Heather, Founding Partner of Athena CFO, speaks as panelist on “Achieving Women’s Forum 2016” by Entrepreneur / Intel
Heather was invited to speak on Achieving Women’s Event of Entrepreneur as a panelist. The panel evolved around “Is it more difficult as a woman to grow a business?” Co-panelists were Sophie Le Ray, Co-Founder and CEO of naseba and Huda Al Lawati, a senior private equity professional, most recently as Partner of Abraaj Group, now an entrepreneur herself.
Maya Hojeij, Editor-in-Chief and Presenter of Mal daily on Dubai TV, led the panel around the role that women play in business.
Heather thinks that being the only women in the room is often difficult. As most other speakers agreed on, as a professional woman in finance, there are very few to no other women around. For example, during her role as a board member of an Egyptian company, she is only the second women who serves on the board ever. Heather feels that the board work could benefit much more from other women’s participation. Independent research shows that women led businesses create better results.
She also thinks that it makes sense for women to be financially educated. “Self-confidence is a big problem for women in finance. Women often don’t want to go into finance. But women can do a lot to increase their own financial literacy. They can get education or read on finance. Heather particularly advises to sit on the table when finances are discussed with husbands, fathers, brothers. Being engaged definitely helps.
However, as an entrepreneur you often need very complex financial solutions, for example when fundraising. Unless you are deeply educated through, for example an MBA or having worked in the financial field, Heather would recommend to get advice, for example through hiring a CFO or by hiring a consultant. Athena CFO can help in those situations.