‘A woman makes a plan’ according to May Musk, the mother of Elon Musk, in her latest book. May brings an inspiring story about ‘out of the box’ thinking parents and shows the bravery to make harsh decisions for her and her kids. May tells us a story of how you can be successful and how you can make bold moves… despite being a female, despite having to take care of a family, despite being divorced.
In my early twenties, after having decided not to go to university, I started my first job. I enjoyed getting things done, working hard. Being ambitious, I realized that one’s environment can easily block your career. Why was I not being promoted when I was capable of doing the job?
Later, becoming a cofounder proved to be a good move. No more judgements from bosses who couldn’t see the person beyond not having the standard requirements like a university education. I found a partner who saw my ambition and joined a growing company that offered a wide range of opportunities for me to flourish.
Personally, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been offered in my career. But that’s what others did for my career… People around me. Where do I come in? When did I plan certain steps for my career? Have I been aware of chances I may have had but did not see back then?
After many years of working, I am still learning, thriving and getting inspired every day. And I am still building on my own Personal Development Plan, or PDP, every day. However, once in a while, I keep wondering, ‘What would have happened if I had made a plan earlier on, discussed the plan with some women already ahead in their careers and planned additional education? What would have happened if I had kept focus on building inspiring network connections and discovering new steps in order to pursue an ambitious career?
Being ambitious and working hard is not enough. Chances given to you by others – in the end – is not enough. Make a plan and take the helm of your personal route.
Having seen this happen in my own career, seeing other women pausing their careers because of family planning, care taking of parents or kids, giving way to career plans of partners, I think we can do better for ourselves.
Coming back to my initiative of setting up Female Ventures, I am convinced that ‘Every woman needs to make a plan’ instead of ‘go with the flow’ . Not only for our own wellbeing but it’s also of great importance for our economy, our businesses and for our male leaders. Capable female leaders are needed badly, now and in the future.
Current initiatives such as Fundright by Techleap and some Dutch investors aim for the challenging ambition to achieve 30% critical mass of women professionals into their portfolio companies and management. We will see a growing ‘ask’ for capable women who can lead.
With Female Ventures, we a have mission to help ‘deliver’ these amazing women.
Personally, I am thrilled to see almost 500 women connected to our initiative. Let’s continue to build awareness and support each other in developing our roles in business, in economies and in developing a more gender balanced world. I would be more than happy if you would join us and work closely together on our Personal Development Plans, and our own ‘ventures’.
Be resilient and build your PDP,