Sometimes at Her Corner, my job is to redirect. We’re often contacted by business owners who need something else: They’re either too big revenue-wise for our accelerator, they’re too far away to participate, or they want personal attention and they need it now.
When this happened again last week, I did what I always do: I reached out to our deep network of subject matter experts to find a few consultants I could refer to work one-on-one with the business owner, a woman in another city.
I wanted to recommend two experts: a man and a woman. Both were incredibly experienced and credentialed. But when I called them up, their responses were wildly different:
The first person, a gentleman I’ve known for years, said “Yes. Absolutely. Sign me up. I’d be happy to help.”
The second person, a woman with over 20 years’ experience in business, finance, and consulting, said “Yes. I’d love to. But you know, I’ve worked with lots of companies under $1M in revenues, and also lots of companies much larger. I’m sure I’ll be able to help her, but I haven’t worked with this exact size of business recently.”
I couldn’t believe it! What a difference in response. And how in line with the stereotype we always hear about the difference between men and women in business. The gentleman may not ever have worked with a company exactly this size either, but he wasn’t concerned.
I wanted to say something to her, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have. If I had, this is what I would have told her:
Leave your good intentions at home. I love your thoughtfulness, but I can’t stand how it shows up in work and the disadvantage that it puts you at.
It’s advice I’m passing along to all of you. For the love of God, ladies, stop selling yourselves short.