All of us on the JuntoTeam regularly talk about how this isn’t a “job”. No two days are ever the same. We are surrounded by wise, seasoned Mentors and enthusiastic, change-making founders. And we are constantly learning and growing, right alongside the companies we serve.
When Junto launched in 2013 there were no women in the cohort. With JuntoII in 2014, we had a few key leaders participate who were women. It wasn’t until KnowledgeHound joined JuntoIII in 2015 that we could celebrate the first woman CEO, Kristi Zuhlke, in our Apprenticeship program. This year, in JuntoIV, five of the eight companies have a CEO, co-founder or key leader who is a woman, three are led by female CEOs, and one has all-ladies leadership team.
Women entrepreneurs are rare. Why? Even more rare are women who are both entrepreneurs and mothers. Why again? How do they feel about playing in this “male dominated” business environment? The current sentiments out there about gender and business - is it different for entrepreneurs?
I care deeply about this topic, and decided to line up a series of one-on-ones with seven of the women founders and CEOs in Junto. I cannot fully express my gratitude to these kick-ass women nor convey all that I learned from the conversations. To summarize the experience, these interactions were very honest, very real, and the element that stood out the most was the unflinching optimism of each woman.
JuntoIV began just over a month ago with Opening Night on January 20. It feels like we’ve known the new Apprentices for much longer, and yet a winter month in Chicago has never gone so fast.
We are thrilled to announce JuntoIV, the fourth cohort of companies to enroll in The Junto Institute.
At Junto, we believe an entrepreneur’s ability to make sound decisions is the most important measure of her/his leadership ability. Similar to emotional intelligence, strong decision-making cannot be taught, but it can be learned. Heightened emotional intelligence helps improve a leader’s focus and ability to reason, which leads to sounder decisions.
Last week we held our first JuntoDay, a day-long learning event with sessions on sales, people, and scaling. Craig Vodnik, co-founder and COO of cleverbridge and a JuntoMentor, led the session on Scaling & Operations.
Two weeks ago we published Part 1 and last week we published Part 2 of our series, "How to Run Great Board Meeting." In this third and final part, we move on to the steps we follow the next business day after the meeting.
At the beginning of the JuntoApprenticeship every company is assigned five Mentors that serve on their Mentor Team. This group acts as a de facto advisory board during the nine-month program and meets with the company’s leadership team every month for two hours.