More than one-hundred aspiring entrepreneurs, tech moguls, and powerful business people gathered for the 2016 Inc. Women’s Summit in New York City on November 3—to listen to and be inspired by a handful of some of the most important players in the business world today.
The event kicked off with headlining speaker, Barbara Corcoran, a woman who, like most of the women in the audience and fellow speakers, was not born into the success she has accumulated over the years. In fact, Corcoran attributes all of her self-assuredness and passion to her mother who she said, “assigned each of her nine brothers and sisters a ‘talent’ at birth.” Corcoran’s talent? The entertainer of the group. She explained that whenever her family needed an escape or an excuse to be silly, she was there to accommodate.
Corcoran has carried that same attitude through to her highly successful business ventures and encourages that same mentality in all of her investments through ABC’s Shark Tank, many of which have gone on to be extremely profitable. In fact, one of her biggest tips for budding entrepreneurs and businesspeople is that business should be fun. Without maintaining the exciting and energetic culture that she had built for The Corcoran Group—the New York real estate empire that catapulted her to the top of the list of the most powerful women in America—she said the business couldn’t have thrived.
Following Corcoran’s enthusiastic speech was a panel of tech titans, including Ann Stimmler Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Interana, Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, and Carolyn Rodz, founder and CEO of Circular Board. According to the panel, the addition of women in technological spaces is essential, not only from an equality standpoint, but from a success standpoint—citing that when women have access to the necessary capital, “they are 63% more likely to successfully launch their business” (Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of Uncharted Play).
Inspiration and empowerment continued throughout the day, with a speech from world tennis champion, Venus Williams. Growing up in Compton, California, in a low-income household, Williams was not supposed to be as successful as she is, she said, but with supportive parents and determination, she and sister Serena went on to become phenoms in the sport. Now branching into entrepreneurship and running two highly successful companies, EleVen by Venus and VStarr Interiors. Williams shared three key pieces of advice she learned from her father: be fearless, be passionate, and be open to change—all of which she stressed are necessary to be the best person and competitor that you can be.
Other highlights included a lesson in personal finance management and company amalgamation, from founder and CEO of Learnvest.com and recently, New York Times-Bestselling Author, Alexa von Tobel, as well as a concluding panel of political minds to debate and discuss the latest policies relating to women in business and the future of female entrepreneurship.
For more information regarding the Inc. Women’s Summit, visit women.inc.com. Also, keep an eye out for more of our tips and ideas from the event, including a more comprehensive guide to making the most of your conference experience and specific lessons from industry professionals.