Katia Beauchamp on the moment she realized sexism was still alive and well in tech
Tell me if you’re sensing a pattern here.
In undergrad, Birchbox founder Katia Beauchamp decided to major in math and economics because she noticed almost no women were in those classes, and she wanted to prove a woman could.
She was frustrated in an early career as a financial analyst because she didn’t have the ladder the way she was expected to.
At Harvard Business School, her eyes lit up in her first class on entrepreneurship. Not because of the glamour it described, but because it started out describing the massive odds of failure. And “not just little failures,” she says. “Ones that were truly horrible for the protagonist.”
“You can’t hide when you are an entrepreneur,” she says. “And-- wow-- I just wanted to accelerate everything.”
And then, she started a company in ecommerce, one of the hardest sectors to build a huge business since the early land grab of the late 1990s.
And then, in 2013, still the CEO of Birchbox, she got pregnant with twins.
To say Katia Beauchamp excels at defying the odds, the conventional wisdom of what she should be able to do, is putting it mildly.
Birchbox has come under fire this year as it’s been forced to do two rounds of layoffs and raise money from inside investors to keep growing and growing. But Beauchamp is still bullish on her business and resolute that her twin boys have turbo-charged her abilities as an entrepreneur.
In this episode of my “A Uterus is a feature not a bug” podcast Beauchamp talks about the decision to have kids amid the startup madness, her reaction when she heard they were twins, the time she felt lost in the whole crazy shift, and the head fake she had early on that sexism was no longer an issue in this day and age… and when she realized it absolutely still was.
I hope you enjoy!
Thanks as always to the Patrons of the series, especially our super mega ultra Patrons Braintree and Holmusk, both big supporters of women in business. We are $700 per show away from our next goal, which would add a monthly daddy podcast to the mix. If you want to make that happen and support this conversation about changing roles for moms and dads in society and the business world, go to patreon.com/sarahlacy. Even $1 pledge does a lot.