Anna Kolluri, Founder & CEO of Resourcesys, and Fenella Kim, President & CEO of Reliance Star Payment Services, joined the live webinar to talk about the characteristics of successful women and how they got to where they are today. Currently, women hold over 51% of all management and professional positions and about 29% of America's business owners are women.
Anna Kolluri started the discussion with an overview of her information technology staffing firm, which she started out of her basement in 1999. The firm has grown each year from around $200,000 in year one, to around $5,000,000 last year. The main reason Anna decided to start the business was a need to work from home given that she was married with two children under 10 and her husband travelled four (4) days a week for work. Anna had experience in IT staffing and realized she could start her own company with minimal investment and by keeping a lean budget to stay on par with the competition.
Early on, financing was an issue, as she initially relied on credit cards and personal loans but subsequently was able to get a line of credit to stay in the game. Her business partner, Ruchi, (a former school classmate) joined in 2005 as the perfect compliment to her skillset. Over the next years, Anna realized that honesty goes a long way, and that it’s critical to seek teaming agreements, mentorships, and professional help when available. Women are born leaders and Anna leveraged her experience as a multi-tasker and CEO of the home to grow her business. Women face challenges and changes, such as less time for mothers to spend with their children due to work and increased stress levels caused by changing roles. Overall, Anna talked about the importance of female stereotypes as condescending and that they don’t define women. More importantly, they don’t limit your potential.
Fenella Kim presented next and started with an overview of her early life in Malaysia, where she was born and raised in a big family. She realized at a very young age that she needed to set goals in order to achieve her dreams. Getting a scholarship to college was a necessity to attend, so she sent out 216 applications and received 4 offers to ultimately earn her electrical power engineer degree. Then 12 years ago, Fenella founded Reliance Payment Services and the business began to grow quickly. One of the lessons Fenella learned from her mom, who provided constant encouragement while working full-time, was success is the greatest revenge. She was burned by a business partner at the early stage of the business and used the experience to pivot and make the business stronger.
Another lesson Fenella shared was always listen to your gut. She has prioritized spending quality time with her kids and family versus quantity of time, and she has surrounded herself with a great support structure. These things have helped her to challenge herself and never stop pursuing knowledge. She concluded her talk by discussing the important role of working moms in the household and the positive impact it has on their kids. View the webinar recording to listen to the entire presentation as well as the question and answer period.