The network of female entrepreneurship Extraordinaria has become a space for cooperation and growth where thousands of women who choose to lead their own lives converge.
One in four small business is created and run by women. Whether out of necessity or vocation, the percentage of women entrepreneurs grows every year. We spoke with Gemma Fillol, entrepreneur and CEO of Extraordinaria, to find out how female entrepreneurship is lived from within.
Let’s start at the beginning: what is Extraordinaria?
We are an organisation with an informative and associative attitude. We believe in a new business paradigm in which companies are at the service of the people. The companies many women are leading and building are not only based on economic benefit, but also on contribution. In the generation of wealth in a holistic way.
How was the project born?
The project stems from my personal need to meet other women with a similar path. It is very important that we create spaces of conversation, of true female generosity, for sharing not only in the professional but also in the personal sphere, for asking ourselves where our leadership is leading us.
What impact has it had on women entrepreneurs?
Extraordinaria’s growth and impact has been brutal. We started six years ago with 30 people and we currently have 700 members and 60,000 followers; we have given a lot of visibility to the entrepreneurial woman, we are building referents and spaces of authentic cooperation in accordance with feminine values.
What does women’s leadership mean?
For me, leading is giving, guiding, coordinating, collaborating, committing, helping, visualising, contributing, aiding… Precisely, women are great donors: we give life. I believe a lot in cyclicity and circularity: everything is born, reproduces, dies, and grows back.
Do we focus too much on gender differentiation?
Sometimes I’m not too sure if we should call this type of leadership feminine because, on the one hand, it’s not inclusive, but on the other hand, I think we also need to vindicate exclusivity, because we really live in a world and in a society that is not egalitarian. It strives, it tries, it is biased. And it’s deeply uneven: we don’t have the same opportunities.
How is Extraordinaria’s leader?
Very optimistic. The curious and resilient attitude is inherent in the entrepreneur; it is the essence of leadership.
Do we start a business, and lead, from emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is crucial, but also transversality, sustainable and organic growth, active listening, humility, transparency, vulnerability, communication … Everything that is done with a contributing will.
Why do we want to start a business? What can it bring us?
It brings us the possibility to live on our business and our talent, which should be like a fundamental right. We should focus on how women not only want to create economically sustainable businesses, but also human businesses. Taking care of women workers, generating a social impact. Companies are being built from somewhere else and this is very revolutionary.
How are these conscious businesses created?
For conscious businesses, those that go beyond generating money, at Extraordinaria we define three pillars: the first is the axis of the business, the business base. Then, the part of personal growth and leadership; here we could also talk about success, which in the end means fulfilling your desires, your dreams. And, finally, the creation of a network, of spaces to share from generosity, to say “I have fallen here, and this is my path, not yours, but I tell you in case I can help you.”
It is very important that companies manage to understand this new paradigm in which, if we all build beyond ourselves and add value, companies will be able to generate wealth for people, and not the other way around.