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  • Claudia Reuter

You Can Change the Rules

By all standards, I've had a fairly unconventional career path. Many years ago, I was a young mom, anxious to figure out how to make progress in a career from which I had stepped away. I took a step that ultimately changed my life profoundly—I started a company. That company didn’t become a household name, but taking that step into entrepreneurship opened the doors to other leadership opportunities, in ways that I couldn’t have imagined at the start of the journey.

In the past few years, I’ve had an opportunity to work with founders who are on similar pathways, and I have been inspired by what people willing to take that step in entrepreneurship can accomplish for themselves, for their teams, and for the customers they impact.

I've also had the opportunity to lead innovation efforts inside of a large corporation, and to work with other leaders in similar positions at companies from around the world. Through all of my experiences, I've observed what research already tells us: innovation accelerates with inclusive teams and an entrepreneurial mindset. It's to a corporation's advantage to have diversity in their upper ranks, and yet the statistics on leadership continue to show that women are not advancing in their careers. As a result of systematic and individual challenges, women comprise less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEO roles, less than 20% of corporate board seats and receive less than 5% of venture funding available to build their businesses at scale. Moreover, a significant percentage of women step away from careers at various points for care-giving demands. While much can be done to shift the systems in place to accommodate a changing workforce, I also think we have an opportunity to encourage more people to consider entrepreneurship, and to provide additional resources to help them along the way. By starting a company, you automatically step into a leadership position and by doing so you can change many of the rules that make career progression challenging for others.

My new book, Yes You Can Do This! How Women Start-up, Scale up and Build the Life They Want is designed to encourage people to consider entrepreneurship as a path to individual and collective success. It's available now on pre-order, and will be on shelves in February.

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