Boatside Chat #7 with Indu Navar asks how we can get more women CEO’s and founders? Indu challenges women to network, even when it does not come naturally. Women helping one another actively is an important way to drive progress and to make a difference. Women rising to leadership positions benefits everyone. It helps both the ecosystem and the economy.
Indu Navar is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who has beaten the technology track since the first bubble in the founding team of legendary Healtheon (WebMD) of The New New Thing. She has founded, built, CEO’d and succesfully exitedCloud Enterprise Application company Serus Corporation. You can contact her on Twitter @indunavar.
See also previous boatside chats with Indu:
Marten: Have you in your life received advice and mentorship more from men or from women or from both?
Indu: Early on when I started the company, from women. I just was very curious about whether I was capable of starting a company. Not only that I wanted to make sure, I had a young child, whether is it possible? I just sought out women who were entrepreneurs or executives to just learn about how they do it, and whether everything turned out okay.
I was seeking data. I needed that validation and assurance that I am not going to be regretting some part of my family life if I took on this.
Once I started the company, once we got to a stage where I was a CEO of a growth company, I would say most of them were men. Just because there are more men than women. In business.
Marten: In business.
Indu: Also women don’t tend to… I’ve had a lot of women who said “You know I really don’t have the time. I’m running the company,” or “I’m in a company, and I’ve got children, that’s my focus. I don’t tend to network” or “I don’t want to mentor because that’s second priority for me.” You don’t get so much time from women just because their focus is very different. So you tend to go to more men.
The point about how women can actually progress, or can really make a difference is that when women are with each other and they have to network, it’s very uncomfortable. Unless they’ve known each other. If they’ve known each other they never stop talking. But when we don’t know each other we don’t want to talk to each other.
The whole networking doesn’t come naturally, and I think that women in business have to network, have to network to each other and help each other. I would say helping each other and trying to say “I want to help you because you’re another woman.”
I think as women rise up it’s going to benefit me too, because I’m not going to be the only person who’s fighting this fight, or being so different that I have to fight my fight. Actually it helps the ecosystem, and it helps the economy because the more women are successful the more people are helping the economy. I would say women networking with each other and helping each other is a very important aspect.