The mindset of an entrepreneur is one that is always looking for a new solution, a new success, or to make an idea profitable. But, what about when you need to build a team, turn your ideas into a full-fledged business, or expand upon them? It takes actionable ideas, tasks that are sorted out, and a specific mindset to succeed in all of these areas. There are challenges that come from every direction, but it is perseverance and commitment which separate the successes from the proverbial failures. Finding solutions requires both talent, and a passion for problem-solving. For entrepreneurs like Barbara Janczer, this mindset began at an early age.
“During my time at my university, I fell in love with innovation management and all the different applications to startups and established companies,” says Janczer. From working in the Austrian startup scene advising C-Level teams to moving to the United States and working as a Product Manager at Splunk, to Co-Founding Curah, Barbara Janczer has consistently demonstrated that women can achieve at very high levels, while continuously learning and engaging those around her.
Regardless of where you look in the news, it is easy to find articles discussing the statistics showing that women are underrepresented in the startup world, and in tech itself. For Janczer, this doesn’t work. So, she Co-Founded Curah, during her Master’s Program at the University of San Francisco. Curah is an intelligent peer-to-peer marketplace for on-demand self-care and beauty services. While this grew, Janczer Co-Founded GLOWIN, (Global Women Innovate) a nonprofit with the mission of empowering women, while supporting underserved communities. Between her work at Splunk, a cloud-based big data company, and her startups, Janczer has smashed through the proverbial glass ceiling in San Francisco, California, and has paved the way for other women from underserved communities to demonstrate their brilliance as well.
The Challenge Isn’t Gender Specific, But The Problem Certainly Is
Challenges to problem solving are not gender specific. They are problem specific. Because “men still take up a high percentage of hires in the tech space,” claims Janczer, “it can sometimes feel difficult for women to compete. This isn’t the case. Innovative ideas are always in vogue; however, the reality is that most startups today are founded by men and it’s on us to close the gap.” That’s where Curah comes into play. As a woman, Janczer understands the buying power of women, and the problems they are consistently working to solve. Her solution, being built now, is one which will eventually give thousands of women an opportunity to grow into their own financial freedom and independence. McKinsey recently estimated the innovation potential of women to be around $12 trillion. That’s a lot of innovative spirit and spending!
With her business, Janczer is motivated and really excited to see more women in tech, wanting to solve the problems faced by women, including those focused on female-oriented products and technologies.
To that end, Janczer has been working in high-tech product management for several years now, although she has also served as an innovative consultant for startups and mid-sized companies for over 6 years. She is quite different from the average woman working in the technology industry. Because she believes that it is “unacceptable for female founders to raise only 2.2% of all venture capital worldwide when over 35% of all businesses in the United States are owned by women,” she is doing everything she can to help women even out these numbers.
YOU Can Do It!
An understanding of the market is just one phase of the solution; however, in reality, the inequality goes much deeper. Because the issue is so great, for many, it is a turnoff from the industry itself. When you have women who are empowering women, it makes a significant and life-changing difference. To Janczer, this is why she gets excited to get up each morning and help change a life. “I want to continue to be an empowering force for all girls and women who are reluctant to start working in tech without necessarily having a technical degree or education. I want to be the person that tells them, ‘YES, YOU can do it!’ If you want to be a Product Manager, a Co-Founder, or the head of a tech firm, everything is a possibility,” says Janczer.
Sometimes succeeding means finding the creative, or alternative path in tech, or finding the problem that hasn’t been solved yet. It means sharing a female perspective on both disruption and innovation. It also means finding the mentor who will work with you and help you through the process, regardless of age, gender, demographics, or socioeconomic status. For Janczer, there are no boundaries to these roles, nor does she miss an opportunity to help those in need. “When it comes to actually bringing your innovative idea to reality, ideas are easy but solutions and the implementation of them are not.”
Find a Mentor And Get Started
If you have an idea, it is important to find a mentor to help you through the process. Whether that means writing a business, product or marketing plan or going out to pitch for funding. Mentors change the way companies look at other companies, founders look at other founders, and also how the industry looks at what a company is doing. It can also make a major difference when it comes to the construction of business plans and/or the acquisition of funding.
Finding the mentor that’s right for you takes some time. It takes some research and it also takes some great chemistry to work together. Mentors like Barbara Janczer understand this and so much more. From her perspective, finding a mentor that truly understands your space is mission critical to your success. It drives business and it drives growth. Regardless of the company she’s working with, she gives 110 percent. “Being a consultant and a mentor means being counted on,” says Janczer. “Understanding how to share a knowledge base and give back begins with smaller initiatives until they grow into larger ones. As a board member of the Financial Women of San Francisco, my encouragement of women includes everything from providing professional development and leadership opportunities to serving as a mentor and beyond.”
At the end of the day, it still comes down to one thing: determination. Women who work together succeed together, whether that is in tech or any other business. Janczer’s advice: stay determined, ask for what you want, know your numbers, and finally, know your worth. “Recognizing and owning your worthiness requires self-awareness of your unique strengths and experiences,” says Janczer. That, says Janzcer, “is how I broke through the glass ceiling and joined the world of technology and innovation.”