Female business owner standing in the street outside cafe


Only 29 percent of small businesses are female-owned.

By Torrie Inouye

While a discouraging statistic on its own, the future for women in leadership looks positive and is growing. Between 1997 and 2013, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 59 percent, which is 1 ½ times the rate of U.S. businesses overall.

My own industry (financial technology) is dominated by men, so it was a proud moment to be appointed the first female president in FinTech this past April. National Funding has several females in leadership roles and I have seen how we add a unique perspective to the leadership team and workplace.  Here are three attributes that I’ve observed in leaders that I believe contribute to their success:

1. Women leaders can be objective.

Objectivity is an important trait because a leader must understand a variety of perspectives. In stressful situations, it is important to be able to stand back and look at problems with an unbiased mind, and not let your own feelings get in the way of rational decision-making. A leader needs to make many decisions and it is important to approach them objectively – using data where possible and sound rationale.

2. Women leaders can be compassionate, nurturing and build meaningful relationships.

When employees feel supported and valued, their morale goes up, and they feel empowered to do their best work.

3. Women leaders can uniquely inspire and support each other.

A woman tends to gravitate toward another woman when seeking advice, mentorship or a support system because she often feels a natural camaraderie. Hearing the experiences and lessons learned from a successful woman leader can resonate personally and have a great impact on other women.

Women in leadership roles continue to demonstrate their strengths and success, and I look forward to seeing more women earn these positions in businesses.

Torrie Inouye serves as president of National Funding, one of the largest private lenders of small business loans. Prior, Torrie served in positions for Intuit and Union Bank. She holds a BA in Economics from Stanford University.