With many decades of experience in business, James P. Sargen, currently the CEO of TriActive America and TriActive KidsTriActive Kids, was recently thinking about people he knew who had succeeded in the business world. "When I started counting, I was amazed by how many of these people were women," he notes.
"Until recently, women did not stand out in the business world. Most major companies and most startups are male bastions. But I found that when I moved from San Francisco in 1990, to the California central coast that a number of the larger businesses were companies founded and headed by women. These were not the kind of women that you identify as businesses leaders, who make big sacrifices, put off having a family, and focus their entire life on their careers. These women shared a passion for their businesses, yet found a way to have a personal life, including a husband and a family."
In addition, comments Jim, these successful women also "played significant roles in community life, chairing Boards of Directors of Chambers of Commerce, other regional business organizations, community foundations and other significant community organizations."
Women are particularly skilled in managing "multiple roles, which speaks to the strengths that women have developed over the years as "mothers, family managers, dealing with problems and managing to keep perspective and balance," says the TriActive CEO. "The women that I have worked with also have learned to take a long term view. They think of their businesses over a period of years and are not dependent on achieving quarterly profits, which may come at the expense of long term profits."
As an example, he describes a woman who "founded a major regional bread bakery, that became so successful, her firm was acquired by a national baking company. Another created a successful spice and specialties company, that in turn was recently acquired by a major national firm. A third developed an optics company that has an international presence. There are others, a woman banker, who was "California´s banker of the year in the 90´s, who sold one bank and founded another focused as a "community bank." I am also thinking of our local community college, well respected in the state who has had two very powerful and articulate women serve as President/Superintendent. Not to forget the women who created a regional marketing company that is powerhouse in the state."
The keys for those successful women? "I think that the women who I have know who have been most successful first did not walk away from accepting the fact that they are women, and used the strengths of their gender and built on their ability to balance their businesses and still maintain a personal life. I think that it was this ability to be flexible and balance work and home life that made them stand out."