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Profiles in Power — The Influence of Central Texas Women

On August 23, 2019, the Austin Business Journal hosted a Profiles in Power lunch. It honored the women that are influencing Austin business in big ways. Among those being recognized was Ranksharks’ very own CFO, Linda Chau. They say that whoever holds the money has the power. In this case, many women of power were being recognized for funding, budgeting, and improving Austin businesses. These were the faces of big movements, not only within their own companies but within the city as well. As a guest speaker, Laura J. Kilcrease lamented on these facts. She dug into the importance of having women in business and having women control the money. It was a speech, and lunch, that was long-awaited. The women sitting in the room were responsible for billion-dollar budgets, growing their business, and so much more.

Profiles in Power

With 750 people in attendance, the women of Profiles in Power had a well-deserved audience. Kilcrease stated from an American Express report, that $1.8 trillion in business revenue is controlled by women. It’s an amazing number that is often overlooked by their counterparts. With that number, there are so many big and smart decisions being made all the time. It was emphasized that we women need to keep building onto that because we are still vastly outnumbered when it comes to decision-making roles.

Interestingly, Kilcrease brought up Mary Shelley a lot in her speech. Mary Shelley’s story about the publication of the bestseller, Frankenstein, is a great one if you haven’t heard it before. Basically, in a friendly competition between her, her husband Percy Shelley, and poet Lord Byron, she was the winner in writing the scariest story. She was 18 at the time. It wasn’t until 1823 that her name would actually show up in the books though. That would be a full five years after its original publication. Why is this brought up? Well, because so often women have to fight harder and longer to get the recognition and credit that they deserve. It’s about persistence and dedication and talent.

5 Steps to Success

Laura J. Kilcrease shared with the group her five steps to success. Eagerly, these were written down by everyone in the room.

The first step was to make your own advisory board. Gather the people that you trust the most to seek advice and bounce ideas off. Second, create a good work culture. This can mean a lot to different people. Essentially, you want to create a fun, safe place. This retains the right talent. Thirdly, have persistence. We’ve all heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Carry that mentality when it comes to building a business or locking in deals. Fourth on the list, work smart. That sounds simple enough—being able to work smarter, not harder, is key to being efficient in the workplace. Lastly, enjoy what you do! This last one was “paramount”. If you don’t love what you do, why are you doing it?

A business is a puzzle. The different people or different departments make up the different pieces. And while we each have a role, we’re recognizing the glue that is the CFO of Ranksharks. Because without Chau being able to budget wisely, and handle finances with great care and wit—and love her job while doing so—the business would look very different.

As the luncheon ended, there was a different air in the room. It was a renewed confidence and well-deserved validation across those that were awarded and present. It’s time to acknowledge the powerful women in your business.

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