GREAT ADVICE

 

TBF MENTORS | September 2013

Over 200 women entrepreneurs joined us for our Tory Burch Foundation mentoring event in partnership with American Express. Our mentors share their advice here.

 

 

 

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON

Author & Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


“Never import other people’s limitations.”

Tory Johnson

TORY JOHNSON

Founder, Spark and Hustle


“When things go wrong, turn the mirror on yourself. Instead of blaming prospects, investors or vendors, figure out what you can do differently or what you can do to take control and fix a situation.”

Laurie Benson

LAURIE BENSON

CEO, LSB Unlimited


“Always move forward. Don’t stall out, chicken out or check out when there are decisions to be made. Make the decisions because success does not happen when you are in neutral.”

Dina Powell

DINA POWELL

President, Goldman Sachs Foundation


“You probably don’t realize you are an inspiration to someone in your life. Even as you are in this moment building your future legacy, find a way to pay it forward and bring another woman along with you.”

 

Lesley Jane Seymour

LESLEY JANE SEYMOUR

Editor-in-Chief, More


“Ignore the naysayers. There will always be someone who will tell you no. We celebrate women who say, ‘The answer is yes.’”

 

 

Marianne Cooper

MARIANNE COOPER

Sociologist, The Clayman Institute for Gender Research


“Don’t listen to the naysayer in your own head — that critical voice that’s saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ Turn it off and figure out what is causing you to be fearful — and then go do it. That’s how we are going to get more women into business and entrepreneurship.”

 

 

Janet Kraus

JANET KRAUS

CEO, Peach & Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer

 

“There is truth in what isn’t working. Go to people and say, ‘Don’t tell me what you like; tell me why you won’t buy it.’ The more you learn the brutal honest truth, the more opportunity shows up.”

 

 

Faye Wattleton

FAYE WATTLETON

Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal


“Take care of yourselves. You cannot have a successful business if you are not in a position to lead.”

 

 

Torie Clarke

TORIE CLARKE

Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, SAP


“Every day do something that is stark-raving terrifying. It can be really fun.”

 

 

Gregg Bishop

GREGG BISHOP

Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Small Business Services


“Have a business plan. If you have one, have you looked at it recently? As part of that plan, make sure you have an exit strategy. Are you in business to pass it on to your kids or to flip it? Having an exit strategy will determine how you run your business.”

 

Tze Chun

TZE CHUN

Founder, Uprise Art


“If you want money, ask for advice. When you approach a financial conversation, don’t think about what you need; think about what you can offer. If people get to know you, they will be more likely to help you solve problems, like money. Give them a reason to want to invest in you.”

 

Dianne desRoches

DIANNE DESROCHES

Principal & CEO, AR New York


“Tell yourself the truth. Think about your business and acknowledge when there is a situation. From there you can assess it and, more importantly, act.”

 

Valerie Coleman Morris

VALERIE COLEMAN MORRIS

Author & Former CNN Business Anchor


“Business and personal money should be managed independently, but you need to be able to integrate your work and personal life — not balance, but integrate. And remember: Money has no conscience; it depends on yours.”

 

Moira Forbes

MOIRA FORBES

Publisher, ForbesWoman


“Vulnerability isn’t always a weakness. So raise your hand when you have a question. Knowledge is the most powerful asset you have as an entrepreneur — harness it and cultivate it to move forward.”

 

 

Betsy Fischer Martin

BETSY FISCHER MARTIN

Senior Executive Producer & Managing Editor, NBC News Political Programming


“Utilize your friends and networks to bounce ideas off of people, even those not in your field. Get different opinions, form your own small focus groups and you can learn a lot.”

Marjorie Gubelmann

MARJORIE GUBELMANN

Owner & CEO, Vie Luxe International


“Surround yourself with a strong team. You are only as good as the people around you.”

Alexis Maybank

ALEXIS MAYBANK

Founder & Chief Business Development & Strategy Officer, Gilt Groupe


“Find your own unofficial board of directors, people to whom you can ask questions in a safe environment where you get brutal honesty without judgment. It’s important as you tackle hard decisions — things you can’t always ask your official board of directors.”

Julie Weeks

JULIE WEEKS

President & CEO, Womenable


“Just ask…the right question. Asking the right question is very critical.”

Thelma Golden

THELMA GOLDEN

Director & Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem


“It’s easy to consult away the creative part. Do the opposite. Spend your time on the passion that drove you to what you did and outsource other things that will build your business.”

Gina Bianchini

GINA BIANCHINI

Founder, Mightybell


“Share experiences, not advice. The most powerful way to learn is to listen to other people’s stories and to share your own.”

Jeanne Sullivan

JEANNE SULLIVAN

General Partner, StarVest Partners


“Our finest CEOs — the ones we take our wallets out for — are the ones who know what to do and how to do it. You are not born knowing this, so build and use your business networks. Go for it!”

Jean Chatzky

JEAN CHATZKY

Financial Editor, NBC’s TODAY show


“Realize when you say ‘yes’ to something you are saying ‘no’ to a lot of other things. So learn how to say no. No is a complete sentence.”

Frank Rimalovski

FRANK RIMALOVSKI

Executive Director, NYU Innovation Venture Fund


“Focus on building things you know that people love and on building things that you love building. It sounds simple, but really think about it — and in that sequence.”

Nicki Hines

NICKI HINES

Partner, GCD Consultants


“Be passionate about your business, stay focused on your goals and don’t be afraid to take on big challenges.”

Glen Senk

GLEN SENK

CEO, David Yurman


“Follow your own North Star. Listen and ask questions, but the truth is within yourself. Follow your passion and be unrelenting.”

John Gerzema

JOHN GERZEMA

Author, Social Strategist and Leadership Consultant


“Feminine values are the operating system of the 21st Century. They are going to drive innovation and competitive advantage. Who you are, what you believe in and the way you think is absolutely essential to the value and capital you are going to create in the future.”

Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly

MARY ANN FITZMAURICE REILLY

Senior Vice President, Customer Marketing and Engagement, American Express OPEN


“Network, network, network.”