Every month, the ATDC partners with Business RadioX to host a day of podcasts. During our August sessions, we hosted an episode focused on being a female CEO of a tech startup. This episode was hosted by ATDC’s Assistant Director Jane McCracken with guests Anju Mathew of OncoLens, Judy Rasmus of Properly, Lynn Perry of Haste, and Puja Vadodaria of DLA Piper.
Below is a transcript of the podcast, with slight edits for clarity.
[00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the business radio studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city’s best businesses and the people who lead them.
Jane McCracken: [00:00:17] Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Advanced Technology Development Center, we are the ATDC, the state of Georgia’s business incubator housed and administered on the campus of Georgia Tech. And today, we’re going to be talking with some of the leading entrepreneurs we have in our incubator, all of whom happen to be female founders and CEO’s of their companies. I’m going to ask them to introduce themselves for us today.
Anju Mathew: [00:00:44] Thank you, Jane. I’m under Anju Mathew, CEO and co-founder of OncoLens. We are a care treatment planning platform for cancer programs wherein we help multiple specialties, including oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and others opine on cancer patients. So the best treatment plan can be put in place for a cancer patient. We are currently an ATDC Signature company, which means we’re in the growth phase. We have raised a round of funding and we are pretty much in a market expansion mode at this point of time.
Judy Rasmus: [00:01:14] Great. Thanks, guys. My name is Judy Rasmus and I’m with Properly. We are a real estate technology company here at ATDC. We are also a Signature company. We raised funding and have scaled to one other market in North Carolina.
Lynn Perry: [00:01:31] Hi, this is Lynn Perry. I’m the CEO of Haste and we’re also in ATDC Signature company. Haste optimizes the Internet for online gamers. So essentially we fix ping for gamers. We support our subscribers directly and we also work with Internet service providers who are looking to offer a gaming tier of service to their customers, to their subscribers.
Jane McCracken: [00:01:55] And also joining us this afternoon as one of the ATDC sponsors representing DLA Piper.
Puja Vadodaria: [00:02:03] Hi, my name is Puja Vadodaria. I’m an attorney at DLA Piper and I am fortunate enough to be able to help out with financing day to day legal activities for a lot of the ATDC companies and founders.
Jane McCracken: [00:02:17] Thank you, everybody. All of you have mentioned that you’ve raised money in order to grow your businesses. But I wonder if any of you had interesting or unique experiences because you were a female founder or a female CEO. Was that any more challenging in raising your funding?
Anju Mathew: [00:02:42] Yeah, this is Anju. I think I was somewhat more on the luckier side because I had an existing network that I had established before as an investor into some companies within the Atlanta area.
However, you know, there were so I knew a lot of people in the network. They knew me in return. They knew about my background that I had been in the corporate world before. So I didn’t, I think even compared to, you know, talking from a female perspective, you mean compared to males, entrepreneurs. I don’t think I faced a lot of the roadblocks that entrepreneurs in general face. However, you know, there was very often the odd question of, well, how are you going to manage your family along with raising a business. Right. So and those are things that I think you male entrepreneurs would very rarely hear during an investor meeting. So there were definitely some oddballs like that that came to me. It happens both in the entrepreneurial world as well as in corporate.
And, you know, it’s one of those things that I saw that you know, I just have to roll over those and move forward.
Jane McCracken: [00:03:55] Judy, how about you?
Judy Rasmus: [00:03:56] So I think I was a little bit lucky in that I have a male co-founder. We raised our capital out of New York. And so there was they were actually intrigued by the balance of a male and a female. Younger male, female who’d had an established business in the past but also had children. So I think for me, we had a really nice balance and didn’t face those challenges.
Jane McCracken: [00:04:23] How about you?
Lynn Perry: [00:04:24]
Sure, I haven’t. You know, you asked him an interesting story, I. I haven’t felt that in any of my fundraising. I was viewed differently because I’m a woman. I think if you know, you know your pitch, you know what your business is about. You understand your financial model. You can tell the story clearly. You know, that’s what investors are looking for. You know, understandably so. But, you know, for me personally as a woman, it is sure there have been times where it can be hard. I’ll tell you the story of I had my first baby in May of this year while we were raising money.
And I was taking I took investor calls from the hospital, you know, and so that, you know, it’s something my husband works for a large company. But, you know, men wouldn’t have that experience.
And it was it’s tough. And maybe it can sometimes feel like a little bit of a sacrifice when, you know, you know, my whole head is not in the experience of, you know, creating life and that whole thing. And you’re feeling a little bit rough, even though the whole thing’s great. You know, sometimes balancing that is is definitely, you know, a growth experience for me. But the end of the day, it you know, it got done successful.
Jane McCracken: [00:05:33] Did you disclose to the investor you were talking to on phone where you just happened to be at the time?
Lynn Perry: [00:05:40] Well, I actually did. I wasn’t planning to. But he said, oh, what’s new? And they all know each other. And, you know, they’re going to find out one way or another. You know, I have a kid and they know each other and they talk because we’re all friendly. It’s not.
Is there anything unusual about that? So in a spirit of honesty, I said, you know, I said, what’s new? I said, you know, I recently had a baby. He said, “when?” I said, “yesterday.” And I said, “do you have any kids?”
And he said, “no, not yet.” So he knows you know, sometimes if, you know, you’re talking to somebody who’s had a couple of kids there, they kind of get it. But it’s not that he didn’t. But he’s like, oh, OK. And I’m like, so anyway, what’s the story on the convertible note? And then they just move on and that’s it.
And ultimately, they need to have successful you know, they need to be investing and helping our business become successful. So if we kind of get back when I’m getting back to that point with them, you know, that’s where that’s what we talk about.
Jane McCracken: [00:06:44] And I think it’s great because I think sometimes women worry about raising money while they’re either expecting or you’re still on maternity leave. And you were totally able to overcome that challenge.
Lynn Perry: [00:07:00] Sure.
Jane McCracken: [00:07:01] And it didn’t keep anybody from investing in your company congratulations.
Lynn Perry: [00:07:04] Not that I know of.
But if they did, then, you know, that’s their loss.
And I think I mean, we have a great investor group and they’re very supportive, something I’m also fortunate that I haven’t had any experiences that I would classify as negative because of my gender or anything. But, I was nervous when I did when I was pregnant and I was telling my board, there was definitely part of me that felt guilty and not I mean, just because you want them to know and you’re ready to prove this will not impact how I do my job. And then I look back. I don’t think it has and it hasn’t. And here I am. And I worked throughout my. There was some maternity leave or anything like that. So but sure, it’s a little scary at first just to tell people, at least for me and my first time having a baby, first time CEO going through that. Happy to be on the other end of it and know that it’s gone well. But yeah, I’m different.
Judy Rasmus: [00:08:02] I think that Lynn brings up a really good point in that she might not know who the investor is that maybe didn’t choose you. Right. But that as female as female owners of companies, I think that we if I know that it’s more important to me to have investors that I relate to. So it’s not about the money, but it’s about who are they to our company and what do they bring to the table as far as support. And I would have a tendency to believe that maybe with male owners that’s not as important as it is to us as females. I feel like picking the right lead investors is really, really important to the growth of the company.
Jane McCracken: [00:08:42] Absolutely. Anju I think you might want
Anju Mathew: [00:08:45] Yeah, I completely agree with that. I think in general, for any entrepreneur, when you’re looking at an investor making sure that they align with your vision and also the culture of the company. Right. So when you’re talking about the culture, you’re talking starting from you as the CEO, you want to support women in the workforce. You want to support, you know, parenting, different parenting styles, different types. So making sure that your investor aligns with that, I think is an extremely important piece. And, you know, I just want to add to also what Lynn was saying in general, what I’ve seen and I think this is a good change that’s happening while there are many investors who in a very subtle way will turn you down. They’re not going to say it’s because you’re female or something. It’s like sometimes they may not even recognize that. I think what I pleasantly saw was that if you have a good message and you’ve shown that, you know, you know your business and you’re making very good progress. These are obstacles that exist, but they can be overcome.
Jane McCracken: [00:09:50] Well, in your experience now, both either in sales as all of you are growing your businesses or as you fundraise. Have you experienced not being taken seriously because you’re female or did you recognize any unconscious bias or did you notice anything that might be different had you been male?
Judy Rasmus: [00:10:15] I didn’t through the process, I think. I think if you’re vulnerable about who you are and what your company offers, they’re going gonna see the strengths and the weaknesses of those founders, whether they’re all female or whether they’re female or male. So I didn’t really feel that like there was any bias towards women.
Lynn Perry: [00:10:33] I didn’t either.
I think it’s, you know, these in your who you’re selling to are here pitching to everybody’s being pitched to all the time on one side of the table or another. And so, you know, back to what you said Anju. If you’re clear, if your message is clear, your strategy is clear. And you know, you tell the story well. That’s who I am to them.
Jane McCracken: [00:11:00] And I think that’s exactly right. I mean, here at the ATDC 20 percent of our portfolio of Signature and Accelerate companies are run by or founded by female entrepreneurs and combined, well, the last two years in each of the last two years all of our company member companies have raised over one hundred million dollars. So it doesn’t seem that being a female founder is holding any of our companies back. And as you all have said, if you know your story, you can answer all the investor questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, you’re gonna be raising the money that you need because you’re demonstrating to the investors they can make a return. Let’s talk a little bit about how you guys got to your companies in the first place. Judy, I gonna ask you, you have a very interesting story on how you and your co-founder got together.
Judy Rasmus: [00:11:57] So unlike my fellow colleagues, I’m at the tail end of childhood. So my daughter was headed up to Boston to go to college, and I decided maybe I would launch a business in Boston. So I started doing a little bit of research and one thing led to the next. And I answered an ad on Craigslist and that’s how I found my co-founder. So he was finishing up school at Harvard Business School and was looking to do something disruptive in real estate. We looked at each other’s backgrounds and decided it was a match. And four years later, here we are.
Jane McCracken: [00:12:30] The rest is history. Yeah. Anju, how about you?
Anju Mathew: [00:12:35] Yes. So I was actually with McKesson at that point of time and in a very interesting role around innovation and technology partnership. So I wasn’t looking to move. However, I had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug earlier. So I co-founded another company in the cancer space and there was a medical device. We didn’t do that great in terms of an exit or anything like that. But we had we were able to advance the technology. But as part of that process, I just loved being an entrepreneur again. I moved to McKesson. I wasn’t looking to move at that particular point of time, but a customer came to us. So it was one of the hospitals here in Atlanta that were struggling. And they knew my co-founder and he a practicing hematologist, oncologist, and my husband. And so they were struggling and they were. We need a solution for this. This we can’t be efficient going forward in the same way. So that point of time, it was really to help them solve a problem. And we pulled together a prototype and then put it in the form of a beta in their system. And then we saw some very good results. And so from there, other hospitals started to ask about the solution. And that’s how we started.
Jane McCracken: [00:13:50] And Lynn, I know that you’re not the co-founder of Haste, but you joined the company. And what was it about the company that made you not only want to give up a great job to put yourself out there to be a CEO?
Lynn Perry: [00:14:06] I had I worked for the investors before it, a couple of other Atlanta based, you know, technology companies, culture, business sales, fusion that are now Accenture and Sugar. But we had worked for them before. I was a first time CEO is a great opportunity for me. I met the co-founders of C of Haste and the team. And, you know, it’s a fantastic group. It’s all guys. So I’m the only female there today. So we’ll grow that, but. Yeah. So it’s just a great group of people, you know, solving a persistent problem and a really interesting, fun growing space.
Jane McCracken: [00:14:48] And I have to ask, one of my startups was actually in the gaming arena. And there were very few females 10 years ago. Very few females involved in it. But the number of females actually participating in computer gaming and E-Sports is growing day by day. And so you’re seeing a lot more females involved in the industry, I hope.
Lynn Perry: [00:15:11] Yeah, absolutely. I wish I had the stat for female players in front of me, but no, absolutely. It’s well-balanced.
Jane McCracken: [00:15:19] So that’s great. Now, one of the things that you always hear about for female founders is networks and support and who you can turn to in terms of mentorship.
Do you all have any stories about people that have really helped you in your careers along the way and even right now as you grow your businesses?
Lynn Perry: [00:15:47] For me, I mean, the core investors of Haste have been those mentors for me. Some of them have been mentors since well before I joined haste. So I’m I’m just really fortunate to have a group of investors that are both financially so have been supportive of the business, but also personally mentored me and knew that I was coming in as a first time CEO. And, you know, we’re obviously supportive through the pregnancy. I don’t think they really even noticed anything. Oh, you had the baby. So. So, yeah. So I’ve had very I’ve had great mentors that are, you know, financial backers of Haste.
Jane McCracken: [00:16:30] That’s great.
Judy Rasmus: [00:16:32] You know, I had my own business for 30 years. So I think there’s a lot of people from that industry that supported me in launching this new company. And it’s funny that that disrupting the real estate side of the business when I owned my own existing real estate company and still do was a challenge. Right. I had to find the balance of the clientele that was right on one side of the table and then 100 percent dedication to the new company and getting somebody else to run my existing company. So I think for me it really was mentors that weren’t in. In my previous involved in my previous business rather than necessarily the people that we got involved within the new company. And the support that we get from ATDC too is really something to speak about.
Jane McCracken: [00:17:22] Well, thank you for that. Anju, how about you?
Anju Mathew: [00:17:24] Yes, I agree. And I think mentorship is very important. Your network is very important in moving your business forward.
One is developing, it leads into the market. So be it leads into investors be it leads into customers having that network and establishing that even maybe before you even start a company. Right. While you’re thinking about the idea, I think that’s a very important part of making sure that you can build that traction very quickly. And so tapping into organizations like ATDC, potential investor groups, I think those helped me personally a lot. From a personal perspective, too I think our investors have been great mentors for me? Jane, I’ve told you before, I think you have been amazing to me as a female mentor. Just knowing, understanding some of the challenges and also just reminding me also of what are the next steps you should be thinking about in the growth of your company. So I think that mentorship is very important. And again, because the session is about female entrepreneurship. I do have to say, though, in my career, you know, outside of you Jane, I’ve had very few female mentors. Most of my mentors across the board have been men. And they have what they have been the ones who have elevated me. You know, frankly, even starting as a child, it was my father, my brother, my husband. But then even at work, it’s always been men. And I think we need to we as women going forward, need to become mentors for other women coming on.
Jane McCracken: [00:19:01] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That is often spoken about in the media that women aren’t being supportive enough to other women. But I want to turn it over to Puja for a moment here. You represent one of the leading law firms in the world. And in addition to providing legal services, you’re there to help expand these entrepreneurs network. And you may just want to talk about a little bit. What you do beyond practicing law to support entrepreneurs?
Puja Vadodaria: [00:19:31] Sure. So it’s a matter of just the clients and the network that we have. It’s whether you need a client in a certain space or a contact in a certain space and being able to provide that. Knowing what folks do and how to support what their passions and ideas are and finding the right people that can get in that channel, whether that’s investors, customers, suppliers having that kind of the broad reach of folks to pull from.
Jane McCracken: [00:19:59] Well, thank you. And I know that that we appreciate DLA, Piper and all of the professional service firms that do support the ATDC and it’s a way for us, for all of us, whether you’re running an entrepreneurial company or you’re needing to expand your own personal network is to get out there and to tap into all the people that we kind of invite to be a part of our community here. So getting back to some of the challenges of growing a company, I don’t care if you’re male or female.
What has been, in your view, maybe over the last 12 months, your single greatest challenge in growing your business? Judy, I’m going to pick on you. I’m sorry.
Judy Rasmus: [00:20:44] I think it’s for us, it’s how do we have software transcend? And in the services industry, replace the person. Right.
A little bit of it and take the consumer out of the transaction, but still have the quality and the level of what you’re providing for them be top-notch.
There is our industry, the real estate industry is fairly antiquated in the way that it does business and has been that way for quite some time. It’s an expensive transaction.
And I think for us, the biggest challenge has been how do we build software that really keeps the seller in touch with the process and is the middle man. And accomplishes what we’re trying to do, which is it’s a fairly large transaction. It only happens usually a couple of times in someone’s life. So it’s not a reoccurring transaction for us most of the time with our sellers and it’s just developing. You know, I guess the short answer is developing a software that that really replaces a human relationship.
Jane McCracken: [00:21:44] And so have you had to emphasize user experience or getting the customer over the fact that you’ll be using the software more than you’d be using a person or relying on a person?
Judy Rasmus: [00:21:58] So I think a lot of it is UX/UI development of something that feels comfortable to them, but it’s finding the right demographic of consumer that wants to use the product. We’re getting a lot smarter about that. We’re realizing that not everybody’s right. That’s a big lesson, I think for every entrepreneur is not every customer is the right customer for you and developing a product that works for the right people. Generationally, we’re finding that people that have the more expensive homes want the value proposition of what we do. But the younger people that have a less expensive home really are willing to pay and pay a little bit more to have a more optimal transaction.
Jane McCracken: [00:22:39] Interesting now. Anju you are also your customers are having to learn a new way of doing things. What have you discovered?
Anju Mathew: [00:22:49] Well, it’s we’re in the health care industry.
And, you know, one of the biggest obstacles you face in the healthcare industry is a stiff resistance to change and getting onto new platforms and technology platforms, providers, very essence are just very busy with what they do. And so learning a new platform or utilizing in your platform is just very often a no-no. So even before they see the system or the platform and what it can do for them. So being able to overcome that mentality, you have to figure out ways of finding, OK, who is a good proponent or a supporter within that health system, who sees the benefit of the platform and then becomes your internal supporter? I would say within the customer. So that’s you have to find its own healthcare, I think can be, especially when you’re selling to health systems. Our challenge has been you can have a very quick transactional model with our type of platform and what we’re selling. It’s almost a relationship-based process that we’ve had to figure out over the past year to make sure and kind of put an engine behind that.
Jane McCracken: [00:23:55] Right. And Lynn, have you seen anything because E-Sports is evolving so quickly? What are you seeing from your customers?
Lynn Perry: [00:24:08] I think our biggest challenge. So we and we look at ourselves is really gaming as a whole. So E-Sports in the formal competitive E-Sports arenas is an indicator of the growth of gaming or they feed each other. But we support like that the home gamer, right, that are there online playing fortnight, apex legends, that kind of thing for us. I think the biggest challenges there’s so much, you know, as you said, growth in this space that, you know, you could we could focus on E-Sports, we could focus on, you know, that the product we have today, the product that is evolving into our different channels and form factors that Haste can take. And it’s. The challenge is not being too enticed by all of these opportunities, but remaining laser-focused at execution.
And what we’ve chosen to accomplish today, while still looking forward to the future of Haste. We’re still a smaller venture-backed, you know, growing business. So, you know, not biting off more of it than we can chew, but also, you know, having a long term plan that, you know, has a vision for the future of Haste.
Jane McCracken: [00:25:14] Well, I think we’re hearing that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female when you’re focusing on executing for growth. You have things to do. You have to understand your business. You have to understand your customers and remain laser focus. But I’m curious if when you’re out and about socially, are people surprised by what you do? Because in many ways, for a lot of people, you’re defying social expectations.
Lynn Perry: [00:25:44] I don’t think so. I mean, maybe, you know, I think. You know, maybe there’s not.
Sure, there’s maybe there’s not many female CEOs and so, you know, is that my 20-year high school reunion the other day and I probably was the only one. And so they might have been you know, it’s maybe less common, but I suppose it depends on which social circles. I mean, in my business circles or, you know, of course, the ATDC community and, you know, things like that, I don’t find my gender and my role to be in any way mysterious to anyone, maybe the gaming piece, because nobody really thought of me as a gamer before, but that that might be part of it. But no, I really think it’s it’s more commonly expected and maybe I’m pleasantly naive. But my outlook on it, I think also, you know, helps shape that. And if they are a little bit surprised at it, it vanishes pretty quickly, because I think what we keep getting back to, if you know, your stuff, it’s they feel like we’re past the point where people. But, yeah, I mean, I think as Anju said that sometimes there’s there may be a question of how you balance it all. I think I ask myself that. I mean, on this topic, I think what’s most interesting is sort of how we process that internally rather than people’s perception of us. You know, I think most people look at me and think, oh, she can just got it at all. It’s how do I know how my balancing in my head. All right. This is family time. This is work time. This is actual time for sleep, which I hear comes after like six months or so. So. So I think that’s really kind of the reconciling of the female thing and my external world. It really doesn’t process. It’s really all about internally, you know, go in. And obviously motherhood is on my mind because of the last few months, you know, being a female and having that role and then coming here and just switching right over to, you know, the challenges I mentioned before.
Jane McCracken: [00:27:45] Well, I think you’ve articulated it so well because as females, a lot of times we don’t give ourselves a break and you can’t be 100 percent in everything at all times. So in some points, the family comes first, in other points, business comes first. And I’m also glad you mentioned sleep because you have to put yourself first occasionally, too. And that can be quite challenging to anyone, male or female. So I think you summed it up really well. Judy, you come from an industry that there have been a lot more female entrepreneurs in the real estate industry than in a lot of other industries. So maybe starting your own business in this way wasn’t particularly unusual. But I’m curious about how some of your former colleagues feel about adding the technology piece in your industry.
Judy Rasmus: [00:28:38] So I do have a lot of really close friends in the industry who sit on the retail side of it, and they’re curious. They’re always asking about what we’re building, why we’re building it. And I think they see it coming. They’re all very supportive. I think we can all be as female, whether it be real estate agents or brokers or whether you’re a CEO of a real estate company. I think we need to support the changes in any in this industry grows, goes through. I have a lot of people that work for a company that’s been established here in Atlanta, whether it be Sotheby’s or Harry Norman. And they are interested in what we’re doing. They’re interested in the services that we provide and how it’s different from what they do. And I’m sure that there’s plenty of clients that need and want what they offer as well as people need and want what we have. So I think the lesson, therefore, for me is I have to be supportive of them continuing on the way that they’ve done business for a long period of time. And they’re very supportive of us and the changes that we’re making.
Jane McCracken: [00:29:40] Right. Anju, how about your experience in the health care arena?
Anju Mathew: [00:29:46] Yeah, I don’t think it’s specific to health care, but I’ve seen a wide gamut of reactions to what I’m doing today. Right.
So all the way from people I used to work with before or like some members of extended family or friends saying, really, why? Why would you leave a nice corporate job and move into entrepreneurship? I don’t think a lot of people. And so now on the other side, there are people is like, wow, kudos to you. I mean, it’s you’re taking a risk. You know, you’re putting a lot at stake, but you’re trying to change the world. Right. So I’ve seen a wide variety of heard a wide variety of things. Some of the things that do annoy me. I would say our like, oh, so now you’re an entrepreneur, so you can work from home and you can have a very flexible schedule. And yet that doesn’t happen. It’s not the story. So, yeah, it’s a wide variety to a certain extent. What I like to do, though, is you hear things that you don’t want to hear sometimes. So it’s also as an entrepreneur. And when you go through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, you know, making sure that you socialize with the right groups who can help you a lot on a day to day basis. Right. The supportive group finding those supportive groups, those that understand truly what you are going through and what you’re trying to build towards. Right. It’s not about always about making money. It’s about making a difference in the world as well. Right. So people who can see that vision and help you get there, I think is very important in the days that are especially tougher in the earlier days.
Jane McCracken: [00:31:22] Well, you touch on something there that I wanted to bring up. I mean, as entrepreneurs, you have great days. And then, unfortunately, not so great days. And I’m just curious from all of you how you kind of cope with things not quite going the way you wanted them to do and or how you cope with failure. It may be a momentary failure, but how are you coping?
Anju Mathew: [00:31:50] A few different ways. So one is I call you. So he’s going to be.
I try to ping you or, you know, it’s going back to just reviewing and just taking those few minutes to look back at the successes you’ve had and the progress you’ve made in the last year or more.
Right. And see, you know, you have actually gone through overcome several. Bad days and you’ve gone to a better side. Right. So just sitting back and just enjoying those moments helps you overcome the bad days.
Judy Rasmus: [00:32:24] I think part of it is being vulnerable, too. And Lynn said, you know, we have to separate work time and family time and carve out spaces in your life that allow you to to become stronger and to forget about a bad day. And if we don’t do that, we don’t take the joy that we get from our children and from our families. We can’t. We don’t have the strength, I think, or the creativity to go on and create and do the things that we’re trying to do. So making sure that you are whether it’s an hour or a half an hour, giving yourself that time to kind of.
Put away work and forget about it and you wake up the next day and I’ll be a bit better.
Lynn Perry: [00:33:08] Yeah, I mean, these what these guys said, you know, and going back to carving out space, I still I like I teach yoga, this yoga studio on the weekends and I have four of the last four years. And I have to maintain that because I need to have for me, that’s my part from family and all of that. But that’s my anchor to a broader view of how I operate each day and what my purposes. And the fact that I am not in control of everything, but I can show up fully and have the right energy for myself. But of course, in my role for the team and you know, you do your absolute best every day with a realistic and positive view on where the business is going. And I. I full confidence in that effort. And I know that I can’t control everything. But I know that I will, you know, show up with my full self and bring the best energy I can and intelligence and hard work to the office and outside of the office. So I have to have something that is a is a way to lock into that way of being. And for me, that’s what it is.
Puja Vadodaria: [00:34:14] And I’ve realized that it’s also important to remind ourselves that we can’t be 100 percent at everything every day. There’s gonna be things that we’re doing 100 percent that day and other things that kind of have to fall by the wayside. But it’s kind of having that balance. And that’s what, you know, reminding yourself of the successes of that day, of that month, that year, whatever period and going from there.
Jane McCracken: [00:34:38] I was going to ask you, because you are a corporate attorney and that comes with its share of successes and its share failures, too. So I think you’re being able to relate to how each of these women finds that moment in their day to give themselves a break and focus on what can be positive from things I think is really good. One of the things that women aren’t very good at is bragging about their accomplishments and really owning your accomplishments. And if you with your business that you guys are running today could single out one or two of the things you’re most proud of having achieved thus far in the growth of your business. Think about what this could be. I know, Judy, I hate to put you on the spot, but if you won’t mind highlighting some of the things you’re most proud of.
Judy Rasmus: [00:35:31] All right. So we’ll talk about being vulnerable then. I started this company in the middle of a divorce. Right. So it was a hard time. I had an existing business. And part of healing from that for me was challenging myself again. And so I went out and created this business, found somebody to run my existing business. And it was a growth period for me. It was something that was healing. I think that was probably the biggest thing that I have accomplished short of where the company is right now. And what we’re doing was taking that leap of faith and saying this is going to help you get better. That’s going to be a good thing for you to do from a challenging standpoint.
Jane McCracken: [00:36:12] Wow, thank you for sharing that.
Anju Mathew: [00:36:17] Yeah, I think for me, there’s a couple of things.
One is having the ability to create an amazing team, and I think I consider that I mean, I sometimes I look at the team and I say, I think we’ve pulled together a great team, both in investor team as well as the employees within the company, just pulling the right talent that can understand our customers. It took a lot of work, frankly, you know. That is when in the past year that has been one of our other big struggles, just finding the right talent for the company. So pulling together that an extremely strong group. And the second piece that I just enjoy completely when I hear that is when our customers come back to us and say, you’ve built an amazing solution. And I take pride in that because I was the first one who designed it there. I know where the faults are. But yes, I do take pride in the fact that I was able to build something that people think are really cool.
Judy Rasmus: [00:37:23] And again, to echo what Anju said. Yeah, I mean, our team, we have all the same guys that we started the that were there when I joined Haste. And they’re excellent. So mean, you know, keeping them on and excited and motivated. I’m proud of my role in that. I’m proud of that. I got through for them. Most of the time that I’ve been a CEO, I’ve been pregnant or had a newborn. So that’s been a juggling act. I’m proud to have accomplished that and come out the other end with, you know, Haste being healthy and growing. And we evolved from the time that I’ve joined. So it’s been a bit of a transformation. The core of what we’re solving for has remained the same and has grown. But there’s that you know, there’s some performance results around transforming us to be even more metrics-driven that I’m pretty proud of.
Jane McCracken: [00:38:18] It’s great. And how about accomplishments as a corporate attorney, because you are under a lot of pressure on your road to partnership.
Puja Vadodaria: [00:38:29] So how about you, Puja? So in my last decade at being at DLA, it’s been amazing to see kind of the growth in the office as well. I started off as one of the only female associates in my group. And over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a number of women join as well and being able to mentor them and tell them the things that I wish somebody had kind of step aside and told me, just coming from the perspective of a female. I think it’s different. You know, I had great mentors, but there’s always things about how do you manage work-life balance, being a mother, being an attorney, these kinds of things. It’s easier to get and listen when you hear it from another woman. It’s easier to relate to it. I find. And so I think that’s been a real accomplishment for me to be able to be that mentor for the other women in my office. You know, it’s always a challenge. Try to handle multiple the multiple hats, but, you know, kind of taking each day at a time and looking at the strengths and the positives. It’s what made it rewarding.
Jane McCracken: [00:39:27] That’s great. And I’m curious if you knew when you started with your companies what you know now, what piece of advice would you give that person you used to be based upon everything you’ve learned and accomplished thus far? I know it’s not an easy question.
Judy Rasmus: [00:39:50] For me, it’s probably don’t be so hard on yourself. Right. And in life, the failures teach you something about what you’re building for the future. I think that there’s as females were probably a little bit more emotional about our businesses and not as black and white as some of our male co-founders. But I think being a little bit easier on the fact, you know, on ourselves as far as the values are concerned and owning those and letting them help chart where we’re headed.
Anju Mathew: [00:40:25] I think mine is on similar lines. It’s you know, when I started the company, I had these goals. Right. So by the end of this year, I am going to achieve this target and you should have those targets. But they’re very there’s a very high chance you wouldn’t hit them as well. So it’s more about enjoying the ride and, you know, just enjoying those moments again where in your you’re growing your company to a different level. Right. And taking the time to enjoy that, there will be setbacks. But again, that’s part of that overall growing experience for yourself and also being in that mindset that it’s not just about, you know, getting this company to that next milestone or to that exit. It’s about that larger journey and what you’re trying to solve. I think very often you would try if you were to remind yourself of what you’re trying to solve for a community or your, you know, your customer base and then putting it in that larger, you know, stepping, taking yourself out of it from that picture and putting in the larger picture of your customers or the world. Ultimately, I think that that helps a lot.
Lynn Perry: [00:41:27] Yeah, I echo what these guys say. I mean, I think. Don’t be so hard on yourself is a great point. You know, I may be even move faster on. I wouldn’t change the choices that I’ve made. I would have moved even faster on them. So, you know, if anything, being a little more cautious, I would tell myself May of last year when I joined Haste. Don’t be quite so cautious. Your instinct is correct. It’s always great to slow down and do your diligence. But you know, if this is an exciting growing startup so fail fast, all that good stuff.
Jane McCracken: [00:42:05] Well, that’s good. Well, I want to thank you all for joining us today. I mean, some of the takeaways I have from the conversation is that it’s not about work-life balance. It’s about allowing yourself to put things at a priority in the moment that not everything can be an equal priority.
Also about building your own network, whether it’s your personal network, whether it’s tapping into people from your past, whether it’s your career or your personal life. And then building a network with the people that are going through a very shared experience of growing an entrepreneurial company. I think two another thing I took from this is about being mindful and giving yourself a break. And it was interesting to hear what each of you do to give yourself a break and to allow yourself to center yourself so that you can move forward positively for both yourself, your families and the team that you all lead. And then finally, what I’m really thrilled to hear about is that each of you are owning your own accomplishments, because what you’re doing in three very different industries is growing really fabulous companies. And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re driving the way forward and you’re making a difference in your markets and in the world. So thank you all for joining us today. I’m really grateful.