Most of the women in the corporate world face experiences of sexual assault and gender based violence all the time. But very few of such incidents are reported to authorities. With a mission of making women’s voices to be heard, Zoë Condliffe stepped into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Zoe studied at The School for Social Entrepreneurs when she was 21, and that’s when she started her first organization. She has always been entrepreneurial, and when she started working for larger organizations she became quite intrapreneurial by starting programs and taking initiatives within the organization that were pushing for change.
Fitting into the system has never worked for her as she has always been interested in solving problems by coming up with innovative solutions. Later in her career she was recognized for some of her work that she did for an NGO, by an investment company, who asked her to start a company within their portfolio. That’s when she decided to start her own company. Currently, she is the Founder and CEO of She’s A Crowd Creating Equal Communities and Spaces for Everyone.
Zoe believes that women still do not have an equal chance at leadership, and that starts well before they even get to the workplace. One of the biggest challenges for women in the workplace is the expectation that women be the primary caretakers of children. And thus companies need to have better parental leave systems in place, for both mothers and fathers. And workplace culture needs to change to ensure both mothers and fathers can have flexible working hours to accommodate having a family. The expectation that women do the majority of household labor is holding women back in the workplace.
In the workplace itself, women face obstacles from unconscious bias to sexual assault. There is a dire need of anonymous and safe ways for women to report these experiences, so that workplaces can understand what is happening for women in their organization and can address it more effectively. This is something She’s A Crowd provides.
Creating a Social Impact
She’s A Crowd is a storytelling platform driving the change in the space of gender-based violence. The company uses existing technology to solve a problem in novel ways. It has a double-sided marketplace comprising of customers who are using its data, and users who input their stories. Its users need a trusted and relatable brand and hence, the company is striving to build a beautiful brand to speak to its user base and increase its reachability. The organization’s user base is primarily women who are ready to share their stories and thus, they need to feel that their stories are important. She’s A Crowd is achieving that through ensuring its tech product is engaging, interactive, safe and anonymous. Through this, it is generating a database that can reshape the future.
She’s A Crowd has had to prioritize attracting customers to prove out its concept and begin to collect data. In doing so, it has conducted around 100 customer interviews to understand them extremely well. Later, it built a product that serves them, without compromising on its values or the needs of its user.
Ahead of the Game
She’s A Crowd fits into quite a new niche with a unique approach. This comes with its own challenges, as Zoe sees all the other organizations and initiatives out there as having an important role in solving the same problem. According to her, this is a huge problem that cannot be solved by a single company. But she believes that She’s A Crowd is solving a very unique piece of the problem. The company is open to collaboration, which is a real strength. Talking about the competition, Zoes says, “We are ahead of the game already, and I think the best thing you can do to tackle competition is to know your domain, your customers and your users better than anyone else. I am a researcher in my field as well, so I am ensuring that I am the expert in this area.”
Zoe is excited to take She’s A Crowd global. In three years she wants to reach over one million women.
A Woman to Empower Women
Zoe started her career in the NGO sector, and there was a consistent expectation that she would volunteer her time, and it took a long time to begin getting paid and taken seriously. According to her, being both young and female is a real challenge, because it takes a long time to be taken seriously. It is really important that female leaders encourage and nurture the emerging women leaders around them, and that is why she mentors young women herself. She has certainly experienced other female leaders around her, road-blocking her success, and she thinks that women need to be a helping hand for the other women.
Enlightening Emerging Leaders
According to Zoe, leaders should have a strong vision, but be flexible along the way. Flexibility and adaptability are the key components for every leader. On the other hand, also being too concrete could make leaders miss out on incredible opportunities. She prides herself on being able to spot new opportunities along the way, absorb new ideas, take into account the feedback of others and understand when she need to change her tactics. She believes that good leaders can be vulnerable, and should not appear perfect. Leaders need to be diverse role models, as due to this, numerous people can see themselves as leaders. For young women, Zoe only asserts that, “Tech is for you as much as it is for anyone else.”
Source: Most Inspirational Women in Tech 2019 January2019