Building a business has plenty of its own challenges. As a black female founder, Stephanie Lampkin has encountered her fair share of them. Lampkin is the founder and CEO of Blendoor, a tech start-up for merit-based bias-free hiring. She founded the company to combat some of the challenges she encountered in human resources. Her advice also covers a broad range of issues founders, and in particular female founders, manage.
See Diversity as a Strength
While building Blendoor, Lampkin knows the ins and outs of the team composition and performance research. Time and again, the same results are found. Lampkin explains, “Gender and racially diverse teams perform better, innovate more and improve economic equality.” Of course, she’s not alone in recognizing this value. Blendoor is working with some of the world’s biggest companies, like Google and Amazon, to implement her innovation technology and the diversity mindset.
Solve Big Problems
Lampkin learned not to limit her scope. The solution can be small-scale to begin with, but think large, think globally. If you don’t think you can change the world, you never will. “I learned to solve a big problem,” she recalls. This larger-scale thinking that Lampkin advises helps entrepreneurs to get through the everyday hurdles by seeing the long-term solution. By solving a big problem, the work has a dedicated purpose that helps chip away at it with each progressive step. “My actionable advice would be to think big and go hard.”
Stack your Time and Tasks
As a founder, your time is extremely limited. It’s your most valuable resource and you need to spend it well. “I love having all my pitch meetings on the same day, so I only schedule them on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” explains Lampkin. “The benefit of doing it like that is that the pitch gets better every meeting. You’re getting feedback each time, so you can weed out all the fluff and rambling.” Lampkin is efficient with her time by using thoughtful scheduling and aligning tasks. This way, her work is magnified and improved throughout the allotted time. It’s not just a great schedule that ensures that time is on your side, it’s how the work builds upon itself.
Spend Time with the Right People
As time is highly valuable, the people you chose to spend it on should be worthy of it. Lampkin says, “Be very conscious and deliberate about the people you surround yourself with.” Your founding team, your staff, and your partners need to be aligned with your values, and the exchange of time and energy should be a reciprocal one. For Lampkin, this personal alignment is also important within the work ethic of her company. “I can tell that everyone is really inspired by how hard that I work, and the mission of the company, and that’s why it’s important to have people working under me who have the same belief in our success, who are equally self-motivated.”
Don’t be Afraid
Lampkin is breaking down barriers as a black, female, lesbian tech founder and CEO. She launched her company to combat bias in the workplace. And there’s no way she could have accomplished all she has to date if she were afraid of the challenges ahead. “The most rewarding thing about my job is being the Amelia Earhart of tech,” proclaims Lampkin. “There have been no examples of a black woman building a product, engineering a product, and making it a billion-dollar company. Even just physically being here in San Francisco, I’m representative of something people haven’t seen before.”
At only 32, Lampkin has the wisdom of someone older than her years, and will certainly have more as she and her company continues to grow. Hear more of her words in her TEDx Talk:
You can also have the opportunity to hear her in person at the Sailing and Scaling Women CEU Cruise this December where she will be a featured presenter.