Scaling with Purpose: Female Founders Discuss the Importance of Mission-Driven Growth.

There’s a saying that goes, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” As a female founder, I couldn’t agree more. Building a business from scratch is no easy feat, and scaling it sustainably with purpose can be even more challenging. As someone who’s been on this journey for a while now, I’ve learned that growth for growth’s sake is never the answer. So, I reached out to some of the most inspiring female founders I know, and we had a virtual roundtable on why scaling with purpose is essential if we want to build businesses that make a positive impact on the world. Here are some of the insights we came up with.

  1. Pursue Passion, Not Profit:
    Serafina Palandech, co-founder of Hip Chick Farms, believes that the most successful businesses are the ones that put the focus on their mission and passion, not solely on profit margins. Her company creates delicious and nutritious frozen food while promoting sustainability, animal welfare and organic farming. She says, “If our business isn’t adding value to the world, then we’re just consuming resources. A strong sense of purpose and a company culture with values that all team members share are the basis for driving profitable growth that is sustainable and authentic.”
  2. Empower People:
    Christina Stembel, founder, and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, says that an essential part of her scaling plans involves empowering people, whether her customers, employees, or the community. Her company stands out thanks to its unique arrangements of locally sourced flowers and its focus on ethical labor practices. She states, “Truly meaningful growth happens when we’re empowering people, building a team that shares our values and focusing on creating a culture of learning. That helps us make a positive difference in the lives of our customers, employees, and partners.”
  3. Be Bold and Make an Impact:
    Abbey Wemimo and Leslie Kwakye co-founded Esusu, a platform that makes it easier for people to save and build credit. Their shared background of immigrant parents shaped their desire to help people who struggle with financial inequality. Leslie believes that a company’s ability to create significant social impact is a prime motivator behind its growth, she says, “As innovators, we have to be bold and find unique ways to solve problems, creating change through our actions. When a company prioritizes social impact, it raises our collective impact giving more meaning to our growth strategy.”
  4. Measure What Matters:
    Laura Behrens Wu, the CEO of shipping platform Shippo, believes that a company’s growth should be measured by meaningful metrics rather than just revenue. Her company helps e-commerce businesses optimize their shipping and logistics processes. She insists that measuring the impact of your growth should be a top priority, “As we grow, our focus remains on building a sustainable platform that reduces shipping-related carbon emissions and supports small businesses worldwide. That’s why we measure everything from the number of packages tracked to the tons of carbon neutralized.”
  5. Communicate Your Values:
    Debra Sterling is the CEO and founder of GoldieBlox, a company that creates STEM-focused products for young girls. Her company’s products inspire girls to become future innovators. She says, “As a female founder, it’s essential to communicate your values and mission from the beginning. Our choices during growth periods should always align with our social values. We place a premium on hiring and working with a diverse team, giving back to communities and reducing our carbon footprint, because that’s what matters to us and our customers.”

Scaling with purpose requires a clear mission and a vision that goes beyond just profits. For female founders, it’s even more critical to ensure that growth aligns with our values, impacts people and communities positively, and measures what matters. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to scaling, but these insights from some amazing female founders who’ve successfully scaled their businesses with a mission-driven approach can be a solid guide. As founder Christina Stembel aptly put it, “Our growth always stems from connection—with our customers, employees, partners, and community. When we start with the heart and a genuine desire to make a meaningful impact, the profits follow.”