Can you talk about your career path and what led you to become Managing Partner at Golden Seeds?
I spent 25 years on Wall Street, honing my skills in product development, marketing and public affairs. I love all of those fields and learned that my various employers allowed me to do all of them. I have always closely watched the progress of women in the workplace. I am part of a generation of women who were often the “first”, which was an honor and a burden, but mostly exhilarating. I have often focused on why some environments are welcoming to the advances of women, while others resist. I have seen firsthand that too often women opt out of their goals of aiming for the top. It was a natural path for me to take an interest in women entrepreneurs, knowing that they, too, were aiming to raise money and succeed in fields traditionally dominated by men.
What advice do you have for women who are looking to start their own business?
Be clear-eyed about the potential of your idea. If you start the business, you may be focused on it for many years, so take steps early to confirm that the marketplace wants your product/service and will pay for it. This commitment will be essential in attracting both capital and talent to your company. Once you take the leap, be focused on the top priorities that will move the business forward. Surround yourself with great advisers. You will be amazed at the willingness of people to help. Starting a company is stressful, even when it is highly successful, so find ways to take care of yourself along the way.
Who is one of the most influential person in your career and why?
Early in my career, I worked for a woman named Delores Defore. I was working in a big department store, Dayton’s in Minneapolis, far afield from my eventual career on Wall Street. She was a female pioneer in her industry. She took an interest in my success and promoted me at a very early stage of my career, well before most people thought I was ready. This was a huge influence on me and my career. I of course scrambled to prove her right, my own self-image was boosted, and others began to see me as a rising talent. It became a lesson to me to support emerging talent, shine a light on them and let them flourish.
Reach out to Loretta on LinkedIn.