Whitney Wolfe is a confident and strong minded female who originally worked on the launch of the highly successful dating site Tinder which has an estimated 50 million users. She eventually became its Vice President of marketing.
Whilst climbing the career ladder, Ms Wolfe also formed a relationship with Tinder’s co-founder. Unfortunately both work and relationship ended, resulting in her losing her job. Ms Wolfe officially accused Tinder of sexual harassment and of denying her the title of ‘Co-founder’. The case was settled ‘out of court’ with neither side admitting liability. Whitney Wolfe’s reaction was to become the founder of Bumble, an innovative dating site which is designed to allow only women to make the first move. The site has over 18 million users.
What does this show us? Yes, there is a strong stench of sexism in the Tech industry, indeed there is probably a ‘whiff’ of gender inequality and inappropriate behaviour in many industries. But the important thing is that Whitney Wolfe found the self- belief necessary to deal with knock-backs and still achieve her goal. You may assume Ms Wolfe is a highly educated and qualified woman, but apparently she failed as a student, however if there were ‘A’ levels and Degrees in being fearless and self- motivated she would have held all the top qualifications. Obviously somehow WW has climbed the career ladder even after being dragged down by those whose gender prejudices led them to disapprove of her potential success. Perhaps it is because she is hard-working, almost obsessively conscientious whilst maintaining communicative management methods and congenial and empathetic with her staff (52 employees, 42 of which are women).
Wolfe calls her female employees ‘my girls’ and feels a strong responsibility towards them. Corny though that may sound especially to those of you who still lean towards a more remote and unemotional approach to leadership as the correct stance, if you think about it, surely it must lead to more satisfied and conscientious workers? Wolfe rewards her staff with occasional gifts for their individual achievements that ultimately improve the overall success of the company. She is supportive and empathetic towards mothers providing facilities for their particular needs. She believes in kindness and honesty and will not allow negative comments to be made amongst staff unless they are ‘face to face’. Many bosses would feel these methods to represent weakness, but we should associate them with good leadership, however different they may seem from the conventional ideas held particularly by men. Poor staff morale leads to a high level of hiring and firing with discontented workers leaving their posts on a regular basis. When people feel valued it encourages loyalty and a proper team mentality rather than over-zealous competitiveness.
Wolfe’s leadership abides by the ‘sisterly’ principle contained in her app., thus tapping into the vast female market for more than just fashion and beauty products or domestic items. In putting her ‘money where her mouth is’ as the saying goes, Wolfe is proving that honesty and empathy towards both staff and target customers, results in a successful, desirable product that does ‘what it says on the tin’.
You may insist that the qualities and methods used by Ms Wolfe are feminine by nature, but surely all intelligent, open minded people with ambition, male or female can see that ultimately they are the way forward for leaders in ANY industry.