Dr. Kimberly Samaha
Dr. Kimberly Samaha is an Electrical Engineer & Professor of Business Ethics CEO of Born Global Foundation and Synthesis Venture Partners.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
Grew up on a farm in Chester NH- learned the importance of small family run businesses that rely on each other in familial ways. Went to school in Boston at BU Engineering studying aerospace & electrical engineering. Met my first mentor Joyce Berman in my sophomore year and started my first business in construction management and hazard management. Joyce was my mentor and friend my whole life- she recently passed away from Covid in 2020. This also answers question 3 Joyce has been a personal and professional mentor on my life’s journey.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea that made you start this brand? How did such a unique idea strike you, and what motivated you to “YES, go for it?”
The energy business is mandated by bigger is better and any waste in the system is actually compensated as the motive is to grow revenue based on selling the electricity at higher prices not at better efficiency. Our idea is more based on how nature creates distributed small and interconnected systems where the source is close to the consumer. But smaller is harder to finance and run so a completely different model is necessary that rewards efficiency and interdependence.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
The way forward is to educate the next generation of engineers and business students in particular about how to learn new ways of designing and operating organizations that are more in alignment with nature and natural operating principles.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Everyone talks about failure- fail fast fail often etc- no one wants to or likes to fail and there is a real psychological journey to developing resilience that is often a solo path for most entrepreneurs- this is an area that I think there needs to be more support and women are ideally suited to do this – it is instinctual in our mothering capacity to help and guide particularly young women in a way that is supportive but also allows for some of the sadness and grief that comes when you put your heart into something and it doesn’t work out.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Our ability to connect on the internet now is extraordinary. Iit brings a human face and body dynamics to working internationally which was not possible before- it has bred a large number of associated management tools that are also great- The other new ability tis the vast amount of research on the net and our way to connect with others on platforms like Linked In . For us almost all of this has been productive- the down side is the ability to team build in a cohesive way – but we are working on something for this – stay tuned.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I think our work in international colloquiums has been very inspiring to myself and others. The ability to gather and drop professional roles and just be fellow humans in beautiful nature is very inspiring. The reconnect is a deep need within our interspecies understanding. WE have 2 international colloquiums, the Beirut Ethics Colloquium and the Bordeaux Energy Colloquium that have been a great part of my journey and the friendships I have maintained over the past 25 years.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
The word coopetition. I think the dichotomy of men being competitive and women being collaborative is limiting and outdated. We are biologically wired for survival, connection and love. The idea in a coopetition is that we will compete for resources (money, food reputation, market share etc) but that when we group together in stronger, more cohesive ways we are stronger and more durable over the long run. In what we call ecological succession the pioneer or very competitive side of ecosystems matures into a system where there are small niche groups that find ways of adapting to share resources without overconsumption – this is a model we need to demonstrate as women move into leadership positions.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Live the Life you Love- this is my motto- don’t waste a drop of precious time here on this beautiful planet. Have the mindset that every day might be your last (btw this is true!) and practice gratitude which I know is overused but there is deep heart medicine in this statement- Dropping into your heart daily and focusing on what you have been truly blessed with creates an attraction for abundance where worry, criticism and self doubt do the opposite- they create a barrier of fear which makes it hard for joy to break through.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
Women in the professional workplace are finding it easier to be seen for their talents, not the gender. I think this trajectory is well under way. My concern is for the women that are not in a professional world with the credentials and degrees but are still suffering from an ideology that women are either disposable or worse somehow needing punishment and control. I believe that professional women need to be careful to not be so focused on climbing to the top that they don’t use their new authority to care for and create better environments for the millions of women that will never have this opportunity in their lives. Our motto is regen in one gen and this applies to the mindset of this new generation of women that have to inherit such limiting and abusive mindsets as the norm- we as women leaders need to provide more than just acknowledgement of the injustice but also create paths and policies to reverse this condition and create dignity and honor into what being a woman is.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Oh plenty but I think it’s all about action- keep getting back in there and doing what you love- your enthusiasm will be contagious and your grit will be inspirational and effective. Reach out through networks like this one to find some love and warm hugs (even if it’s on zoom) we need to be heart based because we all know how darn smart women already are so we don’t need to prove our intelligence, we need to prove our ability to create abundance with confidence and clarity!