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On the Brink

On the Brink

The Most Successful Under 40 Women Entrepreneurs

On Mar 12, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Finally, "female CEO" is not an oxymoron. 

Yes, women entrepreneurs have come a long way over the past several decades, but it wasn't so long ago that they had little to no influence in the business sector. Scores of women have changed all that but one who stands out as one of the first is Brownie Wise, a single mom who helped build a plastic food-storage empire known as Tupperware. Talk about a Blue Ocean strategic thinker!

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Want To Save the World? Women Entrepreneurs Are Already Doing It!

On Aug 16, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Have you heard of the “third billion?” Even if you haven't, you're definitely going to feel their impact. “Third billion” describes a billion women from emerging markets who are going to join the global economy as entrepreneurs, employers and employees over the next decade. From Turkey to India, women entrepreneurs are taking leading roles in this global shift, transforming their local economies and their communities. Oh and in the process, changing the world.

Case in point: The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study looked at 59 economies around the world and found that women are creating businesses at a higher and faster rate than men in three economies, and at a nearly equal rate in four others. Specifically, the startup rates by gender are comparable in Brazil, Ecuador, Switzerland and Uganda, and in Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand, the rate of new women entrepreneurs is higher than that of men. In the remaining 52 economies, the proportions of men startups are higher than women, in some cases, up to six times higher.

This is excellent news on a global scale as it signals a growing positive trend. After decades of legislative, policy and socio-cultural changes that have empowered women by supporting and training them, the world is finally placing women in leading business roles.

Not only transforming economies but communities too

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How Women in Leadership Roles Can Finally Change The Workplace

On Nov 1, 2017 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Culture, women in business

Did you know that firms led by women are more profitable? And that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45% from 2007 to 2016, compared to only 9% growth in overall businesses? Clearly, as women have taken on greater leadership roles in the business world, it’s paying off for both them and business, as I explain in my recent article for smallbizdaily (which you can read here).

As a corporate anthropologist, what interests me about the rise of female business leaders is their ability to restructure company cultures in order for women to thrive in the workplace. But then, what type of culture do women really want and is it all that different from what men want, too?

Recent research conducted by my firm, Simon Associates Management Consultants, revealed that in many ways, men and women want similar things in the workplace. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.

What kind of workplace cultures should women in leadership positions create?

Here are three ways women leaders can make the workplace more attentive to the needs of both men and women:

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How Women In Leadership Roles Are Improving The Workplace And The Bottom Line

On Oct 11, 2017 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Culture, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Are women good for business? You better believe it.

As women have taken on leadership roles, it’s paid off for both them and business

As I cite in a recent article in WE magazine for women, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. (Read the article here.) This should come as no surprise, given that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016, compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.

For me, as a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, this begs the question: With all these women in leadership roles, will they change workplace culture to make it more female-friendly? (Uber, Fox News and The Weinstein Company, take note.) Furthermore, what type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?

To answer this and other gender-workplace issues, we at SAMC did some research. As it turns out, in many ways men and women want similar things at work. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.

Important lessons for women who head up or start their own businesses

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The Secret's Out: The Amazing Things Successful Women Entrepreneurs Share

On Jun 27, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Culture, women in business

I have recently been interviewing women entrepreneurs who have built successful companies. Some transformed start-ups into multi-million dollar businesses, often selling them for huge returns. Others were Blue Ocean Strategists®, saw an unmet need and determined how to solve it, adding value in innovative ways. Many are taking old family firms and turning them around. Throughout our conversations, one theme that has emerged again and again is the importance of culture.

As well as good ideas and committed employees, culture is what has powered these women's success

As Lisa Tomasi writes in PositivityDaily, these women seem to have a “secret sauce” for staying positive and spreading it around their organizations. In my opinion, that "secret sauce" is their ability to intentionally create a workplace culture that's collaborative and empowering, yet still focused on results. I elaborate further on these observations in a recent article on Forbes.com. You can read it here.

When women create companies, they don't just mimic men. They have their own style of building better businesses, better teams and better results.

5 principles for building businesses where employees work well together and innovative ideas thrive

What I am finding throughout my interviews is that a combination of these five tenets is often their recipe for success:

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How To Stop Worrying About Failing So You Can Truly Succeed

On May 25, 2017 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Inbound Marketing, Corporate Anthropology, women in business

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Jodi Flynn for her podcast Women Taking the Lead. When I learned that the goal of her organization is to inspire women to overcome self-doubt so they can lead with confidence, integrity and a sense of humor, I leapt at it. Right up my alley!

Over the course of our conversation, Jodi asked some very interesting questions which allowed me to discusst what I'm passionate about, such as corporate anthropology, culture change,  women CEOs and especially inbound marketing. This question really made me think: What would I say to my younger self? My answer: Be an adventurer, stay curious. Don't worry about failing. Pivot and just keep tinkering and trying stuff and sooner or later, you'll hit upon your a-ha moment.

To get ideas for helping your company adapt to change in this fast-changing world, I invite you to take a listen.

To listen to the podcast, click here:

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Now Is The Best Time To Unleash Your Company’s Power and Purpose

On May 23, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, Blue Ocean Strategy, women in business, anthropology


A few days ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Eric Dye, professional blogger and founder of EPN (Entrepreneur Podcast Network). He wanted my perspective on a wide range of topics, from corporate anthropology to Blue Ocean Strategy® to culture change to the rise of women CEOs. He was also very interested in my book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights" and its stories of companies that have achieved meaningful breakthroughs and growth by applying corporate anthropology to their businesses.

What exactly is corporate anthropology?

During the course of our conversation, Eric asked me the following very interesting questions about how anthropoloy applies to the business world:

  • Influential companies like Microsoft and Intel are hiring corporate anthropologists, believing that understanding and molding corporate culture is a worthwhile investment. Your research and career is dedicated to this field. Why do you think anthropology is important to a company?
  • How can smaller companies put these concepts to use?
  • What is one of the guiding principles of your work?
  • What are you working on now?
  • If you were to give a business owner only one piece of advice, what would it be?

To listen to the podcast, click here:

Andrea Simon/Eric Dye Podcast

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What You Need To Know About Women Entrepreneurs

On May 16, 2017 11:20:30 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, women in business

Speaking on May 5, 2017 at her alma mater, Brown University, the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen asserted that policies making it easier for women to work could significantly improve the nation’s economic growth. Bringing more women into the work force with policies like expanding the availability of paid leave, affordable childcare and flexible work schedules could help lift the American economy from a long stretch of slow growth, she said. 
According to The New York Times, Yellen then cited a recent estimate that raising women’s participation in the work force to the same level as men’s could increase the U.S. annual economic output by 5 percent. She also cited research showing that although the gap in pay between women and men has shrunk, it is still significant, with women today making about 10 percent less than men. 
Immediately there were commentators questioning her logic, her facts and the true impact of working women on the growth of the U.S. economy, one example being this Forbes.com article by Tim Worstall, Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London.

Clearly, this is an important time to rethink women’s role in the work force. And, women entrepreneurs are really soaring!

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Successful Entrepreneur Sees “Holes in the Cheese” and Builds Great Companies to Fill Them

On Mar 17, 2017 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Culture, women in business

What is it that makes entrepreneurs different? The personal traits that enable them to look at things in ways most of us miss? For explanation, I love the way serial entrepreneur Kim Shepherd described it in our recent interview: entrepreneurs see “the holes in the cheese,” not the cheese itself. She added: “If men think things through, women feel things through.” 

Since we buy with emotion and justify with logic, it is the power of emotions in building businesses, particularly by women, that interests me. In fact, I recently wrote an article on the subject for The Huffington Post, which you can read here

Successful business-builders tend to share some common traits

What I am finding in my series of interviews with successful women entrepreneurs is that CEOs of startup, early stage and mid-market businesses typically “see” something that needs to be fixed (the holes in the cheese), “feel” the scope of the problem and then develop the processes to solve it. They believe in systems and accountability, yet intuition is key in turning their observations into innovations.

Kim Shepherd, most recently CEO of Decision Toolbox, is one such amazing business builder. As I listened to her describe how she looks for unmet needs and then figures out innovative ways to solve them, I realized that she (like many successful entrepreneurs) is a great observer. She is able to see things with fresh eyes and successfully implement new solutions by creating systems that enable people to not just do their jobs but do them remarkably well. 

Kim is very much a Blue Ocean Strategist® not seeking to do "more of the same"

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3 Ways A Female CEO Built A Successful Business With A Culture of Collaboration

On Feb 18, 2017 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Culture, women in business


Recently I have begun interviewing successful women to better understand the role culture has played in their personal and professional success. Apparently I'm not the only one curious about this, as there is a great deal of interest today in how corporate cultures can impact the success and ultimate value of a business.

However, my focus at the moment is specifically on the type of culture women CEOs create in their businesses and what impact, if any, this has had on their bottom line results. My other motivation for conducting these interviews is to hopefully uncover insights to share that might help other women as they build their businesses.

My first conversation was with Stephanie Breedlove, an entrepreneur who is now turning her business success into a pathway for other women. (Like minds.) My observations became a recent article for The Huffington Post, which you can read here

Want to listen to me read the article? Click here:


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