Women + Innovating + Networking + Growing + Scaling
Women + Innovating + Networking + Growing + Scaling
Let’s step into our authentic feminine power and BE the change we want to see – in life and in business.
Because when you’ve pushed your limits and faced your deepest fears as an ‘EntrePioneer’, you cannot help but evolve your consciousness about living an “all in” purpose-driven life.
Pattern Interrupts, EntrePioneering and My Moonshot Mission
Starting and scaling any business tests every fiber of your being every hour of every day. Pioneering a new disruptive technology that requires a culture change or behavioral shift to succeed…is on a whole other level.
Especially when you are a woman.
“Someone’s going to do it,” the venture capitalist told me after my ‘Series A’ pitch.
My team and I had explained how we had nearly 500,000 subscribers in less than a year. We shared that our new crowd-sourcing collaboration app had been praised my Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer as the “future of news”. We’d demonstrated how the technology was innovative, the team proven, and the business plan was scalable and tested.
“I AM doing it,” I responded.
It didn’t matter. I was told I didn’t “fit the pattern”.
As I walked out, I thought about what made me different, unfundable, a “pattern interrupt”.
I didn’t go to Stanford, MIT or Harvard. I didn’t drop out of any of those schools. I didn’t have a garage. I didn’t invent in my garage. I never eat Ramen noodles (too many carbs…). I wasn’t wearing a hoodie and jeans. I wasn’t in my early 20s.
I did have proven and heralded expertise in my industry. I had hired and fired and built large successful teams, spotted profitable opportunities and executed them successfully, driving growing revenue, earnings and user traction – growing an app I’d created to 3 million users in 8 months and a TV newsmagazine I’d pioneered for the BBC to an audience 20 million. I had successful built two startups before this one I was pitching. I had two small kids.
Oh, and I am a woman.
I didn’t fit the pattern.
I learned on that day that I would have to create my own pattern. That my sisters in business and entrepreneurship would have to find new creative ways of making their startups succeed.
And finally, the realization that to catalyze real change, we women must acclaim, affirm, and support each other. We must truly be there for each other, and BE the change we want to see in the world.
Now to that Moonshot Mission…
My moonshot is to invest in 100 female-founded and run scalable startups in the next 10 years.
And from mission control, the liftoff is this awesome podcast, Wings of Inspired Business.
Women are taking flight all over the world, in business and as leaders, showing their “SuperShero” powers in new and exciting ways. Their wings are lifting them to disrupt whole industries, and solve some of the most intractable challenges we face in our society.
And yet, many continue to succeed in silence.
Until now, of course!
My moonshot begins by affirming and acclaiming the entrepreneurial journeys of amazing female founders – entrepreneurs who, like me, have tested their limits, faced their fears, embraced realities they cannot control, ignored naysayers, found a way or made one.
EntrePioneers, really, who step up every day, fail but always #failforward, claiming their authentic feminine power, assisting their sisters, daughters, sons and men in their evolving wisdom, and growing in life and in business to manifest their dreams.
It is an honor every day to interview such amazing ‘SuperSheros’ who so generously share their secrets, their challenges, even their embarrassments.
And from the hundreds of women entrepreneurs I have interviewed so far for my book (out next year), I’ve learned how much wisdom there is to share.
From the profound internal shifts many of us must make to overcome limiting beliefs and behaviors we’ve learned from our culture, our parents, our schooling … to the external barriers, male attitudes and behaviors, the glass ceilings and “sticky floors” we must challenge as we ourselves grow and change.
These are complex challenges, and we are ALL more than capable to take it on. I’m so blessed and grateful to share the WINGS Of… Podcast. After all “ is the “pattern interrupt” we all need
WHO IS MELINDA WITTSTOCK?
“Mom, you’re enough”, my then 12-year-old daughter Sydney wrote to me two years ago.
With three words she moved to tears of intense joy.
Sydney and her younger brother Finn have seen me push through my fears and overcome obstacles, some ‘external’ beyond my control and others ‘internal’ borne of my own limiting beliefs, as I’ve built and led a succession of startups and suffered in a verbally abusive marriage. They’ve witnessed me grow as a person, learn to accept myself, and find love again.
With no safety net, it was all I could do but try my best day after day to provide for them, make them laugh, and teach them the things I never learned from school or my parents. Abundance mindset. Mindfulness. Financial independence. What it means to find our true purpose in life, and how to overcome fear, self-doubt, and the subconscious beliefs that stand between us and the lives we truly want to live.
I’ve learned that the Universe has a humble way of pushing you to your true and unique mission in life, and when you listen and align with that authentic purpose, you’re given a launchpad for greatness.
Now I feel I am stepping into my own authentic feminine power – my unique gifts, expertise and experience converging in a magical way to enable full alignment with my true purpose.
By now you can tell this is not how a usual bio reads, like a list of dates and positions held. Instead, I’m instead telling you a story, with a few disparate factoids:
- I earned my first $100 at age 5 going door-to-door with my black lab asking neighbors to pre-pay for my ‘show’, loosely defined as an interpretive dance routine with cartwheels.
- I was a competitive figure skater with a knee injury that cut my career short at 15.
- I was an activist in college that co-led a movement that succeeded in assuring my alma mater McGill University was the first to divest its investments from apartheid era South Africa.
- I was an investigative journalist on the Times of London who almost brought down the government with a scoop on a financial scandal that implicated 47 Conservative MPs.
- I was a BBC TV host and ABC News anchor who interviewed variously Steve Jobs, Yitzhak Rabin, Margaret Thatcher, and Twiggy, and created a BBC nightly newsmagazine and grew it to an audience of 20 million.
- I built an award-winning political news agency Capitol News Connection reporting on the local impacts of decisions made (or not) in the U.S. Congress – launching it when my daughter was only 6 weeks old, running around the Capitol with a microphone and a breast pump, and growing it to 200+ radio and TV station clients nationwide.
- I built and grew an interactive web app called “Ask Your Lawmaker” to 3 million users in 8 months.
- I’ve innovated brain-bending algorithms using natural language processing, clustering and classifier algorithms, and machine learning #AI to score the accuracy of crowd-sourced content (NewsiT) and then to understand people from what they share in their social media conversations to help businesses find their ‘believer’ customers and influencers (Verifeed) and connect authentically with them to assure lasting loyalty and viral uplift via our Return on Authenticity™.
- I’ve hung out deep in the Amazon jungle with the remote Achuar tribe, explored the world including the Egyptian and Guatemalan pyramids, run an “Amazing Race” in Buenos Aires with my Maverick1000 entrepreneur group, and in another team obstacle race around Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, my giant leap to the finishing line (a hot tub) splashed me ungracefully right next to the Virgin founder.
All of this and more helps me now to “connect the dots” about what it takes to succeed as a female entrepreneur, how to be heard with a unique voice above all the social noise and “infobesity”, and why businesses that do good for the world also do better for their bottom lines.
In whatever role, my constant has been to “change the world”, be a catalyst for trusted connection and conscious leadership, “give forward” in gratitude to improve our world, and be “all in” on everything – and everyone – I choose to embrace.
Now with WINGS of Inspired Business and my book on female entrepreneurship I am harnessing all my diverse insights and experiences to empower and enlighten women as inspired and conscious leaders so they can manifest the success of their dreams – and lift other women ‘SuperSheroes’ along the way!
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