Episode 60: S6E5 – Changing Minds and Businesses: Empowering a Billion Women
Today, Tom Dunlap chats with Ingrid Vanderveldt who was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell for many years, before becoming the founder and current CEO of Empowering a Billion Women, an organization dedicated to creating 100 billion dollars of global market impact by 2030 through empowering women entrepreneurs, leaders and advocates. Listen as they discuss women in the COVID world, changing minds and businesses, her goal for social and economic impact and serving qualified men and women.
Women in the Covid World
Unfortunately, in this past year, women have disproportionately lost millions of jobs. In fact, 1 in 10 women have stopped working due to Covid related reasons, as they struggle to raise families or take care of loved ones.
However, Ingrid has seen that out of this hardship, many women have risen to the occasion, ignoring social pressures that previously slowed them down. She believes now is the time to partner up with, activate and cultivate women who are ready to take back their lives.
Requirements and Qualifications
Ingrid tackles the complex topic of boards having requirements for diversity. She believes that requiring a certain number of women on the board of publicly traded companies presents an opportunity to nurture female employees—but they must earn it.
At EBW, there are three divisions: distribution, data systems, and initiatives. Global distribution helps serve government, private equity, hospitals and more. EBW also has expansive data systems pertaining to information about women-led organizations. Lastly, they utilize their money from the enterprise side to fuel educational initiatives.
Ingrid speaks on how pre-Covid, many qualified women didn’t feel confident enough to seize opportunities in front of them. Now, many women have pushed those feelings aside and applying out of survival. From this, real pipelines to leadership are being created for women for the first time in history.
Changing Minds and Businesses
Ingrid believes that the steps towards evolving to a better future for women in business is first to recognize the current facts of the situation. The next step to changing the mindset is through mentorship, as well as continuing to educate yourself on how to maximize your opportunities. Lastly, surrounding yourself with support and like-minded thinkers is key to finding your own success.
While mentorship can make a huge difference in your career, most women want to be mentored by other women. The difficulty with this is that there aren’t many women at the top to be mentors, which creates a vicious cycle.
Pivoting during Covid
At the start of the pandemic, Ingrid received a call from her brother, an ER doctor, asking if her distribution company could help in any way. Within a few days, she had pivoted the company to serve the medical community, providing masks, ventilators, and other PPE. Now, she connects private equity with companies that are involved in medical work, sustainability, diversity or more. Listen to the episode to hear more on how Ingrid explains the ins and outs of how they help invest and cultivate businesses.
$100 Billion of Social and Economic Impact
Ingrid breaks down her ambitious goal of $100 billion I social and economic impact into three simple steps. She speaks on leveraging her platform, backing debt, and continue to grow and have access to have supplies, products and talented people. She outlines her clear financial goals and the steps EBW is taking to reach that goal.
Serving Qualified Women and Men
EBW doesn’t just try to serve women owned businesses. EBW helps organizations of any type of leadership to help their women employees advance and grow. Additionally, Ingrid speaks on what every business leader wants: the best person for the job. She says, ultimately, the best product needs to be put forth.
However, this can be done by backing women run teams or women leadership. Ingrid iterates that by demanding the best work be done, you will see women rise to that occasion. Realistically, Ingrid believes that instead of checking boxes to meet quotas, companies should tie compensation or bonuses around hires that not only meet all of the job qualifications but are also a more diverse hire.
Three Pieces of Advice
One of the main pieces of information Ingrid believes companies should keep in mind is that women control about 80% of the wallet, 70% globally. Ingrid also wants to reiterate that now is the time for women to enter that business ecosystem. Lastly, she points out that EBW is just one solution to a multifaceted problem. What sets them apart, however, is their ability to bridge gaps, and connect investors to companies. Overall, to everyone, Ingrid says – take action now!