Our SheDares philosophy is all about daring to try, to step outside your comfort zone, taking risks and daring to fail. We sat down with two pioneering and influential entrepreneurs, Jessica Sepel, Founder of JSHealth, and Sarah Liu, Founder and Managing Director of The Dream Collective, to hear what motivates them, how being daring in their careers has paid off and why they’re committed to seeing more women in the technology industry.
Q1. Your career has been focused on helping women to be the best versions of themselves and reach their full potential. Where did your motivation come from?
Honestly, from my own struggles and experiences, I was able to empathise with what women go through. Supporting our community is my calling and has always been my genuine motivation to keep building JSHealth.
Through my own career journey, working in branding and marketing for a beauty retailer, I realised there was a significant lack of development opportunities for mid-career women. I created The Dream Collective to address this gap by helping businesses to create intentional development opportunities for their mid-career female talent, as well as to foster diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace cultures to support their advancement.
Q2. What has been the single most valuable support for you throughout your career?
Probably my husband, Dean, who has always believed in me and is now our CEO. Also our team, we know we are nothing without them and we lean on one another through the good and the bad.
I would have to say, having a really supportive partner who shares my vision as well as a strong faith; so that I have both practical and spiritual support covered.
Q3. What is one pivotal moment in your journey where being daring has paid off?
We nearly gave up the idea of creating our vitamin range due to many failures, rejections and expenses. But there was a deep calling in me to do it. I knew I had to. We decided to put in everything we had and risked it. It was worth it. If you hold onto your heartfelt mission and purpose, you are bound to succeed.
When I first wanted to start The Dream Collective, I had no funding, no business partners and everyone told me I was out of my mind. But because I dared to try and dared to fail, within a few years, I’ve managed to turn it from a side hustle into a multi-million dollar global business, now ranked in the top 10 diversity and inclusion consultancies in Asia-Pacific. If I think back to what made it possible for me to achieve this, it was that spirit of daring and I want more women to feel empowered to embrace it like I did.
Q4. Jessica, with the launch of the JSHealth app, along with the e-commerce empire you have created, there’s no doubt you’re a fierce woman in tech. What does seeing more women in tech mean to you?
I owe this one to our head of growth, Caroline. She started with us at aged 21 and is now running the empire with tech and e-commerce as her forte. She is only 25 years old now and I believe a woman to watch in the tech space.
Q5. Sarah, you developed SheDares as a result of a fierce passion to see more women in the technology industry. What does seeing more women in tech mean to you?
For me, it ensures the economic security of women into the future. The tech industry holds so many jobs of the future and as many traditionally female dominated roles such as administration and bookkeeping are at risk of becoming automated, the reality is that women should pursue tech as it’s one of the most secure and sustainable career paths available.
Q6. Why do you think women hesitate to pursue careers in technology and what would your advice be to someone who is considering taking the first step?
Business is all hardship and challenge - everyday.
You have to embrace the good and the bad aspects - and especially push through the harder moments - those are the moments that propel the business forward in the end.
I think women are held back by a number of personal and systemic barriers, which our research confirmed are the reasons why women don’t consider a career in tech. We created SheDares in order to break down the misconceptions of a career in tech and showcase pathways to entry, to illustrate not only that they can enter tech but to take it one step further to show them how. My advice is to dare to take the first step and explore the opportunities that are available because you have so much more to gain than you have to lose.