 700k, and they need another round of financing because now they were excited to grow even more because they had this whole network getting them excited what they could do. And then we do pure base lending with a return, or we set up syndicates. Or we start to create marketplaces between our cities so the person who is based in Toronto starts to export to the city in Mumbai, and the thousand radically generous women in Mumbai are helping them get plugged into the marketplace so they can grow more quickly. It’s the connective tissue amongst these things that starts to grow. And who knows, maybe there are other models that start to emerge out of this financing, like, “How do we use our money differently and how do we recognize that we have everything that we need around us to change things?” If we start to create a culture of women asking for help and helping each other, this world is going to look so different.

 

Lesley:  So, we create an outer reflection of our inner reflection. So, the journey that we’re in on the inside is the journey that we are most engaged in on the outside. So what about Vicki?

 

Vicki:     Yeah. So the thing for me is I feel very passionately about this vision, and I’m clearly healing my feminine side with this project. You know, I am super comfortable and I’m literally clearing my closets of all of…like the sports metaphors, the male metaphors that are everywhere like that was balsy like all those things that we use that we need to clear out of our language. Um, I think I’m working on receiving from others. This is a very big deal for me to…I’m great at helping, I’ve been radically generous, I’ve mentored over a thousand young people. To have all these women coming forward and helping me even though it’s not me, like with this vision in this dream and to stay grounded or not, and to be honored to be doing this work, to stay present with this unbelievable amount of energy coming my way and to receive that, it is a huge, huge project for me.

 

Lesley:  I think for women receiving is much harder than giving.

 

Vicki:     Oh absolutely is, absolutely.

 

Lesley:  And what I want to sign-off on in today’s interview is much love to graceful, Vicki.

 

Vicki: Oh thank you so much! Thank you! It’s actually my favorite word by the way. You don’t know this but it’s always been my dream to be a graceful leader. How can I be a graceful leader, it’s my project. Thank you.

 

Lesley:  Thank you!

 

So here’s my call to action and my challenge to all of us. I am going to pledge 1 thousand dollars to become one of the 1 thousand women, who are going to invest in the ten ventures that are going to change the lives of these women and then the process changed the game of female entrepreneurs. Now, if you’re like me, we really don’t have access to that kind of money. But we do have friends, we do have colleagues, we have partners, we have networks of individuals who would love to contribute. So why not create a fund and build it to 1 thousand dollars? And in doing so, place that 1 thousand dollar investment under the name of the woman in that group who you feel should most be recognized as the investor. Now, Vicki also talks about so many other ways in which we can get together but mentoring programs, and partnering, and networking and education. But you know what, there’s beacons of light all over this world of women’s groups that are doing this. They’re doing it tirelessly.

What if we were to create the connective tissue, where we could have these groups connected through SheEO world? No I’m not talking about the only network to be a part of, but what if we were to choose SheEO as one of our networks to become a builder of a global infrastructure? Now I’m not talking about our old classic model, you know, let’s join the network and get told how to do it because this is a network of women thinking differently, doing things differently, getting those tanks out of our heads so we can create a global platform where we can help one another learn about what it means to do business in…around the world with one another. So do check out SheEO.world, find out more about “Radical Generosity”, take a look at Vicki’s book “Think like a SheEO” and stay tuned to me.

This is your show and I’m your host, you can find me on www.womenwholead.co as well as on facebook “women who lead radio show.” I think that we as individuals make all the difference in the world. But together, now that’s what I call changing the game. See you next time.

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