Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught? Reflections on Thanksgiving & Gratitude

“Do the things you know, and you shall learn the truth you need to know.”
– Louisa May Alcott

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
– Peter Drucker

Greetings from the road! Today, like many of us, I am hitting the “pause” button. In this blogpost I am mirroring what I wrote about in my Tumblr blogpost, which you can read here. I will return to my theme on this blog about entrepreneurship takeaways re: balancing humanity & technology next week.

Thanksgiving is a time to connect with others from all backgrounds and all career venues. It is a time to spend with our inner circle in Real Time. For me, it is also Chanukah, a time to visit with family and friends I haven’t seen in a while. But I also wanted to take time to express my gratitude to you, dear readers, who follow me online, and all the virtual mentors and thought leaders whom I follow online. So please allow me to wax poetic today and present my poem, which I wrote for my Huffington Post article this week, Can Entrepreneurship be Taught?

Thought leadership is a foregone conclusion of entrepreneurship today, where like many of us, I think that social entrepreneurship is becoming a necessity, not just a luxury. Which begs the question….. What makes a good leader? Charlie Kim writes about it here. Charlie Kim got on my radar a few months ago, thanks to my Zite App. It led me to one of the best examples of thought leadership synthesized with a company’s mission statement to date, in my opinion. That example is the Next Jump company blog, where I first came across Kim’s writing about updating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Kim provided beautifully written, succinct, and eloquent food for thought there and again  here, which still resonates with me today. It made me think about what I bring to the table, not just in terms of a service/product, but in terms of leadership and my higher purpose. It is one of the reasons I wrote a book about entrepreneurship.

Brian Evje also asks how one knows he/she is worthy of leadership, which you can read about here. Andrew Horder writes insightful, intelligent, and sensitive ideas re: leadership and entrepreneurship in his blog, The Busy Fool. I especially like his latest post about finding one’s life purpose, which you can read here. Thought leadership can come from a variety of places. Take a recent interview with Tory Birch, who correctly said;

“Based on our experiences, women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently <but> women need entrepreneurial education. Winning business concepts are just as likely to be conceived at the kitchen table as in the garage or at business school.”

Speaking of the garage, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley this week, home to the proverbial “garages” that spawned the innovative thinking and entrepreneurship associated with that area. I spent a week doing business in California, dubbed by Patrick Hanlon “The New State of Innovation.” I went to participate in the 11/25/13 social entrepreneurship forum, “The Future of Education in a Globally Connected World” sponsored by Hack for Big Choices in Palo Alto, CA. I went because I was making a stand on behalf of female entrepreneurs everywhere. I was on a mission to prove that entrepreneurship today involves not only disruptive innovation but thought leadership and civic engagement for real world problems needing collaborative, creative and male-and female-generated solutions, such as how we educate our children. I went because I was the lone female panelist at this particular event.

As Vivek Wadwa tweeted: “Good, there’s a woman on the panel. This is Silicon Valley, and you don’t see many!”

The big question on everyone’s minds these days is, “Can entrepreneurship be taught, and if so, how?”. I wrote about it for my weekly article for The Huffington Post, which you can read here. I cited the potentially controversial and viral article in Wired by Alice Marwick, which you can read here. The debate is ongoing, but one thing is clear to me; an educator turned entrepreneur. The short answer is “yes, it can be taught”. The long answer is that like the apprentice of olden days, entrepreneurship in its nascent existence can be taught, but its momentum re: success and resulting thought leadership cannot. For that, hard work, varied experiences, and cognitive timing are all needed. The outcomes will vary, just as people’s choices, preferences, talents, and beliefs do.

As both an educator and entrepreneur, I believe in both the collective intelligence and creativity of women to pioneer innovation and change. I believe in the inherent goodness of humanity and in the power of gratitude as a profound change agent for the greater good. I believe that entrepreneurial thinking re: the steps leading up to deployment of innovation can be taught. On behalf of my Entrepreneurial Sisterhood, on this day of Thanksgiving,  I would thus like to express my thankfulness for the roads taken, not yet taken, the people we meet along the way, and the ones we hope to connect with in the future:

Ode to Thanksgiving, by an Entrepreneur

By Penina Rybak, CEO Socially Speaking LLC

I’m honored to be on this journey,
To have the chance to learn the “lay of the land”

I’m enjoying meeting other entrepreneurs
Embracing change and making a stand

I’m in awe of their depth of knowledge,
Their devotion and love for their craft

I’m thankful for all my actual and virtual mentors,
Who answer my myriad questions, without thinking me daft

I’m amused I’ve joined the Twitterati
Furiously typing, clamoring to be heard

I’m enchanted by all the bloggers
Whose thought leadership I share, with the click of the “bird”

I’m humbled by my clients
For their unwavering support and belief in me

I’m appreciative of my social media followers
For taking time to read my writings, for taking time to see

I’m so happy for my iOS Zite App
Helping me “stay in the know”

I’m so thrilled for my Apple iPad
Which has become essential to my workflow

I’m grateful for this opportunity
To make a difference; somehow, somewhere

I thank The Huffington Post for its content and diversity,
For letting me contribute, for letting me share

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah!

Best,

Penina

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About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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