Tory Burch's Top Advice for Women Entrepreneurs: Trust Your Instincts
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Around the world, women hold 22 percent of seats in national parliaments. In Washington, D.C., women occupy 19.4 percent of congressional seats and 21 percent of Senate seats. There are only 21 women CEOs on the Fortune 500 list, and even Hollywood reflects this disparity: The number of female protagonists headlining the top movies of the year reached a whopping historic high of 29 percent in 2016.
In honor of International Women’s Day, to encourage women across all fields to pursue their goals, CEO, designer and philanthropist Tory Burch has joined forces with big names such as Sheryl Sandberg, Anna Wintour, Laila Ali and Reese Witherspoon. They’ve launched a new campaign through the Tory Burch Foundation which aims to highlight the power of ambitious women.
“I think when men are ambitious, it’s celebrated. When women are ambitious, it's somehow negative and derogatory,” Burch tells Entrepreneur. “It’s a cultural stereotype and harmful double standard that we need to change. Equal rights and equal pay for women should not be a favor, it should be a given. It’s about humanity, it’s about half the population. If we achieve that, it will help the economy and it will support communities. Women are a great investment.”
Burch recalls shying away from the word ambition in the early days of her 12-year-old brand. Now, she says having the belief that what you bring to the table is valuable will help fuel you to go after your goals. “There is there is never any need to hide the fact that you want to grow and thrive and build a business.”
When it comes to advocating for yourself and your business, Burch says that the first step is sharing your ideas with confidence -- and finding people who share in your vision. There is also power in being a good listener and reaching out to people that you admire, even if they aren’t in your industry.
“Negativity is noise and you have to block it out. ... There will be a lot of naysayers and a lot of opinions. Be an information gatherer, but have conviction and a point of view,” Burch says. “What I’ve learned is to trust your instincts. When I haven’t, it hasn’t worked out so well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.”