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your influence is huge—how are you using it?

August 25, 2016

By Kimberly Inskeep, cabi Founder, President and Chief Culture Officer

When I first began using the phrase Women “On Purpose,” along with it came this byline:

“Women are relational connoisseurs. It is a uniquely feminine quality, and as a result, we have a unique ability to impact and transform the lives around us. With so much influence, shouldn’t we make sure we are being purposeful in more areas of our lives?”

This call toward purpose and intentionality is also an acknowledgment of “to whom much is given, much is required.” We assume this applies to things like finances, leadership, or an abundance of time or power. But what if women innately applied this to being a woman? Let me explain.

Research has identified women-led companies and investment portfolios as outperforming their male counterparts in many cases, both domestically and internationally. Yet, despite this well-documented fact that is referred to as the “woman effect,” the research community has yet to identify the reasons behind the success of female-led firms. While maybe not considered a “progressively feminist” thought, I do want to offer an idea.

Women are wired to manifest transformative power through relationships, and we are also wired to have an innate sense of responsibility within that ability. Women feel deep gladness in our hearts when we’ve cultivated relationships in a way that helps those around us. Not that men don’t have the same sense of satisfaction, but this seems to drive us in a unique way. Our deepest fulfillments come through enabling others to grow and develop, being part of the process that helps others become all they are created to be. Conversely, some of our deepest pains come in moments when we know we have diminished someone, or when we find ourselves lacking the resources to help those we love. This rings as true in New York as it does in Nairobi.

It’s as though we intrinsically believe this ancient African proverb, whether we’re in a boardroom, around a dining table, or on a dirt floor in a developing country: If we want to go fast, go alone; if we want to go far, go together. We know we’ve been given a huge opportunity through our special aptitude to facilitate relationship and togetherness; we know it should not be squandered and in fact needs to be paid forward with eagerness and urgency as we connect, understanding we can make a world of difference in others’ lives.

But we all need a base level of opportunity for our desire to turn into a tangible reality, both here and in developing areas. This is why I love the work of Opportunity International. I believe the way they provide an open door of initial opportunity positions women entrepreneurs in the developing world to truly be Women “On Purpose,” thriving in their womanhood. The stories I hear of how intentionally and faithfully they work together to raise the circumstances of entire communities with a simple small business loan is extraordinary. They are clearly embracing the call of the “much they are given.” These women—our Sister Entrepreneurs through the W.E. are cabi Program—are immeasurably good stewards of their opportunity…their influence…living with intentionality and responsibility.

I often think of that financial transaction: that loan they are given, and the expectation they will pay it back as they build their business. What if we looked at our influence in the same way? What if we had to prove in hard numbers we’d been good stewards of the opportunity to influence we’ve been given…could we do it?

That will be the question on my heart as we travel next month to Kenya and Rwanda, to meet with some of the inspiring women who are our Sister Entrepreneurs through Opportunity International. Along with 16 cabi Stylists, Lynne Coté and I will travel with a spirit of both learning and adventure, knowing we will take away the beautiful inspiration of what it looks like to be Women “On Purpose,” lived out through seeing women entrepreneurs helping women entrepreneurs. Follow along through our Facebook group, where we’ll post daily pictures and reflections on the trip. 

No matter where in the world you find yourself in these coming weeks, how will you live out the opportunity to be a Woman “On Purpose”?