WICT Philly kicked  off the year with a fun night out at the movies. Hosted at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia, guests enjoyed an hour of mingling while snacking on an amazing charcuterie & cheese board. The discussions were lively, many were catching up after the crazy holiday season, and all were bursting with excitement about the upcoming Eagles Superbowl.  One reason why I love WICT events – it’s a chance to catch up with friends and  colleagues I don’t get to see every day!

Before the movie began, I loaded up on popcorn (my favorite) and headed into the theater. After some opening remarks from Laura Lee, Co-Programming Director, the movie began and I was captivated. SHE STARTED IT follows five women over two years as they try to raise capital, build teams, and bring products to market – all with varying degrees of ‘success’. Watching these remarkable young  women, many of whom overcame significant adversity, was both inspiring and motivating.  They each started with an idea, invested in themselves, and went out to change the world. Each woman featured was smart and accomplished, but what really blew me away was their determination and grit. The ability to suffer a setback or face a huge disappointment, and get right back up and try again – to me, that’s the epitome of success. Though the film ended with some of these entrepreneurs going back to the drawing board, I walked away viewing each as a story of success.

In their journeys, each came to find themselves in male-dominated environments – either pitching their ideas to all-male investors, or competing for funding against predominantly male peers.  One has to wonder, where are all the girls? This documentary shows that the to be an entrepreneur, all you need is an idea and the belief that you can. Though we may be underrepresented, women are just as smart and capable as their male counterparts. Gender plays no role – women can do it, too.

I’ve been an executive recruiter for most of my career – today’s reality is that there are more men at the executive level than there are women. As this documentary highlights, technology is an especially male-dominated field, and when you focus on tech entrepreneurship, you see even less women. The pool seems smaller and when you focus on the macro level, it can seem discouraging. But when you dig in, you’ll find hundreds of stories just  like ones highlighted in SHE STARTED IT. This documentary was a beautiful visual reminder that women can do it, too. We can be business owners, leaders, fundraisers, technologists – we can be whatever we dream of becoming.  With enough determination and grit, I know the reality of tomorrow’s workforce will be much more balanced.

Blog written by Sara Erbstein