Monday, August 19, 2019
Apropos of my post last week on female founders and leaders of beauty unicorns (and women-founded unicorns more generally), I want to highlight this recent piece from our local paper here in Knoxville. The women featured in the article range from high school students to holders of advanced degrees in their respective fields. Their businesses are all technology driven and have received significant start-up funds through competition awards and grants. None may become unicorns. Their growth and exit strategies may not take them there. Regardless, their ideas have apparent traction and their businesses are experiencing early-stage success. I found each woman and her ideas totally inspiring.
Speaking of inspiring, I also will note that a day earlier, the same news outlet published an article that focused on women-led businesses in our community--and more specifically, on advice that local female CEOs desired to offer to others who are starting or managing their own businesses. Their counsel (which includes, among many other things, encouragement to step away from business operations to achieve greater business success, as well as life balance) is priceless. So are some of the observations these businesswomen make along the way. Here are a few of my favorite quotes, each of which is a great lesson in leadership:
- “I want everybody to be continual learners, and to continue to grow and take chances and do things they didn’t think they could do . . . .”
- “Never underestimate the power of sheer determination . . . ."
- "If you take a group of subject matter experts in whatever they do, that are mission focused, put their egos out the door and they're really interested in solving whatever the problem is, whatever the situation is in front of them, that you are going to come up with more innovative, robust, diverse, comprehensive solutions because of that diversity, because you're coming together as a team . . . ."
Knoxville hosts a lot of business formation and development activity. UT Law's business and trademark law clinics engages with some of the related legal services work. As someone who practiced in BigLaw and worked predominantly with publicly held and larger privately owned firms, I have found my work in the Knoxville community over the past nineteen academic years to be a welcome change and, overall, very rewarding. As I enter my twentieth year of law teaching this week, I plan use all of the goodwill that work has generated (as well as the inspiration offered by the two articles I link to above) to motivate my teaching. I look forward to a happy and productive semester! And if you are a law teacher (or a teacher of any kind, for that matter), I wish you the same.