With more women than ever rising to the top of their fields, there's never been more inspiration at hand for pursuing your own career dreams. But despite the (much-needed) positive momentum, it's easy to let the fear of failure stop you from taking a risk—which top bosses Francoise Brougher (COO of Pinterest), Karen Plotkin (SVP of Dell), Jenkey Rubio (Co-Founder of Away), and Rose Schooler (Corporate Vice President of Intel) know is key to success. At the an exclusive two-day networking event designed to empower and inform women, the four women shared their own missteps on their paths to disrupting major industries.
“I don’t like the word ‘failure,’” Schooler explained. “It’s about becoming a better organization moving forward. We can leverage learnings—and build a whole new business around it.”
In fact, industry disruption is dependent on missteps, according to Plotkin. “Everything is ripe for disruption,” Plotkin said. Yes, even a multibillion-dollar company like Dell. “It takes tenacity. Knowing it is the right thing to do and not breaking away from that," Plotkin added.
Meanwhile, Away co-founder Rubio doubled down on the importance of staying true to your convictions. “I was friends with so many people in business school that were trying to map out what industries to disrupt,” Rubio remarked. “There’s no way you can build something successful if you don’t actually care.”
In order to revamp your industry, risk-taking has to be built into the daily routine, the women agreed. “There is no such thing as day-to-day business," Brougher says. "You have to be creative every single day."
To that end, Brougher says she makes sure Pinterest is a safe space for her staff to generate new ideas. "I think a good way to really enforce this creativity is to provide a structure,” she noted. “Creativity is unleashed when you provide this canvas.”
The four panelists agreed that taking chances is necessary on the road to success, in one way or another. So, with that stamp of inspiration, tell that small voice to go away: You should take the leap, no matter what.