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In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think the expectation that women uniquely give up something to be an executive compared to men is a problem mindset that can set the tone for how women are treated. Being an executive at some companies requires a level of commitment that may limit your personal time, may require unexpected travel and tighter integration of your job into your life. I think there may be a common bias that being an executive harder for women, which I don’t believe is true. Women and men can be caregivers, make a home, raise children and more and still have careers as executives. The one exception is that women have children and time off work and workplace acceptance of this fact makes a big difference. The good news is that parental leave trends for women and men and benefits and policies are starting to make having a family easier for anyone in the workforce whether you have a child, adopt or foster.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

Fund-raising was significantly hardener than I imagined. I pitched to over 40 VCs, on average 3 times and in some cases I pitched 4–5 times before getting a No answer. I landed in a good place with $2M in seed funding High Alpha, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, local entrepreneur Steve Cage and other local Indianapolis angel investors. But, recent studies show that only 2.2% of women CEOs are able to land VC funding in 2018, so I feel extremely fortunate. VC interest after closing our seed round picked up significantly, so discussions venture capital firms is on-going, which I didn’t really expect. I thought that there would be a break in pitching and while I’m not actually raising a round, I’m continuing to pitch and build relationships with potential investors.

Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive?

I think the most important trait is being comfortable and confident in making decisions. Many times these decisions will need to be made with the best available information, made quickly and could be pivotal for your company. Along with being decisive is the ability to be or appear to be cool under pressure and animated and excited when you may not feel it. There’s lots of pressure and stress in an executive position and if you don’t handle pressure and stress well most of the time, this type of role might not be the best fit for you. That said, I think it’s possible to grow into an executive role as long as you are aware of areas of growth that you need to focus on and you invest in those areas.

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