This week has featured numerous sessions and exhibits driven by female leadership, including a panel discussion this afternoon with Tiffani Faison, the chef behind Fool’s Errand, Tiger Mama Boston and Sweet Checks, Rica Elysee, founder and CEO of BeautyLynk and Jules Pieri, founder and CEO of The Grommet.
The panel started off with a conversation on mansplaining, with Tiffani saying she thinks it’s often well-intentioned but an insult to intelligence nonetheless. She encouraged other female entrepreneurs to take the frustrations mansplaining engenders and channel it into their work. Using Beyonce as an example, she asked the crowd to imagine how often Beyonce has been mansplained in her life and career, and how she has put that into her music almost as a “celebration of female rage.”
The panelists also discussed the term “boss lady” and similar phrases, with Rica saying she can’t wait until the conversation is just about being a founder—and not about gender. Jules mentioned that women get just 2.7% of venture capital, saying “If that was admission stats we would be marching in the street.” Equal access to VC is just as critical as the chance to obtain a quality education, and if women are getting such a small portion of VC investments then the playing field is already considerably stacked against female-led startups. This is a stat Jules and the other panelists encouraged the audience to actively work to change.
When asked what advice she’d offer to aspiring entrepreneurs, Rica stressed that the importance of learning the difference between advice and opinion. It’s a lesson that took her awhile to learn, but “you were not put on this earth to be anyone but yourself” and women should trust in their own abilities and opinions.