A born activist, advocate and disrupter, Shelley Kuipers’ habit of asking “but, why?” and being unsatisfied with the answers has led to a financially rewarding career in innovative entrepreneurship. She’s founded, financed, and sold companies, taken calculated risks, and navigated a successful career by surrounding herself with those who align with her mission and values. She Knows her ShiFt!
Shelley doesn’t recommend “chasing” after opportunities; she advises entrepreneurs to play to their strengths and surround themselves with talented people who can help close the deal. In her own complex path to success, Shelley has learned to trust the sound advice of those who support her and share her values—to listen, and sometimes leap even when the obstacles ahead are vast and unclear.
In 1999 she started a company with her husband and brother. They had the capital and soon joined forces with another organization that held some potentially powerful intellectual property. Like many entrepreneurs the path they chose was not clear. They relied on trusted advisors, mentors, and supporters to assist them in the right decision. Almost 20 years later, they sold this venture. This left them with significant resources to embark on their true passions.
The culmination of Shelley’s unique, entrepreneurial career is in co-founding The51 with Judy Fairburn and Alice Reimer, key members of her network who share her passion for supporting women investors and entrepreneurs. The51 is a financial feministTM platform founded in 2019 that unlocks capital from woman-identifying and gender-diverse investors, and supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups in Canada and the US (women entrepreneurs receive only 2.2% of global venture capital support!).
The dream of The51 is for women to become a global economic force. Women who are looking to invest or entrepreneurs who are seeking capital from a gender-diverse investment fund can visit The51 or contact Shelley on LinkedIn.
What has been important in Shelley’s transitions? First, building networks! This is an idea I keep coming back to with clients who are working to successfully transition. Build, maintain, and continually re-evaluate your networks. She values the relationships she has with her mentors, supporters, and coaches and uses her network extensively. She certainly recognizes that credentials and formal education are less important than the strategic authentic connections you forge every day. Second, although she is not always fully confident, she acts despite her fears. When she first started on her entrepreneurial journey, she was not fully confident. The actions of confidence came first! She invites you to take a chance; take a calculated risk. You never know where it might lead you!
Let me know what you think. I really look forward to speaking to you about your next transition and guiding you through the journey in knowing your own shiFt! Contact me today!
Don’t miss the last episodes on the She Knowns ShiFt podcast:
- She Knows ShiFt Podcast Episode Nine – The Scary Direction of your Authentic Self! With Sandi Somers
- She Knows ShiFt Podcast Episode Eight – You are not your CV! with Dr. Susan Brien
- She Knows ShiFt Podcast Episode Seven – Defining your Personal Brand with Dr. Elizabeth Cannon
- She Knows ShiFt Podcast Episode Six – The Sweet Spot of ShiFt with Vania Grandi