Sheila is the President, Founder & CEO SRB Communications
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome?
The greatest challenge that I’ve had to overcome is to strive and succeed in business despite insurmountable odds of getting access to capital. It was a problem when I started this business, and it has not improved in the 29 years since. Banks and lenders talk a good game, but they still don’t lend to women. Talk to any woman entrepreneur, especially African American women, and they will tell you the same thing.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the workplace?
I think it has made me a better leader and a better manager. I relate to my employees in a way that I don’t think a man would. The biggest disadvantage of being a woman in the workplace, in particular, a woman of color, is both conscious and unconscious gender and racial bias.
What do you think women in the workplace have today that they didn’t have before?
More than ever we have what I’ll call a “sister girl” network of African American entrepreneurs. We may be in different businesses, but we relate to each other and we lean on each other psychologically and sometimes financially. We do business with each other. We have each other’s backs. That’s huge.
What do you think the next generation of women marketers will have that the present one does not?
A new generation of women marketers is emerging. They will have a more entrepreneurial mindset at an earlier age to accompany their mobile and social sophistication. As technology is changing rapidly, they will be better prepared for leadership opportunities at the agencies they work for. Or, they will go out on their own and create new ventures that define how they want to work.
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