Being a Black woman in business means facing the facts of being “underrepresented, underfunded and undervalued.” Don’t let this hold you back though. A recent article in Forbes, by Shani Syphrett, the founder and CEO of Jamila Studio (branding experts), tells us “Don’t Play Small”, and we’re listening.

Shani’s article reported on the takeaway dos and don’ts  from the 2018 Black Women Talk Tech Conference in New York which was attended by more than 400+ Black women founders. The community aims to create a new story for Black women who enter the world of business by opening conversations, providing support, giving advice and showing Black women that they can do anything and everything.

On the panel of speakers were women tech founders and allies:

“Jean Brownhill, Founder & CEO of Sweeten; Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Unilever-acquired Sundial Brands and new owner of Essence Magazine; Heather Hiles, serial entrepreneur, VC and former Deputy Director at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Alicia Syrett VC-fund founder and recurring panelist on CNBC’s PowerPitch.”

They shared their wisdom on the following five key takeaway points on how to grow, help others grow around you and create success:

Delegate to the right people as soon as you can

“Build a great team at any stage of your business. Know when you need to hire another person and what they should be responsible for. Hold them accountable to those metrics.” – Candace Mitchell, Co-Founder & CEO of Myavana

“Outsource what you can when you’re small and lean. Templatize the process as soon as you can.” – Dawn Dickson, Founder & CEO of PopCom

“Know the invisible cost of not having the right people on your team.” – Alicia Thomas, Founder & CEO of Dibs Technology

Build a network of genuine support

“Find similar founders and workshop the answers to your toughest problems. Find partners that are also serving your customer that you can build with.” – Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Microsoft

“There is the false sense of scarcity that there is only room for one of us at the top. But, we can only thrive if we all work together.” – Jean Brownhill, Founder & CEO of Sweeten

“We have a breadth of relationships but we need to have depth in those relationships. A relationship you can’t activate is not a relationship.” – Denise Hamilton, Founder & CEO of WatchHerWork

“Find people who can see your worth and advocate for you.” – Jasmine Greenaway, Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft

Black Women Talk Tech Conference

Stay focused and go after what you want

“Stay focused on what your North Star is and work to make it as singular as possible. It helps to make decisions when you know exactly where you are headed.” – Richelieu Dennis, Co-Founder & CEO Sundial Brands

“The only thing that separates you from what you want to do is your intention to do it.” – Juanita Lott, Former Founder & CEO of Bridgestream Software (now Oracle) turned Investor

“Own your affirmations. Make them declarative statements that you put on post-it notes that you can see every day.”- Samira Salman, Founder & CEO of Salman Solutions

“Lead with your credentials so people will pay attention. Present yourself with confidence, yet humility.” – Lauren Maillian, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor and Host of ‘Quit Your Day Job’

Acknowledge setbacks and move on

“Practice ‘intense realism’. Don’t complain about the hill. Acknowledge that it’s there and that you have to climb it.” – Samira Salman, Founder & CEO of Salman Solutions

“Take the no’s as a misalignment to your mission or use them as feedback to make things better.” – Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory

“Look beyond the microaggressions to get where you need to go. Being a woman and a minority, they are going to happen. But don’t let it weigh you down.” – Sarah Kunst, Founder & CEO of Proday

Use difference as an asset

“When you’re pitching people [clients, partners or investors], they want to know what your ‘why’ is. Spend most of your time perfecting the story around what your ‘why’ is.” – Rakia Reynolds, Founder & CEO of Skai Blue Media

“Don’t align yourself with people who are just like you because you don’t want to have tension or conflict. Tension and conflict [when respect is involved] breed innovation.” – Richelieu Dennis, Co-Founder & CEO Sundial Brands

“Keep diverse council and stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone.” – Lauren Maillian, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor and Host of ‘Quit Your Day Job’

This article was originally in Forbes, read it here.



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