Anne Cocquyt - Visionary and Execution

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What are your “and” words, and why did you choose those two words? Visionary and Execution. I chose visionary and execution because I know a lot of visionaries that never find a way to start (small) and a lot of people with excellent execution skills who can’t think big. My unique value I bring to the business world of for-profits and non-profits is that I combine the two. For the GUILD, I see a world in which people connect to each other in real life based on AI technology and behavioral science. That’s a big vision; taking current trends in the digital age into account and understanding the pain point of the users to go back to authentic connection. In the pursuit, we can help with with technology to find the “right” people to build businesses, and to find friends and networks. To make this vision become reality, however, you have to start small and prototype, test, iterate and move quickly. You can’t build the end solution from scratch. You have to start small and grow, learn and build from there. I’m exceptionally good in creating that first small MVP. Some entrepreneurs take years to get to that first prototype. I’ve built prototypes in a weekend and raised funding for them. 

That’s why I like Singularity University and mentor there. They support entrepreneurs with the potential to impact 1B lives.

What you are known for saying / a quote from you. What does this quote mean to you, (or if it’s from someone else, why does it inspire you)? Just Do It! What’s the worst thing that can happen? It’s ok to fail. You learn so much more when venturing on new territory than walking on other’s paths.

Which other Ladybadasses inspire you and why? The “only’s” inspire me. The pioneers who are not afraid to be the first or the only woman in the room or in their industry. That can be anybody from Mrs. Maisel to Rosa Parks to Angela Merkel.

When did you first realize that you had some Ladybadassery in you? I ran a very successful café as a school project age 14. I took that project very seriously and it was the best performing business in the whole school. I didn’t know that it was possible or I was “allowed” to “just do it” and to own that success. It was a great feeling that I’ve become addicted to. I knew then and there that there was an exciting world full of opportunities and entrepreneurship ahead of me. I’ve come a long way since the first Crêpes Suzette I sold.

What keeps you motivated on days when you aren't quite feeling like a Ladybadass? I have an inner compass that tells me that everything will be alright and that I will find my way. Traveling solo in my twenties has certainly helped me find and listen to that inner compass. I went on a round the world trip, and later I travelled in South America for 4 months. I learnt to trust myself and deal with ambiguity, and see it as an opportunity. When traveling, everything is new, everybody is a stranger and there is no certainty of what might happen next. I learnt that I’m the creator of my own destiny and even when I was hungry and tired, I knew to trust that the next experience would be amazing and sure enough, something great happened to me. It’s like the entrepreneurial cycle. You go through emotional ups and downs very quickly and as a result become emotionally resilient. The curiosity that made me travel and explore other cultures is also a key to being a good innovator and team leader. I learn that my perspective was not shared by everybody, which shaped how I looked at society, politics and justice.

If the compass fails: chocolate!

What is your advice to other women who are trying to tap into their Ladybadassery? You are already a Ladybadass. Take your time to find your voice, trust your instincts, be honest with yourself and make sure that these are your ambitions and not someone else’s.

Anne is the Executive Director of Women in Product, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing women with equal access and representation in product management careers at all levels. She is also Founder of The GUILD, a startup advisor, and a digital health expert.