by David Drake
Compared to an all-male ensemble, which gets funded by Venture Capital firms 4 times more than teams led or composed of at least 1 female, startups founded by women only receive 8% of the VC funding pie. A CB Insights study revealed that when women become partners in a VC firm, funding for women-led firms hiked significantly to 58%. I would like to see more women becoming investors and entrepreneurs and more men investing in women-led companies.
In my global roadshow to 40 countries early this year, I had the privilege to keynote an event in Qingdao, China for 30 young females aged 18 to 40, who are being groomed to be future matriarchs of their family offices, the power of women leadership became even more imminent and crucial to me. Women in leadership and entrepreneurial positions have shaped history globally. Their remarkable role in the families who have raised men and women that led innovation, inventions and ground-breaking ideas is also nothing short of phenomenal.
These powerful quotes from 20 inspiring women have made an indelible mark on my thoughts and decisions in my more than 20 years in finance and in doing businesses:
1. Queen Victoria – She became the queen of Ireland and Great Britain at the age of 18. Queen Victoria was the epitome of British imperialism.
2. Margaret Thatcher – Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister and popularly known as the “Iron lady”, she was an important and controversial figure in the world of politics.
3. Indira Gandhi – She was India’s very first female Prime Minister and was one of the country’s influential politicians.
4. Harriet Tubman – A humanitarian, abolitionist, and a spy for the United States. Harriet Tubman embodied the word fearless, as she had led a thousand slaves to freedom.
5. Joan of Arc – A French heroine, Joan of Arc led the French troops to victory. She died a martyr.
6. Soong Mei-ling – She was the wife of President Chiang Kai Shek and became the first lady of China. Nicknamed the “Dragon lady” and “Madame Chiang”, Soong Mei-ling was a pivotal figure in Chinese history.
7. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – She is an economist, influential leader, and served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also played a big role in boosting and stabilizing the economy of Nigeria.
8. Mae Jemison – She is the very first African American who went to space. Aside from being an astronaut, she is also a physician, a teacher, a volunteer for the Peace Corps, and heads two technology firms.
9. Sheryl Sandberg – She is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and became the first female to be part of the board of directors. She is also an activist, author, and the founder of LeanIn.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to support women.
10. Oprah Winfrey – She is one of the most influential media personalities who used her voice, literally and figuratively, to make a difference and empower people especially women. Oprah Winfrey bravely broke down barriers with the issues she focused on her talk show and became a role model for black women.
11. Melinda Gates – A successful businesswoman, Melinda Gates is also a powerful philanthropist, and is passionately dedicated in helping women all around the world. She is the wife of Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.
12. Indra Nooyi – She is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. Indra Nooyi greatly contributed in the expansion and diversification of the company’s products. She is known to be a very hardworking person, who refuses to follow the usual norms of society.
13. Helen Keller – She was an inspirational and powerful figure not only to women but to everyone. Helen Keller was devoted in empowering the blind and deaf people, as she herself became blind and deaf at a young age.
14. Marie Curie – She was a Polish scientist who made a mark in the field of radioactivity. Marie Curie was also the first female Nobel Prize recipient and the very first person to win in two different categories.
15. Madeleine Albright – A diplomat and politician, Madeleine Albright was the first female to serve as the Secretary of State of the United States.
16. Audrey Hepburn – Known to be one of the most beautiful women of the twentieth century, she made a name for herself in Hollywood as a British actress. Later on, she devoted her life as a humanitarian and a UNICEF ambassador.
17. Wilma Rudolph – A decorated athlete, she overcame a lot of medical challenges during her childhood. Still, this did not stop her from being the first American female track and field runner to take home three gold medals in the Olympics during the 1960s.
18. Jane Austen – Known to be one of the most popular authors of her time, she helped pave the way for women writers. Now, her works are deemed classics in literature and widely used in universities.
19. Anne Sullivan – Dubbed as the “Miracle worker”, Anne Sullivan was the very patient teacher and companion of Helen Keller. She was a gifted educator who made a difference in the field of education, especially to the disabled.
20. Golda Meir – She was the first female Prime Minister of Israel and the fourth person to hold that position. Golda Meir was also a teacher.
It’s no longer a question if women are capable and up to the task of leading organizations and heading their own companies. Throughout history women have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with, whichever road they take, and these women are powerful examples. Personally, their quotes have immensely shaped how I live and even inspired me to write a book. Gender does not and should never be a factor in doing business. Investors should be passionate in funding women entrepreneurs as they are with men.