40 Surprising Lessons for Social Entrepreneurs Learned from an NBA athlete, a Space Engineer, a Fortune 500 Director, and a Chief Evangelist

Success is the dream of many. We think about it, we want it, and we certainly hope for it. But are we willing to fight for it?

Not everyone is able to achieve this dream. Not many will invest their time and effort to turn their aspirations into reality. Making it in the real world requires a ton of commitment and that never-stop-learning attitude. And what better way to learn from those who have been there and done it.

Here are four people from different backgrounds — an athlete, innovator, evangelist, and managing director. Having had roles within organizations you hear about every day, we can definitely inherit their wisdom and knowledge. They’ve been on their own unique journey, gathered years and years of experience, and have a handful of great lessons to share.

Lance Allred the Athlete

Born in Utah, Lance Allred is the NBA’s first legally deaf player. With 75–80% hearing loss, he’s been on an adventure his whole life. Allred grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist commune, but his family broke away from the church a few years later.

He didn’t have a normal childhood like many others. In the 8th grade, he played basketball for the very first time. Quickly picking up the game and having a major growth spurt, many colleges tried to recruit him. He then wrapped up his college career as the third-best rebounder in the nation behind Paul Milsap and Andrew Bogut.

In 2005, Allred turned professional. After some stints in Europe and the NBA Development League, he finally made it to the NBA. In March 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him and he made his NBA debut. He finished his professional basketball career playing overseas in Japan and Mexico.

Today, he is retired from basketball but has begun a new journey. An inspirational speaker, author, and TEDx star, Allred has penned three books. Gathering all his experience as a deaf person and former professional basketball player, he shares with the world his thoughts on leadership, perseverance, and grit.

Here are 10 things I learned from an NBA player

1. Two types of failure

The first type of failure covers stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Whereas the latter is you staying in your safe bubble. You don’t dare to step outside nor do you dare to make any mistakes. You choose to stay inside and be mediocre.

Failure is something that should be seen with a positive light. It’s acceptable to fail if you’re willing to learn from it. As a huge part of success, you will often see many greats and entrepreneurs who are brave enough to fail many times before they make it. If you’re not willing to get out of your bubble, there will be no changes in your life and everything will be stagnant.

Allred has faced so many challenges in his life. Despite his hearing disability, he wanted to do more with his life. It started with his pure determination as a kid. He put his hearing aids on, went for speech therapy classes, and learned how to read people’s lips.

2. Live in the present

Every person has memories of the past. You might have failed before or missed a game-winning shot. If you keep replaying those memories, you won’t be able to move on. All these negative thoughts will just make you worry even more about something you can’t change. What matters is what is happening now. In life, you’ll be given the chance to do something over again. If you get that opportunity, try to make the best of it. As a result, you’ll live a happier and more fulfilling life.

3. The balance between masculinity and femininity

It’s good to have a balance between masculinity and femininity. If you’re masculine, you know when to be aggressive, when to attack. At the same time, you also know when to be feminine. This means that you know when to delegate and share responsibilities.

Allred refers to Michael Jordan as an example. In the Netflix documentary, ‘The Last Dance’, you get to relive the greatest moments of Jordan’s prolific NBA career. He was the go-to guy that loved to take the winning shot. Everyone thought he was going to take all the last shots. However, there were some crucial moments when he chose to trust his teammates. With the score leveled, a few seconds left on the clock, and the opposition heavily guarding him, he chose to pass the ball. His feminine side knew it was the best decision to delegate. And the result was a victory.

4. Own up to your mistakes

As humans, we make a lot of mistakes. It’s inevitable. But when we do make mistakes, we should own up to them. Based on his experience, Allred says that 90% of people operate in fear, whereas 10% operate in trust. Many fear that they will lose their jobs or appear weak if they admit to their mistakes. But in all fairness, taking accountability and trying to rectify the situation is definitely the better path. It might be embarrassing and painful, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s about being responsible and becoming a better person. You’ll earn respect as well.

5. Social media followers don’t matter

We live in a superficial world where people are constantly competing. We’re so engrossed with the number of followers our competitors have, we resort to buying them. Keep in mind that it’s not about the quantity, it’s quality.

Influencing is not hard to do. Trust your message and content. Keep an eye out for authenticity. You can do this by checking that comments are real and do not only consist of emojis. Because these days, many influencers use engagement pods. These pods have worked a way around the system. The influencers get updated when there’s new content by someone from within the group, prompting them to engage with that new post. Not authentic at all.

6. The essence of leadership

Leadership is not a game of power or ego. It’s not about being the main guy. A true leader doesn’t care about self-glory. He or she doesn’t need followers for validation. A good leader is someone who is willing to give you feedback and vice versa. Someone who would take the time and effort to sit down with you 1 on 1 and figure out how to take things to the next level. Winning a match or winning in life is about being transparent and caring about each other.

7. Perseverance

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, perseverance is defined as a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”. No matter how big or small your goals are, you must work hard to achieve them.

It took Allred 10 years to live his dream of being an NBA player. Most rookies enter the NBA in their early twenties, but at 27, he was finally called up to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The long training hours and years of playing in the European and NBA Development league paid off.

8. No shortcuts

You may often hear people say they want to be millionaires by the age of 30 and so on. But not everyone has what it takes to reach for the stars. You’ll need a ton of discipline and routines to forge your path to success. It’s not going to be handed to you. When you finally achieve your goals, you’ll be able to look back on your journey and realize where you could have taken shortcuts. But these learning lessons only come after you’ve walked down that path. The ability to work hard is the greatest talent of all. It is too often that recruiters only search for talent. Little do they know that it is a long road to success requiring a combination of multiple factors.

9. How to captivate your audience

After many years of playing professional basketball, Allred embarked on a new career path. As a motivational speaker, he shares that the audience remembers what they feel, not what they hear. When planning your content, always think about what your audience wants to experience.

People are tired of perfectly polished presentations. They don’t want to hear cliche phrases or other people’s quotes. Share your authentic human journey. Keep it real.

10. Adapt to new situations

Given recent circumstances, you learn there are some things you have no control over. No one was ready for the pandemic. But instead of moping around and victimizing yourself, you have to accept the situation and be present. Think about your next move.

Right before coronavirus struck the world, Allred had released his most recent book and he had plans to promote it around the country. Like many others, his plans were ruined, but he decided to digest all the chaos in the world and find the cracks. Seeing opportunity in things, he has brought his thoughts to digital platforms. He has also developed online courses and started to do 1-on-1 coaching as well.

Here is a man who has been through some rough times. Learning basketball later than most kids and with a disability, he persevered and never backed down. A lot of hard work, discipline, and sacrifices were made to make it to the NBA. And although it took him a decade, which is longer than most rookies, he never stopped chasing his dream.

Giving up has never been an option. On many occasions, life has dealt him a bad hand, but he has always accepted the situation and found ways to figure things out. Through his many life experiences, he has gained insight and perspective on how we humans should be living our lives.

Floris van Klashorst the Innovator

Fresh out of university with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delft, the journey of Floris van de Klashorst began. Living in an era where the world saw the transition from typewriters to personal computers, Floris has always been interested in innovation. Not to mention, he also had a taste of entrepreneurship as well.

When you take a look at this man’s resume, you’ll see that he’s worked for many big companies. His most recent role was as Senior Vice President for the Volkswagen Group. He’s also had the chance to work for Nokia and Ericsson. From space engineering to music to telecommunications, this man has seen it all. It’s no surprise that his versatility has led him to so many places.

Today he spends most of his time as a consultant and advisor. In his free time, he enjoys classical cars, sailing, and other outdoor activities.

Here are 10 things I learned from a Space Engineer who worked on projects for NASA, ESA, Nokia, Volkswagen, and more…

1. Know your priorities

At the start of our two-hour conversation, I ask the former space engineer to introduce himself. Among his many titles and roles in multi-national companies, he acknowledges himself as a father and husband first. There are so many things in life that matter, but you have to set your priorities straight. Despite all his work responsibilities, his family takes the number one spot.

Defining your priorities in life will give you a clearer picture. Without this, it might be challenging to manage your time and achieve your goals. There are only 24 hours in a day and if we try to do too much at once, it will be overwhelming.

2. Embrace change

The world is continuously evolving and you should adapt to the times. Be curious and welcome new opportunities. Enjoy working with young people and new innovations. You might be happy with what you have, but if you want to grow, the only way to do it is through experimenting.

Floris grew up in an era when technology made huge strides. He recalls starting university with a typewriter and by the time he graduated, he had a personal computer. His curiosity led him to work for eight different companies in different parts of the world. It’s not that he didn’t enjoy his work, but he wanted to take risks.

During his time in Ericsson, work was great. His colleagues were amazing, but everything was too predictable. He could see what life would look like two years down the road. There was absolutely nothing wrong, but he wanted to try a different route. So, he decided to leave his job and become an entrepreneur.

3. Start small

Starting a business is extremely challenging. You might not know where to begin or who to partner with. The first thing you should do is identify your strengths and accept that you can’t do things on your own. Focus on what you and your team are good at.

Everyone has to start somewhere, even if it’s a tiny project. Work on that one thing you’re good at and make sure you do it right. When your customers are satisfied with the results, you’ll gain their trust and be able to expand.

4. What goes up may come down

There was a time when everyone used a Nokia phone. I remember it being my very first mobile phone — the Nokia 5110. Dominating the market in the 90s through the early 2000s, the Finnish company was well-known for producing cheap and reliable mobile phones. Snake was super addictive!

Since 2007, Nokia began to see declines all over the world. Android and Apple had entered the market, dethroning their number one spot. These smaller companies learned from Nokia’s success, installed new features in their own devices, and attracted more customers.

During his time in Nokia, Floris experienced this unexpected downfall. He attributes the market decline to fragmentation. A company like Nokia exhausted all its resources on customizing to the different channels of distribution. It had been working with more than 300 operators across the globe with every single one asking for customization. With a lack of resources, innovation slowed down and others caught up. Even if you’re at the top, everything can come crashing down.

5. You can’t do things on your own

It might sound like a cliché, but it’s a fact. Even big automotive companies try to collaborate when they can. Competitors such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes often work together if they share a common interest.

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it is sometimes a good idea to share knowledge, resources, and skills. In the past, these three automotive giants have worked together on mapping. Not only was it a cost factor, but the end result would have been the same if conducted individually. If your company is in innovation or has an innovation department, always consider partnering up with another party of similar interests. Not only will you save money, but two brains are better than one.

6. Build a team of 200 in 6 months

It may sound impossible, but here are some useful tips. If you’re in charge of putting together a huge team and you want to do it quickly, you should start with your network. Team up with people you already know and invite them to join your team. You may also work with recruiters who will scout for the best talent out there.

Another way is to make acquisitions of small companies. When you take over, you can also opt to continue with their employment. Last but not least, look out for key people to hire. Based on Floris’ experience and the industry he worked in, he identified these key hires as an architect, designer, and development engineer. It will vary depending on the type of work you do.

7. Five levels of self-driving

Many companies out there want to be the first one to make a self-driving car. It’s a competitive edge that one day we could reach. I learned that there are 5 levels of self-driving. Currently, the world is at level 3 and moving closer towards level 4.

The former Volkswagen SVP explains the technical terms and the definition of each level. Levels 1–3 still involve the driver in the safety loop. He or she is responsible for safety measures. Levels 4 and 5 involve autonomous driving, where the driver can just sit back, relax, and the car drives you.

The difference between levels 4 and 5 lies in the software. Although the driver is no longer responsible, level 4 has all the parameters set such as mapping. Thus, there are plans laid out for the car so it knows exactly where to go. Whereas in level 5, there are no pre-determined factors. The car can detect and respond to external factors.

8. Future trends to look out for

As technology becomes cheaper and more pervasive throughout the globe, more and more people will be able to do it. Floris expects to see changes in these three areas in the near future: IoT, mobility, and JIT logistics.

The Internet of Things helps people live and work smarter. It enables automation and reduces labor costs. It provides business with real-time information of all the integrated systems. Moving forward, you’ll see this technology become more advanced as more people realize its potential. Transportation modes and connectivity will also be an area of interest. Easing the mobility of people is something many cities will be looking into. Getting from point A to B will be easier and the different modes will be integrated into one system.For years, many companies have employed this management strategy to increase efficiency and decrease waste. However, the recent pandemic has taught all of us that perhaps it’s not the best way to move forward. With all the travel bans and lockdowns, raw materials couldn’t be delivered as scheduled. Thus, affecting production. In light of the new normal, this logistics strategy will have to change.

9. Diversity in the workplace

You might think you have all the answers, but you shouldn’t only stick to the things you know. With diversity, you’ll get the opportunity to mingle with people of various backgrounds and experiences. Lend them your ears, be curious, and listen.

Try to hire people that don’t agree with you. Give them the chance to express their opinions. As a result, there will be a ton of creativity and ideas you never fathomed, leading to greater innovation.

10. Believe in something

Whether you’re leading a project or running your own company, make sure to do it with passion and honesty. Believing in something will give you purpose and drive to see things through. Think about the problem you’re trying to solve. What is your true passion? What gets you excited?

At times, we fall into routines and lose momentum. We wake up, go to work, go to sleep, and repeat. But it is the fire in you that will give everyone around you the inspiration to achieve your vision and mission. Even your clients will be able to feel it.

With rapid advances in technology and new working methods, innovation plays a huge role. Keep in mind that the most successful teams are those that are not afraid of thinking out of the box. They come up with new ways to solve problems and push creativity to its limits.

Ynzo van Zanten the Evangelist

It is truly shocking that modern slavery still exists in the 21st century. In 2005, Tony’s Chocolonely was founded by journalists of the Dutch TV-program “Food Unwrapped”. They discovered that many chocolate manufacturers had been using child slaves at their cocoa farms.

The Dutch chocolate brand exists to make a difference. After more than 15 years in the market, it has grown into the number 1 chocolate brand in the Netherlands. Every day it continues to create awareness of the inequality in the chocolate industry. Tony’s purpose is to achieve 100% slave-free cocoa and set a good example.

This is where Ynzo van Zanten plays a huge role. As Tony’s ‘Choco Evangelist’, Ynzo proudly shares the story on any stage he can find. He’s traveled across the globe, spoken in front of thousands, and is on a serious mission to end slavery.

Here are 10 things I learned from a Choco Evangelist

1. How to stop slavery

On top of creating awareness through petitions and talks, you can also attack the issue from the inside. Tony’s Chocolonely decided to make an impact from within the industry by creating its very own chocolate brand. All cocoa farmers get paid the fair trade price and they also receive a premium. The fair trade premium is an additional 50% on top of the market price.

There’s a famous proverb that goes:

“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”

Not only do the farmers get paid what they deserve, but the extra money they receive goes towards good causes. To end this cruel act, it takes more than just giving money. Other areas of their lives can be improved as well such as education, health, and female empowerment.

To give these farmers better opportunities in life, Tony’s has carried out the following:

  • Built schools and canteens for the community
  • Increased productivity by teaching new farming techniques
  • Empowered female farmers
  • Encouraged the wives of farmers to start businesses
  • Improved the health situation

2. Build a business that benefits society

It’s unacceptable to be in a business where people are suffering. When you build one, think about the positive impact that you will have on people. Tony’s was launched for a specific purpose — to change the industry from within.

You might think the only way to do it is by being a charity organization. But Tony’s Chocolonely has shown the world that you can be a commercial company with a clear mission. With a financial profit, there is more impact to be made. Things can be done differently.

3. Tell your story everywhere

If you have a clear and meaningful purpose, grab any opportunity to tell your story. Keep in mind that it’s not the size of the audience, but the quality. There’s no point in talking in front of 1000 people who are not interested in what you have to say. You might have an audience of 10 people who genuinely care and will be your best brand ambassadors.

When telling your story, be fully transparent with no hidden agendas. If it truly contributes to the world, word of mouth will help to spread your values.

4. Growth is more important than profit

To be able to make an impact on the world, a business needs to be successful in terms of profit. Profitability is critical to a company’s existence, but growth will help you to stay in the game for many more years to come. The goal of growth is to make more impact. When the rest of the industry is trying to rake in a 20–25% net profit, Tony’s is only looking for 4%. This Dutch chocolatier is trying to do things differently than all the players in the chocolate industry.

After entering the Dutch market, Tony’s went to the US. It wasn’t a logical step as most companies would expand to other European countries first before introducing its products to a new continent. Nevertheless, the slave-free chocolate chose Portland, Oregon. The reason being that Oregon is a very food conscious state with many early food movements.

5. Humans are not resources

A few minutes into our conversation, Ynzo states that HR is the lamest word. In his opinion, it is such a dehumanizing word because people are nothing like tin or copper. You can’t compare people to resources.

At Tony’s, you won’t be able to find the Human Resources department. Instead, it goes by the name People & Culture. The people in your company are so important that you should be treating them with more respect. It is also necessary that they feel happy to be working for you.

Although work is a serious thing, try to make work as fun as possible. Always communicate and stay connected. Something as simple as lunch can make a huge difference. If you work at Tony’s, everyone has lunch together. You get to sit down with people from different teams and enjoy a nice meal specially prepared by their chef.

6. 2 pillars: team and impact

The secret ingredients for running a good business are team and impact. There can only be an impact if your team is made up of the most inspired and motivated individuals.

Ynzo shares a quote by Richard Branson:

“I’m not happy because I’m successful. I’m successful because I’m happy.”

Your employees come first because they will create happy customers. At Tony’s, the number of employees grew from 30 to 160 people in the last 3 years. From the onboarding process onwards, there are regular chats and checks. Ynzo explains that when you start working for Tony’s, you learn about the background of cocoa and how to make chocolate in the first week. A buddy is assigned to you to make sure that you settle down without any problems. Everyone is taken care of and there are constant checks to find out if people are happy or want to move on to another place.

7. How to build a global brand with a zero-paid media policy

Since the day Tony’s Chocolonely was founded, it has adopted a zero-paid media policy. You won’t see any commercial ads. Not even on Google or Facebook. To create awareness, Tony’s chooses to use these methods:

  • Work with the right journalists
  • Launch petitions
  • Engage serious friends as brand ambassadors
  • Presentations around the world
  • Word of mouth

As of 2020, there are 35,000 serious friends of Tony’s Chocolonely. You can sign up on their website or through QR codes found on their wrappers and presentations. Ultimately, they believe that the story they’re trying to tell deserves more than a few seconds on paid media.

8. The evolution of 20th-century capitalism

In the 20th Century, many businesses sought out with one focus in mind — to make as much money as possible. However, the world has noticed an uneven distribution of wealth. While you have extremely wealthy people, you also have extremely poor ones.

Capitalism is evolving and a lot of entrepreneurs are beginning to ponder about their purpose in society. It’s not about how much wealth one can accumulate, but it’s about the impact and footprint left behind. It’s about love, empathy, and making a difference.

9. The pandemic has triggered entrepreneurship

Due to recent circumstances, many things have been forced to change quickly. There are fewer face-to-face interactions and more online meetings. Most physical stores closed to stop the spread. According to Ynzo, this has spurred entrepreneurship.

These days you will see more online transactions and deliveries. The capitalist system we’ve been living in is going through recalibration. There are plenty of opportunities around for entrepreneurs to grab and you will see a rise in small business owners. Unexpectedly, the pandemic has played a role in reducing the dominance of large corporations.

10. You’re never too small to make a difference

Everyone in the world can make a difference. The size of your business doesn’t matter. If you’re a small entrepreneur, never doubt that you can have an impact on the world.

Ynzo uses Anita Roddick’s quote as reference:

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room”.

As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be engrossed in the size of your company. Instead, always think about what good you’re bringing to the table. Even if it’s not much, it still counts. If it’s something that creates a better world, people will notice and you will naturally grow bigger.

Entrepreneurship is not what it used to be. Today, it involves being social. It’s not just about being financially successful anymore. It is possible to combine being sustainable with making money. And in the future, you will see more and more successful entrepreneurs that embrace this idea.

Daniela Weitmann the Managing Director from Converse, Nike-Inc

Born and bred in Brazil, Daniela Weitmann graduated with a degree in Engineering. Little did she know she would move away from her native country, work in various industries, and live in a number of countries.

Weitmann’s professional journey began in P&G Wella. After a three-year stint, she then went on to work for some of the world’s best-known consumer brands. Having built her career around driving revenue and profits, she’s an experienced senior business leader who has worked with Fortune 500 companies.

Today, she proudly serves as the Managing Director of Converse, across 11 countries in Europe. With its iconic Chuck Taylor shoe, Converse has been worn by sneaker lovers for over a century. A typical day at work has her leading a cross-functional team responsible for consumer insights, business strategy, finance, product merchandising, demand planning, operations, marketing, sales, and retail execution.

Here are 10 things I learned from this amazing woman

1. Teaming up with the right people

When you have all the pieces to the puzzle, that is where the magic happens. There may not be the perfect team, but you can definitely bring in unstoppable people. During her time in Nike, the Brazilian native was responsible for making the complex simple. She also got the chance to assemble her own team.

In doing so, Nike partnered with a headhunting startup and her demands were simple. She wanted to find what she refers to as her future bosses. Working with a great headhunter, they managed to bring in people who knew their stuff. They had this swagger, which showed that they knew they were good at their jobs but were also humble and willing to listen.

Today, after many years, they have become her peers.

2. Bringing your team to the next level

As a leader, you may have to use different styles of leadership. But at the end of the day, you want to inspire and motivate your team to achieve a common goal. Having worked across multiple industries and with two decades of experience, the Converse Managing Director shares how she does it.

With an informal approach, she doesn’t use any structure with her team. She’d rather have weekly 1-on-1 conversations where she’ll ask them what they need and let them know that she’s there to help. The conversations don’t take place in the office environment either. She likes to make a bonding session out of it even if it’s just going out for a walk.

Getting to the next level involves skill and will. She also discusses the four areas that people may be stuck in:

  • If you have the will, but no skill, training can help you
  • If you have the skill, but no will, it’s about how to inspire you
  • If you have both, that’s when the magic happens
  • If you have neither, then it’s about your next move

3. Moving to a new country

Calling Brazil home, Weitmann decided to move to Sweden with her husband. Here are some typical challenges one might face:

  • Learning a new language
  • Different weather
  • Culture shock
  • Feeling homesick

During her first six months in Sweden, Weitmann was unemployed but always remained optimistic. She used this time to attend language classes and adapt to her new surroundings. Being her inquisitive and observant self, she noticed the pros and cons of living in Sweden. Society was way more organized and there was a certain liberating aspect of being a woman. However, it wasn’t as friendly and warm as home. She could feel that social and emotional distancing was much bigger than in Brazil.

A few years later, she made moves to Switzerland and then to the Netherlands. On top of all the challenges of moving to a new country, Weitmann also had her kids with her. With the help of a nanny, friends, and family, she says there’s always a way to make it work.

4. How to get headhunted

Before the LinkedIn era, headhunters resorted to networking events and business cards. For Weitmann, she landed the job in Converse through the recommendation of her previous boss at Kraft Foods. Here are some of her tips on getting headhunted:

  • Do well what you do now
  • Bring your A-game
  • The word will spread if you do your job well

Headhunters are constantly on the lookout for quality candidates. Apart from your LinkedIn profile and resume, you have a better chance of getting offered a job through word of mouth.

5. Breaking through the procurement barrier as a startup

As a startup, you might find it challenging when you approach large corporations to use your product and/or service. These large corporations are always on the lookout for fewer and bigger suppliers/partners. However, it doesn’t mean that they always say no to startups.

Here’s what you can do to get their attention:

  • Talk about innovation
  • Introduce a faster way to carry out a process
  • Give them a solution to a hurdle

If it’s something they have been seeking, you will get the chance to conduct a pilot. The test run might be in a specific category or territory. If all goes well, the partnership will develop from there.

6. Giving back to society

It is always a noble thing to contribute to society. Although it is not an obligation, many will go down this road to empower others. After more than 20 years of experience, Weitmann has definitely learned more than enough from the corporate world. In the near future, she would like to dive into something with more purpose in life.

That sense of fulfillment and helping the world is unparalleled. Your knowledge is not only useful for work, but it can make the world a better place. For Weitmann, she wants her future role to be more meaningful. And not just about launching the next season’s collection.

7. Juggling your career and family

Some parents might feel guilty about pursuing a career. In many societies, parenting is usually a heavier burden on the woman. However, according to the Fortune 500 leader, this perception depends on the society you live in. Having moved to Sweden, she felt that there was more equality between the role of parents. It was socially acceptable for both parents to be pursuing careers.

With some extra help, it is indeed possible to juggle your career and family. If there is a will, there is a way. Weitmann shares more on how her family hired a nanny and the benefits of having one. Having a nanny might be expensive, but it allows both parents to go to work and not have to worry about their kids. While at work, the nanny plays the authority figure of the household.

One of the best benefits is being able to come home from work and spend quality time with your kids. With all the tedious tasks carried out by the nanny, you avoid wasting time on certain house chores and get to bond with your little ones.

8. Choosing suppliers

Finding the most suitable suppliers involves more than just the price tag. There’s a long list of criteria to consider. According to the Brazilian business leader, it’s about building and leveraging partnerships. Here are some factors to think about when looking for the right supplier:

  • Lowering down your costs
  • Creating small business processes
  • Long-term goals of the company
  • Faster production rates
  • Sustainability

Take your time to negotiate contracts that will prove to be advantageous for your company. Choose the wrong supplier and you could face an array of issues such as delays and poor quality.

9. Don’t wait for answers

It’s the 21st century but the gender gap still exists. A study by McKinsey showed that men are more likely to get an entry-level job. And as you move up the ladder, this disparity is even more obvious. For every 100 men that get promoted to managerial level, there are only 79 women.

The Managing Director of Converse Europe has shown the world that a woman can climb up that corporate ladder. And as a woman, she also sees the need to empower other women.

Her advice to other women out there is to take ownership and conquer presence before someone tells you it’s yours. Through creating and growing a women’s network, she encourages other women to focus on stage presence, personal branding, having a voice, and owning it. Don’t listen to corporate culture.

10. Tips and recommendations

As we near the end of our conversation, the senior business leader shares her recommendations on books and podcasts. She loves reading several books simultaneously, especially those on leadership. At the moment she’s reading “The Outward Mindset” along with the Liane Moriarty novel “Nine Perfect Strangers” and “Your First 100 Days: How to Make Maximum Impact in Your New Leadership Role”.

While she’s not reading books, she listens to podcasts as well. Her favorite is the Harvard Business Review. Apart from the recommendations, she shares these three inspirational tips on life:

  • When times are tough, you have to keep going. And when everything seems to be going well, you have to stay centered.
  • Stick to your routines. Find out what works for you and start the day with energy. You have 24 hours to accomplish things.
  • You are enough. You are unique. Make sure you know that and believe in that.

We’re constantly learning, every day. Regardless of age, we’re like sponges that absorb information in so many ways. Apart from school and books, learning from others is also a proven method. And when we’re open to this, we can benefit from their experiences.

As four individuals with different upbringings and expertise, they have so many lessons to share with the world. Although most of their knowledge is concentrated on their field of work, there are two lessons they commonly preach — the importance of teamwork and perseverance. Whatever field or industry you’re in, keep in mind that you can’t do things alone and that you should never ever give up.

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