International Women’s Day: Interview with Lyka founder, Anna Podolsky
An incredibly important day on the calendar, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect and acknowledge the women around us, who inspire us and implore us to be the best version of ourselves.
Founder of Lyka, Anna Podolsky, knows a thing or two about the positive impact women can have on the people and world around them.
I managed to grab Anna for a quick sit-down chat to find out what IWD means to her when it comes to female empowerment and the challenges that women face in business.
What has been the most empowering moment in your career?
Without a doubt, quitting my job to start Lyka! Taking this enormous leap of faith meant that I could shape the direction of both my dream career and the company that I was building and align them with my goals and vision. So, whilst it was a huge risk to leave a comfortable, well-paying job in a field I had extensive experience and knowledge in, I felt incredibly empowered in doing so. Ultimately, I was able to move across to an industry I felt passionate about and turn my love for animals and wellness into a career where I was helping dogs around Australia to live their best lives – how could I say no to the that!
What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced as a woman in business?
As the founder of a start-up, I am often meeting with investors, who are predominantly male. This is completely at odds from the market in which we are serving, as females own more pets than males, and tend to make the buying decisions when it comes to household items, including pet food. This can be challenging, as the male investors often struggle to align themselves to the long-term vision of Lyka and the opportunities presented to them. I am not alone in this though, as many amazing companies serving female-focused markets also find it difficult to gain traction with male investors, but it’s definitely been a great learning opportunity and allowed me to hone my pitching skills.
Who are the women that have inspired your journey or empowered you during your life and career?
I have been fortunate to meet many inspiring women in my life, with my female friends and colleagues being my main source of inspiration. I studied Mathematics at university, which is a predominantly male-dominated degree, but this experience allowed me to meet inspiring like-minded women, who I’m still in contact with today, and who’ve gone on to have incredibly successful careers both in Australia and internationally.
Women face much adversity throughout their careers yet are constantly smashing the glass ceiling. As a company founder and woman yourself, how important is it to employ other women at Lyka, and what do they bring to your team?
I believe that diversity is extremely important in a company, especially when it comes to bringing different views and experiences to the table. The ways in which my employees view the world, really does have a profound and positive impact on the company when it comes to discussions, brainstorming and ideation. I am passionate about creating a collaborative environment in which everyone is comfortable expressing themselves. The more ideas, the better, and ultimately, the more unique the outcomes will be.
Do you have any advice for women wanting to start their own business or work their way up the corporate ladder?
We work the majority of our lives, so I truly believe that you need to pursue your passion, no matter how challenging it may appear. Finding the right support network is key, as it takes grit and determination to put your dreams into action, and the support around you will hold you in good stead when facing your challenges head on. No dream is too big – to see my vision of shaking up the pet industry come to fruition has been absolutely incredible. The dream may be good, but the reality is better, so keep going. You’ve got this.
Read more about Anna’s story here.