Women in Business: Challenges & Opportunities
This is really exciting, I'm so happy to see so many of you here tonight wonderful. Welcome. Everyone my name, is Caroline, Bruckner and I am a professor. A tax professor at the Cocotte School of Business in addition. I'm the managing director of the coke I'd Tax Policy Center and, the, driver behind, this event tonight, and I would like to thank all of you for, joining us tonight for this very special discussion on, great business owners their challenges and opportunities, in. Particular I, would like to recognize the AU center of innovation for, offering to co-sponsor this event and to let us use their beautiful. New space I, also, want to say thank you to the Quahog Women in Business Club, the Cocotte accounting, Club the, 8u undergraduate, in, undergraduate. Women in business club and the, Cocotte diversity, and inclusion task force for their sponsorship, of this event and their, marketing, helps so many of you people are here tonight because of their efforts I would. Also like to extend a warm welcome to the, Institute, on Women's, policy research who. Recently became affiliated with, a you, through. In a research arrangement, with a use gender and Economics Department welcome. To a you were, really excited to have you here and now. I want to explain why, we're all here tonight for, Genesis, by organizing. This event and bringing you all together, occurred. In August of 27, 2016. When. My team and I set out to develop tax research on women. Business owners' after. Spending a year looking. At all of the available research, on a tax challenges that women business owners face I had, two key. Realizations. First. Effectively. Very, few people that had ever considered or researched how the tax code impacted. Women, business owners and what. Good research I could find on tax. And women. Business owners generally, had. Been done by faculty at ATU, I was, thrilled, to realize that on our very own campus, we have some of the most, accomplished. Academics, and faculty, working, on research critical, to new business owners in fact, with. Us tonight although, she's in her office is Syria Jensen. Who. Joined Co God's faculty, in 2016, and she, serves as a product director for the global entrepreneurship. And development Institute's, female entrepreneurship, index, also. We, have Janet Starsky, who, is an economist, and an adjunct professor at a youth gender and economics program who spent much of her career at the IMF and is, the leading national expert, on gender. And federal budget issues, she's, and she's, right here on campus. She was invaluable, in, critiquing. My research and helping me move forward with putting out my groundbreaking report billion, dollar blind spot how the US, tax code impacts, women business owners in June of to my 17. When. I realized how many amazing. Resources. And experts we had on our faculty, and with our alumni and affiliated, with au I realized, that we needed to bring them all together to celebrate them and recognize them and to pick their brains and there was no question that we were going to do this on any day other than today, which is the International, Women's Business Day or, International, Women's Day but. Because. I am a business professor I want to give you a very persuasive business, case as to why we're here today and why we should all be talking more about the many contributions and challenges women, business centers have but. First I ask you to indulge me a little bit because I want to give you a bit of a history lesson it's actually, National Women's History Month so. Just bear with me for a minute in 1972. The. US census, conducted the first-ever count, of how, many women business owners' there are in, this country that. Data was released in 1976. Often, when census does account it takes a few years to then process, the data they, subsequently, released it but in 1976. Jimmy, Carter was president his. Commerce, Secretary which. Has jurisdiction over, the Census Bureau was, a woman named dr. Juanita, crest she was a labor economist, who was particularly, interested. In women business owners and she, was appalled, when, she realized that of the more than 12 million, businesses, operating.
In The United States a little. Of only. 400,000. Of them were, owned by women business owners this. Shockingly, low statistic, urged. Even. Prompted, her to President, Carter to create, an interagency. Task, force for. Every federal agency to study their, enacting, laws and programs to determine whether, or not the agencies, themselves or, their programs were discriminating, against, women business, owners this, was perhaps the. Very first, time the, federal government, had ever considered, specifically. Women, business owners as an economic, force or. Even, the challenges that they faced. Fast-forward, to today there, are now more than 11, million, women, business owners as there. Are now more than 11, million women business owners of operating in the United States there, are almost 38. Percent of all, US, businesses these, businesses, employ more than 9 million people and contribute more than 1.6, trillion, dollars, to the gross domestic product, and, more. Women than men are starting, their businesses, the latest, census, data shows that women start, businesses, at rates five, times, faster, than, the national average. Women, of color in fact are leading this chart. And. Approximately, and they total approximately 44 percent of all of women-owned firms but. The news is not all good less, than 2% of, all women-owned firms have, revenues in excess of, a million dollars or more compared. To male owned firms of which more, than 6 percent have. Receipts of more than a million dollars and while women own 38, percent of all US firms and 20% of all employer firms they, still only contribute, about 4 percent total, to. The GDP, and that share. GDP, has, not changed, much in more. Than 20 years that, means that. There are more women business, owners but they are not growing and scaling to, the degree that we would like to see them growing scale in fact, a recent government study found that for every dollar earned by women-owned, firms a male owned firm earns, me as an adult and women. Still have challenges and accessing funds to grow and scale their businesses, I study, that one of our panelists here tonight conducted, ballot for every one dollar of. Twenty. Three dollars unconventional. The, only one dollar goes to a Manhattan firm so. Tonight we're, going to talk about the good and the bad we, want to know about the challenges and opportunities women. Business owners face and who, better to ask than, the very experts, alumni, and faculty, that we have here at AU and. So. Here's how the night is going to go we're. Going to start the program having, a conversation with. The women business owner former women, business owner because she sold her business last year and. Following. That we're going to be joined up here by our distinguished, panelists, and I, have a lot of questions for them I'm sure you do too let, me go first and we'll. Go through my round of questioning, and then we'll open up the floor to audience, questions with. That I want to introduce our first panelist, Nancy. Italia who engage in 15, started, rise raising, income for service of Everest. A nonprofit, organization that provides age the Sherpa community within, the Himalayan region rise. Started, a microcredit, network, within the isolated, regions of Nepal to help alleviate service, from poverty allowing. Families to start their own businesses, and create a steady stream of income for themselves within. Two, years rise, through its network from, 2 to, 52 families, and you soldier company in 2017. - Kiva microphones, and you, now serve on their Board of Advisors, thank, you so much for agreeing to do that. So. I think that the first question I'm going to know the interview and that everyone else here is wondering, is was it like to find other I. Think. That's the first thing. But. I'm glad I had that experience it. Was something. You, know very, young that, I did that I did but it. Has shaped, a lot of who I am today, you. Know as opposed to things I wasn't aware of before and. I. Really. Feel that the, person. That I today has, been from, all the exposure that I've gotten from just wine expeditions.
So. How did that experience influence, your decision to start your own business, well, the, main catalyst, is starting my business was, an. Exceptional. Man called Thor today he was my Sherpa and he, was my mountain guide and, he. Basically, helped. Me through my hardest times and you. Know he. Was there for my worst and he. Was known as the legend, because he climbed Everest nine times and, on his tenth ascent. He was killed, in an avalanche and, you. Know that, I took very personally, because I, felt. Responsible because. You know he was there for my death not, myself my, worst and you, know I wasn't there for his and. That's. Basically. You. Know I felt like I needed to do something and, I. Realized. That family, you know I wanted to make sure his family was. Was. Taken care of after him be gone and I, realized, that everyone, around like, there were so many other families that were had a similar started that absorption that. It. Was just lack. Of capital like access, to capital and. They. Had, these potential. To start their own businesses, but you, know obviously, they didn't have. Any. The means basically, yeah so, the prior idea, behind your business was, providing, access capital, to, these very removed villages. And families, in these remote areas of Nepal yeah, how. Would you begin together how, did you start to go about doing that well. You, know the. Way that I started off was first trying to get funding and I think that was the hardest part was. Nobody. Trusts in a 50 year old with their money and I, think I didn't. Have any experience and. I didn't have anything. Any, person, to like you know refer, to like listen I, can, do this and you. Know but. I think I was able to find the right people in my life, and you. Know trusted, in me trusted, in what I wanted to achieve and, I think, that's what that's, what they got me to who I am and what I do so. In terms of the network that you relied on did you go to your family or friends to get funding for your first business I. You. Know normally, women are like, research. Shows that like women tend to go towards their. Family, or friends to fund their business but. Because, I. Feel like for, sharpest trying to find someone. That's willing to bring, in you. Know investments. You. Need to understand, the, Sherpas, for. It firsthand and I think that's, where, they. Like that's. When I went over to dance. Petitions, so when I went on the expedition the climbers that I was with I. Asked. Them and I asked them for help. Because I thought that they would have just been understand. The situation, that the sharpest were in so, that, very personal, experience created. A professional network, that you can find funding, for. Your business. Okay. So what was the hardest part us during your business was it hunting I. Think. More than the funding, that was trying to have. The families, agree, to my plan. Because. It was so, little, backup to like what my company did and if you. Used a microcredit, network, and. What. A microcredit network, is is that it's the small loans that you give to people that you know don't have collateral. To offer or, don't, have a steady employment, or, just. You, know don't have the right access to be creditors, and, that's. Where rice steps in and says listen I can give you 1500, now please release, and. You're expected, to pay back no interest, in after, six months and, you. Know that's, when, the families, are like why would I, get. 1500, from you and have to be expected, to pay back when I can just receive.
1500, As a grant from a different nonprofit. And I think trying to explain, to them the process and, long-term that, has been that you know a microcredit, network would give. Especially. You know I have a fifteen-year-old late little girl this doesn't, know what's happening in. Their eyes and I think you, know that's. Where that's. Where like that was my hardest challenge was to be taken seriously. Okay. So how. Do you go from starting, this business and, climbing. On Everest to a year how does that happen, well. Either. Joey, came at a you thinking, I wanted to do politics, and you don't become a politician. To try to understand, the situation you. Know learn, try, to help more people you, know not just in Nepal but maybe the country you like. And I. Think when. I you, know very early on in the year I realized that I, have. A business and I needed a business woman to run it and not in politicians, and I think that's where I realized, I needed to start thinking, in a more business, perspective. Business. Lens and you. Know coming into business I have professor Evans and. She. You. Know taught, me how to I, think. The accounting. Subject, as a whole like, it's, it's, not just debits and credits but, it's a process and, I think that's. That's, what I realized, was more stir for you to learn from was, that trying. To get that to understand, that process because microcredit. Is you, know finding, where's, the money are they paying us back and things like that and being, on top of things and I think if, you're able to think in that critical matter and that's. You, know that's something that accountings, kind. Of helps me do, and I think that's I'm. Glad that like a you, has given me that skill that if I was tomorrow, start a business but I think I would be confident enough and myself to do it to, do it against me, to my next question which is next. What do you do next. Well, these are graduating, yes I am I have, an internship at Deloitte so in. That. That is a potential. You, know perspective like lying, that I might go, into but, you. Know looking. Into like five-year, plans I, I. Don't think that I would take. Back rise.
From, The, chemo microphones, only. Because, what. They've achieved after. Acquiring, fries is. Phenomenal. The network, that they've received you, know. Right. Now they're working oh my operations, only happened, in tango chair which is a small city and now. It's all over it's all over there, Paul and multiple, five cities, I think and you, know they're helping around, 300. People and I think, that that, is it song as says, a lot and I think you, know if I was to do something five, years on probably, start another company when, another. Idea sparks up or, something. Comes along the way again, I'm, open to whatever at the University. You, so, much for agreeing to do this and sharing your server with us and with, that what I want to do is invite our other panelists, to come up here and join us for, a broad discussion. So. These, are friends of mine and I'm very grateful that they get to do this because these are really accomplished. We. Have sitting, on my, far left is, Becky. McMahon and she is the Democratic, staff counsel of the US Senate Committee on small business and entrepreneurship, she, manages a policy, portfolio that, that. Includes federal procurement entrepreneurial. Development technology. And cybersecurity she. Was the lead author of the, 26:17, staff. Report tackling, the gender gap what women entrepreneurs, need to thrive that, analyze intersecting. Financial, cultural and structural, obstacles, facing, women entrepreneurs. In the United States she, previously served as. Counsel to US Senator Barbara Boxer and. In. Addition, she's, the former longtime aide, to Maria Shriver the former first lady of California, and. She is also an, au 11. Graduate, from the Washington College of Law over. To my, far right is, Susan, Matthews adopted president, and CEO of new generation, which, is a public. Relations firm she's been in the business for more than 20 years she, opened the doors at four media firm. News generation, in 1997. She's an active member of the public relations associations. And. She. Is also involved with women and Washington women in public relations and, in 2014 was one of three finalists, for WW PRS Woman of the Year award, she, is also right, here on this campus in this very building because, she is an adjunct professor she's. Been here all day was actually advising a bunch of the students that were in the incubator program, earlier today we met with the Advisory Board so, thank you so much for doing a double-header I really, appreciate, that and then you might eat last is Jane Campbell Jane. Campbell has. Spent decades in, public service in a variety of roles at the local state and federal level, the, serve before serving in her current position as, the director of the DC office of the national development council. Jane. Was the first woman mayor of Cleveland, president, of the National Conference of State Legislators, and governing, magazine named, her of 2000, public official of the year while, she was County Commissioner for Ohio's largest County. More. Personally, and importantly, she was my boss from. 2012. To 2014 and she was the staff director of, the Senate Committee on small business and entrepreneurship. Prior. To that she served as, chief staff to Goss mines community. Force. Senator Mary Landrieu and, she had the great wisdoms. In. 2013. So thank, you all for, agreeing to do this I'm super excited and I've given a lot of thought to the questions that I have for you and I'm super excited to kick off, our, discussion, so. I, guess. Starting. Let's. Start with you Jane in. Your experience as an expert on women business centers by the way I forgot to mention she, is the immediate past president of, women impacting public policy, which is the largest member, based association, of women.
Business Centers in the country they. Were my. Research partner in conducting, our groundbreaking, last, year billion-dollar clients thought we, did a survey together on, business, owners and this is how we, were able to collect the only data only. Data the IRS doesn't collect this data Treasury, doesn't press this data on how, the tax could impact women business owners and so Jane, graciously, partnered. With me on this project it was incredibly successful I, testified, about it you talked all over Capitol. Hill about it in the national press and it's, just been really well received but. With that in mind I did want to ask you in your experience, as. An. Expert on women business owners' what. Are some, of the advantages that you think that when business owners have. Well. Thank you Caroline and it's, so much fun to be back with you, so. You can see why I hear right. And. It. Is wonderful. To be on the campus. And, to, be. Where, see. You in your element with, your new, studies, so, here's so, now, Caroline, gives us all assignments. Right this is what you're supposed to. Write. So, much for that you know it's like you just have to be careful be. Good to people because they're going to turn on the other side. So. You wanted, to know what were the advantages for, women business owners and I think that there, I you, asked for us to come up with three so. I did. Like. A good kid you know. And. I think one is that women. Are incredibly. Hard, workers, they're, used to being hard workers, and used to managing, multiple. Multiple. Things at once. You, know many, women have family. Obligations. You know children, parents. Whatever. And. So. In a business, and especially in, a startup business you've. Got lots of things going on and the business, owner is the, janitor, and the, bookkeeper and the. Order, clerk and the, public relations person, and, the spokesperson. And, and then and women, are good at doing. That lots. Of things. The. Second, thing is that, women. Have, emotional. Intelligence. Not. Every woman these are obviously, generalizations. There are some that are outliers, but, in, general. We have been trained more to. Listen to what people are feeling as well. As what they're saying and when. You're trying to build a business, you. Need to be able to, get people to invest and. They. Invest, not, just with your head but with that whether. That's recruiting, the right staff. Bringing. The right investors. I'm, sure as you were trying to talk. To the people who went on the track you know you know this, is what happens that you captured, their heart you knew how to capture their heart that's, something, that women know how to do and then. To build the business you, know how to make the folks who are working feel. That invested, in the. Third thing is that I, think. Women are incredibly. Good attention. To detail, and. That. That is another thing that businesses. Especially, small. Businesses. Need. Because, when. You're the business owner you're. In charge of everything right, and, the. Kind, of things that can trip you up is if you don't have. All your paperwork, you have any pain all your taxes, you you, don't get the right order to the right person, at the right time and that. Is, a lot, of very, very. You. Know keep. The details you. Know people, who may. Be where the Girl Scout cookie sales, person, you know and lo and behold they, they, kept those records so I think, those three things are, real advantages for. Women going into business all right I believe, it the. Becky you just did a study on this so what do you think. Well. So. There. Are many things. We. All can see I will, focus on. Three. Things the, first being that I women. Are problem solvers, and part. Of the report. That Caroline mentioned I interviewed. 14. Different female, founders. So. National. In scope and, you know every. Day it, means every. Businesses, and what, I will. Consistently, came up is that a lot of these businesses were, started because. Women. That saw a problem and they wanted to figure out how to fix it and. One. Business in example as I interviewed, Caroline. Katherine Krug who. Started better back and this is a product that's been on shark tank is very successful and it's. Basically. You. Know something, that goes on your back and to cope with back pain and she started it because she herself was, so much pain suffering, she, couldn't sit down for long periods of time so she went. Out design, models, were community captures and figured out a way to get it done and it's been highly.
Successful She's. Raised more on crowdfunding then she's, the first female, to, get a million dollars and so that's those huge. The. Second. You. Know the. Second I think. Email. Lighted up. You. Know what what, advantage, we have is that they're. Very purpose-driven. So, as the women. That, I talked to feel. Very passionately, about their business making a difference, in their community, making, a difference with families, and that's. Important, people recognize, that authenticity, and, I knew today, we're. Seeing more, people, really. Thinking of how they're spending their money where they're putting their money and to have that, go towards, the business and the business owner feels very. You. Know sincerely, passion about what they're doing I think that that's really valuable, that's. Important, and. I also I, also, think, that it's important to recognize in, this movie my third thing is that as. A female, business owner you're, typically selling to women women are the. Handle. The vast, majority, of the household purchasing. Power. And then the next 10 years women, are going to control two-thirds of. Of. That financial. Purchasing. And so what. You need to think of is that's. Huge, right you has a female you, are the person who is going to shake the business and you're typically going to be selling to women and just. One example that I think really. Points to that is I, don't know how many feel familiar with gloss getting the. Makeup brand. Anyone. Okay, so. Their. Founder, Emily, Weiss has been very forthcoming. With the fact that this business was, designed. Around women, and obviously. As makeup so we naturally think that that's a male focused business but, she's done it in the way that she's communicated. With her buyers she said it in the way that, she has marketed, she's done that in in in new ways and really proud ready ways and she's been hugely successful and. She does this receipt you know she's almost 100, million now and BC huffing and yeah. I said it's incredible, and she just lifting. Up those stories it's good for all women-owned, businesses, so I just think it's something that we need to be aware of as you know the power that we have, because. We are really the purchasing, power of this country that's, awesome Susan, great okay so mine are sort of the same but there's a little twist on them so I think the first thing is women tend to be very organized, do. You tend to I mean I remember being a little kid and selling. Newspapers, around my, neighborhood, at four five cents and just getting. A team together like, this person was a writer this broken took pictures, and so, I was always an organizer, from a very young age I think that that is definitely a characteristic, of successful women. In business. We're. Also we, do tend to be cautious and so I put this down as an advantage and also as a disadvantage. But. I think that we tend, to. Really. Look hard before we leave and I think that that might be a reason, why a lot of women especially in the 7280 s weren't, going into business for themselves because, it it, was a big, step but now I think it's completely, normal which is amazing. And. I. Also think we're very understated. You, know we work hard we're, sort of a quiet presence we're just you, know we sort of work through things without, much. Fanfare and, just, know what it takes to get the job done. And. Then lastly, I think women, tend to be in, their businesses, in particular very. Mission driven so. The. Focus of my business like of course I care if we make money of course I care if, you. Know what our balance sheet looks like but my most important. Thing is that I have a great team that, I like where I work that I love the work that we're doing and. So. With, that comes, profit, but, it's profit, is definitely not my first and foremost thought, okay. So it's interesting that you raise that because all. Three of you spoke to the theme of being Purpose Driven which. Was the whole intent behind your business which was, a non-profit, and did, you find that the purpose gave, you credibility, when you went to try to go get funding I think. It did because if you find something. That they can relate to then they're more willing to. They. Were willing to give. In you, know contribute. To your cause I was like you're like given and Chrissy wore them down. That. I wasn't expecting that everyone kind of being. Purse driven and. One, thing that I would like to point out though along those lines is, Siri. Who, Siri. Has done extensive research on, women and social entrepreneurship, that's one of her key, areas, and there she is in the back that's, one of her key areas that she focuses on is Purpose. Driven mission, driven businesses, and how women, in particular have. Been a driving force in that and in, that particular. Segment. Of business. Ownership and she just put out a report last, year that, was funded, by the National Women's Business Council and, if you reached out to me I'm more than happy to send you a link to it it's really it's, really good stuff in.
Addition. To now, turning, from the good side three advantages. What. Do we see or what do we what, do we personally, experience that are disadvantages. So, I'll start with my being. Risk averse so. I, you. Know when I take on business I make. Sure that I know, I get from A to Z and, I. Want to make sure I can perfectly, picture how everything is going to go so I can do a brand job for my client, and I. Don't. Know that that's, a characteristic of everybody I think, there are some. Entrepreneurs. Who can just, know. How to get the first two steps done and then they figure it out later. Down the line but. I I, think that's why my business has grown slowly. Over, the years I wouldn't. Just go out and hire 20 people that's just not my style I. Like. To hold things I like to control. Reefs I like to have things and sort of close to the best but. Because, I want my product and my service, to be so top notch so. I think that well, that's a good thing in some ways it's also a bad, thing so that's, my first thing also. When, I started my business I was fresh, out of getting. My MBA in finance from, God I was. 27, and, I. Was. Amazed at the comments, that I would get from people and then this is 1997. Not. A lot of people. Were as encouraging, as I thought they would be and actually. Probably females. Were the worst offenders. You. Know I remember calling around trying to get meetings, with people and just, not. Having. The, that. Let's, go get them together you, know we're all in this together kind of feeling which I feel like we, have now with, female. Entrepreneurs. So. I think that that was, a little bit of a challenge, so it shook, my confidence not. Internally. But from the outside where. I I, was, hearing, things that, I thought, oh gosh I I, you. Know can I really do this like I knew I could but, there were factors, from, the outside, that we're telling that couldn't and so. I wish I could have pushed them away a little bit more easily, and. We'll talk about mentors, in a little bit but I definitely have, a lot to say on that as well because I think that's obviously, super important, in this in this day and age, and. Then. Lastly. I would say just. Really, being taken seriously was, hard especially when you're going just. Out of school. I think. People thought, it was kind of like a hobby for me to go into you know watching this PR firm and then. I get a job when, I was done you know sort of doing this and here I have 20 years later, and. Still going strong so. I. Showed, them. But. I think, it's one of those things where can really Oh yours you're just starting out you know kind of that and. So. I think out with every month, that went by my confidence, just kept rolling and and, now I'm trying to instill that in my students.
Because. I think that is so important. Especially. Female. Students, okay. So you've talked a little bit us when the disadvantages, that, you had but I mean one of the things that you talk to me about most was your age yeah. I think you know going back to what she said about being taken seriously. That. Was one of the biggest things for me because, I think if I, was a young. Boy and you. Know 15 year old I think I would have gotten slightly. Like. I would have been better off but, I think I'd still have to climb the same hurdles, that I did being, a young, girl, and. You. Know speaking of like I know you guys were talking about an advantage. And I. Realized. That one of the advantages of being a woman is that we know when to pause and, I think that's, important. Because. When. I was fifteen I didn't know when to pause and I thought I was the right I was always right I, think, over, time I realized the, ability to listen to other people and the ability to hear. In the other perspective and, then giving, your input I think is important. Yeah so. You, and I have talked for hours. The. Disadvantages, women have yes I. Only. Ask you to talk about three so let's just talk about some, of the three big ones okay, okay, I. Think. One of the biggest ones is money. Women. Have less money our. Networks. Of people, are. People. Who have less money, there's. Less. You, know easy access. To money. The. Moneyed. Class if. You will is, not. Used. To and set up for, investing. In women, you, look at the venture, capital, studies. That have been done where, the exact same business proposal. Presented, by a male and presented. By a female the. Males get funded three times, at. The rate that women, do the same exact. Proposal, it's, just the messenger, so, money is a big mission is. A big problem. For women. The. Second, thing, that I think is a real problem for women it's. Time. Because. Women, also, women. Are not given, the freedom, to. Just. Go do your business because. Your, wife's going to take care of raising, the family. And, so. You. Have other obligations, and. Even. If you're not married. If you're, in a family, the. Daughters. Are expected, to take care of their parents and, you. Know so it kind, of goes up and down and, sideways and you. Know your your brother gets sick and they they, call they call your sister there's, their, their, demands. On on women's, time that. Are non-work-related. That. Outweigh. The, demands, on men's time alright so, you've. Got a bigger, challenge around your time and, the. Third thing is that, women's. Networks. Are. Not. As well. Networked. With, business. Owners and. And. So, when you're trying to find people. Who. To. Be partners, if, you're if you're looking for. You're. Trying to fix, up your office, and you. May not know a friend, who's, in, construction. Who can give. You a reasonable price to fix up your office, or, someone. Who owns a. Office supply business who can maybe, give you a good deal on your first first, round of office supplies and you think about that. That networks. That, it takes to make a business successful. You got to buy insurance from, somebody, you got it but unless, you don't know who that is and you don't know if they're, reliable. And. So. Are the. Networks, of. Support. For the business, is. Not that strong, for, women, now. I think some, of that is really, changing as you said Susan that now, and. You. Know Becky as you said where women buy from other women but. That is. Really. Still, under. Development. And. I watch. During. The work I did with women impacting public, policy, at, the. Will conferences. And at the whip events, those. Women, in business are all looking, at each other what are you doing how can we do something together and, out. Of that comes, business. Partnerships. And so. We're creating those. Networks, but, they're not they're just. Naturally. All right. Well. I would, say. Because. One of what the report focused on were. Role. Models and that's where as women just don't have the same role, models and mentors and men would have. The. Pay gap which is very real which, is something, that I think, you. Know I think my friends, and. I, sort of brushed off because it sounds kind of old and it sounds kind of stale and boring but, you know 2016. Women be 80. Cents on the dollar for men that's very real and this is college, educated, women, we're talking about as well and that gap as you get, older your career takes off that gap only widens, and.
That Is serious implications, for a business owner that means that, you have less savings that means that it's taking longer for you to pay off student debt and that, means that you have less equities. Is going to be harder for you to get a lump and I, think that that's, really important, and then a third, being. The access to capital and so in the future I'm flawed about that, the. Fact that women are is not getting, their fair share of the money, but. What I will say to kind, of tie it all together I think we all sort of talked about this was the prevalence. Of gender biases that's happening at every stage, of business. Development whether, it's taking. An idea and launching it or whether it's taking, your business and trying to grow it and. That's very, very, deeply. Rooted in society, is we have we. Have gender, roles that we see in television and, movies and from a very young age where, you. Know those gender roles that take form and they have really long lasting, impacts, as you said women go women, go into pitch, room and because. Of deeply. And great biases, they're asked, in from questions, than men and those questions, results, in less money than, spirit realness, those, are hue that's going to take a long time because there's a huge huge hurdles not. Know. What. Everything's true and I think that one of the things that my, research found was, that the access to capital issue. Is, something that, maybe, we can start tackling, on an incremental, level through, tax policy, right because the less money you pay in taxes, the, more money you have to invest in your business and all my tax students, are in the audience going yeah I get it that's our primary I get it but, that's. One thing that I found and unfortunately. What I also found that the same at the same time is that so much of our tax policy, is geared. Towards, industries, and businesses, in which women are underrepresented, so. If you have a tax break that goes to the construction, industry or, the manufacturing, industry, and women-owned, firms are, only. Nine percent, of the. Businesses. In that industry they're. Not taking, that, tax incentive, to the same, degree that you. Know their male counterparts. Are and that. Is a very real it's. A very real implication, when we just I'm tax policy and of course I bring it back to tax but when. We design tax policy around incentivizing. Certain industries I don't think that at a, government level we have, acknowledged. The inherent gender biases, because we target certain industries, or others out, of the historical, preference for, those industries, right, but. Having. Launched into that, you. Guys are experts what. Do you see as you, know government, and, policy. That. Can actually help. Women. Business owners or hurt them or, along. Those lines in terms, of you, know addressing, some of the biases and disadvantages, that we've acknowledged, tonight I think. Yeah. Well. I, mean, obviously. From. My perspective one, of the most. Important, things is the United States government is an enormous customer, and. We. Ought to be spending. Our money with, women's businesses, we. Have about goal of, five percent, of. Our small. Business, contracts, are supposed to be with women that goal, was established, in the year 2000. And was. Has been met once since, then in. 2016. And then not again number went backwards, in, 2017.
And So, it. Just. You. Know is absurd to me that 5% is, the goal and we, can't meet 5%. When we're not 38 percent of the businesses. So. We have, to keep at that, because, when, someone, is successful in, serving, the United States government, that. Past, performance can, be used. With. Private. Sector other, other, governmental, entities, all kind. Of things you establish, the business so. That's one thing the. Second thing in terms of the whole access, to capital issue, is, actually. Requiring. That we collect, the data about. Where the loans are going, and. There's a huge controversy. You. Could know right, but there's a controversy, about whether. We should ask banks, to tell us, for. Small, business, lending are, they you know how are they investing, men women, people, of color and. There's, a pushback from the banks they know what she. What. I mean. Literally somebody said to me when I was working on the committee well, we. Can't do that because. You. Know when. We talk, to the customers, we don't know. And. I. Said okay now look. I. Understand. That you know there are some folks, that you, may not know but you probably. Have a pretty good idea, I. Think. That you know for most of the people in this room, we. Would be able to identify a program, and it, would work and. It's. Not that. They don't know it's, that they don't want to be held accountable and. That's. You, know we, we, manage to keep records, in housing, and. Why. Is that any, different. If. We require fair, housing policies. We should require fair lending policies. The, only way you know whether it's its fair, is to is to report the data and, so, that is something that government can, do to require, the David I have this exact, same and finding. With my tax report. Because, we, don't collect tax, data on women-owned firms there. Is no accountability, for, the billions, of dollars, in, tax, breaks that we give out as part, of tax reform we just enacted. A, 20. And up to 20 percent deduction for, pastors, and small businesses, but, there will be no way to, know what. Percentage, of that. 455. Billion dollars, goes. To women-owned. Firms and. The. Data that we found and, the surveys that we conducted, found, that you. Know at least in one instance where there was something, like two hundred and forty eight billion dollars, for a particular tax provision, less. Than less, than 40 percent of that went to women-owned firms so. We're spending money if you don't collect the data you can't track how we're spending money and there's no accountability but, what you, also have something to say no I mean well. Federal. Contracting. Which. You. Know you you. Really. Can't write. Good policy, if you don't if you can't get a full picture of what the problem is and when you have these gaps in data like. What Caroline, is talking about you, know the fact that we don't know how many small, business, bank loans are going to live in the data we're using right now is I believe.
Is From 2003, and that's you, know pre recession so, we don't know what's. Happening, out there and in order to make. Changes we just need to have an accurate picture of what's going on so. That definitely, rises, near the top of my list um, and. I want to say also this this is, probably. Broader it definitely, goes into the private sector as well but it's having more women. In. The decision-making, side. Of the table so is, the. Right, now a, percent. Globally, women are investing, partners in, VC. Firms H percent, and not something and though then, you. Know that translates, into, government, you know who's, making the decisions of who's getting the contracts, who's making this in a job who's getting SBA loans that, was important. You need to have women in those positions, so. I think that that's something broadly. Speaking having, more women in leadership positions in, those decision-making, positions. Is. Something. Not meaning to eat promote in practice. Going to get to work. So, you just mentioned earlier when we were chatting that you just got a certification to, be a government contractor, to follow up on Jane's point. Earlier about government, contracts so we, just got a women, of business. Designation. Small women-owned business, yes. And. And. So, it's helped. Us actually. Was prompted. By a client, if we do a lot of work with and, they. Have a joint venture with, another, company, that is. Women-owned, and so, now we're sort of attack to them with a lot of public, relations work that we do so. If it's, great, in that, it's just helped us get in the door and. That's all we want because we know once began in the door we, can show what a good job that we do and one. Thing that's you, know I don't know a lot about the tax policies, that are just from my own personal. Experience. Of owning a public. Relations, firm so 80%. Of, the PR business in, made up of women and, about. 98, percent of firms are owned by mouth so. We are getting to the SVP, level, which is great, strides from 20. Years ago when I started my career but. We're not we're. Not getting. Past that so. One. Of the reasons why we did the women-owned, business designations, because I have just about, three or four companies in my space and they, are all male. Owned company, so, it's. Something that we so certified, we put it in our signatures, or, sort of promoting it on social. Media with our clients, and it definitely has helped it's only been a couple months in but definitely, has helped us that's, interesting and I never from talking to you apparently. Who. Would who would have thought that Nepalese, regulations. Somewhat. Of a head scratcher that was a big challenge right yes. Definitely. You, know trying, so I actually, have lived in Thailand on my life and so, rice was, based in Thailand, instead of India and. You. Know the, biggest problem.
That I had within the Nepalese government and. Working with them was. Just. An. Inability, to listen. I guess an inability to just. Be. Perceiving. Or you know like, being, sensitive of like what sort of issue am I talking. About but at the same time just taking. You, know it. Was just there. Were things everything. Was all over the place and for me to just figure everything out with right because you were telling me that you had to go through, Nepalese. Regulations, to try to even get on the ground to start yeah. Yes. Sorry, yes they. Had, the, Nepalese government you. Know they, earned around 17. $11,000. Per climber, just. Doesn't permit for you to climb one, of the mountains. With Amend million regions and the, reform that they give the Sherpas, is probably. $200. $300. And that. That's a big you, know this area yeah, and. When. You know when I would ask them like wow where. Is the rest of the money going you, know I. Think. I think, I'm frustrated, them enough that, if, I was to ever meet. Them in any social, setting or you, know I think they would just walk away. But. The point that you take the point that you make is is well taken. Even, though in the United States it might be somewhat. More conducive maybe. Maybe not I don't know but, the idea of trying. To cut through the bureaucracy the, regulatory framework that's something that I heard when I was on the committee do you hear enough from one business owners as government, regulatory and. Efforts. Being problematic or no um, oh. Yeah. I hear each other I mean I think that it's always a problem right you have for, some layers of bureaucracy that, you can actually try to cut grow up I, actually. Don't specifically, work on regulations. Directly but it's a lot my quality is a lot of things, but. What I this. Is maybe slightly off but I will say there's a lot of layers of government that don't quite, intersect, when they should and I think that's a challenge for women I mean. We. Are multitaskers we're, doing a million things from, caregiving, for parents. Well trial, rearing, and while trying to you, know work a full-time job there's a lot going on so being. Able to I think that the federal government could do a lot more in terms of making, resources. More accessible making. That more, easier. To find online having. A lot of this streamlines. People, have a better book, on a place to get all rather, than four different agencies would be raised I mean, that's that's a challenge right people don't know where to go from this information, and why, don't we just make it easier and put, it in AI you know all in one place and that's something that I seems. Very elementary. But I hear. That a lot and I think that that's, something that women in particular, you. Know it would make a good dinner okay, so that's a good segue into my next question, because wouldn't, it be so great if you could just go to someone and they could tell you how to do it right, so and we've talked about this a little bit already about networks. How, important, are networks for women business owners' you've already alluded, to the fact that they're. Not as, strong as they, could be or at least for men but, I find, that for me and my age and younger they're. Incredibly, robust, like. For, example I was able to pull off this event tonight just, by asking people individually. In my network it was no problem whatsoever and I. Find that has happened only as I've, grown into my career I'm like mid-career, and I. Have, colleagues, that, are my age rising. With me together and I imagine that for you it. Was a very different experience for you only one of two women. Legislators, in the National, Conference of legislatures at the time I would. The, interesting, when I was. When. I was in the National, Conference of State Legislators, there. Were nine of the 99, members in, my house and that. Was a high, percentage, you know 10 percent was was high in that this was in the 80s. But. The demographics. Were very different most. Women who went into the legislature, went in after they residential, so. They were like 50. And over when they started and there. Were a very, few who. Were, under. 35, right, and, I, was. 31. When I was elected I was the youngest woman ever elected, they, were completely. Not sure what to do it, and. You. Know two years later I got pregnant on purpose by. My husband. Do. About that what, are we going to do like this, is really not like your all's problem, I mean, it's.
Not Even a problem it's like I'm excited, and. There was a member of the committee on ways and means said, West baby dude I told him he said I'm canceling committee I said. You know that's not necessary. I will not be having the baby in the, committee. He. Said I know, what it makes me so nervous I just feel it'd be better if I cancel the committee s have. Added whatever whatever, works you know your thing. And. So when. I was. Involved. A first, time I went to the National, Conference of State Legislators, meaning, there's, like five thousand people at this conference a hundred, elected, women and. Three. Of us two, of us were. Under. 35, and, that. Was this was 1985. I. Know. Your parents had met but you know I wonder. And. At. That point was the first time a woman put her name forward to be in leadership of that organization and. The. Chairman, of the Nominating, Committee announced. That. A woman would mean that organization, over his dead body. This. Is 1985. Which is not really all that long, ago you, know for those. Of us who are adults here and. So. It really there's been a lot of change. But. When, you talk about networks, and mentors. Align. Women, business owners' their, mentors. And their networks, are. Not women business owners because there. Aren't that many that. Are successful. That have been around I mean the fact that you've been around for twenty years Susan, you. Know that's. A real tribute, to your work and I'm surely now, you're. A great mentor, but twenty years ago when you turned around and said who, can I look - there. Weren't people that look like you and one of the things that women business owners who, are successful. Who are like my age. They. Found men, who were, interested and willing to be, willing. To be their mentors and that's. Important. For being a successful women, business owners that your, mentors may not all be women that that's okay, that's, a good thing you want everybody, to be invested, in your success. And so, being able to sort of have, cross. You. Know cross, situations. Make sense. Okay. Hey, Becky so, how's, your network is it an accomplice, or in stands to gain your mind what are you closer do, your. Fighting probably, yours is Caroline, um, you. Know I uh I, feel. Very fortunate I feel like I have, been blessed with both. Strong, networks, and strong mentors, and I. See. Networks as a way to open. Doors to connect you to. Folks. Who may be able to either sit down with you and advise you I think. The business those, typically. Could embed you know invest in your idea, and. Also just connecting, you to other people, in your industry that's, really important, so. My. Network I feel is really based on a lot, of the mentors that I've been lucky enough to have. In my life, really. Through. Work through my work experiences. On, a personal, note I mean I wouldn't I don't. Think I think every decision that I've made in my career or whether it's going. To law school whether, it's you, know going to law school in DC, going. To the hill. Those. Involved in decisions, that I've consulted with a very tight, group of female. Mentors, who I've, been fortunate to have work with really. The remember work with Maria Shriver and so that's us in my personal, life where. Have some common, complaint I think it's it's um I would, say it's probably, easier for us because of, really, technology and I think I think that it's easy it's.
Easier For us you know you send a quick email you, send a quick text and. You're back on that person's, radar and you're and you're connected, with that person that what, just wasn't possible you. Know when. You, were making your mentor. Every that just read that just wasn't and that just, being present, in somebody's life like that we're. Finding that what you're doing sending a little quick note that sometimes that's really what it takes to, kind, of maintain relationships. So we have, it easy I think I think, that it's interesting that you mentioned, your experience with Maria Shriver because. I didn't, have strong mentors, until you hired me and mary, landrieu took. Me under her wing because, every, job that I had, I, had, only had. I could only look to male partners, in the firms that I was with and the moment. That I was hired by a woman particularly, two women to air it. Was wonderful, because it, was I, finally. Had mentors that you know I could rely on and that would invest in me and you, know it, made me work even harder but, it was you know having, you, know only. That experience, of working for a woman but I finally was able to establish that that, kind. Of mentoring relationship, with respect to networking though I found, that it was my. It. Was my graduate school experience where, I got my strongest, Network from what about you do you think that how that is I mean I'm here, the woman who do you think how do you establish a strong network here at Gurgaon I, definitely. Think that you, know Co God is very I, think. It's it's. Very out there you know students, are always like, my friends are always telling me like oh you know you should go to this event professors. Are also very, supportive. And, you know if, the professor, isn't able to go to an event you, know they're so graciously. Willing. That you know Oh Nancy, you, know this would be a really good fit for you why, don't you artists compete and I think. I think, that skill, but also being. Just. Being. The first one to go up to this panelist, and say hey my, name is Nancy, I like, what you said. Let's, hang out you know something, like that like thing. I think, that's the skill that I learned from Co got most was that just. Trying, to make. Friends basically, and try to talk. To interesting, people and get out there and just, learn more I guess and I, think. I'm glad that that, that's, the skill that I have with. Me and I think I carry. On Sophie, I didn't know about networking when I went to school, did, you know that you had a network when you went to school is that something that's part yeah that, very American. Thing too yeah. I. Think, you, know but then the Asian culture is slightly, more reserved, and. You. Know you only network, with the people that, you, really know and I think the. Ability to just, go up to a person you have no connection, whatsoever and. Other. Than you know just a conversation or. What. They represent. That's. That's, a skill I guess and I'm, glad that I've got that skill and then, I've learned so much from eating, all these incredible, I'm, everyone, here - yeah, what, about you Susan did you have a network from Co God or did you have to build your network or I really, I, built. My network so I'm sort of on the in-between, where social, media was not around when I graduated, but I definitely. Was a networker. But. I was not somebody that found, Mentors, I used. To think that if you, had to reach out to somebody and ask for help it was a sign of weakness and. That. Is so not the case it's a sign of strength and I. Thought when I started my business if people, think, that there's like a crack and I don't know everything, they're, never going to hire me and, so. My first client, the. Reason I started my company was Microsoft.
Was A client at my agency, I used to work for they. Came to me when I graduated and said you. Should go out on your own it was just a female. That I worked with in the broadcast department, she was amazing, she was about my age. And. So, I was like yeah I probably could do this right so I started writing up a business plan and, my, mom, who, is a, mentor, was, like send us the business plan let's check it out my. Dad was, a lifetime government, worker you, know they're both retired now but my mom's very entrepreneurial. So she said. Send me your business plan. So I had, gone through this sort of you know how, to do. A business plan program, like a good MBA student, and. There. Was just a bottom-line number that I needed to get going for three months and it was fifteen, thousand, four hundred and thirty five dollars and so. After I said the plan I just got a check in the mail for my parents with the note on the memo line that said go for it which. Was really cool and so having access to, funds I was very fortunate and I am appreciative of that I paid, it back very quickly because I don't like to owe people money given my parents but. So. Fast forward I'm getting. Clients I'm connecting, with women and my. First male client, we're. Sitting in the room and, he, says what, makes you think you can make the go with this business and I was really taken back and I said cuz nobody told me I couldn't do it right, and so I think that that was, sort of a big turning point for me to say that out loud just. Having, that encouragement, and my mom is still. My biggest cheerleader, she's a great mentor and, I. Think if you have that and you, watch that as you grow up and I I have, three boys so I'm trying to instill in found that it's, important, to watch. Women lead and learn from them and so, I think, you. Know having, a mentor is so. Important. And it, doesn't have to be something that's older than you it can be somebody who you. Want to reach out to because, they know a lot about social media. And. Can be you know certainly, men there's there's, so. Many different ways to get Mentors, and I realize now along, the way I did, have mentors, but. That's it, I used to think it had to be sort of this official, relationship, and now. I'm a mentor to a lot of women, and a, lot of students, and. I, get so much out of it, and, I think I used to think I can't, ask somebody because it's asking too much of them to, take time from their date they're so busy they've got so much going on but. I will tell you there's very, very few, meetings I've ever walked away from where I've met with a student, or a prospective, person. That I would work with or, any conversation, in a networking environment, where I thought wow that was a waste of time so, it's always worth it. So, ask I think that's the hardest part it's, just asking people, that's. Really interesting that's. A really good rule of thumb because I'm thinking about it I mentor a lot of students and I always learned something from them that I didn't know so, that's, a good rule of thumb for you guys um one. Question that came to my lawyer speaking was and do, you think it matters what industry, women are in is it easier to find answers in certain industries versus. Others or, what, do you think, that's. A good good, question I mean I'm in PR and communications, which I mentioned is there, a female focused. So. It's easy to find people I also. Think with tools like LinkedIn, it's really easy to get. Introduced, to people so I get emails, or messages on, LinkedIn all the time hey, I see you know this, person, that this organization can, you introduce me so I think it does make it a lot easier and that's sort of across all. Different, organizations in. All different industries.
But. I think in NPR's, communications. Which, is what I know is. It's. Very female focus, so it's it's easy, to find people who are ready, to chat soon. More, broadly do, you think that going. Into industries, which women Donnie is that, are for women business owners' I mean and. I mean that on, its face you would say of course that. Would be the case but let's. Dig into that a little bit more, it's. Interesting because I think in, PR. Firms. If you look at the top of every. Edelman. Ogilvy. Of all the big firms are all they, all have male CEOs, and. So. I think there are a lot of, women. That that, get, to a certain ceiling, and then they just stop and I don't know if it's like a caregiver, role that we were talking, the. Parent role or, that women are not, expected, to be able to do, those sort, of things, I've, never really, looked at my gender. When I was starting, the business as this is an advantage or a disadvantage and. I still. Don't, but. I think that it's, important. To. Realize. Where you have good opportunities for all of us right, so if you see a great, opportunity. So. I'm on a board of the, public relations Society of America it's, a great networking school. It's. Probably, about a half female and a half now, and. I find that the males in the organization, tend to refer more business to me than the females do and. I don't that's an interesting dynamic as, well so. I think women, do. Like to work with other women but I think we have to be. A little bit more open to that and just you, know really engage women especially when they're starting out I think, that's so important, okay. What. Do you guys think from, the differences, in industry, between public versus private sector, what do you think is better for. Someone, who wants to be a woman business owner or wants to be an entrepreneur or do, you think there are specific industries, do you think it's better to go government, or private what do you think. Well. I, guess. What. I would say generally I think that. Being. A woman openness, in a traditionally. Male-dominated, field. Is going to be more challenging. One. Of the women. Founders that I interviewed. Is, this woman named Cheryl Sneed and her, company, doesn't, supply. Management and logistics of, traditionally.
Male-dominated. And. She. I mean although the company's hugely, successful and. Does millions, of dollars of, Duty, one. Of the things she said was that as a minority, woman, up business despite, the fact that she kind, of mechanical engineering degree despite, the fact that she is successful career at GE before, she started. In this business it was it was hard for her and those were girls that she had to overcome I think. That. That's. Us, one example that I think probably a lot of other women in these, types of traditionally. Male oriented, whether it's construction. Whether, it's you know again defense, they were security. That. Is having an additional hurdle, for women what. Do you think Jane I. Think. There are opportunities, both in both, in the private sector, and in the public sector and, they're, both, opportunities. In sort. Of, fields. Where women have been traditionally, involved. And in, breakthrough fields, they're, different they're. Different, kinds. Of it, takes a different personality, that. To, a certain extent I think a woman business owner is going to be successful, when she. Follows, her heart and she does what she she, she. Know it she, knows what she's doing it's back to the sort of mission thing she's, doing something that she really cares about we. Have within. The women impacting public policy, family, we, have a number of, women. Veterans, who. Have started businesses now. This. Crew, they. Take no prisoners, right I mean you know they were battalion. Commanders, and so they're, used to commanding, the, room commanding. A whole group of men and this. This. Woman had me in hysterics, today I was, at an earlier event, and. She, was talking about yeah right okay or is the battalion, commander, and now I'm trying to do, my business and, somebody. Says well I don't know if you can do this because you're a woman and she said I looked at him and said excuse, me you. Know out, on the battlefield nobody, asked that question. Bec