“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estée Lauder
Hard working women are at the core of some of Chicago’s most successful startups. On January 31, 2019, a panel of female entrepreneurs gathered to share their experiences and challenges starting businesses as part of the Learning from Ladies Who Launch Event organized by the Kellogg Executive Women’s Network (KEWN). The event took place at EvolveHer, Chicago’s first coworking space for women.
Panelists included Linda Maclachlan, Founder and CEO of Entara, Katy Lynch, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Codeverse, and Sonali Lamba, Founder of Brideside. The discussion was moderated by Linda Darragh, The Larry Levy Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.
“All three of us come from diverse backgrounds,” commented Lynch. “Our entrepreneurial stories and our journeys could not be more different. Some of us have bootstrapped, some of us have raised capital, some of us run small teams, some of us have scaled large businesses. I think that dynamic on stage was really incredible. I learned a lot about the other women.”
“I thought this group of panelists was especially fascinating because these women came from such diverse backgrounds and started really different businesses,” said Dee Slaughter, Co-President of the Kellogg Executive Women’s Network. “That made it especially interesting to hear what challenges they faced when they were starting out. We were able to learn how they got off of the ground and grew three very different companies to success.”
“I feel so fortunate to be able to collaborate with other strong and resilient female leaders,” said Maclachlan, who got her start at Accenture before launching Entara. “We all came to the event with diverse perspectives that provided every attendee with a message they could connect to and bring with them when they left.”
Having launched her company and guided it through 17 years of growth (and counting!), Maclachlan knows what it takes to succeed in business. “We started as a technology managed services firm for the electronic trading industry, but we’ve evolved so far beyond our original roots. Today, we are a full-service IT Managed Services firm. Guiding our growth, together with my executive team, has been the work of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
A graduate of Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, Maclachlan welcomes the opportunity to connect with women leaders. “It is great to share our experiences running our own businesses – including balancing the juggle and struggle of home life, accessing capital, recruiting stellar teams, and nurturing the right culture. I always walk away from events like this energized and with a renewed appreciation for my peers.”
And according to Slaughter, others shared Maclachlan’s sentiment, too.
“The group got along famously. They laughed with each other,” said Slaughter. “Often times I find that people in the C-suite are not always relatable to the everyday person, where I felt the panelists at this event were so relatable to a lot of different women of all age ranges. As the event came to a close, I got the sense that no one wanted to leave.”
Learn more about the incredible Entara leadership team by clicking here.