As we close out March, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on and honor women’s contributions to our history during Women’s History Month. It wasn’t that long ago that our rights and our stories went unnoticed despite our achievements and our leadership.
Did you know that until 1988 women entrepreneurs couldn’t get business loans without a male relative as a cosigner? It was only 34 years ago that the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 was signed – 34 years!
Now, according to the United States Census Bureau in an article from just last year, women-owned businesses are on the rise, but we still continue to lag in national earnings. American Express’s State of Women-Owned Businesses Report said that in 2019, women-owned businesses represented 42 percent of all businesses and generated revenue of 1.9 trillion. We can’t be slowed down as all women continue to work to level the playing field.
How does Bounce stack up?
Since Bounce Innovation Hub’s launch, we have served 156 women entrepreneurs representing 47.7 percent of all our clients served since inception. Within the last two years, we have concentrated our efforts even more to serve more women entrepreneurs and have reached at least 50 percent of women served in 2020 and 2021.
Lastly, we are proud that our Bounce internal team is over 50 percent women with two-thirds of our executive team represented by women leaders.
Speaking of the executive team, we asked our two leading women Jessica Sublett, COO, and Jeanine Black, CMO, to reflect on some questions for Women’s History Month.
What does representation mean to you in the workplace?
Jessica: Representation looks like having women in all ranks across an organization. We may not always be at the tippy-top (one day), but we should at least be in the room and at the tables where important decisions are being made. Our influence can be felt regardless of who is at the helm. If you have something to say, speak up!
Jeanine: Representation for me looks like women in leadership positions where they directly affect a company or organization’s operations, mission and strategic goals. Obviously, you want women at all levels, but unless there are women in leadership, it is unlikely their voices will be heard.
What advice would you give to other women in your field?
Jessica: Find someone whose career or role inspires you and work to understand how they got there. I think you’ll learn that oftentimes; you have to put your head down and just execute excellent work. Your work will speak for itself – trust me. I’m a firm believer in the phrase that “opportunity happens when luck meets preparation.” If you’re not working to be as prepared as possible, then when luck plays its part, the opportunity won’t be there.
Jeanine: Hold your head high and don’t apologize for voicing your thoughts and opinions and exerting your power. In my field (public relations and communications), in particular, it is essential that you are honest, transparent and forthright. Your colleagues are looking to you for advice and council on things that could deeply affect your organization. Trust in yourself and your experience and you will succeed. I one hundred percent believe in women’s intuition – use it!
What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs/business owners from your experience working at Bounce?
Jessica: Use your voice and don’t forget that all you have to do is ask – the worst someone will say is, “No.”
Jeanine: I’d reiterate what I said above – don’t be intimidated and trust in yourself. You’ll have roadblocks every step of the way. Just stay the course and by all means, don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you are mature and experienced enough to know that you cannot possibly do everything. And to that, surround yourself with good people who complement your skills and personality.
Women’s History Month may be over, but our dedication to women entrepreneurs continues. Let’s continue to regularly honor all women in our lives and support one another all year long.