131 A Fifth Generation Multipreneur: Kedma Ough on Access to Investment and Funding for Women Business Owners

Kedma OughKedma Ough wants to pay it forward. The multipreneur is already bootstrapping two new businesses, and while she’s at it, she’s helping women in business get funded – with investment, loans, crowdfunding, and other creative financing methods. She shares her inspiration, her financial tips, and how to juggle it all!

Melinda Wittstock:         Kedma, welcome to Wings.

Kedma Ough:                    Thank you.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love what you’re doing helping women find funding for their businesses. This is a really big issue, access to capital. What made you get so passionate about helping other women to do that?

Kedma Ough:                    Oh, wow. That’s a great question. Well, first of all my background is in economic development. I ran the women’s business center, both in the state of Arizona, and Oregon, which is a part of the Small Business Administration, so that is my business background, but I think the real answer to that is there is nothing more powerful than going through the experience yourself to say, “Oh, my goodness. Is this what is available? And how do we change that?” And I think one of the a-ha moments for me is when I had to file bankruptcy, because I went through a terrible divorce, and what people don’t know is the majority of bankruptcies, and challenges that happen for women usually happen through a divorce experience.

And so for me I hit rock bottom, because I had great credit at the time, but given what I had to do to leave, it really opened me up, and as a result of that situation, I went on a journey and I spent about 10 years studying the funding market. I wanted to know how to crack the system, and how to win the game, and I figured it out. And so now I spend my life teaching people how to find funds, so that they’re not in the same situation I was in.

Melinda Wittstock:         So much of entrepreneurship Kedma is about solving problems, and it’s interesting, when we have something that goes wrong personally, for ourselves or a problem that we’ve tackled, chances are many others have gone through or are going through or about to go through what it is that you have yourself. When you look at all the work that you’re doing to help women get financing for their business, are a lot of them coming through this having had a divorce and reinventing themselves?

Kedma Ough:                    I don’t have the statistics, but having worked with about 10,000 businesses, I would say there’s a couple of elements to look at. The first is, typically, when someone gets married, having been married twice, they usually will co-mingle their funds and I actually disagree with that, to be honest as a woman. In fact, with my current husband, who I’ve been with 17 years, we do not co-mingle funds. I have my own funding account, he has his own funding account, and then we have a shared account. The reason for that is I really need to establish credit.

In 2008, I purchased my own 2,000 square foot office. I was able to do that on my own, even though we’re married without using his credit. That’s a really powerful statement to say, “Oh my gosh, you have X number of dollars available or leverage for x number of dollars available because you’re playing the game that way.” It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my husband. It doesn’t mean that we’re not together, but it does mean that if you going to play the game right, if you going to win the game, you really need to think about that. That’s one issue we see as women who are co-mingling. They’re not establishing their credit. They’re not monitoring their credit. They’re not monitoring their financial sort of opportunity to leverage and then they get stuck. They get into that situation where they don’t know what to do.

The second thing I will just briefly tell you is we do have an access to capital challenge where unfortunately, women don’t have enough collateral, again back to the family, to actually secure loans. That comes up over and over again as an issue.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right, so for women starting out, young women, it’s really important to think ahead. I think a lot of women in their 20’s don’t really think about that. I mean, you mentioned you went through this bankruptcy and oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. That’s a horrendous thing to go through.

Melinda Wittstock:         But is it because you didn’t do a lot of these things that you now recommend?

Kedma Ough:                    Actually, the reason that I had to file bankruptcy is I actually did the kind thing. It’s funny how relationships work, right? There is this emotional dynamic and I bet some of these readers and listeners can actually understand where I’m coming from when I say this. There’s almost a jealousy that can happen, especially if one person in the relationship is more financially astute or has more financial leverage than the other. That’s exactly what happened in this marriage. As a result of that, I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I decided to take on my partner’s credit cards and everything that he had sort of as a burden, so that he could increase his credit. I literally transferred all that to my credit. Exactly. Then, we went through the divorce and all of it was sitting on my credit. On the advice of my attorney, he said, “Well you have a choice. You can spend the rest of your life paying off his loans and his credit or you can wipe the slate clean, suffer for a couple of years, from a credit perspective, and start a new life. So, I chose that.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow. Isn’t that interesting though, as women, we’re loving and we’re caring and we do so many things out of that, but again, you never know. You really want to believe in love. You want to believe that your relationship is going to last forever, right?

Kedma Ough:                    Not anymore.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right? Yeah, but I did. I mean, I’m divorced as well. I did a number of things like that, out of generosity, out of kindness, and it swung around and hit me really hard too. It takes a while to recover from that. I completely know where you’re coming from.

Kedma, for young women starting out, don’t want to make the mistakes that you or I have made in that sense in relationship or whatever. They job or they’re starting a business or whatever, but they’re launching their careers, and they’re in love, maybe they’re having babies, whatever, right? What are the specific things that they should do looking forward, in addition to not co-mingling their funds?

Kedma Ough:                    First thing, I would absolutely have them establish a relationship with their lender, and not just, “Oh, I’m opening up a checking account.” I would actually meet with the lender and find out what do they need from a lender’s perspective to strengthen a possibility of a working relationship. Specifically, I’m looking for a line of credit. When I started through my journey of going through bankruptcy, actually, my first opportunity after that happened was to get a $200 secured line of credit. I literally had to put the money in the bank to secure it in order to get the line of credit. I was okay with that because that’s what my lender needed in order to trust that relationship again. First, we want to inquire from a lender’s perspective ’cause a lot of people try to go for a loan when they don’t have a relationship, and when they need it, we don’t want you to do that.

Second thing I would do is I would absolutely jump on some kind of site. My favorite is creditkarma.com. Get a chance to look at your credit and how they score it. I increased my credit just from Credit Karma by about 40 points. My credit is about 811 right now. When I went bankrupt, it was probably around 500, but learning the game … I’m a chess player. I’m going to be honest. The thing about being a successful chess player is you have to know the pieces on the board. You have to know each piece and what they can do and what they can’t do, and you have to know how to position your game. If you don’t know the pieces and you don’t know what the pieces do, you are never going to win in the game of chess or in the game of finance. Getting that credit score is essential.

The third thing, which they’re not going to like because I’m going to have them do it starting now, I want them to put 20% of whatever they’re making away. I want them to open up some kind of 401k, some kind of … something to put away. I put money away, a lot of money away because I live below my means. I really live below my means. If you see what I wear, people say, “Oh my God, you wear such gorgeous stuff.” I shop at consignment stores, right? I’m really clear that I can live an incredible life, I travel the world, but I live below my means. That 20% is going to really be a game changer for them if they start out early.

Melinda Wittstock:         This is so important because everybody now, I think the way the economy is moving, has to be entrepreneurial in some way. There’s a statistic that 40% of all Americans will be gig workers by 2020. So, freelancers, people with side hustles, not employees, not with regular paychecks. They got to hustle. They got to be entrepreneurial to actually swing that. It requires a different kind of attitude, and really there’s no safety net in that, other than the one you create yourself. It’s exciting, but it also means that you have to, as you say, you have to know where the chess pieces go and what they do and how they move around the board.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Invest your money on assets. Invest on things that will grow in time. #WINGSPodcast #WomeninBusiness @kedmaough[/tweet_box]

Kedma Ough:                    Absolutely. Here’s what I would tell them, is what I would tell my own children. I tell my children that they need to invest because they receive pocket money. They need to invest their money on assets. They need to invest their money on things that will grow in time. They’re so clear. I have a 13. I have a nine. And I have a seven. That my nine year old, he’s saving right now for a house.

Melinda Wittstock:         That is amazing. That’s wonderful. Wow. Goodness [crosstalk 00:13:17].

Kedma Ough:                    Because he knows the power of assets. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get makeup. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have dresses, but the question then becomes, what percentage of that should go to these items that you know are not going to have value?

Melinda Wittstock:         Exactly. For women to go get funding … For a woman who’s launching their first business, right? New to the entrepreneurial game, depending on what kind of business it is, what are you looking for when you’re helping them get, as you say, targeted funding? What do they have to show you, really, to qualify?

Kedma Ough:                    Here’s the first question that happens, is people walk through the door and say, “I need X amount of money. I need a loan for $10,000. I need a loan for $5,000. I need a loan for $50,000. The first thing I say to them is, “I, frankly, don’t get excited about giving you debt.” We are under the presumption that loan is sort of the number one, and I look at lending as, especially debt, as a second option, unless you’re actually using that debt to buy, again, an asset, right? If it’s a real estate property.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, all debt should be used to buy assets. Absolutely.

Kedma Ough:                    Absolutely. I think the first thing I always want to get from them is, and this seems so simple and yet, I see this over and over and over again. I will ask them to put their wish list together, and then I’ll take that wish list and I’ll say, “Okay, now that you have your wish list, I need you to put it in order of priority based on absolutely what you need and I can give you … Here’s my caveat of what you need. If I take away what you’ve put on that list and you cannot function as a business, then you need it. If I take away and you can function, then you don’t need it.” If you’re running an online computer supply program and on your list is a computer, and I take it away, obviously, you can’t be functional. You would be surprised how many people had what they need, and they really don’t need it. So, what happens is they’re constantly in this frustration where they think they need money, and really, they need the very bare minimum to get to that next step.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. So they’re sort of thinking that they want money for the whole kind of journey, like every conceivable thing, but not money that’s going to be triggered by metrics, or traction, or sales, or any of these other things, right?

Kedma Ough:                    Exactly. You nailed it. The other thing is to just give a reality check. Generally speaking, for most organizations, most startups, everyday people even like me. If I was to walk to the bank today and I wanted to open up and get a loan for my startup business, I generally would not get a loan unless I’m in business two years or more.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right.

Kedma Ough:                    That’s the other thing is when do you go there. I’d say the third thing is what are the funds we could tap into, especially if we know that lending piece may not be right based on the timeframe.

Melinda Wittstock:         We’ve talked a little bit about debt, and getting the proverbial business loan for your business, but there are other types of instruments out there, crowdfunding, obviously equity investment as well, friends, family, angel money, venture capital for those that actually qualify for that. It’s difficult to get a hold of. I’ve found that so many entrepreneurs, not just women, men as well, particularly in the technology space spend a lot of time fundraising and so much time fundraising, so by the time they get the meeting, the investors are like, “Okay, but what’s happening with your business?” It seems very ‘chicken and egg’ because if you have something where you have to have startup capital to actually create something, like create technology or whatever or educate a market or my goodness. It’s tricky. How do you bust out of that chicken and egg?

Kedma Ough:                    It is tricky. I always have this saying: you should always be hustling. You can’t be waiting for someone to just invest in you. You have to constantly be looking at multiple sources, and I don’t believe in putting our eggs in one basket. Having said that, each strategy, if you’re going to truly target is going to be different variables. For example, you mentioned crowdfunding. People always talk about crowdfunding and then the next they say is, “Well, I’ve seen Kickstarter and I’ve seen Indiegogo,” but there are over 200 crowdfunding platforms. Is Kickstarter the right one? Is Indiegogo the right one? It depends on who your audience is, what has been successful on those platforms, what is the timeframe to raise it? If you raise those funds, will you be able to access them if you don’t reach your actual limit. There are all these questions that come up. It can be successful if it’s done right. We just had a client last month get $75,000 on one of the crowdfunding platforms for a female based product that she’s now going to bring to the market. So, it worked for her, but it was a strategy.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, it’s actually a good strategy, that crowdfunding because it’s marketing. It’s sort of social proof that people actually want to purchase your product. They’re excited enough about your product to invest in it. It unlocks potential other investments. It’s great marketing tool, actually, apart from anything else.

Kedma Ough:                    Absolutely, but there’s work involved as you know, right? Deciding what the website is, the content, putting the videos together, so there’s investment involved, but yes to your point, it’s very, very successful, and yet I know clients who’ve not done well at all because what they’re bringing to the market is not a fit for crowdfunding.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right, exactly. You are someone that I would call a multipreneur, Kedma. You have a whole bunch of things going, right? You’ve got a couple of different businesses. Let’s walk through all the other businesses that you’re doing as you’re doing this. Then, we’ll talk about how you actually do that. Let’s go through that one by one.

Kedma Ough:                    Sure.

Melinda Wittstock:         Let’s start with the lollipop business ’cause that’s a fun one.

Kedma Ough:                    I’m a fifth generation entrepreneur so my kids are six. A couple years ago, my son is autistic, and he was constantly arguing about candy. He kept trying to get candy. I kept trying to take it away. So, I went to bed one night and I thought, as a parent, why do I keep arguing with my kids about the candy issue? Then, I had an a-ha moment and I said, “Well why don’t I just make the candy healthier?” At that time, he was constantly going towards lollipops. So, we developed Lolligoods. It’s trademarked. It is the first lollipop that is infused with protein, probiotics, and fiber. We have 10 different flavors. We worked closely with the Food Innovation Center. Think about the idea of a lollipop, but it’s a healthier version that has protein in it. It’s for moms on the go for kids on the go.

Right now, we’re in the second stage where we are going to be looking at the right co-packer ’cause I frankly don’t have the time to manufacture. That next step is finding a co-packer in order for us to do a run and bring the product to market. That’s one of my fun ideas and my kids are involved. They get to taste the lollipop. They get to promote the lollipop, so it’s a really, really fun family business that we’re working on together.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s awesome. That’s great. Again … Sorry, I’m going to pick up there.

That’s wonderful. Again, another example of a business that comes about because you have a specific problem that you want to solve. What’s the growth rate of that business? Where is it going? Where do you see it in five years? 10 years?

Kedma Ough:                    Yeah, that’s a great question. For me, it was more like a hobby. I’m really clear on making sure that we don’t overspend. Typically, at the stage we’re at right now, we would’ve already spent $25,000, but we were able to get it to $5,000 and worked with a food innovation lab, and that’s because, again, I was able to target the right organization and actually worked with a university’s food program. I would say the trajectory is once we have a co-backer; it’s really looking at wholesale, and trying to get into some markets. We already have some interest from healthy stores that really want to test it, but without that supply chain to be honest, it can be a deal breaker. It’s taken a long time to find that supply chain because most startup food entrepreneurs don’t realize that it is a huge barrier to try to go in and try to find a co-packer because these companies, they want you to buy 50,000 units of something, and you’re just not there. So, trying to find someone who’s willing to work with a small food entrepreneur is not easy, and that’s where we’re at right now.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. Every one of these businesses, I’ve done so many myself… and every one has a slightly different challenge. I think, “Oh, I’ve succeeded in this one, so I can do it again.” But they’re all different.

Kedma Ough:                    Exactly.

Melinda Wittstock:         There’s always something. Again, I’m just going to repeat this joke that I tell every time on the podcast, is if you want therapy become an entrepreneur.

Kedma Ough:                    So true.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s going to test you every way possible, right? What else are you working on? You’ve got something else at the same time.

Kedma Ough:                    I started a company 2002, so it’s been a while. It’s a semi-absentee business, so you talked about side hustle, you talked about gig, and a semi-absentee is really operating a business, but you’re not managing day to day. In that capacity, we support business advising and consulting and training for people with disabilities. Most people don’t realize it, but about 54 million people in the U.S. have one or more disabilities. There are many, many organizations that support them. There’s vocational rehabilitation. There’s the Veteran’s Administration. We help with the self-employment end. To give you a real life example, about three years ago, I helped a veteran go through the channels, wanted to go into self-employment, wasn’t really a quite fit for traditional employment. He was able, through our work, leverage close to $70,000 in the form of a grant. Now, I wouldn’t say that’s for everyone, but there’s a lot to be said for some of the amazing organizations out there that are trying to help entrepreneurs with disabilities move up and really look at that as a real opportunity for employment. That’s the other thing I’m working on. Then, I just have one more thing.

Melinda Wittstock:         Just one more thing. You’re a really busy lady. You mentioned you have kids, as well. You’re married again. You’ve got all this stuff. How do you manage? How do you juggle all that?

Kedma Ough:                    I have a phenomenal team. I have to tell you. I have the backend, and it doesn’t cost a lot really. It’s really hiring that virtual assistant. It used to be receptionist or secretaries. These days, it’s virtual assistants for entrepreneurs. Having that virtual assistant who’s doing that backend operational piece is so crucial. Making sure that those emails go out, the social media is out, the systems are in place because I’m front-facing, so I could sell ice to Eskimos, but who’s going to do the work? What I would tell the people that are really curious about how to structure a company, find out where you’re really strong and then hire people that are going to surround you where you’re really weak. You cannot, and you know this, you cannot be everything. It’s impossible. I just learned to delegate really well the areas that I’m not good at, and then be front-facing. That’s how I’m able to do everything.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]You cannot be everything. It’s impossible. I just learned to delegate really well the areas that I’m not good at, and then be front-facing. That’s how I’m able to do everything. #WINGSPodcast #WomeninBusiness @kedmaough[/tweet_box]

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. That’s great. You know, this comes up a lot on the podcast that one of the big challenges women have in particular is they hire too late or they’re too slow to ask for help. Did you learn this, when you say you’re fifth generation entrepreneur, did you just learn this really early from your parents?

Kedma Ough:                    No, I went through what everyone goes through. I had a good eight years before I turned my business into semi-absentee where I thought I was the only person that could manage the entire business. I was a control freak. I had to work six days a week. I had to make sure that I had my every situation from an email to a phone call to a plan being done. Then, I decided wait a minute. I am now a prisoner of my own business. I decided to systemize it. When I systemized it, I got my life back. Now, I can travel. I was just in Costa Rica for a week. I come home and I got two paychecks that were in the mail because work was being done and I didn’t have to be there. I had to learn the hard way because most of us, when we have a dream, when we have a business, we have something that we’re passionate about, we do not want to give up control.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s true. I think women fall under this trap of it’s like your baby or something, right?

Kedma Ough:                    Yes.

Melinda Wittstock:         And it’s great to be really passionate about it, but you do have to get out of your own way and when we think about what it takes to get to a million dollars or more in revenue, a lot of women, in fact, most women get stuck there because they go into business with a skill or an expertise that they build a business around. Then, it becomes really difficult to get anybody to do it as well as they do or … Right? Or they try, at the early stage of the business to try and do everything, which sometimes for a big part of the business, you do have to kind of do that in the early stages of a startup. But as fast as possible, gosh, hire people so you can do the thing that only you can do.

Kedma Ough:                    Exactly, you nailed it. The one thing that I do not ever pass up and give to someone else is my speaking because I’m a professional speaker and actually, I’m the vice president of programming for the National Speakers Association in my state, so speaking I can’t give up because really, people are coming to hear me speak. I think to your point, it’s finding where you’re really great and what you can’t give up. Then, everything else you give up.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right, yes. This is so true. If you had three pieces of advice for women either just coming up, thinking of taking the entrepreneurial leap or they’ve taken the entrepreneurial leap and they’re stuck on that kind of startup sticky floor, like they’re still in that kind of chicken and egg place where they can’t quite scale. They can’t quite get to a million bucks or they can’t quite … right? It’s all those challenges that come along with a kind of early phases of a business. What would be your top three go to pieces of advice?

Kedma Ough:                    First one, you know the saying that you are the five people that you surround yourself with?

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes.

Kedma Ough:                    I disagree. You are the five tribes you surround yourself with. You don’t need to have five people. You need five tribes because five people, that’s just too small. I say find your tribe. In my case, I have the speaker tribes. I’m part of the NSA that gives me access to thousands of the top speakers in the world. I’m part of the cyber security tribe. That gives me access to the top cyber security experts. I’m part of the innovation tribe, so I say, find your tribes because that is going to help catapult you to that next stage.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, and there’s so much value when you … I’m imagining a little Venn diagram in my mind, right? With the overlaps between all those different tribes? There’s tremendous value that you can provide for other people in that sense, but you can get so many interesting, inspired ideas and opportunities at those intersections, so that’s great advice.

Kedma Ough:                    Absolutely.

Melinda Wittstock:         What’s number two?

Kedma Ough:                    Number two is something that I have seen over and over and over again working with women. What I would ask the audience is really check in inside when I tell you what the second one is and ask yourself, do you do this or do you not do this? Trust your instincts ’cause what happens is that you’re going out there, you’re getting advice, and unfortunately, as humans, we’re trying to get advice not from one person, but from 100 people. What do you think? What do you think? What should I do? How should I handle it? We never trust ourselves.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, oh God …

Kedma Ough:                    It’s a huge problem.

Melinda Wittstock:         This is so, so true. Yeah, we can get over advised and over coached, but it is always good to ask for help too, so where is that line between mentoring, getting mentored, asking for help, not being over coached?

Kedma Ough:                    Right, so the trusting your instinct is to really get clear inside, take some time, meditate, go to the park, whatever. That part of you where it’s sort of flight or fight where you’re like, this doesn’t feel good. And it could even be that you’re not with the right coach. It could be that they’re saying something to you and you’re like, this doesn’t feel good. Don’t follow their advice if something inside of you says, “This doesn’t feel right.”

Melinda Wittstock:         Right.

Kedma Ough:                    I’m serious. I have seen this happen so many times, and when I ask the woman, “Why did you do that when you knew it didn’t feel good?”

And they said what they say all the time. “That person is the expert.”I go, “No. You are the expert of your life. You are the driver of your life. They’re just giving you a suggestion based on what they see right now.”

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my goodness, this is so true. Yes. Okay, so number three. This is all so profound, so number three.

Kedma Ough:                    This one is also really profound and I’m going to explain why, and it’s really important ’cause I see this again and again and again. Women are not doing this. You need to feel very comfortable. And I don’t know how to say it, but I’m going to say it and then I’ll step back and explain it. Bragging about what you bring to the table. Now, I just said the word brag and everybody who heard me said, “Oh my God. No, I can’t brag. I can’t do that. What is she talking about?” Brag is a term that I have now done as an acronym. It’s bringing repetitive authentic greatness to the world.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, I love that.

Kedma Ough:                    Bring authentic repetitive greatness. When I’m bragging, I’m doing that. I am not shy about telling you what I bring to the table because I walk my walk. What people don’t realize, especially women, they did a LinkedIn study where they reviewed, they literally looked at hundreds and hundreds of profiles between men and between women, and they realized that men on LinkedIn over and over and over again will showcase what they bring to the table, “brag,” far more than women ever do.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, so I had this great guest on the show, Jenn Dalton, the CEO of Brand Mirror, and she was talking about how so many women confuse personal branding with personal bragging. I just loved how she characterized that.

Kedma Ough:                    I think there’s a place for that because what happens and what I see a lot of times is when I’m in front of a women especially if they’re starting out. I’ll ask them about their business. I’ll ask them to give me their elevator pitch. Let’s say they do a good job. One of the things I’ll do is I’ll compliment them. I’ll say, “God, that was great,” or “I really like your position on that.” I swear to you 75% to 80% of the time, I would love for your audience to just test this out, a woman will downgrade the compliment, ignore the compliment, kick the compliment back to me, and will not stand grounded in the appreciation that someone just gave them a gift.

Melinda Wittstock:         Gosh, this is so true. I was in a mastermind group for a while, and one of the exercises we had to do was give each other a standing ovation. So, everyone else in the group had to give all of us, we all got our turn to be the subject of the standing ovation. Nobody could take it. It was like torture. Stop. Stop. It was fascinating to me how difficult it is to accept compliments. I don’t know whether it’s just some deep lack of worthiness inside or we’ve been trained in our culture perhaps that we shouldn’t look like we’re you know …

Kedma Ough:                    Right.

Melinda Wittstock:         I don’t know. It’s a strange thing, but …

Kedma Ough:                    It’s owning it. I’ll give you an example because I’m a storyteller. About four months ago, I went to an innovation conference because I’m in innovation. There were about 300 people in the room and the keynote was speaking. The keynote was saying how they believe that in order to be successful in innovation, you need to have an innovation coach, right? He asked the room who here has an innovation coach? Nobody raised their hand, and I turned to the woman next to me and I said, “Well, why didn’t he ask who here is an expert in innovation?” I’m thinking to myself because I couldn’t understand where he was going. What was his next question? His next question is, “Well, if no one in here has an innovation coach, who really, really feels comfortable leading innovation because you don’t have that team or that coach guiding you?” You would not believe this. Nobody raised their hand except one little person in the back of the room. You saw the hand go up, and the keynote turned around and says, “Yes.”

And I was that little person and I said, “I don’t have a problem.” He said, “Excuse me?” I said, “I don’t have a problem leading innovation without a coach.” There was silence in the room. He did not know what to say so all he said was, “Good for you.”

Melinda Wittstock:         Right, exactly.

Kedma Ough:                    Exactly.

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, you know what’s in your heart and you know, right? All entrepreneurs, I think it’s just in our genes: we can’t help but innovate or create or spot problems, and find solutions. A lot of people go through their lives saying, “Oh, someone should do something about that.” And entrepreneurs are like, “Hey, oh, I’m going to fix that. I’m going to do it.” It’s about taking on responsibility in that sense, but that’s all about innovation, finding new ways to do things to solve problems.

Kedma Ough:                    And owning it.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, exactly. What a wonderful conversation, Kedma. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us, and tolerating my weird voice, like sorry everybody, I have a sinus infection. Oh yay.

Kedma Ough:                    Thank you. No worries.

Melinda Wittstock:         If I sound a little weird, that would be why, but thank you so much for taking the time.

Kedma Ough:                    Thank you.


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