Limit Breaking Women of 2017: Jessica Higgins
Jessica Higgins was named one of the Limit Breaking Female Founders of 2017 by Huffington Post.
The following is set to run in Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Buzzfeed throughout 2018 to inspire other women for 2018, The Year of the Woman. Jessica was interviewed on her 3 key takeaways for how to break limits.
Her lessons are reposted below. You can read the full article HERE.
Jessica Higgins, COO, Gapingvoid Culture Design Group
Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:
“Becoming a female entrepreneur was the only way to achieve what I wanted to do and avoid the politics that keep so many young, driven, female professionals from succeeding in our current business environment.
Six months out of graduate school I became the Director of Business Development in a management consulting firm. Despite all of my hard work and dedication, I just wasn’t taken seriously. The firm was more concerned with questioning the nature of my business dinners and my outfits than hearing my ideas. I did not have a true seat at the leadership table.
I was only 26 at the time, already in a leadership role at a company, with a title and no respect. The ugly truth about women in business is, this happens far too often. Only 1 in every 10 leaders is a woman in your average organization. And even then, the cultural norms often work against true leadership.
The institutionalized sexism made me feel such discomfort in even doing my basic work, as if I wasn’t worthwhile because I’m not a man, because of my body, etc.
I think that most very talented and beautiful women are treated this way. You have to wonder how much potential is lost inside your business from sexism. Instead of letting other people define my value, I went off on my own and let the market define my value.
I knew the consulting model, and it was ripe for disruption. It focuses on the business-side of things without taking full account of the humanity of business. It’s more about selling hours and more consultants than it is solutions.
I co-created and manage the only end-to-end corporate culture design firm that exists today. In a world full of consultants selling you hours and, well, more consultants, my team and I designed an effectiveness-based approach to sustainably transforming businesses. We’ve combined behavioral economics, management science, marketing and even physical space design. Our tribe includes top marketers and behavioral scientists from around the world who have aligned around a common mission to transform the way businesses are managed.
This is a very forward thinking approach, but the top businesses in the world have become our clients and fans, including Zappos, Microsoft, AT&T and many others. Our businesses consistently outperform with culture as an irreplaceable competitive advantage. It’s a clear win. “
Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences
“1. Women bring a different and necessary strength to the portfolio of entrepreneurship
In my experience consulting with top leaders from around the world, I consistently see that womens' risk portfolios tend to be a bit more conservative. Women tend to be more collaboratively focused. Women tend to care for others more than their egos.
There’s a vintage image of the powerful entrepreneur: a risk taking, egocentric male figure out to change the world.
Well, the world can be changed through collaboration, empathy and teamwork to a far greater magnitude. Arguably, for the better.
It may be a bold argument, but the psyche of a female was made for entrepreneurship. Great entrepreneurs don’t go it alone, they partner, help others, express rather than take praise, and build something truly great as a team.
2. Resilience and motivation are a daily practice
Everyone has great ideas. The difference between the start and the finish line are those few people willing to wake up every day, self-motivate, ignore the overwhelming majority of folks who think you’re crazy, and keep going. Entrepreneurship isn’t the art of looking back at a great business built and telling the story. Entrepreneurship is the art of waking up and pushing yourself forward despite getting smacked in the face with failures and unknown futures day in and day out. It takes a truckload of self-managing your resilience and motivation.
3. Self-awareness, collaboration, delegation: that’s how greatness is built
Before meeting my team I was a sole practitioner who made the common consulting mistake of valuing my work on time instead of market value. I was hitting 1/100th of my potential. Partnering changed my whole universe: financially, emotionally and growth-wise. First, honestly assess your value. Then align yourself with great people who have completely different skillsets than you.
Note that this means being comfortable taking a #2 position if that’s where you’re meant to be. I’m an execution person, my CEO is a strategy and marketing person. From experience, it's far better to be a great #2 than a sub-par #1.
Jessica Higgins is a public speaker, strategic consultant, published author and advisor on creating end-to-end culture design solutions in healthcare, higher education, governments and large corporations. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Gapingvoid Culture Design Group, of which she developed and manages the only end-to-end culture design consulting practice in existence. She and her team work with Microsoft, Zappos, Roche, AT&T, Pfizer, L'Oreal, US Bank, Babson College, and many others. She is an expert in the field of Lean Six Sigma with specialty in systems design for sustainable growth. She holds a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, a Juris Doctor in law, a Masters in Business Management, and a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Psychology.
She has been an equality activist for over 15 years, cofounding the LGBTQ organization in her graduate school, as well as serving as President of the Texas Pay Equity Committee, an active supporter of Special Olympics, an active member of the AFL-CIO, member of the Gray Panthers, member of the LGBTQ Law Association, and is frequently interviewed and published on female entrepreneurship, gender and equality issues. She advises and mentors women in business success and volunteers for homeless and underprivileged families and youth in her community.
She has been published in The Ladders, Workforce Magazine, Training Industry Magazine, HR Daily Advisor, Becker’s Hospital Review, B2B Kununu, HER Magazine, Huffington Post and has corresponded on news media including CBS, Newsweek, The Miami Herald and Huffington Post. In the course of her career she has created over $500M in combined cost savings and business development and has created over 5,000 jobs throughout the United States.
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