When I began my entrepreneurial journey, I did not know what I know now. I did not know that I would not have a female mentor to turn to or emulate. I did not know that I would feel like a trailblazer, or that I’d feel alone in the quest to create growth, scale, and sustainable value. Did I get discouraged? You bet I did. But ultimately, I followed my gut as it beckoned me down a path outside the norm, filled with hard work – a path to where and who I was meant to be.

I believe that my greatest accomplishment is doing what it takes to push through the fear, the guilt, the unknown, and the barriers to find fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams on the other side. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to grow my best talents and to give my best in return. It has provided the opportunity to break with cultural norms and build a life of equality at home and at work. It has allowed me to build a business of scale that creates sustained value. My journey is over 20 years in the making, my children are grown, and I’ve recently had a successful exit with the acquisition of my company. I have learned that although my story is not extraordinary, it is not common in today’s evolution of women in entrepreneurship. And this makes me a role model and an agent for change.

When we first went into business, I had a lot of camaraderie. I knew a lot of women starting and running small businesses. But as we began to scale and we crossed $1M, then $5M, then $10M on our way to $15M – I began to feel very alone. Our success made me feel as if I’d purchased this beautiful, uninhabited island with no transportation back to the mainland. And, the only way to get the camaraderie back was for my cohorts to join me. So consider that an invitation. The path to building scalable businesses with sustained value should be traveled by many, many more women. I know I’d do it 100 times over!

Research has proven that women and men entrepreneurs share similar motivations, see the reasons for their successes largely the same way, and face many of the same challenges. Studies have even proven that the appetites of men and women for financial risk is largely the same. Yet men are two times more likely to start businesses than women, and their businesses are 3.5 times more likely to cross the $1 million threshold. Although experts widely agree that women entrepreneurs often face unique challenges, it doesn’t seem they are often held back from success. The main roadblock is simply getting women to start and then to choose to grow a business in the first place. People are 3 times more likely to make the leap into entrepreneurship if they have a mentor or role model. This is where women like me can be of real value.

If I can help you prepare, plan, and take action to start and to grow a business, then I’ve done my part as an entrepreneur who believes in paying it forward. My mission is to encourage women who are called to entrepreneurship to be all in, to go everywhere they are meant to go, and to help create the economic and cultural changes the world needs. Words can’t describe its worth. I wish it for every woman called to entrepreneurship.