Doctor Neha: Welcome to TalkRx with Dr. Neha. I have a special guest today, Vicki Saunders. Welcome, Vicki.
Vicki: Thank you very much.
Doctor Neha: Typically, I ask my guests to ask a question, whether it’s on communication, whether it’s on power, whatever is on their mind. Vicki, what’s on your mind and what do you want to talk about?
Vicki: What’s on my mind is language. That’s one of the things I think about a lot. With the work that we’re doing with SheEO, we want to move to a new paradigm. It’s a shift in mind-set from where we are today.
Doctor Neha: Why don’t you tell them a little bit about what SheEO is?
Vicki: SheEO, we’re really trying to solve the problem of how do you get money into the hands of female entrepreneurs who have great innovations that are going to create a better world. Four percent of venture capital goes to women.
Doctor Neha: Only four percent?
Vicki: Yeah, four percent. We’ve created a whole new model to change that. A thousand women come together; they contribute $1,100 dollars each. We create this pool of capital and then we loan it out to ten female entrepreneurs who are selected by all of the women.
Doctor Neha: It’s not five people in a boardroom deciding whether you’re worthy.
Vicki: We trust the intuition of thousands of women to select companies they care about. Then they also get access to our networks and our buying power and our expertise to help grow their business. It’s not just about the money.
Doctor Neha: I want to say that when you were speaking, that was one of the things that I really enjoyed. It’s like you use a holistic approach. It’s not just giving people money, but it also about giving them support, mentoring them as they grow and honoring entrepreneurship.
Doctor Neha: Unique ideas. My favorite part was when Vicki was asked, “What if somebody doesn’t pay back their loan? Or what if it doesn’t pan out the way you want it to?” Your answer really moved me: “We’re coming to help.” The voice outside has never been that. You have created a voice outside that says sometimes unexpected things happen. If they do, let’s come together and let’s solve it.
Vicki: I think it takes a village. We’ve said this many times. I don’t know why business would be any different. We have all that we need around us. The challenges that we often see female entrepreneurs have is asking for help. As women, we’re great at giving. We give and give and give. But there needs to be an in-breath and an out-breath. You need to give and receive to the pool. Give and receive.
Doctor Neha: To keep it flowing. Right?
Doctor Neha: To keep the energy flowing. Now tell me what you were saying about language.
Vicki: One of the challenges is how do we move from this place of feeling that we’re in scarcity to abundance and from this crazy winner-takes-all world into something that’s more perpetual flow of capital. The spirit underneath this we call radical generosity. I remember when I talked to my mom about for the first time she said, “Why do you have to call it radical? It’s just generosity.” I said, “The challenge is if I just say the word generosity, people go, ‘Okay. Whatever.’”
When we put radical in front of it [it gets attention].
Doctor Neha: It’s almost the unexpected.
Vicki: It’s stepping up. We don’t call you an investor in our community. We call you an activator because you’re activating your capital but also your network and your expertise and being an early customer, using your buying power.
Doctor Neha: It’s bigger than investing. Investing might be I give you some money and that’s an investment.
Vicki: Then it stays stuck in this little box of just being money.
Doctor Neha: Right. This idea is an activator. An activator to me even sounds like movement. It’s phenomenal. I like the language you’re using because the language you’re using actually feels inspiring. It’s unexpected. In order to catch people’s attention in a busy world, marketing is part of it. I used to think it was a dirty word. I’m a doctor. I thought, Marketing, who would do that? I’m just going to help people. Except when I became an entrepreneur and wanted to pave a new path, I realized that whether it’s radical generosity or activators, you now have to get someone’s attention to have them thinking differently. That’s what we’re doing. To use that in our language actually matches what we are trying to do.
Vicki: Absolutely. The thing that we’re constantly aware of as we’re building this and listening closely is I feel like we don’t have words to describe the kind of behavior that we want to see. We’re always working on that. Money is loaned out to entrepreneurs, paid back and then loaned out again. Then people say, “What is that?” You need a name for that. Everybody wants things named.
Doctor Neha: They want it in a nice, neat box.
Vicki: Part of the other thing that we have on the language side is not naming things too early. I don’t really know what SheEO wants to be. I don’t know what radical generosity is creating. When people ask, “What are three check boxes on this?” I usually say, “It’s too early to do that.” I also feel like when you label things, they lose their energy. It’s fascinating.
Doctor Neha: You know what’s so interesting about that is you are a true entrepreneur because basically what you’re saying is, let’s just sit in this ambiguity. Let’s sit for a little while in this chaos. What will emerge, will emerge and you trust in that.
Vicki: Yes. I do. I’m super comfortable in ambiguity, and I know lots of people aren’t. I remember once talking to my coach about risk. I said, “I don’t view anything I do as being risk.” She goes, “Yeah, because you’re off the charts on your risk profile. You don’t think it’s risk. Other people really do think it’s risk.” I think that it is definitely the spirit of an entrepreneur to be able to be comfortable in ambiguity, which unfortunately all of us need to get more comfortable with in this crazy world we’re in.
Doctor Neha: We’re in an uncertain time, an unstable world that’s changing really fast. Part of it is the Internet and technology. If we think of the industrial times to farming to industry, that was a hundred-year evolution where people moved out and changed from farming to urban areas. Our human experience could change over a hundred years. I’d say Internet and technology has created fast change in the last 20 years. It’s changed the equivalent amount as it changed in a hundred years. You can’t really speed up awareness and human development. But there’s almost a push now for us to accelerate that.
Vicki: Which is just crazy. You cannot expect humans to move as quickly as capital in the way that the world and as technology moves along. This is a real struggle that we’re having. Especially with artificial intelligences coming in and robots.
Doctor Neha: Are we going to have self-driving cars?
Vicki: Right. That’s totally happening. The social construct just cannot possibly keep up with the technology, which is a real tension that pushes against us all the time. It’s interesting.
Doctor Neha: In your world there are activators who loan out a thousand dollars. They don’t get it back, but what they do is they invest in these entrepreneurial women. What do you call those women?
Doctor Neha: Ventures. I want to have a call to action here. Maybe you’re watching this and you’re thinking, I want to support other women. Let’s create that strength and connection that is a wave that is happening in the world. Maybe you’re an activator. Maybe you’re someone who’s a venture. Is that what we call it?
Doctor Neha: If that’s you and you have an idea but you don’t have the support you think you need, I want to make sure that you go to SheEO.com to check out the resources that are available to you.
As far as the language, I’m with you on the idea that we’re making it up as we go. I’m actually even comfortable trying things and then saying, “No, not that. Let’s do it again.”
I want to challenge each of you out there. Do you wait until something is perfect before you’ll put it down? Or are you willing to step out and put something down and say, “This is what it feels like today.” And then give yourself enough grace that if it changes tomorrow, that’s okay too.
I have made so many mistakes as an entrepreneur; I have lost a lot of money making the wrong decision. Now what I say to myself when that happens is, “Neha, you’re building a new path. You’re paving a new path in communication and medicine. You’re going to make mistakes and this is just the price of being an entrepreneur and going into the jungle and paving a path. Sometimes you hit a tree.” I have a lot of grace for myself. I consider it my tuition for life school. Now it doesn’t scare me as much, and I’m more willing to take that step. Is there something you’d like to ask of everyone watching?
Vicki: Yes, if you’re an entrepreneur who has $50,000 in revenue this year and you’re majority women owned and women led, this is a real opportunity for you to step into this network. When you’re an entrepreneur, you often feel alone. Just imagine how you would think differently and act differently if you were surrounded by thousands of radically generous women who wanted to offer their support to you. Imagine having a thousand women on your team—what that would do for you? You can find out more at SheEO.world.
Doctor Neha: Thank you.
Leaving the drama to Hollywood,