Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business Influencers, most influential expert on Wealth, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile

November 14, 2011

Why Every Business Woman Should Want Aussie X

 If you watch the TED talk by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg on work, she talks about encouraging young girls to “lean forward”. What does she mean by that? I knew exactly what Sheryl was saying because it is what females in business face daily – how to push a point, get ahead, make a move, face down misunderstandings, quickly adapt, throw over a new proposal even though it may get rejected, get smacked down, try again in the face of failure. In other words, Sheryl wants girls to play the business game at a higher intensity than today. 
This is why the Dragons’ Den pitch by Aussie X (life changing sports programs that teach Canadians footy, cricket and netball) and their lead presenter, Kaela Bree, is so important for young girls. Kaela is actually selling shares in a company to help young girls find their inner strength. Playing netball is a wonderful training to teach girls to stand up for themselves and take action.
When I grew up in Zimbabwe, I spent hours playing netball. It took up minimal space and was mini-basketball, but far better suited to girls with nimbleness and fast analysis required to win, rather than the height or strength of basketball. I was crazy about this game and disappointed it was not in Canada. I often think about netball as I make snap decisions, pick team mates, throw the ball assertively, get yelled at by the team and work with stress. You have to lean forward, as Sheryl Sandberg says, every day and netball is one of those developmental experiences that helped me.
Although I dislike separating female from male in business and prefer to focus on pure business, I have come to see how the right attitude is critical. Instead of being “polite, young ladies” we need to encourage girls to grow their “animal spirits” as John Keynes called the drive to do business.
Female entrepreneurs who build a start-up from nothing to a small-medium sized company are doing the remarkable. The uber-pitcher on Dragons Den, Kaela Bree, happens to also be one of those female entrepreneurs achieving the impossible. Her title is Goddess Partner which I could see her Aussie X team believed. Goddess and, yes, partner who you would want on your team.
Would the Dragons see the potential though?
Yes! They got Big Jim Treliving to commit and the Aussie X team looked as if they were the Australian rugby team who had just beaten the All Blacks at the World Cup. Kaela and Aussie X succeeded in getting Jim, Boston Pizza owner, to invest as a partner. She got her strength and ability to be forceful from her netball, no doubt. 
Hmm, I wonder if Kaela asked Jim what was his favourite animal and what is his motto for living life?
I am a leopard and I choose the motto “Lean Forward” from Sheryl.

Jacoline Loewen, MBA, is a Director of Loewen & Partners Inc., a corporate finance firm working with business owners and family businesses. Loewen & Partners has raised over $150 million for owner-managed Canadian companies, as well as managing family business succession, acquisition, and final sale. She is an advisor, lecturer and writer of business strategy and private equity. Her latest book "Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business," published by Wiley, was selected by the Entrepreneurship course at The Richard Ivey School of Business.

Jacoline began her career working for Granduc Mines in Northern British Columbia and went on to work with Deloitte in their strategy unit. She developed a strategic planning model and published it in a book called "The Power of Strategy" which went on to be a best seller. She also wrote "Business e-Volution" which helped teams understand the business opportunities created by the Internet. She writes for the National Post, Globe & Mail and hosted Financial Post Executive podcasts (available on iTunes). She organizes CEO Roundtables and other conferences in alliance with Ivey Business School, Rotman and leading law firms.

Jacoline is a Director on the Board of the Exempt Market Dealers Association (EMDA), working with the Ontario Securities Commission to establish transparency in the private placement industry. She is on the advisory board of DCL International, Bilingo China, and Flint Business Acceleration. She was on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Leadership Forum where she ran the Knowledge Café series. Her other roles include serving as a judge for the U.B.C. and the Richard Ivey School of Business' Business Plan Competitions, mentoring for Canadian Youth Business Foundation as well as being a member of The Ticker Club.

Follow Jacoline on Twitter at @jacolineloewen

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