As today November 19th is Women Entrepreneurship Day I took a look back over the last 36 years. You know, being an entrepreneur back in the late 80s wasn’t the ‘cool’ thing it is today. Nowadays, everyone wants to be a ‘founder’, but back then, we just called ourselves entrepreneurs, and it was more about grit and perseverance than glamour.
I started my journey solving problems for the finance function in organizations, and let me tell you, that was like being a unicorn at Tiffany’s. A woman entrepreneur already stood out, but one whose service focused on finance? That was almost unheard of. It’s like those 90’s TV shows – you see the way things were, the stereotypes, the norms, and it’s a stark contrast to how much has changed.
Back in those days, walking into a room full of finance professionals, all men, it was daunting. I’d be there, the only woman, pitching my service, trying to make my mark in a world that seemed so set in its ways. We’d joke about it, my team and I, about being unicorns in this world, but it was also a badge of honor – we were trailblazers, even if it didn’t feel cool or glamorous at the time.
Now, the term ‘founder’ carries this aura of innovation and trendiness. Entrepreneurship has become this coveted career path. And in finance, women are no longer just a novelty. We’re leading the charge, making decisions, and setting trends.
Looking back at my journey, from those early days of just trying to get my foot in the door, to now seeing the respect and recognition that women entrepreneurs – or should I say, founders – receive, it’s heartwarming. It’s a testament to the progress we’ve made, not just in business but in breaking down those old stereotypes and norms.
Looking back at everything that’s happened, from the days when ‘entrepreneur’ was just a fancy word for ‘risk-taker’ to now, where diversity and inclusion are at the heart of every conversation, it’s a pretty cool time to be a working woman today. The business world has come such a long way since the 90s. Back then, in business meetings, I often felt like a fish out of water, the only woman in a sea of suits. But today, seeing people of all backgrounds and perspectives coming together, it’s just amazing. It’s like we’ve all finally realized that bringing different voices to the table isn’t just nice – it’s essential.
As I reflect on the incredible journey of these past 30 years, my heart swells with gratitude for the remarkable women I’ve had the privilege to “grow up” with in this business world. Each one of them has been a beacon of the traits and competencies that truly bring value to our world. There’s Melanie Singh, who showed unrivaled resilience in the face of challenges, turning every setback into a stepping stone. Then there’s Suzanne Puccino, whose empathy and understanding in leadership have taught me the power of leading with heart. And I can’t forget about Rima Qureshi, whose innovative thinking always reminded me that there’s no limit to what we can achieve when we think outside the box.
These women, and so many others, have not only shaped the business landscape but have also been personal guiding stars, demonstrating the diverse ways women add richness and depth to our world. Their journeys inspire and remind me daily of the strength, creativity, and compassion we bring to the table.
Closing these reflections, my personal mission resonates more strongly than ever – to add value to everyone I touch, one moment at a time. It’s about more than just business success; it’s about contributing to a happier, more understanding world. Every interaction, every decision, every challenge I face is an opportunity to make a positive impact. This mission, fueled by the examples of the incredible women I’ve journeyed with, drives me forward. I believe wholeheartedly that it’s through these individual moments of connection and value addition that we can collectively create a happier, more inclusive world. And that is a vision that continues to inspire and motivate me every single day.
Encore is a woman-owned and WBE certified, Corporate Travel Management Company founded in 1976 and acquired by Monique Mardinian in 1987, who dreamed of a travel agency that would provide companies insight into and control over their travel spend. With her background in actuarial science, Monique applied a data-based approach to the corporate travel industry, and hasn’t stopped innovating since. At Encore, we are powered by Zii, the ultimate travel platform. We we pride ourselves on our dedication to our customers and their travelers, along with our appetite for new technological solutions.