A panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders joined MCB and our partner, FlexProfessionals, for an enlightening virtual discussion about female entrepreneurship for our September Women in Business event.

The panel was moderated by MCB Principal Kathy Flaherty and FlexProfessionals Partner and Co-founder Ellen Grealish. Panelists included Karen Livingston, Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at George Mason University; Veronica Matthews, founder of VLM Coaching and Consulting; and Roya Vasseghi of Vasseghi Law. As founders and business leaders, they provided an open and candid exchange about their challenges and successes, and shared inspirational anecdotes and insights.

Discussing the entrepreneurial journey and mindset, Livingston shared the advice she gives students as they learn how to go from “idea to launch.” She spoke of the importance of specific skill sets, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and negotiation – which are all valuable and transferrable.  She encouraged the audience to continually seek out opportunity and to think about talents that each of us have that can be applied in new ways in the world we are in.  “Out of disruption has come some of the greatest innovation in history,” she said.

Matthews, whose passion is supporting women, transforms struggling managers into leaders of impact and influence and recommends adopting an entrepreneurial attitude.  “It takes a lot of faith and resilience to be an entrepreneur,” she said.  She spoke frankly about her own challenges during a “year of failure” in 2018. Calling it her “fail forward” moment, she shared how she overcame her inner critic, leading her to the fulfilling work she does now.  “It all starts with your mindset,” she said,  “knowing who you are and believing in yourself.”

Vasegghi founded her law firm in January, just weeks before the pandemic altered our reality. “My network has been a great source of support,” she said.  She encouraged audience participants to nurture their relationships…”a network is only good if you have meaningful relationships with those people.”

Regarding the impact of the pandemic, there are silver linings. Grealish pointed out that the pandemic has expedited the adoption of flexible work, which can be beneficial to women who seek flexibility.

Each panelist had great advice for moving forward, even in the most challenging times.  “Find your tribe,” said Livingston, encouraging attendees to “seek out people who will support you as you step out of your comfort zone and try new things.”

Vasseghi encouraged the audience to embrace their failures – “learn by doing and then evolving,” she said.

Added Matthews, “Increase self-awareness in what else lies inside you.  Be your inner champion!”

To view the entire presentation click here.

To view a brief highlight click here.

If you have ideas for future Women in Business events, we’d love to hear from you!

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