Cerramos nuestra iniciativa #Emprendedoras2020 con Azita Yazdani, CEO y fundadora de Exergy Systems.
Exergy proporciona avanzada tecnología en procesos de separación de materiales para su recuperación y la reutilización del agua.
At what point in your career did you make the decision to become an entrepreneur?
I decided to become an entrepreneur about six years into my career. I was working on an research project and I saw great opportunity to bring efficiency solutions to the customers. So I decided to begin a consulting practice initially to do this.
Is this your first time company? What is your previous professional experience?
This is my second company. My first venture was my engineering consulting practice which I started first and then it morphed into the technology products that we are today.
I have been in the sale field all along since college. I am a chemical engineering, that initially begin my career in the government sector. Then moved into working for a research organization and then I started only own.
Do you think that being a woman has had a positive, negative or neutral effect on your professional career?
I have seen all sides of it. Since what I do is heavily in a male dominated field – normally dealing with manufacturing segment customers, who are male and engineers. Bring woman engineers has been at times very useful as I do see that sometimes I get accommodated. But when you are a woman that wants to bring change to the world- then it becomes very difficult. That is when the real challenge begins. In general humans are against change and have a natural nature to resist it. An being a woman, an immigrant, and an outsider to many of our customers, I have faced great challenges trying to bring a new approach, thinking and solution orientation to solve global human driven environmental footprints. At the end, I am very proud to be a woman as I think it has gave me the ability to be agile, adaptive, and resourceful. I also have learned women are very reliant in face of controversy and resistance.
What do you value most positively about your experience as an entrepreneur?
I have learned that despite continuous challenges, I am resourceful and resilient– I have learned to be a lot more self confident; no longer that shy little girl that left my country of origin (Iran) to become an engineer in USA. The entrepreneurship experience has kept me only tiptoes teaching me to adapt, and respond to whatever that comes at me, while staying calm and focused. I had to train to get there and it has paid off. I think entrepreneurship teaches you to be a multi-faceted human, not one dimensional one. It is a hard to be an entrepreneur, but the rewards are many.
Do you have any opinion about equality plans in companies and parity in boards of directors?
I feel that this is a positive and necessary step to bring equity to a group – woman and minority – who are under-represented and powerless. As a woman, I feel that we really do not have fair access to many things, especially in STEM – so the work is just beginning. I think this parity has to happen as women and minorities are great resources to their communities and humanity.
What message would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur and does not know how to start?
I think one does not pick to be an entrepreneur unless one has found a passion and wants too bring a solution it has developed – alone or with a team. I think this commercialization of entrepreneurship is in fact really dangerous path. Many young people do not have any experience working for anyone or in any field so they cannot be really innovative in bringing valuable needed solutions to the world. You must feel the drive that you have something to offer and your way is better than anything else out there. That is when one should start.
What measures do you think would help to have more women entrepreneurs?
I think education and training is key. College education is the most important path to a career for women who also wants to be eventually an entrepreneur Of course, vocational and other training (such as coding, design, etc.) also helps women find their passion. The key to help women enter entrepreneurship is offer programs that are flexible. Women have interest in having children and a family, and this has to be taken into account when designing any program. We must embrace women at any age to become entrepreneurs, even if they want to do so after they have raised children and want to re-enter the workforce.