We often assume the world of a female entrepreneur can be daunting as they embark on a new path in a world dominated by men. Surprisingly, if you ask many of these women the secret to their success, you’ll find they are not intimidated. In fact, they probably haven’t ever looked at life this way.
Pamela Evette, Sunkiko’s CFO, is one of these women. Find her “words of wisdom” below on gender, family and building a multi-million dollar business from the ground up.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Take more chances. I didn’t take as many risks early on in my career and I believe your worst failure is an opportunity missed. I think because I am a CPA by trade, this makes me more conservative. If you believe in something, if you have a great idea, if you think you can do it better — take the risk and do it sooner rather than later.
Q: In addition to running an almost $1 Billion organization (Quality Business Solutions, Inc.), you are a wife and mother of three. How do you balance it all?
A: First, it’s important to have specific blocks of time set aside for family where you don’t allow work to interrupt or cross over into this time. It’s important to put your focus on your work when at work and your home life (family and loved ones) when at home. Don’t compromise your time or attention on either end. Aside from this, I’ve been blessed with an incredible support system — both at home and at work. At home, my mother has been a God-send. She helps me with the kids and acts as a sounding board. At work, we have built an incredible team of people who we trust and who are always willing to go the extra mile when we need them to.
Q: Have you ever felt that your gender has held you back?
A: This might not be the popular answer… but, no. I’ve never felt this was something that should or would hold me back – I’ve never allowed it to intimidate me. I’m the youngest of four children with three older brothers. I suppose I’ve always felt very comfortable working with men as peers, clients, managers and staff.
Q: What other lessons have you learned along the way — financial, business, personal?
A: Know that when you hire and work your family and friends, it will, at times, be tough to keep your business and personal life separate. Like it or not, at the end of the day, your management decisions may not always make your family and friends happy and this can bleed into your personal relationships with them.
I’ve also learned how important it is to really listen more deeply and talk less. Give people the room to dig deep into concerns, challenges and problems and you will have a greater understanding of where they are coming from and how you can help. Make sure you get to the root of the issue before you begin making suggestions or looking for solutions. And never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. You don’t want to be caught off guard.
Find a business partner who can compliment your skills and balance you. And, last but not least, know when you start a business that it won’t be a 40hr/week job. Many people want to start a company so they can work less — which is definitely not a reality in most situations.