ETX businesswomen share success stories about rise to top -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ETX businesswomen share success stories about rise to top

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There's been a lot of buzz about a new book by Facebook's second in command.

In "Lean In," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why there are so few women at the top in corporate America - and she believes women may be part of the problem, saying women too often don't compete because they worry too early about the future.

Two East Texas businesswomen spoke Tuesday about how they rose to create and own their own companies.

Suzanne Cook has been a real-estate broker in Longview for 29 years and owned her own company for sixteen.

"I was scared to death, starting my own company. Will you fail?" Cook said. "I think men are programmed a little more to be risk-takers in the workforce, where women typically are not. And the fortunate thing about the career I'm in, in real estate, is that in East Texas it is dominated by women. It's not unnatural to see a woman strike out as the head of a company."

Cook says the biggest success to her is having a company people admire and respect.

"Making a lot of money is a great thing for anybody. You can do great things with it. But I don't think that's ever been my goal," said Cook. "It's always been more to be proud of what I've accomplished, to feel like I'm doing some good where I am at the time that I'm there."

Janie Clapp has owned Janie's Cakes in Tyler for 28 years and made the decision ten years ago to only bake and sell pound cakes.

"It has just always been something that has been so much fun for me to do, and so I thought, you know what? I can do this and I can also make money doing something I love," she said.

Clapp says it's essential for women to know the market and the trends in their specific field and to plan accordingly before striking out on their own.

"I had a lot of support. I mean, my husband is very supportive. He was actually the one who was like, 'Janie, you need to do this,'" Clapp said. "You know, so I think when you have friends and family members that support you and encourage you to do something that you love doing, they can really help make it all a success."

Most of all, both Clapp and Cook encourage women to persevere and find success no matter their field.

"It's not ever going to run smoothly, but you just need to be confident and persistent and know that you can make it happen," said Clapp.

"I think if I look back, there are not a whole lot of things that I would do differently. Not a whole lot of things. I've been very, very blessed," Cook said.

Cook endorsed an idea that Sandberg writes about in "Lean In;" she recommended that all successful women find a mentor to turn to for advice and support.

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