Vicki Saunders has dedicated her career to funding female entrepreneurs. She launched SheEO in 2013, a global collaboration of female entrepreneurs and radically generous women who finance, support, and celebrate female entrepreneurs. That’s not all she’s taken on. She has run businesses in Toronto, Europe, and Silicon Valley, which is where she learned first-hand the lack of accessible funding for entrepreneurs on a global scale. We’re welcoming Vicki to the podium on September 7 in Toronto, and while we wait, we asked her some of the best lessons she’s learned along the way.
My first job ever was…working on my family’s pick your own strawberry farm.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I was in Prague right after the Berlin wall fell down and everyone was dreaming about what they were going to do now that they were free. After experiencing that atmosphere for a couple of weeks I thought, I’m free too! What am I going to do? And I felt like I’d already seen the future. Prague was going to be like Paris in 10 years so I started a business.
My proudest accomplishment is…still evolving. When we reach 1 million radically generous women that will be it.
My boldest move to date was…launching Radical Generosity. It is audacious and absolutely what I’m supposed to be doing in the world. That’s always a bit scary.
I surprise people when I tell them…I used to be afraid to speak in public and have worked for decades to build up my confidence.
The idea of radical generosity started because…I know we have all that we need to change this world for the better.
My best advice to people starting out in business is…surround yourself with people who are generous with their time, their advice and their support of your dreams.
My best advice from a mentor was…take a day a week to reflect on what you are learning and integrate it into your work and life. And take a week off every quarter to remind yourself that you aren’t indispensable and you can get away, regularly to take care of yourself.
My best advice as a mentor is…trust your gut. You know what’s right for you. Go deep, get quiet and you’ll know what to do next.
My biggest setback was… thinking that someone else had the answer for me. And that they knew what was better for me than I did.
I overcame it by…listening to them and then realizing it was all wrong. Painful, but it was good lesson.
Work/life balance is…a strange phrase.
Women need to help women because…we all need to help each other. We are human. Everything is about relationships and is interconnected. If we don’t help others it hurts us.
I stay inspired by…staying curious, reading, and meeting with a lot of amazing entrepreneurs and leaders from around the world
The future excites me because…we get to create it.