The Power of Women at the Table

By Endeavor Greece Mar 7, 2024

The Power of Women at the Table 

Let’s state the obvious - the more we empower and nurture any minority - women being one, the more we dismantle barriers that will foster personal growth and ignite a ripple effect that brings forth positive change not only in the spheres of business and politics but also throughout society.

Statistics reveal ongoing challenges for women in entrepreneurship and tech. The trend of women being underestimated, under-utilized, and under-compensated persists, says Nicky Goulimis, Co-Founder at Tunic Pay & Nova Credit. For instance, in the male-dominated VC industry, only 15% of decision-makers are women, with 92% of firms having more men in such positions (Sifted, Pitchbook). This disparity impacts meeting outcomes, pitch questions, and fundraising struggles for entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.

Is thick skin enough?

In most cases, no. In the face of disparities in engagement and results between men and women, coupled with the additional challenges that start-ups often encounter, resilience emerges as a critical quality for female founders, expressed Eirini Schlosser, Founder & CEO of Dyania.

The ability to bounce back swiftly from setbacks, adapt to changing circumstances, and persevere through obstacles is crucial. It's not just about working harder but also about navigating through gender biases and overcoming systemic barriers. Resilience empowers female founders to confront these challenges head-on, ensuring they can thrive and succeed in the competitive entrepreneurial landscape.

Confidence evolves alongside personal and professional growth. To conquer challenges, embrace the delicate balance of hard work, seeking assistance, and self-care. Despite the daunting nature of diverse roles on your journey, Believe in your instincts," Cristina Piedrahita, seasoned Investor, Advisor & Volunteer Advises. Developing persistence as your tool for skill mastery will empower progress in both personal and professional spheres.

Whether you're a new intern with fresh ideas or the Chairwoman of a big corporation, how you bring your unique perspective to the table is entirely up to you. In the workplace, vulnerability and empathy often carry a negative connotation, with a pervasive misconception that they equate to weakness, particularly for women. However, when combined with assertiveness, empowerment, and collaboration, they demonstrate strength and transparency as a leader. This fosters a culture of psychological safety and trust, showcasing a holistic approach to leadership that is beneficial and transformative.

Fostering strong team bonds requires open communication, celebrating successes, and encouraging innovation from all team members. Rather than leaning towards traditional methods of leadership, prioritize inclusivity and value everyone's contributions. This approach not only fosters creativity and innovation but also empowers women and promotes diversity. Leadership styles that value and incorporate diverse viewpoints contribute to creating a more creative, resilient, and adaptable team environment with richer outcomes, says Dr. Maria Chatzou Dunford, CEO & Co-Founder at Lifebit.

If you’re a male and reading this, and thinking - yes, but I possess these qualities too - well you’re right. This is about utilizing diverse perspectives to fortify and enhance team dynamics, irrespective of gender.

Leadership styles: Empathy, Meticulousness, & Decisiveness

The way a female leads, may not differ much from their male counterpart, but here is a glimpse into how our female founders get things done. Fostering a culture of innovation and clear direction paired with emphasizing a need for diverse perspectives enables your team to succeed.

Eirini Schlosser, Founder & CEO of Dyania, breaks it down for us:

  1. Empathy: Everything drives people. People drive everything. Lead with a real-time & astute understanding of how each person perceives, understands, and receives information.

  2. Meticulousness: Think 10 steps ahead. Anticipate various scenarios and be proactive to challenges for better navigation

  3. Decisiveness: Making a decision, even if it turns out to be the wrong decision, is better than making no decision.

From a more practical perspective, Rania Lamprou, Co-Founder & CEO of Simpler, mentions from experience that a female-led team might approach product development with a greater emphasis on user-centric design, considering diverse user needs and contexts, leading to products that appeal to a broader audience. The domino effect continues as it drives innovation and opens your product to new markets which demonstrates the profound impact of female leadership on both the workplace and the world at large.

That being said, imposter syndrome is real, and it’s safe to say that you might come head-to-head with it at some point. How do our female leaders tackle this and put these misconceptions to rest? Focus on acknowledging your achievements and establishing confidence in yourself and in the work that you do. Though everyone faces moments of doubt, instead of looking inward at your qualifications - look for mentorship. “Nobody has the answer to everything, and that’s why advisors exist”, says Eirini from Dyania. “Building a supportive network that will help you navigate your moments of doubt is key in a fast-paced tech industry”, Maria from Lifebit adds.

A piece of advice

  1. A coffee chat goes a long way.

Admire someone & their work ethic? Reach out, Rhea Founder at Rhea Kalo, Workhug & Investment Manager, suggests. Most success stories involve people from all different kinds of backgrounds whom they have learned a thing or two from. Whether you have a common contact or not, put yourself out there and let others become part of your story.

2. Find your emotional support water bottle (ref)

It’s obvious that we are not superheroes, but what if we want to be? Define what being a superhero means to you, set your limits & boundaries, and balance your life accordingly. That’s easier said than done - so hear us out. Above all believe in yourself, when you’re truly passionate about something - like the saying goes “If there’s a will there’s a way.” 

Let other people be key components to your success. No, we don’t mean your employers, bosses, or investors - Cristina Piedrahita, emphasizes finding mentors that you can lean on for advice at work and a partner or close friend that you can find comfort in at home.

3. It can be a tough world

“Let failures fuel your strength,” Rhea says. How will you ever learn if you stay comfortable and don’t make mistakes? Persevere, and come to terms with very early on, that you will make mistakes. Better learn from them than get down on yourself.

Thank you to our Ambassadors; Cristina Piedrahita & Rhea Papanicolaou, Endeavor Entrepreneurs; Maria C. Dunford & Nicky Goulimis, and ScaleUp Entrepreneurs; Eirini Schlosser, & Rania Lamprou for their insights!