social change | September 16, 2013

Social Change Speaker Jessica Jackley: We Need More Female Entrepreneurs

"We must increase the number of women entrepreneurs, of women CEOs, of women leaders in every field," social change speaker Jessica Jackley tells The Wall Street Journal. In her Chelsea Clinton-approved article (the former First Daughter recommended it highly on her Facebook page this week), Jackley says that women in leadership roles are a huge asset. Unfortunately, there are few of them. "Only 35% startup business owners are women," Jackley writes. "The percentages get smaller as the companies get bigger; only 10% of Inc. 500 companies are women-led." These are disheartening statistics given that she argues companies with female leaders have a greater chance at success than those without.

As a Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer of KIVA and a current Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, Jackley has seen the benefits of female leadership in action. Not only does she say that return on equity is higher and exit success is more likely with female leadership, but creating diversity in the workplace is a valuable asset as well. "Diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones," she explains, "as multiple perspectives force more careful processing of information, which ideally leads to better solutions to problems."

With all these positives, what's preventing more women from climbing to the top of the career ladder? Jackley cites lack of role models or mentorship and difficulty accessing start-up capital as external barriers. She also says some women lack the confidence to pursue their own business venture, or, wish to attain a work-life balance that's difficult to achieve with the demands of a startup. "The hardest part is starting," Jackley admits, "[but] once she’s begun, there’s no telling how far she can go." It takes practice, she says, but practice—even when met with failure—is the best way to become a strong leader. In her work as a social entrepreneur, venture capital partner, and as educator, Jackley teaches women about how to begin their entrepreneurial journey. And, why it's important that they do.

In her keynotes and lectures, Jackley shares personal stories of both her successes and her failures. In doing so, she shows audiences what to expect when carrying out their dream, and, how to overcome any obstacles that will inevitably stand in their way. She presents powerful and practical takeaways on business, social change, and the power of human capital to achieve your goals. To book Jessica Jackley for your next corporate event, conference, or other speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency.

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science | September 15, 2013