CEO and Founder of Sqeeqee.com and VCNetwork.com
Jenny Q Ta is the CEO and Founder of Sqeeqee.com and VCNetwork.com. Jenny is one of the most determined entrepreneurs I know. After having survived a trip across the ocean at the age of 6 with her single mother to find freedom in the U.S., Jenny has remained steadfast in her goal to be a successful business woman and has aspirations to make a difference in the lives of other women as well.
Tell us what your greatest personal challenge is, and how you’ve reached success in spite of it.
My mother, brother and I escaped from Vietnam during the Vietnam War when I was only five years old and lived at a refugee camp for three years before coming to the United States. I thought all my troubles would be over once I arrived in the U.S., but I was wrong. We lived on welfare and wore clothes from the Salvation Army. My father was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, so I was never able to meet him.
I was determined to create a better life for not only myself, but my mother, as well. When I was a child, I promised her that I would graduate college before getting married or pregnant. I achieved my goal and graduated college in only three and half years. The day I handed my mother my diploma was the proudest day of my young life. Not only did I reach my goal, but I was one step closer to achieving the successful life I dreamed of. By the time I was 27, I was a millionaire. Today, after a twenty-year career on Wall Street, I am valued in the billions and the CEO of two companies- Sqeeqee.com and VCNetwork.co.
Name something that guides both your personal and professional development and helps you to regain focus during challenging times.
I remember the advice of my mentor, a senior broker at Lehman Brothers, who told me early on never to take “no” as an answer. Working on Wall Street as a female is tough and life is full of challenges. You will hear the word “no” from both women and men, but you have to keep pushing and reminding yourself not to give up. Eventually, you will hear “yes.”
What do you believe is at the core of why women hesitate to “lean in” and pursue leadership roles where they are?
Female entrepreneurs tend to be intimidated easily. I think as a woman our biggest weakness is to make ourselves out as looking weak or petty. A female entrepreneur should be strong and proud – we’re making a difference in the world. We’re striving for our goals, we’re changing the mold and breaking the glass ceiling. A female entrepreneur must inherently have conviction on how her idea serves a greater purpose. This drives her forward, faster than any others who second-guess their own moves. If you lack conviction, being a leader is not for you.
Tell us one of your greatest professional accomplishments, and why it meant so much to you?
One of my greatest accomplishments was founding my first company, Vantage Investments. With my vision, I was able to grow the company to over $250 million in assets in just a few years. It proved to me that I was capable of achieving my career goals. After founding my first company, I could’ve lived off my earnings and had a great life. But I couldn’t stop. In order to be a successful female CEO and entrepreneur, you can’t give up – keep striving for the next big thing.
The world is a scary place-how do you manage fear in both your work and personal life?
Working in a highly aggressive, male-dominant industry for almost 20 years, gave me the strength and determination I needed for the leadership roles I’d begin to undertake. My continuous strength has allowed me to get where I am today. It’s important to look within yourself and build yourself up when feeling down. I’ve been through my share of struggles, which could’ve beat me down – instead I turned my pain into strength and worked that much harder.
What do you believe will be the greatest global benefit to having more women in leadership roles?
I think women have a unique perspective on leadership and I believe the world is ready for more women in leadership roles, that is why I support Hilary Clinton for President in 2016. She is an excellent leader and has envisioned an economic plan that really makes sense and will help lead our nation to future success. I think once we open that door there is no telling what women will do on a global scale. It is also why I selected a female as my partner in my latest venture VCNetwork.co, and thankfully, she too has chosen me. My partner, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo (CEO of Bubu.com), is a trailblazer in business and technology for Indonesia. She lives half way across the world but by working together we are closing that gap and enriching opportunities for both of our countries on a global scale. In addition to having trust, it is the mutual respect that makes a partnership work regardless of any obstacles.
What have you found to be the most effective way to motivate and energize your team?
To keep a team motivated you have to celebrate even the smallest of wins. Every win deserves a celebration. It doesn’t need to be a big celebration, but all your successes and achievements should be rewarded. Overcoming small hurdles and achieving small goals makes us that much stronger as a team. If you only focus on the negatives, your team will not stay motivated. Enjoying each success takes you one step closer to meeting your bigger goals.
If you could know the answer to only one of the following, which one would you choose, and why?
• What happens after death?
• What is the meaning of life?
I’d choose to know the meaning of life. I believe the meaning of life is to live life to its fullest regardless of any obstacles or how silly it may sound. It could be as silly as falling madly in love with someone, pouring your heart out to someone, or chasing after that unbelievable dream. I believe the meaning of life is to believe in one’s Faith, live ones life to the fullest and just be who you are. I’d rather feel foolish for being sincere than to live with regrets for not being who I am, even if it were to be an action of foolishness – if that makes any sense. It makes a lot of sense to me though, and that’s life.