When I was growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s, I had the distinct advantage of having parents who believed I could do anything I wanted as long as I was smart and worked hard enough. And I wholeheartedly believed them.
While I did go through phases of wanting to be the next Meryl Streep or Diane Sawyer, at some point toward the end of high school and beginning of college, I landed on advertising as a career and set my sights on owning an advertising agency.
When I look back on that time, it’s pretty amazing that I never doubted I would someday own an advertising agency. In 1972, only 4% of U.S. businesses were owned by women.
I graduated from college and entered the workforce in 1989. The first agency I worked at had several women in middle-management positions, yet few advertising agencies were owned or run by women.
Throughout the first decade of my career, there were many times where I was the only woman in the room, and I benefited greatly from having a boss who took me under his wing and mentored me along the way.
The most challenging years of my career were when my three children were young. I love being a mother, but I also love my career. I worked long hours, often finishing my work while my children were sleeping. I also had family who helped and an immensely supportive husband.
During this time, my kids observed my passion. While I was occasionally late for pick-ups after practice, I think they learned from my experience, as I now see them take the lessons of hard work and passion into their careers and aspirations.
I started what is now KidGlov in 2010. A decade later, KidGlov has 16 employees — all empathetic, creative, collaborative and inspired female leaders.
According to a recent study, in the last 20 years the number of businesses owned by women in the U.S. has increased by 114%. We have come a long way — but considering that there are more women than men in America, we still have a long way to go.
National Women’s Small Business Month in October is the perfect time to not only celebrate the achievements of female entrepreneurs and business owners, but to renew our commitment to inspire future generations of women through mentorship and leading by example.
Today, I am feeling an even greater shift in the upper echelons of business to create work environments and shape practices that will help women thrive while balancing a personal life that suits them. Businesses have much to gain by attracting women to the workplace, and those who do this have an edge over competitors.
A framed poster of Rosie the Riveter has hung on the wall of every place I have worked. I like what Rosie represents: hard work, courage and ingenuity. Throughout my career, I enthusiastically outworked those around me while also carefully positioning myself for success. That said, I would not be where I am today without my parents, my husband and a multitude of mentors who helped me along the way.
To women entering the workforce and looking for opportunities for business ownership, keep passionately following your dreams with the determination to do what it takes to achieve them. Go you! I can’t wait to see what you do with the future.
Lyn Wineman is president and chief strategist for KidGlov, a Lincoln advertising agency.