Ingrid Vanderveldt is a tech entrepreneur, media personality, investor and philanthropist. She is the Founder and Chairman of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020), MintHER™ (The Engine Powering a Billion Women by 2020) and Vanderveldt Global Investments. She also heads the $100M IV Credit Fund and The IV Club (by invitation only for fast growth women led businesses on track to generate $100M plus with a global impact). Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence ("EIR") for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.
She sits on the second United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council, is a Managing Partner of Belle Capital, founding organizer of the GLASS Forum (Global Leadership & Sustainable Success), and co-founder of The Billionaire Girls Club. She also created and hosted CNBC's first original primetime series, "American Made," reaching over 1M viewers around the globe and serves on the Advisory boards of Springboard Enterprises, Current Motor, and is a Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Member. She holds a Masters in Architecture at the Savannah College of Art & Design and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from UT at Austin.
Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what underlying characteristics do you see in successful entrepreneurs?
Ingrid: Entrepreneurship is doing what you love and making money doing it. Underlying characteristics of successful entrepreneurs are, bottom line, people who do what they say they are going to do. Another way of saying that are people of integrity- that others can count on to follow through, are transparent in their communication- are trustworthy. Being successful as an entrepreneur is all about relationships and relationships are all based on trust. So this is, at the end of the day in my opinion the most critical factor. People with passion to bust through walls and willing to get up when knocked down and learn from things that didn't pan out to be better on the other side is critical as well!
Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career?
Ingrid: I would have to say the day I decided to "listen to my calling" as opposed to my ego. The minute I let go and let God, my world changed. It was the day that I heard my calling was to "Empower a Billion Women by 2020" and after getting over the initial shock of the impossibility of that goal, and accepted that as my calling (and 100% going into service of it) people, resources and opportunities showed up at a scale I had never experienced before. Its the magic of truly doing what you are called to do and realizing that when you do- the Universe conspires to bring you everything you need. So I would say that and keeping my priorities in check in the midst of this global work- God, family, friends (of which the EBW2020 global community is), business. If you could do something in your life over again, what would it be? Not be so scared. Realize that everyone that has left a legacy in life is just as scared as I am on days and has no idea how the heck they will get through that day. Then they do, and they keep moving on. Its what Nelson Mandela says, "It always seems impossible till its done".
Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.
Ingrid: LOL. Every day! I would actually say now- EBW2020 has a life of its own. My job is truly to get out of its way and simply "step up and step in" to what I need to do to play a helpful role in continuing to support its growth. That said- I can assure you that every day I run across people who think that the idea is truly "impossible" and then I get the opportunity to share that over the past 18 months we have reached over 700M people through our outreach/ social media initiatives. Dell played a huge role in that and for that I am truly grateful.
Q: How do you measure success for yourself?
Ingrid: Did I wake up and listen to what I was called to do that day? Did I tell my husband and my family I love them? Did I tell my team how much I appreciate them? Did I share with the women of EBW2020 how proud of them I am that they continue to invest in themselves and how much I appreciate them sharing how else we can help them reach their goals? My greatest desire is to create a global sustainable future for all and that will happen through a new set of eyes. They eyes of women. Women reinvest 90% of what they earn back into their families, their communities and ultimately the world. So the faster women win- we all win. These are the ways I measure success. (Oh- and did I get a workout in that day and am I taking care of my skin that dries out with all the travel!) . With those "success factors" it always begs the question of money. I think about money all the time. The more I make the more I can give. So I have very clear goals on where I want to be financially and have total faith that very shortly- I will be there. I use money and numbers as my "scorecard". Did I hit my numbers? If not where do I need to reassess/ pivot or otherwise. Mistakes will happen so lets just readjust if/ when needed and get back on the horse. What drives you? Being in service of my calling to Empower a Billion Women by 2020.
Q: What advice would you give to your 22 year old self?
Ingrid: Chill out. Don't be so scared. You got this. Listen to your gut even when investors say "I don't care what your gut says, I want to see the numbers" (that really happened)....so trust your gut and know your numbers. Know that if someone else is going to make great things happen- why can't I? My biggest challenge is truly myself. So get out of my own way, surround myself with really smart people and do my best to support them in their success. When they win, we all get to win together.
Follow Ingrid Vanderveldt at @ontheroadwithiv, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ and join the movement to empower 1 million female entrepreneurs at goagainsttheflow.com.