On Tuesday, March 2, the three-day Women & Worth Summit began. There were numerous successful women in business who spoke and shared their experiences. Juliet Scott-Croxford met with Denise Woodard, founder and CEO of Partake Foods, Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO, and Christine Leong Connors, managing director and head of Northern California at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, to discuss creating wealth in the founder community. They began the panel by sharing the very common misconception that all founders and entrepreneurs are wealthy when they create a company. They continued by discussing how founders can create and maintain wealth for themselves. These three successful and incredible women shared their advice, perspectives and journeys throughout the process of creating wealth.
To start off, they discussed the most common misconceptions of creating wealth as a founder. The main one that stuck out to me was when Woodard said, “I took for granted how long the wealth depletion part of the journey would be rather than the wealth creation. There is often a misconception that money will just fall down on you…I don’t find that for early-stage founders.” As a woman and as a woman of color, it was extremely challenging for Woodard to gain venture capital funding; she even had to sell her engagement ring to gain some sort of liquidity. These misconceptions help show that wealth is more than just money and that passion for your company is more important than being wealthy.
Then, Saunders shared her view that wealth is larger than money and the importance of constantly being a step ahead. She learned through her adversities to triumphs as a founder and said, “Knowing there is a game and learning the playbook is really critical.” Leong Connors continued on this topic by saying, “For any entrepreneur and founder, it is about learning along the way and learning things ahead of the issue, always being educated along the way.”
The conversation continued as Leong Connors shared a great piece of advice: “It is a marathon not a sprint…You have to be in it to create something incredible, and the money will follow.” She followed up to talk about capital, saying, “The broader your network, the more capital exits.” Woodard and Saunders continued to give advice to entrepreneurs with little or no capital, saying there is not one way to create a company, there are other paths that can be taken and “the path will reveal itself” if you’re persistent and passionate about what you’re doing.
As the panel came to an end, Saunders continued on the topic of finding capital and said, “There should be no convincing for anyone who is not coming to you with energy and love for what you are doing. It will be a painful relationship to be in, walk away and assume abundance.” As a freshman in college, this advice spoke to me. It goes beyond founders; it is about understanding your worth.