You've seen it, you've heard it, you've started using it, so what is a SheEO?
Well, let's start from where it comes from. C.E.O. stands for Chief Executive Officer and is the head of a company that leads the organization. They are the chief, the boss, the ultimate decision maker. So, SheEO as it turns out, is meant to be a play on CEO but with a women empowerment twist. It's inspirational and really confirms that this truly is the time of the Woman.
The term has received a little slack recently in some press as it's been associated with rather controversial incidents involving so called, SheEOs. Namely, Miki Agrawal the founder and original CEO of THINX, an underwear product for women's periods that can be worn without the use of tampons or pads. It has been said that apparently, Agrawal, touched various female employees inappropriately and without their consent. She has since been removed from her role as co-founder.
Glossier CEO and founder, Emily Weiss, was also scrutinized, but not for doing anything un-kosher, more so for being privileged and being successful. She comes from a good family, made a career in fashion, was on a few T.V. shows including MTV's, The Hills, started a beauty blog that catapulted her to huge success. Why should she be knocked down for any of this? She's intelligent, hard working and turned a dream into reality and made a few millions while doing it. Good for her, men do it all the time, she's a role model for all women. I'd rather celebrate this SheEO.
Then of course there is the infamous story of the founder of NastyGal, Sophia Amoruso. She turned vintage shopping at thrift stores into an iconic brand, another female rising to millionaire status. As her company grew she wrote the book #GirlBoss and Netflix even created a show after her, though was cancelled after the first season. Unfortunately, Amoruso, had complaints against her from employees as well, stating that she was "far too removed from the core mission of the company, was unavailable and too busy on her own projects and her newly found fame." Employees looking for strong leadership didn't find it in Amoruso. She is no longer at the company.
Finally, the spotlight is on Vicki Saunders, the founder of the non-profit organization, SheEO. She's a venture capitalist, a serial entrepreneur and is known for looking for blended models of doing business. Her organization recruits 500 various women to donate $1,100 into a fund that is distributed to 5 women owned companies each year as a zero interest loan. That's $550,000; $50,000 goes to running the organization and 5 companies are loaned $100,000 each. This is an amazing concept and Saunders is proof of being a great leader.
Despite some of the not so good character examples, these stories all serve as proof that it really is the dawn of the Woman. If you dream it and work hard, you can make it happen. What I would say is this; as a CEO, SheEO or leader in general it is a privilege to serve in that role. Yes, I said serve. Leadership is a position that others are trusting their livelihood to your guidance and following you. That is a huge responsibility, being a leader comes with some level of power and should not be taken lightly.
Throughout history, we've seen many men abuse their power. As women, are we going to do the same thing? We have the opportunity not to. Women empowerment is about the strength to rise, lifting the women around us and leveraging our power to help our communities and the world. To me, that's a SheEO.
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With lots of warmth and love,
Arzo Yusuf, Founder and SheEO of Sexy Boss Babe