Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Speaking of Success: Female Exec Leaves Corporate World For Entrepreneurship

In The Wall Street Journal's (July 12, 2004, for subscribers only) special Small Business Journal Report article, "Speaking of Success," consultant Gail Blanke -- formerly senior vice president of public affairs at Avon Products, Inc. -- talks about the pressure entrepreneurs face and how they overcome them. In particular, here are a couple of quotes from the article but as you read them, think about the mission of this blog: Why did Gail really leave Avon? What could Avon have done to keep her on board and nuture her entrepreneurial spirit?

Gail says:

• When I left Avon, where I was safe and secure, I described it as leaping off a diving board and inventing the water on the way down.
• I think we all have the stuff inside us to do it [start a business], but we get used to things being done in a certain way, like I did at Avon. I got used to having a lot of people working for me whom I could count on and trust. I got used to lots of departments I could access, like research and finance.
• Major corporations measure their success in terms of shareholder value, which is is appropriate. Small businesses measure their success in terms of identifying a unique selling proposition.
• The best people inside corporations have an entrepreneurial spirit, they are always looking for the new thing, a new way of doing it, a new way of seeing themselves.
• I think people want to leave a legacy, people want to do something good, create value they feel they can own and they can feel loyal to.
• We are looking for something bigger in our lives, some meaning, something to be a part of, maybe something larger than ourselves, and so I think that people who are called to be entrepreneurs are finding that spirit in themselves.

Why can't Corporate America fix this? Perhaps they should create a whole new concept for CEO: Chief Entrepreneurial Officer.

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