This past week, 400 women entrepreneurs gathered on the 64th floor of the World Trade Center in New York City for the sixth annual Women's Entrepreneur Festival to gain insight, inspiration, help and camaraderie from their peers. And while the reality still shows that the startup playing field is not even for women, the event's speakers and attendees are proof that women can build successful businesses, raise capital, and effectively lead global corporations. 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo keynoted WEFestival's opening cocktail reception. She is the Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Care.com, the world's largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care. Since she founded the company in 2006, Sheila has raised over $100 Million in investment capital and accrued an impressive collection of awards and honors, including speaking alongside President Obama at the White House Summit on Working Families in 2014 - the same year she took her company public. She and her co-founders, Dave Krupinski, Zenobia Moochala and Donna Levin have grown the company to a global footprint spanning 16 countries to now serve over 18.4 million members. 

Here are five things she wants women to know about entrepreneurship:

1. You first have to know who you are before you can become an effective leader. Once you do, then you can focus on others.

2. Women believe they must check off every box before they will pursue an opportunity instead of trusting in their own strengths to be able to grow to meet the need.

3. The cost of caring for others is one of the biggest barriers to women moving forward. 

4. Women can be collaborative and competitive at the same time. As mothers, women can be fierce, firm, and authoritative  while also being warm, fuzzy and loving, but far too often it appears as an either/or option in the work setting. It is not. Women can be both and should be both.

5. We need more role models at the executive level. Women need to see other women in leadership positions, and we need to support the women working to become those role models and fund the women growing today's companies.

Despite her success as a woman leader and entrepreneur, Sheila is nowhere near ready to call it a day and relax. Instead, she is continuing her efforts to solve the issues around care by creating new avenues to address the growing challenges. 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo's entire speech:

Published on: Apr 20, 2016