Welcome to the real world of women in business.By Elle Kaplan (CEO, LexION Capital Management)
The true culture and community of women in business is nothing like the stereotype. In this secret society of stilettos, there are no catfights.
Are you ready for the real secret here? We might extend long, lacquered nails, but it's not to lash out--it's to reach down and help pull someone else up. This is how women in business really work: we cheer one another on, across industries and within them. We network and support each other in ways that might not be immediately obvious, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries.
We don't just chat, we forge connections
As opposed to purely business-related networking, women socialize. We socialize organically and constantly, forming bonds via an extensive, reciprocal flow of communication. It isn't chatter and it isn't gossip; it's sharing information, insight, and advice on a huge range of subjects. This community building is the crux and currency of women's relationships.
As a result, our relationships are rich and multidimensional, even in the case of loose social ties or business connections. This dynamic often yields surprising benefits. I had one meet up with a gal who, it turns out, happened to have had what sounds like my dream wedding. Lucky for me, all of her wedding notes and contacts were carefully recorded in Excel, and she offered to pass them on. Voila, she just gave me weeks of my life back.
Women activate their whole network
Women are the ultimate signal-boosters. When we get something good, we immediately share it. That goes for information, products, referrals, insight, advice: if it helps us, you better believe our network is going to hear about it.
As a business owner, you don't have to ask women for referrals. If your product or service works for them, you can bet that they are already telling their friends, "You have to try this!" At LexION Capital, when we work with a woman to manage her or her family's finances, we will frequently end up working with a network of her extended family and friends, as well.
Women build community within and across industries
Women's sense of duty to give back and pay it forward benefits not only their personal networks but feeds into the larger business community as well. The reason I decided to leverage the potential media platform of LexION Capital was specifically to increase visibility of women in the finance space, but it doesn't stop there; it's part of a larger mission to help inspire women in leadership roles in all industries. My female mentors and the thought leaders who came before me did the same. They laid ground work that has made my career possible. Speaking for myself, my fellow female entrepreneurs, and all business leaders, now it is our turn.
No, not everyone gets along. But those who don't are outliers. The vast majority of women in the business community contribute in the spirit of strength, mutual support, and collaboration. While LexION Capital serves people of all backgrounds and walks of life, part of our mission is to target this demographic specifically, to help women own their financial lives.
Don't be fooled by a disproportionately loud minority. A leader dives into her work with both hands: one to pull herself (and her business) up, and one to reach back and help others. So grab that Pinot and pour yourself a glass, because this is the new golf.
*This is dedicated to my mom, Jane Kaplan, to Davia Temin, and to Ann Kaplan (no relation), three women I greatly admire and who embody all that is positive in this article.
What positives do women bring to your company culture?
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About the guest blogger: A finance expert and self-made entrepreneur, Elle Kaplan is the CEO and founding partner of Lexion Capital Management, the only 100 percent woman-owned asset management firm in the U.S.