Dear Women in Business; Smile Anyway..

I had the honor of serving on a panel discussion facilitated by fellow woman in Business Kimberly Wilson (owner/creator of My Butter Bar skincare) At the company’s tour launch event Masks and Mimosas in Houston. (Coming to a city near you!) One of the questions posed was, “ What has been the hardest obstacle to overcome as an entrepreneur. I honestly feel, my journey has been relatively smooth in comparison to testimonies I have heard from others I admire. I have heard of single mothers facing homelessness in pursuit of business start up with children in tow. I answered the question, as best I could in the moment. I recounted my struggles as a creative to solidify value in my work and transition from amateur to paid artist and speaker. The goal, God willing, is to one day exchange my corporate day job for my passion work and pay my bills. This is not to say male entrepreneurs do not also carry heavy burden and face adversity. I am speaking from my personal experience and to the demographic statistics support as the fastest growing sector in areas of education, entrepreneurship and business revenue. #Girls. What I wish I had addressed on the panel that I’ve had recent experiences in corporate and creative settings is by in large centered around respect, communication and gender. I have had clients/vendors make sexual remarks even ask me to turn around “for a better look”. Male peers seemingly eager to partner on creative projects have a change of energy after my engagement announcement. There was even an advance for a kiss because he thought, “ I was giving him that vibe”. His repetitive apology just a manipulation not to voice the occurrence to my fiance or mutual associates. In efforts to go high (I just finished Becoming by Michelle Obama) I accepted his apology and decided I wouldn’t blemish his reputation. I am sharing this in aims to acknowledge the challenges of being a woman in business beyond what may be expected. Fear of failure, stability, etc are often met with equality. The objectification of a woman as she attempts to be taken seriously in positions she has earned the right to occupy is demeaning, sexists and cripples the drive of a dreamer often times already serving as the backbone of her home. Any forms of retaliation attack her self-esteem and emotional stability and should not be tolerated in any forum directly or indirectly. My approach is always to share it in hopes to inspire/encourage and remind myself that what I may be offered is not what I have to accept. I pray anyone reading with similar experiences, ignites the power in her voice to do the same. Take it in stride Queen, and smile anyway. They big mad we killin everythang.

XO,

Kat

Kathy Lewis