A New Age of Women-Led Entrepreneurship and Innovation (One Thin Mint at a Time)

This year's Google "doodle" honoring International Women's Day

Some of you may have noticed the colorful Google doodle on your screens last Thursday, in honor of International Women’s Day.   Google’s acknowledgement rightly paid tribute to the day and what it represented: celebrating the achievements of women worldwide.  And yes, social media played a significant role in elevating the day’s presence.  In a press release, Glenda Stone, the founder of the “internationalwomensday.com,” pointed to the success of the website, which rallied over 10,000 followers to share videos and news about celebratory activities around the world.

According to Stone: “Offline large scale women’s rallies have become even larger through the use of social media.  It would be hard to find any country that did not celebrate the news in some way.”

In honor of the recent celebration, I’d like to call to attention women who are doing exceptional work in the business and entrepreneurial fields.

Anna Maria Chávez at the Launch of ToGetHerThere (January 31, 2012 - Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images North America)

The first is Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez.  For those of you wondering what your favorite cookies have to do with women business leaders: “More than two thirds of U.S. Congress women and an incredible 80% of women business owners were Girl Scouts.”  And, according to Forbes today: “Selling cookies teaches girls goal-setting, decision-making, people skills, and business ethics.”

Recently, Chávez set a goal to close the leadership gap between men and women – within one generation.  To further her goal, Girl Scouts launched a multi-year campaign, ToGetHerThere.  Thanks to strong communications (a clear call to action website and robust social media tactics including a dedicated YouTube channel), the campaign is off to a strong start.

Yes, we are entering into a new age of women leadership, one that will feature more entrepreneurship initiatives by women.   Boston is no exception.  In November, The Boston Globe featured a group of local female CEOs in Kathleen Pierce’s “The (new) old girls’ network.”  The group, known as the “SheEOs”, is helping dissolve Boston’s reputation for being an “old boys” town, meeting regularly to brainstorm, troubleshoot and network.

While men cannot join the SheEOs, Bettina Hein, SheEO member and founder of video marketing company Pixability, told the Globe: “We are not trying to put any distance between us and the male entrepreneurs. We want to make the gender issue go away. It’s not supposed to be special that women are doing this. It’s supposed to be completely normal.’’

Afghanistan's first women-only cyber cafe is a place for women to connect & communicate. Read more: http://on.mash.to/y9tvam. Photo courtesy of mashable.com

Indeed.  Hats off to the vision and leadership of business leaders such as Chávez and the women behind SheEO.  They are helping close the leadership gap, but it’s a process.  A clear voice and communications plan is critical for women looking to quite literally make themselves, and their business plans, heard.

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