‘Slow down on purpose’: Ottawa businesswoman of the year nominee Susan Richards

The CEO and cofounder of Givopoly and managing partner and cofounder of Numbercrunch in nominated in the professional category
Susan Richards
Susan Richards is the CEO and cofounder of Givopoly as well as managing partner and cofounder of Numbercrunch. (Photo by Brittany Gawley).

On April 20, the Women’s Business Network will honour 12 of Ottawa’s leading women entrepreneurs at its Businesswoman of the Year gala. The nominees are divided into four categories: Emerging entrepreneur; established entrepreneur; organization; and professional. OBJ will profile each nominee leading up to the event.

What is your proudest business accomplishment?

Being a finalist for the BYAs Businesswoman of the Year is top of mind at the moment!

Who is your greatest inspiration?

My kids. My three boys inspire me with their bold ideas, talents and drive. I was ambitious before kids, but they've been my primary inspiration to be the change I want to see in the world. I figure if I have chosen to be a working parent I better make it count. I take inspiration from everyone I encounter, from employees to clients and strangers I encounter through social media. There is no shortage of inspiration in my life.

What is the biggest professional obstacle you've had to overcome?

Regrettably, it's predictable: gender inequality in the private sector workforce. We simply need more women sitting on boards, more women at the executive tables, more women getting funded, and then there will be fewer obstacles for women to overcome. I've worked as hard as I could to climb over and wiggle around the gender bias hurdles that are ubiquitous, but things haven't really changed much over my 20-year career in that respect.

What is the best business advice you've ever received?

The advice that has probably made the biggest impact on my career for many years was “just show up.” (Admittedly from The Donald when he was a keynote speaker at the Ottawa Business Summit a long time ago.) For many years, I played that in my head when I would feel anxious about walking into a new situation, a new room and a new opportunity. Most recently in 2017, I'm giving strong consideration to a ripple of social media posts preaching to “Slow down on purpose” – an almost 180-degree shift, and I think it's going to have an amazing impact.