What Being #36 Means After 30 Years of Bay Area Leadership

Leadership
BY KATHY KRUMPE

In a world where women-owned businesses still only account for 4.4% of all dollars lent to small business and when they do get funding, they pay 6.4 % higher points (Urman Institute), to see a room full of passion, drive, community, and diversity was inspirational. I was thrilled as a female leader and employee owner to represent Future State at an event that recognizes what unfortunately remains a true accomplishment: to be a high-revenue women-owned business.

Alongside Rodan and Fields, with over a billion dollars in revenue and industry disrupter Farmgirl Flowers, Future State lands in the recent Bay Area Business Times list of Top 100 Bay Area Women-Owned Businesses at #36 across the whole Bay and #19 in the East Bay. As I listened to fellow honorees’ stories about the challenges of taking the risk to start a company in the first place, then continue to lead it, I became ever more thankful for our founder, Meryl Natchez’s, efforts to create a unique and special firm. Future State has persisted and grown through 4 recessions, radical shifts in technology and business culture, and was in business before 77% of other honorees.

We aim to set an example for what consulting could be by creating experiences for our clients that make a difference to their bottom line and that create a better place to work.  Creating positive change for our clients has led to this lasting revenue for our business. Here’s to 30 more years of the same.

We are asked all the time why we are different and why not hire a Big 4. The answer is that we give our clients the experience of being a partner to solve their toughest problems, co-create with them, and help them all the way through implementation to true adoption. This informs both our set of change management-related offerings and our human-centric methods; We’ve identified huge benefit in managing change so that the people it affects are happy when it’s accomplished. I can’t express the feeling of running into current and past clients at this event who said, “I LOVE your team” and “Future State is a true partner in our business.”

Our team members, clients, partners, and business community have all contributed to our lasting success. As we look to the next 30 years I challenge all businesses to think about how they can help create, support, and grow local women-owned business. My call to action for the sponsor of the event—Bank of the West—was to not only change the statistics mentioned above in the banking industry, but to look at their own procurement practices and see where they can drive change. They can enable every company on the Women-Owned list by resisting the urge to do business with only the few available large global vendors and encouraging all businesses to compete to provide the best services. This is how diverse companies continue to grow and expand in an increasingly competitive and consolidated marketplace.

Congratulations to all the Women-Lead organizations represented and thank you to all the women who have paved the way and continue to bring diversity to business.