Women entrepreneurs and IoT will be two of the biggest topics at Harvest Summit this November. What can successful women entrepreneurs do to encourage the next generation? Without fast and affordable access to the Internet, there is no IoT.
We sat down with Harvest Council Member Tara Sharp, CMO Sonic, Capture Wines Co-Founder, 18 Rabbits granola bar Co-Founder to get her unique insight into both.
As a co-founder of two companies (18 Rabbits Granola & Capture Wines) what role did innovation play in your success?
Innovation played the most critical role in the success of both businesses. If we had just tried to replicate what somebody else had done previously not only would it not be interesting, but we would not have been successful. In both cases we completely assessed the existing market, then developed innovative products, packaging, pricing, and go to market strategies.
Is the food and wine world a welcoming place for female entrepreneurs?
20 years ago, when I first began working in the wine industry, there were very few women. It wasn’t that the industry wasn’t necessarily welcoming, there just weren’t any. Today, there are lots of women winemakers, GMs etc. That said though, there is still a lot of room for more.
What does “balance” mean to you on a day-to-day basis? Is that life innovation?
For me, it’s a daily struggle. I don’t think that there is any magic bullet. Life innovation, for me, is about prioritizing the things that I love most; my daughters, my husband, my friends and family. Life innovations, things like Munchery, bring great value to my life… I spend less time doing the things that I don’t really enjoy like grocery shopping, and more time doing the things that matter to me most, like spending time with my children.
What’s the biggest game changing innovation on the horizon in your industry? Why?
Accessibility to truly fast and affordable Internet. More than 25 countries around the world have access to faster and cheaper Internet access than the US. America likes to think of itself as a place for innovation, but without access to this essential tool, I fear America will fall behind.
Is it critical for communities to have affordable access to the Internet?
Education, communication, telecommuting, innovation and so much more depend upon the Internet. It’s become an essential part of our lives, as much as electricity or even running water. The American public deserves truly fast Internet access at a fair price, so that they can put their savings into things that are really important, like education, paying down debt or even saving for retirement.
In your role, do you look to other industries for inspiration? Which and why?
I look to all industries for inspiration. For example, I was recently at a Golden State Warriors game, and I felt the incredible level of excitement they generate among their players and fans, how could I do a better job of creating excitement with our customers? Last summer my family went to Disneyland and I was incredibly impressed with how they treated their employees and customers, a true benchmark for customer service.
What advice do you have for your 20-year old self?
You’re smarter, and more capable than you think you are. Follow your intuition and the most importantly – only spend time with good people.
Tara Sharp is Head of Marketing for Sonic, a Gigabit Fiber Internet Service Provider and an innovative entrepreneur. She co-founded 18 Rabbits granola, an organic food brand that gives back 1% of all the granola and bars they make to hungry kids, and also co-founded Capture Wines, which she sold to her former employer Kendall-Jackson. Today at Sonic, Tara is working to bring faster, cheaper Internet to communities.