Risks, Rewards, and More: Booz Allen Interviews Women Startup Founders on Facebook Live

May 9, 2019 1:45 PM ET
What path did a classical ballet major follow to create a digital platform that now serves 10 million students and teachers? How did a self-described “fitness fanatic and health nerd” use experiences from private equity, Wall Street, and retail in her own wellness company?   Michelle Brown, founder of education technology organization CommonLit, and B.J. Wiley Williams, founder of wellness rewards marketplace SoHookd, answered these questions and shared their stories on Facebook Live for Booz Allen’s Leading Together series.   First-hand insights on risks, rewards, and more   The series, which airs live on the third Thursday of every month, profiles women carving out new career paths, taking advantage of their unique leadership styles, and overcoming the challenges of managing career and family.   Alexé Weymouth, who leads Booz Allen’s Global Women’s Resource Group, moderated the discussion for this episode, “Women Who’ve Thrived in a Startup World.”    Brown talked about how her experiences with Teach For America inspired her to go back to school for a degree in education policy. An academic advisor suggested: “Why don’t you start something? What is one thing you do that you’d bet your career on?”   Wiley talked about seeking out Lululemon after business school because of the company’s leadership shaping the athleisure market, then intentionally working on the sales floor rather than at the corporate office. “I wanted to be at the pulse of what’s going on.”   Weymouth asked both about their experiences raising money, managing risks, and figuring out their next steps.   Collaborative wisdom for ambitious women   Viewers from across the country contributed their own questions as well—for example, how do you identify the best candidates for your company’s advisory board? How do you balance your startup with your full-time job and family?   Many of the interviewees’ insights, such as hiring for skill vs. passion and empowering women of color, apply to businesses large and small—and that’s the point of the new Facebook Live series.   "There's no one way to be a successful woman in the workplace," said Weymouth. "The key is to take what you need for this moment in your career, and then turn around and pay it forward to your peers and the next generation."   Watch the interview with Brown and Williams on Facebook and learn more about women at Booz Allen.