For years, the conversation around gender inequity, particularly in the entrepreneur ecosystem and corporate executive ranks, tended to travel one of two paths: either fixing women to act more like men or blaming and shaming men as oppressors. Neither path was successful in creating material differences in the inequity of power, influence, wealth and representation in business. Instead of adhering to the bias-fueled current rules of success, female disrupters are doing more than creating innovative businesses, they are disrupting how business is done while making it a bit more smooth for the women who follow.
Last month at the party to celebrate Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break the Mold hitting the shelves, Nicole Sahin, founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, was honored with the inaugural Disrupter of the Year award from PSDNetwork. As a multi award-winning executive, Sahin was profiled in the book several times, and not because of the outcomes and allocates she has earned. Sahin was profiled because she is disrupting what leadership and business success looks like. "I feel being labeled a disrupter validates the idea that doing things in my own unique way has not only led to success but has also inspired other people to do what seems right to them too, rather than following a traditional business mindset," says Sahin.
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Here are five mindsets that have been foundational in how Sahin creates disruption while creating a gender-equitable world in which she wants to live:
- Go big or go home. Rather than adhering to the antiquated status quo that exists in the global staffing market, Sahin and her founding team sought to create a new industry, one that enables business clients to quickly set-up shop in new countries. During its first three years of existence, Globalization Partners grew over 16,000 percent, increased revenue from zero to $17 million in revenue (yup, you read that right) and established its business in 150 countries. For anyone who tells you that you cannot accelerate toward that kind of growth without external capital, don't believe them.
- Build your business on your terms. Some would call using her own capital instead of VC or Angel investment crazy. That's not how Sahin saw things. She never doubted that her business idea would become the go-to answer to disrupting the expensive inefficiencies of traditional global expansion. "I believe anything is possible. I have been able to build my business on cash flow and revenue. This has given me the freedom to focus on our customers' needs instead of competing interests from outside investors," says Sahin.
- Treat culture and people as the only gateway to success. Sahin intentionally hired a founding leadership team who are big-thinking with the competence to go with it. "I always strive to surround myself with interesting people who share my passion for disrupting the status quo," says Sahin. This strategy has not changed as her company expands. In a highly competitive mature market, she and her team focused on how to bring an entirely new approach to globalization whereby the typical barriers her clients face is replaced with opportunity.
- Use your platform to do great things to change the world. Sahin and her team have intentionally built a human capital business with heart. While money matters, they have worked hard to create a scalable platform that both delights customers and creates meaningful relationships between and among people around the world. As Sahin says in Disrupters: "Through commerce comes peace".
- See barriers as the journey, not the obstacle. When you start down the path of creating disruption, there are lots of naysayers who can't help but try to squash the big dreams. This has never steered Sahin away from leveraging her business to not just build a new B2B market, but to believe that in doing so she must treat every obstacle as a strategy waiting to happen.