How I chose to motivate my amazing leader friends to make a difference and inspire others

I sent out the following long e-mail to my girl-friends this week:

Hi Girls, did you know that only 3% of CEOs of large companies are women?

How does the above statistic make you feel?

I am guessing that the thought that may go into your mind is: these women are probably some sort of cold-hearted bitches that don’t have time for their personal lives..

What I am thinking is that the other 97% of CEOs are supported emotionally by strong and smart women, that are doing the work behind the scenes.

As you know I am full of projects and not in short of free time. But wanted to talk to you about something important that I have been thinking for a while that I need to do something about. I wanted to share this with you because all of you inspired me somehow in my life and made a huge difference in the formation of who I am today.

I have always been operating in male-dominated environments -> mathematics after-school program, computer science undergraduate, banking and now natural resources industry. Even in business school, you could see that the ratio and distribution of power was not equal. When we talk about Brazil, the situation is just sad in my opinion. Women participate, but who makes the decisions are definitely the men, in my opinion.

I never felt that I had less opportunities in life because I were a woman. Probably, the the opposite is true. I did feel often that I had to apologize to society somehow for being a successful career woman. I still think that with all the liberalism and social progress, being a successful woman carries a negative connotation. Anyway, whatever the reasons and hard feelings may be, my main conclusion is that women can and need to play a bigger role as leaders in society. 

If you look at both emerging and developed market statistics, you will see that women on average have better education rates, they are more committed to their jobs, and worry more about quality and long term. We have all that it takes to compete with men in the professional sphere but somehow many of us are left behind.

So back to Women Empowerment. I became an ambassador for Gender Equity at my company (project aiming at inspiring women (Which are only 13% of our workforce) and ensuring they have equal opportunities for success as men). I also have been receiving different information about initiatives aimed at encouraging women to participate in innovation initiatives (ex: singularity university’s project on increasing women participation in technology).

I want to do something about it.  I want to make women feel more confident to be leaders and inspire them to make a difference in their professional careers. All of you, as successful and smart women, have this responsibility (of course you may disagree but I will not change my opinion about this point). 


I started a facebook page:,  where I want to put all the relevant information and articles about this issue. It would be great if could participate and do the same whenever you see anything related that we could share with others.

Hope I could you at least a bit interested or excited. Please share the idea with other great women you know. WHO IS IN???

The Glamorous Life of an Entrepreneur part 6 – On to the challenges

Continuing my saga, which I last described in part 5:

I recently read a book called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely, and he was talking about how difficult it is to change behavioral patterns. One interesting example he mentions is about bloggers that tackles issues through blogging about them to the world, and creating a support self-motivating community this way. The common objectives are to stop smoking, save more money, repay credit card debt, etc. I figured that perhaps I could follow the same pattern in order to keep motivating myself about the business (as some of you may know, motivation is one the most critical ingredients of start-up road which is full of potholes and curves).

Having said that, I thought I would share the progress I had had this week:
  1. Spoke to an advertising professional and a retail professional to get some new contacts at fashion brands
  2. Had dinner with a local entrepreneur veteran who said she will introduce me to her contact at FIRJAN – an industry association, which apparently among rest is investing in promoting Rio as a fashion capital.
  3. Started preparing materials in Portuguese for a digital marketing agency targeting high-end retailers
  4. Helped a friend to make a valuation model for his start-up business. Thinking I should invest in it based on the numbers I got..
  5. Met an entrepreneur who is working on software tool to recruit IT professionals for projects and discussed potential collaboration options. Offered my help in getting investors.
  6. Started collecting a group of people to invest in setting up a hostel in Rio (got 4 people excited, now only need to find a property).
  7. Talked to a designer in Russia to help me create a logo for the website.
  8. Decided I need to find an intern (no luck yet but asking everyone)
  9. Went to visit some fashion stores and got business cards of the management office
  10. Carpet bombed some retail professionals on LinkedIn to see if they would want to talk to me
  11. Started a social movement to empower women to take leadership roles in business. The facebook page is up so obviously the sky is the limit! I realized lately that it’s a cause I care a lot about and have a chance of making some difference in. So hope everyone joins and shares inspiring stories of women leaders.
  12. You can read about what happened with it in part 7.

  13. Made a presentation to a group of USA MBAs visiting Brazil. They seemed to enjoy it. I hope I inspired at least some of them to try something else aside from consulting or banking in NYC or SF.
I suppose I also got some sleep, did all the other stuff that I normally do: went to work, gym, met with friends, went to a house party, read my book, watched Mad Men. I guess time really stretches when one multi-tasks.
Looking forward to the next one..