Monday, June 25, 2012

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Joanne Wilson: "Life is all about Decisions"


Joanne Wilson wrote a great post today on her blog that I found really relevant to my own life as an entrepreneur. In it, she discussed the fact that life, especially for women, is about deciding what you want to do. She mused on the fact that if more women in the entrepreneurial and work communities were open with other women about their life choices and the consequences of those choices we'd have a much more empowering culture.

I found this particularly powerful as I look at my own career and the decisions I've had to make the past few years regarding career, family, and life.

I moved to the Bay Area because I knew that was where I needed to be to join the startup world. Was that easy? No. My connections at the time were mostly in Southern California, where I was living post-college.

So, I drove back and forth the length of the state every 2 weeks or so for months to interviews and meetings. I slept on the couches of friends and relatives. I lived out of a suitcase so long that to this day I can get everything I need for a month into a carry-on size bag (including electronics and my signature scarf collection). I even worked for free for startups I really liked and wanted to be a part of. It wasn't glamorous, it was incredibly exhausting, and I lived more like a poor college kid than I ever had to in my actual college years. 

But, eventually I got a startup to bet on me, my family finally understood, and I got my first break in the industry I wanted to be a part of. I haven't looked back -- and now I can say that I'm a funded founder of a tech startup.

Even founding Kismet has been a matter of choices. I work a lot and seeing my very close-knit family and always getting the job done is a constant balancing act. I'm particularly lucky that my brother and his wife live 10 minutes from me, and that my extended family will come here to see me (they joke that they gladly schedule dinner in between emails).

I don't have kids, but someday this will be a choice I have to make as well, and so I applaud Joanne for pointing out that this is not only ok to discuss, but that we should support one another amongst the female entrepreneur community in whatever choices we do make.

I've been personally lucky in being part of a group called TiE Women's Forum that brings together a group of female entrepreneurs to share and support one another. The group has successful women who have balanced families, starting companies, raising venture capital, and all the other challenges of life. Through them I've had a glimpse at what I can have for myself, and I hope to encourage other young women like me that you can have what you want -- you just have to choose to do it. And, as Joanne says "Any choice you make is ok because it is yours."

Read Joanne Wilson's full post here on her blog Gotham Gal.