Editor’s Note: theStitch.com is teaming up with Microsoft and a host of dynamic women leaders in the St. Louis community to present an innovative and interactive workshop series designed to empower high school girls to embrace their own beauty while giving them the opportunity to delve into technology.
In honor of this new project, we’re showcasing interviews with these inspiring women who will be co-facilitating the workshops, which will be held at the Microsoft Store located in the Galleria Mall.
Vicky Shrum a broker working in the insurance industry since 1986 and is currently running her own business, Crawford Butz Insurance Agency. Like theStitch, she feels it’s vital for young women to enter male-dominated work-spaces with high self-esteem and the knowledge that they are powerful and more than deserving to have a seat a the table. Although she acknowledges progress with women getting bigger and better jobs, she feels there is still much progress we have to make and young women must take the steps now so they can become successful and push for higher positions. Shrum feels her persistence is what’s helped her become her own boss. “I’ve always been driven. Even when I was a little girl, I would try to beat my older brother at this game, Clackers. He ALWAYS won,” Shrum said. “But I never gave up. I would continue to challenge him to play even when I knew I would lose. And then one day it finally happened. I won!”
In the interview below, Shrum talks about what it’s like to be a business owner, the challenges she’s faced, and how teenage girls can nurture their dreams and shoot for the stars.
Q: What made you decide to be a part of this project?
A: I love what theStitch stands for. Your message of “Embrace Your Own Beauty” is an important action that I believe in. Women are constantly judged for being too big or too small. You can’t win. My hope for young women is that they don’t play the game. I wish I had learned sooner that everyone’s beauty is unique and worthy of embracing.
Q: What were the biggest hurdles that you faced as a female entrepreneur?
A: I began my career in insurance in 1986, eleven years after women were allowed to apply for credit cards. To say that things were difficult for women in the workforce back then is an understatement. But I had a family to provide for, so I endured, and I worked hard to prove that a woman was just as capable as a man. Things are better now, but with only 16% of women as CEO’s, we aren’t there yet.
Q: What do you wish you’d known back then?
A: That I am powerful. I never understood or knew how powerful I was when I was young. It’s been fun embracing it in my adulthood.
Q: Any advice for teen girls interested in starting their own business?
A: Find a mentor! Seek out a woman you trust in the field you want to work in and ask her to help you. Invite her to coffee. And remember that no matter how successful someone seems, they were new and inexperienced when they started out. Just like you. Oh, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is the only path to success
Vicky Shrum, thank you for the interview. It’s going to be great working with you!
If you’d like to find out more about theStitch click here: theStitch.com
To find out how to be a part of theStitch EYOB Empowerment Workshops contact: StitchCharities.org