It's Women's Equality Day, so we thought we'd use that as an excuse to catch up with one of our co-founders, Nora Schaper.
Q: You used to work in the corporate sphere before starting your own business. What benefits have you noticed since making the switch? Any challenges?
Nora: The biggest benefit to being a business owner to me is the ability to effect more change. Being part of a leadership team and having a voice in the path the business takes is incredibly rewarding. To me, work has always been more than a job. Even in the corporate setting I strived to connect with the work I was doing and to make a difference. As a business owner and manager of a team of employees there are tangible results on a daily basis.
And of course there are challenges! Being a start-up, not a corporate entity, means less structure and resources, no map on how to do things, endless tasks that are never complete, and a huge feeling of responsibility for the wellbeing of employees and keeping the business growth going. But, again, I feel so lucky that I am in a leadership position and I can mentor and nurture the growth of others.
Q: What is one thing you've learned by being a female business owner?
Nora: I have learned that women are great business leaders. Studies have shown that women are more likely to push for inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace, they are more likely to mentor and sponsor others (especially other women) and women generally have enhanced skills multi-tasking and balancing multiple priorities. I have been so fortunate to have had many female business connections, mentorship and encouragement throughout my career, and many female bosses who have shown me how to balance the demands of a career, managing a family and finding time for self-care. Women have incredible endurance and stamina.
Q: HiBAR's mission is to remove single-use plastic from people's bathrooms while still having great hair. What do you see as women's role(s) in this mission?
Nora: Women are leading the way! Women are the main purchasers of HiBAR and of home goods in general. HiBAR was developed and formulated with beauty and beautiful hair in mind. We knew that in order for women to give up their salon bottled product, HiBAR would need to perform as well or better than what they were switching from. All along the way we tested on women, consulted with women and now at HiBAR the whole sales team is women. We are the change :)
Q: Are there any things HiBAR does to ensure female equality in the workplace?
Nora: One of the core tenets at HiBAR is care. It is care for the planet and for fellow humans. As part of this, HiBAR is focused on inclusivity in the workplace, aiming to ensure all employees are treated with equality. To me, this care for the planet and for fellow humans does help to ensure female equality and create a work environment with opportunities for growth.
Q: Any advice you'd give your younger self (either in the corporate world, as a business owner, or in general?)
Nora: I have had to learn to be more assertive when I have an idea or feedback or a direction I think is important. It can be very intimidating to stand up for your convictions, especially if they are counter to the norm, or when you are the only woman in a business meeting. Self-doubt still creeps in every once in a while but I have developed a thicker skin and a stronger voice over the years.
Q: Anything I've missed that you'd like to comment on?
Nora: I graduated from an all women’s college and have had the good fortune to be strongly supported by women leaders and sisters and bosses. I think because of this, I am always surprised by how few women make it to the “C” level in business. I see that more and more women are making it to these positions and I celebrate that whole heartedly.
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