In honor of National Women’s Month, we are proud to honor some of Ohio’s top female leaders across various industries. Valley Growth Ventures is thrilled to interview Chief Executive Officer Barb Ewing of The Youngstown Business Incubator, who brings charisma and a determined mindset to business. Barb’s innovation and strategic leadership helps fuel technology and business development growth in Youngstown, Ohio and beyond. Her skills working with information technology, nonprofit, and government organizations sets her apart as a strong leader, and her combined knowledge gives her a unique perspective on creating strategic, operative initiatives to move any company forward.
VGV: Why do you believe it’s important to see women in C-level positions and as business owners?
Ewing:There's an old adage that we model what we see. Without female role models in entrepreneurship and investing - especially in tech fields, young women will continue to self-select themselves into fields that pay lower, provide fewer opportunities for investment and are more risk-averse, which means that they will likely pay lower dividends over the long run. By not just cheer-leading but actually demonstrating women's capabilities and strengths, we pave the way for others to walk this path. But this isn't just about equal rights, it's really about US competitiveness. When you look at the US population compared to China, India, the EU and some of the other emerging markets, our population is relatively small. If the US is going to remain a driver in the US economy, we have to have every player on the field, man or woman.
VGV: Discuss your journey as a woman in your industry.What challenges as a woman did you face, and how did you overcome them?
Ewing: Working in a male-dominated industry, I strive to always be at the top of my game. I check and double check answers in order to make sure that there isn’t a chance that I made a mistake. I know that I only have one chance to prove myself, and I never want to risk losing anyone's confidence in me. And, I learned how to strategize from one of the best. I still try to think through important meetings to match my approach to the outcomes we're trying to achieve.
VGV: What unique leadership style do you bring to the table as a woman and how does it impact YBI?
Ewing: We've been able to do so much more than we otherwise could have through our partnerships with MVEDC,BRITE Energy Innovators, YSU, America Makes, Team NEO, etc. A lot of organizations are determined to always go it alone, but at the end of the day, we're a more effective organization through the relationships that we have.
VGV: What advice would you give to the next generation of women business owners and leaders?
Ewing: Don't be shy, don't back down from your dreams, and don't believe any of the stereotypes. There's nothing you can't do, learn or achieve.
Barb helps The Youngstown Business Incubator expand thinking and develop a more holistic approach to business that, in turn, enhances the organization’s approach to business development and results in greater success. Thank you, Barb, for your contribution to the community.