Only 8% of CEOs in the United States are women.
You read that right... 8 percent. So in honor of International Women's Day, we're taking a moment to honor and celebrate the success of the fearless, female leader of Hidrate Inc.
Meet our CEO, Nadya Nguyen. She's a Russian-born Vietnamese entrepreneur who founded Hidrate at the age of 22 after an alarming dehydration incident that almost left her unconscious on a public bus.
Nadya realized she couldn't be the only one who was so busy that she forgot to eat a meal or drink enough water, so she decided to quit her consulting job and move to an attic with 3 of her teammates to pursue her passion for helping people live healthier.
In March 2015, Nadya and her co-founders broke barriers and made it to the top 1% of startups that were accepted into Techstars, one of the most prestigious startup accelerators in the world. And since then, Hidrate has ran a top 1% Kickstarter project, powered multiple research studies, and rapidly grown into the leading brand in the smart water bottle category.
So we just had to know -- how did she do it? We sat down with Nadya to get some words of wisdom on life as a female founder.
What's the biggest piece of advice you would give to a woman looking to open her own business?
Nadya: As a minority founder, you will hear “no” often. Learn how to separate the “nos” that are grounded in reason from those that are grounded in bias. Ask yourself: does this “no” come from someone that represents my target audience and can help me build my business or avoid mistakes or is this just a personal opinion?
As a woman pitching her business, you've got to have confidence. Any advice on going in for the pitch or negotiation?
N: Your voice represents your internal state of mind and affects how others perceive you. Be mindful about how you sound. If you want to sound like a winner, then speak like a winner. Personally for me - it’s about sounding steady. When I have to deal with a stressful situation such as a tough negotiation, I intentionally slow my voice down because I know that it makes me sound the way I want to - calm and collected.
With Hidrate growing so quickly, there's a million things going on at all times. How do you keep it together?
N: I dedicate time to think and find my focus. At any point, there will always be thousands of things you and your team can do instead of the exact thing you’re doing right now. Take time to understand how that impacts your ultimate goal. Don’t let the pressure of doing things right keep you from knowing if you’re doing the right thing.