The COVID-19 pandemic has evoked change throughout every industry and for many of the world’s leading companies and entrepreneurs. While the pandemic has presented a new set of challenges, female entrepreneurs, Leslie Fajfar and Audra Gold, have stayed on track in reaching their endeavors by reflecting back on their careers, the challenges they’ve faced and what drives success in order to maintain a positive outlook and healthy ambition during these unprecedented times.
Let me start by introducing Fajfar as the CEO of Community Amenity Management, a premier New York City provider of management, and private training services in residential and commercial buildings; and Gold, CEO and co-founder of the ground-breaking online audio streaming platform, Vurbl.
I had the pleasure of speaking with these two empowering women where both disclosed their experiences and insight about the challenges they’ve faced and successes they’ve earned as entrepreneurs in male-dominated fields.
The fitness and technology industries are predominantly led by males which present, and as Fajfar and Gold have confirmed, a number of challenges and adversity. However, this has not stopped them from attaining their goals and seeing their passions come to life.
Now, as we work through a global pandemic, these women are faced with yet another hurdle but let me tell you, they are more equipped in overcoming challenges and have accomplished big goals in 2020. As both business leaders reflect on their careers, share challenges and invaluable life advice, we can all find inspiration from these strong women and their stories.
Finding Opportunity and Passion in Challenges
As a female and a member of a minority group, Fajfar believes there has never been a shortcut for her to take to achieve her own high level of success. Fajfar attributes working hard, discipline and a supportive family and friend group to helping her continue to push forward and achieve goals.
However, both Fajfar and Gold have faced extraordinarily tough circumstances as women in male dominated fields. Fajfar mentions that there is a lack of real opportunities for women and minority business owners.
“I have had to create and make my own opportunities, most times out of nothing,” Fajfar explains. “It’s tough to know that you are better equipped with a better platform and better staffed, then to see contracts and the work go to someone else. You just have to lick your wounds and keep going.”
Gold recalls that over the last 20 years in the field, all of her fellow female technology peers have departed the industry due to being pushed out or voluntarily leaving due to stressful circumstances that typically come with working in a heavily male-dominated space in business.
“The biggest challenge I have repeatedly faced is being marginalized and pushed aside in favor of male resources that have much less experience and knowledge in the job I was doing, and in having my ideas and contributions shunned unless a superior male would validate them,” explains Gold.
The technology industry is difficult to break through as numerous start-ups launch each year. For Gold, her passion in technology remained strong through the challenges.
“There never was a Plan B,” she states and continues to push forward in the industry.
Creating Success During the Pandemic
In the wake of COVID-19, both women were able to quickly pivot and adapt to the changing times in order to execute on business objectives, partnerships, fundraising and the launch of a new platform.
Gold says the decision to launch Vurbl during the global pandemic was not an easy one, but she decided to identify and utilize technology and new resources to continue developing the platform with her team by hiring interns as well as holding a successful pre-seed round with investors over Zoom.
Gold explained, “It hurt on the fundraising side but [not] on the ability to focus the team on building a very large scale platform with very few resources. The fact that we were all locked up and pretty much voluntarily chained to our computers was helpful.”
Gold believes Vurbl will rise to become one of the biggest audio platforms in the U.S. and one of the most impressive brands alongside TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat and the other giants of our digital age.
Fajfar adds that work-life balance has also been important to implement during this time. She states, “It’s tough. Work is always there. There is always an issue, there is always an underlying problem that needs to be addressed or dealt with.” Fajfar takes moments to herself within small blocks of time throughout the day and exercises to stay motivated.
When it comes to understanding how the global pandemic is changing the world, each entrepreneur is faced with a onset of different challenges. Discovering and implementing new strategies can improve your business and work-life balance.
As we navigate the waters of the pandemic and adapt to new strategies and resources to overcome new challenges, we are reminded that we are capable of achieving anything we dedicate our heart and mind to. Women continue to face unparalleled challenges in society and business; however, their relentless passion to succeed combined with their experience can provide other women entrepreneurs with direction, motivation and support in reaching their goals. I will leave you today with two inspirational quotes by the strong woman entrepreneurs leading the way for many others.
Gold offers women entrepreneurs entering the technology field with advice, “Know your domain of expertise better than anyone you have ever encountered, be tough as nails and have an unending amount of persistence and work ethic.”
Fajfar reminds aspiring women entrepreneurs, “There will be adversity, there will be sexism, there will be tough times, but diamonds are one of the hardest and most beautiful objects on earth, and they are made from extreme pressure being placed on raw carbon.”