Diversity: The entrepreneurship leap of faith is the same for men and women, writes fund services executive Carole Miltgen.
I was recently invited to be on the panel of one of the State Street Professional Women Network events. The “Gender Diversity Discussion” took place on November 21 in the State Street premises, and was open to all employees. The reality was though that nearly only women attended with a handful of men in-between.
The panel was composed of three female speakers sharing their individual experiences and challenges in the domains of human resources, entrepreneurship and networking.
The human capital partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Luxembourg, Vinciane Istace, started the discussion by sharing the efforts and best practices undertaken within PwC to demonstrate gender diversity and presented the top three areas that the company focuses on.
Clara Moraru shared her network initiatives with the audience as the leader of the Inspiring Wo-Men Business Club, explaining why it is important for women to network in order to achieve career progression.
In my role as the CEO of Prisma Luxembourg and Poland, I took the audience through the daily work life of a female entrepreneur in Luxembourg, by explaining what the challenges can be to run a company, manage staff and develop business as a female leader in the market; and how it was to set-up a company eight years ago. Is there a difference between male and female leaders? Between a woman or a man setting up a company? I’m not sure.
You are not born an entrepreneur, at least not in my view. Nothing in my family background paved the way for me to become one, far from it actually. When, in 2006, it was clear that I wanted to set-up my own company, I grasped the first opportunity, forgot about my fears and jumped in. You must stop just dreaming about what you want to do, the day will come where you must take a decision and just do it.
Are women not as courageous as men when it comes to setting up a business? Possibly, but then you must believe in yourself and trust that you can do it.
In Luxembourg the Prisma team is composed of nearly women only. For us this works very well and every time we hire, we seem to get more CVs from women than from men. It might be the nature of our business that seems more appealing to women.
Passion makes the difference
The difference between a manager and a (female) founder is the passion and the love for what you have you created. When you found a company you put all your heart and soul into in.
Entrepreneurship is fast so for the first years whilst you surf on the wave of success in-between all the struggles, you don’t really have time to sit down and look back.
This happens only later when you take a step back and you realise that you still feel the same love and passion for what you’ve created even after many years and I’m convinced this must be the same for every entrepreneur, irrespective of whether it is a man or a woman.
Carole Miltgen is CEO of Prisma S.A., a project and document management firm in the funds sector.