Freedom to Fail: InDay Speaker Gina Romero

March 14, 2013

On International Women’s Day, LinkedIn Singapore invited Gina Romero to speak and share her experiences with us. Gina began her career as a long haul stewardess, then got over her fear of technology to become an IT Director and eventually to run her own IT company. Gina’s passion for small businesses and an interest in building communities led her to Athena Network. As head of the Athena Network, she works with female executives and entrepreneurs to provide them with a platform to collaborate for mutual success.

True to her ‘Rock-Chick Entrepreneur’ style (slightly rebellious slant for mixing business with pleasure), Gina shared stories from her life when she failed and how she picked herself up time and again to get to where she is today. Three of her stories stuck with me because they align with our Culture & Values at LinkedIn and are truly inspirational as we continue on our hyper growth journey in APAC.

  1. Take Intelligent Risks. Gina’s first business venture was managing a farm in the Philippines that was blown up by a volcano. She could have chosen to go back to her parents in the UK and lead a comfortable life but instead decided to stay and spent a year living in slums. The experience gave her first-hand exposure of living through hardship and difficulties. A year later, she realized she had fallen very sick, ran out of money and decided to go back to the UK. She spoke openly about what she learned through the experience and switching to Plan B as soon as she realized Plan A would not work.
  2. Collaborate. When Gina moved to Singapore in 2010, she did not know many people and had never run a business in Singapore. So she collaborated (rather than competed) with women’s organizations to reach a broader group. Gina’s straightforward and pragmatic leadership style led to her success in building communities where she brought people with like-minded interests and similar hobbies to network over unconventional events. For example, she runs ‘Business Rocks’, an event all about beer and business opportunities, where 80 to 100 female business owners and entrepreneurs get together to share success, failures, rants and raves.
  3. Be Open, Honest & Constructive. Gina spoke how she balances her personal and professional lives. She was very honest in sharing that she often declines business engagements to spend time with her family. She has an agreement with her kids to spend no more than two evenings a week at work. And when she does that, Gina maximizes it by bringing many people together. Gina admits she is a workaholic and her socializing is all around work & business.

The Singapore team was inspired by Gina’s success driven by common sense, technical creativity and sense of humor. We hope her talk inspires you too.

(This post is also featured on OneJustice's blog here.)