For Father’s Day, we asked women entrepreneurs about their dads’ influence.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Alice Brooks, one of the co-founders of Kickstarter project Roominate, grew up visiting her father’s robotics lab and when she was young, she had her own saw so that they could work side-by-side. She built her own doll with that saw. Her co-founder Jennifer Kessler grew up playing Mastermind and Chess with her father. The two spent hours solving puzzles together.
For Father’s Day, we asked women entrepreneurs about their fathers and how they influenced them. Check out the varied responses from these intrepid entrepreneurs:
|“When I was eight years old, I asked my Dad what the highest job someone could hold in a company was called. He told me it was called being a CEO. I immediately deemed myself the CEO of a company, Pollution Solutions, with two employees – my sister and my cousin. We worked to educate other kids about pollution and how they could start recycling programs in their schools. I also took this as an opportunity to boss the two of them around. ;-)”
— Leah Busque (Founder & CEO, TaskRabbit)“I have four sisters which means my dad has zero sons, so he sorta made me his boy. I played soccer and lacrosse, we watched football together, and I mowed the lawn. If it was something a son would have done, my dad typically did it with me.
I feel very strongly that my relationship with my dad has a lot to do with me feeling comfortable and being confident around guys. It’s why at 24 I wasn’t intimidated to sit in a room and pitch my company to a room of investors that were all men.”
— Emily Olson (Co-Founder, Foodzie)“My dad came to the US in the early sixties after being held in a work camp in Albania for many years and finally escaping to Italy through the former Yugoslavia. He had nothing but the clothes on his back. The only word he knew in English was ‘beautiful’ – which helped him with the ladies. With a sixth-grade education, he built a business and provided for his family (e.g., house, cars, etc.). There’s a reason so many successful founders come from humble means. There was always something for us to aspire to, a place to go. My dad taught me to not give up until I get what I want, and that if it doesn’t come easy, that shouldn’t stop me.”
— Babette Pepaj (Founder, BakeSpace)
|“My father was not infected with HIV by a huge bag of untested blood like many people imagine, he was infected with HIV from a very expensive ‘top notch’ pharmaceutical product that over the course of weeks and months wiped out some Hemophiliac populations completely. My childhood was actually a great training ground for thick skin (needed for being an entrepreneur).”
— Ellie Cachette (Founder & CEO, ConsumerBell) in her Yale Entrepreneurial Lecture“Other than paying for my college education (which was huge), my dad never did anything for me. He wouldn’t even explain words to me I didn’t understand. ‘You have a dictionary. Look it up,’ he’d say. He’s why I’m fiercely independent and resourceful. It was horribly painful as a kid, but it’s made me unstoppable as an adult.”
— Amanda Steinberg (Founder & CEO, DailyWorth)“My father taught me the importance of dedication, hard work, and relentless determination in pursuing what you believe in. More importantly, he instilled in me from a very early age a sense of responsibility – a commitment to the greater good – that has influenced every career decision I’ve made and set me on the social entrepreneurship path.”
— Dahna Goldstein (Founder & GM, PhilanTech)
“It all started with Tickle Me Elmo. I was one and a half and my dad took me on his lap and showed me the first computer game of my life, Tickle Me Elmo!”
How did your father influence you to become the entrepreneur you are today?
Photo credit: Jamie Henderson on Flickr.
Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1” for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.