How I Dealt with Career Risk: A WIE Suite Women Roundup
June 10, 2021
With risk comes reward but also the potential for failure. When we take on an entrepreneurial role or ascend to corporate positions with greater responsibility, they often go hand-in-hand .

Here, we're sharing insights from various WIE Suite Women in response to the question: “Was there ever a time your career was at risk?"

"After [which she founded], probably everything went wrong. It was a really rough time. Even though the tech industry says they don't mind losers, it's not true, they hate losers. I definitely wallowed in it too long and at some point, I had to give myself a pep talk. I got back to what was important to me. I exercised more. I spent time around creative people because I found that to be nourishing. I would say success is the best way to get past a failure, but it was really hard. I also wasn't going to opt out and do some other job because I love creating direct-to-consumer businesses with a tech underpinning. Now, when you really fast forward it doesn't hurt that everything Chewy is doing, with their huge market cap, I did 20 years before. As you get older you realize timing is everything. Timing and good lighting. Timing more than lighting, but lighting is more important as you get older!"

--Julie Wainwright, Founder and CEO The Real Real

"When I worked on Wall Street and left at 6pm (as opposed to midnight, the norm) to take a cooking class. I’m pretty sure there was a write up in my file."

--Dawn Davis, EIC Bon Appetit

"Every day we're at risk. Our biggest was when all of our wholesale orders got cancelled and 70% of our business evaporated. We overcame it by reorienting our entire company. Our current e-commerce site is the result of that journey."

--Rebecca Minkoff, Founder, Rebecca Minkoff and the Female Founder Collective

"When the pandemic hit, I was terrified. When schools and businesses closed, I worried about the future of Girls Who Code’s programming. But I couldn’t let down our girls and we couldn’t see the progress we have made towards gender parity in tech disappear. So, I huddled up my team, and we fought for the future of our girls. It involved hard business decisions, many tears, and restructuring our signature programs, but we’re stronger than we’ve ever been before."

--Reshma Saujani, Founder Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms

"I lost my job in the dot com bust of the early aughts. The whole industry collapsed overnight and I had no job prospects. But, the best thing about having your greatest fear come true is that it frees you from the fear of failure. It was at that point that I started dreaming bigger."

--Candace Nelson, Founder, Sprinkles, Pizzana and Play 2 Progress

"I’ve actively pushed myself to take risks and I encourage others to do the same. There will always be highs and lows in a career, but as long as you’re able to learn from every experience, you will continue to deepen confidence in your abilities. And when you do this while anchored in your purpose, that is how you make an impact."

—Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA



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