Though 2018 has been a significant year of encouraging women to support women Brit + Co CEO Brit Morin wants to remind you that you should not shy away from men when it comes to choosing a mentor. Morin is all about women as her staff at Brit + Co is over 70% female and her digital media company serves a female-strong customer base. She also recently hosted a talk on cryptocurrency (Decrypting Crypto) because she was frustrated that more women weren’t interested in the field. but she wants women to try to find male mentors too.
With the current climate, it seems that there is a hesitation by both sexes to work together in this capacity. According to a recent study by Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg’s organization that empowers women – 45% of male managers are now uncomfortable mentoring junior-level female employees. They also found that women are 54% less likely to have a sponsor and 24% less likely to get advice from senior leaders. As Sallie Krawcheck recently said, more men still hold those powerful positions. If you are at a large company there is a likely chance that upper management talent you need to connect with is a man. Studies have shown that when women have an advocate, their career is more likely to go to the next level. Mentorship is absolutely necessary when you are climbing the career ladder.
On the importance of male mentors
Morin told Ladders, “The changes for women over the last couple of years have been incredible. I’m so proud to be part of a generation of women that supports each other and has been making major breakthroughs in the workplace. But I think as these changes happen we should be mindful to include — not exclude — men into the conversation. There are so many guys out there who want to encourage and support women, and we need to tap into those resources too! Equality won’t be achieved by a men-versus-women dynamic, it will be achieved when gender is no longer a factor.”
On starting a business at 25
As for whether it is a good time or not to be a female entrepreneur, Morin says “absolutely.” According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2016 United States Report from Babson College entrepreneurship rates rose for women by one percentage point but remained stagnant for men. “Now more than ever there are more funds, programs, and networking groups aimed at supporting women. Gender equality is top of mind and female entrepreneurs should embrace it.”
Though she does admit that starting a company, at age 25, is one of the most challenges things ever. “I think the most difficult thing was starting. Literally. I had to build up the courage to leave a dream job at Google before I even knew the type of company I wanted to start. Beyond that, once I decided on the mission and the business plan, I had to get comfortable knowing that I was going to put my name on it, raise millions of dollars of venture capital, and be forced to meet with executives at giant corporations. All of those things are incredibly intimidating to someone in their 20s! But I just kept one foot in front of the other and kept people near me that believed in me, and over time, I learned to believe in myself as well.”
Clearly, she got over the initial hurdle as in only six years she has raised over $42 million and Brit + Co touts a community of over 175 million people. The company also hosts an annual festival, Re:Make that brings in women from all over the countries to participate in offline classes and courses and attend panels with notable speakers.