Wondering if a leadership accelerator is right for you?
Learn what the participants of our last batch have to say about Lead F
Everything we do at Female Founders is guided by the fact that we need more women in the field of tech and innovation. We are dedicated to making the european tech scene (way) more gender diverse. With our startup accelerator – Grow F, we are providing access to funding for female-led tech startups and with our leadership accelerator – Lead F, we are supporting female talent in the tech and innovation industry to become more confident and resilient leaders.
But what exactly is a leadership accelerator? And how do you know if the program is a good fit for you and if it is something you will really benefit from? We are strong believers that developing an entrepreneurial mindset and building leadership skills are always great things, but we wanted you to hear straight from the women who have participated in the past program, what they thought about Lead F. Keep reading to check out what our past participants have to say!
Question 1: Why did you join the Leadership Accelerator – Lead F?
Anna Pribil: I’ve just started my own business and have been looking for support for women in my position. I started my research in Graz and ended up with Lead F.
Julia Flath: It first started a year before when I had a conversation with my CEO about my future in the company, we both saw me in a leading marketing position. So I decided that I want to adapt my competencies in leadership and I also wanted to grow as a person. A friend of mine then showed me your program and I applied. I wasn’t really convinced about being considered for the program at all but here I am (haha). I also wanted to fight for more female role models in leading positions of tech companies. We should all be aware of our strengths and growth.
Brigit Gasser: I wanted to expand my network and my community. I deliberately wanted to be part of a women’s network that is open minded. I love the work of Female Founders and I wanted to be part of that community.
Mira Strashilova: For me it was very interesting because I’ve never participated in a similar accelerator and at one point I felt like I needed to supercharge my skills, connect with a bigger network and see if there is a community/people that are experiencing the same challenges as me. Especially regarding personal development, there is a point where you are questioning – what is my next step? Am I in the right environment? Can I go in a completely different direction? I also wanted to learn how to trigger inspiration in people, share challenges and best practices with other women, and network – in the end, what I got out of the program was way more than I ever expected.
Question 2: How did Lead F impact your leadership style and/or mindset?
Anna P: Starting your own business is super stressful, I could work all day everyday. The session with Nina Haidinger, about Mindful Success Strategies, opened my mind about how to schedule my day and on what to focus on. I realized how important it is to take a break and also take care of myself. This session really opened my mind and showed me how to schedule my time and also pay attention to myself, I am extremely grateful for that!
Julia F: Lead F has shown me what it really means to be a good leader. It is much more than good task or project management because the essential part of being a good mentor is being empathetic, giving feedback and respect. Especially now, where we all have the home office situation, we should all be aware of the personal lives of employees. You have to appreciate the person in front of you, and seeing them as a human being with feelings and problems, and therefore providing help when needed and respect in every situation is the key. I want to become a mentor people look up to and can speak with in every situation, or when needing advice or seeking new learnings. But on top of my leadership style changing, my mindset has changed as well. I wanted to become more conscious and stop being controlled by feelings so I started to meditate for at least 10 minutes everyday. I also realized that I want to continue to learn, I wanna change and develop myself every second.
Brigit G: I come from the previous manager / leader generation where everyone had a strong focus on hierarchies, without being aware of it. Lead F broadened my horizon and reinterpreted the difference between leading and managing. These are two different things and very few people understand that.
Mira S: I found better confidence in my entrepreneurial skills, I overcame the fear of failure and I dared to try things that had been on my mind for a long time. We have to be much more entrepreneurial these days, you need to act quickly, follow your intuition, no matter in which area of the business you are. And I was able to reform this for myself from the sessions and discussions we had on these topics and I got more confidence to follow my ambition.
Questions 3: What was the most surprising thing about Lead F?
Anna P: The great participants. I never thought you would be so connected, especially because everything was online. But thanks to the buddy system and the great interactions we really built up good relationships and I am still in contact with most of the participants.
Julia F: The feedback I received when I was talking about myself. I always was the most critical about myself and I got good feedback about myself and my opinion, and that was really surprising to me. And also the cohesion in our group, we still have our WhatsApp group which is super active and we provide help when needed.
Brigit G: The diversity of the participants. The fields they come from, the position they have, their age, their experience – we were such a heterogeneous group but nevertheless coherent. Most of the time you stay in your own network or bubble of people who are similar to you, Lead F really opened this up for me, that was really exciting and I learned a lot.
Mira S: The personal connection that was formed with all of the other participants. We still have our WhatsApp Group and we are constantly interacting, exchanging ideas and helping each other. I didn’t expect that we would have such a great connection and you get really close to the people in the accelerator program. I have underestimated the power of networking support. Most of us don’t use our network to the extent we can, but we shouldn’t be afraid of asking for opinions and asking for help.
Question 4: What did you like most about Lead F?
Anna P: First of all, the selection of the speakers. Amazing lecturers who are experts in their field. I also really enjoyed the buddy system, because you really get the chance to exchange ideas. What really helped me was the Individual Development Call. I was very in the StartUp Scene and everybody’s goal was always to grow as fast as possible and as big as possible. In the Individual Development Talk I reflected a lot and I realized that all of this is not my personal goal, I realized that I’m going more towards social entrepreneurship. It really opened my eyes.
Julia F: I really liked all of the speakers, they were amazing. But I also really loved the group itself, the variety of the participants, there were women from every generation, different ages, with different personalities, getting to know all of them so well was really great for me. Every session we had break out rooms with 3-4 people where we had the chance to talk to everyone and get to know each other.
Brigit G: The wide range of the topics covered and the speakers conveyed the topics very well.
Bonus Question: What advice do you have for the next batch of participants in the Lead F program?
Anna P: Start the program with an open mindset, just be yourself, get involved, ask all the questions that come to your mind. You have really great speakers and you can and should take the best out of that. Participate actively.
Julia F: I now know that you can’t learn to be a good leader by theoretical practice, as I thought before the program, it is already in your mind, you just have to release it. My advice to everyone who is taking part in Lead F is to open your mind and be ready for everything you will receive in this journey. And take notes! and never forget to always be the best version of yourself.
Brigit G: Simply embark on this journey. Don’t be shy to connect, share your story, ideas and what is on your mind. Use the network and get the best out of it, but also be willing to pour in the best of you.
Mira S: They should absolutely go for it! It is an amazing experience! The one thing that is very important is to be really present there, get the maximum out of it, be open and share, because that’s the only way you can gain. You can not get the maximum out of it by only listening and taking notes. You can only have the right experience of the program by asking for opinion, giving opinion and giving feedback, because then you get something back. Be authentic, be mindful and in this case you can really learn and develop a lot. You have a constant learning curve, there is no point of time where you reached everything – there is always something to learn.
Have more specific questions or want to talk to Amelia, the head of the program? Send her an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to sign up for Lead F? Fill out the application form here.