Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are changing the world. Our leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, and are all doing their part to have an impact in their communities and at their workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their background and path to success.

What is your name and title?

Heather Sittig, CEO and Founder of Relola.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

As the CEO, I am responsible for executing upon all the strategic initiatives of the company, keeping clients happy and employees compelled, all the while providing meaningful returns for investors.

What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

There is no one big decision that helped me grow my career. Rather, my career is the result of making many smaller decisions all the time. Execution is key and deliberation is death. I’ve learned to listen to my advisors, trust my gut and take decisive action without fear.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

This is impossible to answer because I have no idea what it is like to be a man in my industry.

I can relate to the stories of female founders having limited access to capital, being held to a different standard and being inappropriately flirted with during pitches, meetings, conferences and business gatherings. In many ways, these are challenges that all women face in one shape or form, and are not particular to the tech industry.

I have attributes that may unfairly hold me back. I have advantages that may help me unfairly succeed. One thing I know is that life isn’t fair, but you can make the most of what you have every single day.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you? 

I am quite fortunate to have numerous relationships with experienced people that I look up to, who I can reach out to for advice and who have a point of view that is unique to their experience and their character. In many ways, these individuals are my mentors and have helped me make tough choices, see alternative paths or provided support when I needed it most.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Don’t be afraid, unless you are being chased by a bear.

Remember it’s hard to be human. Everyone is going through something difficult, so always be kind to yourself and others.

What women inspires you the most? Why?

Today, it’s gotta be Greta Thunberg. Holy moly, that girl’s got courage, guts and smarts. I want to grow up to be just like her.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

When I need to chill out, I listen to Radio Lab or This American Life. I love that every story is a surprise. The only common thread is that the stories are esoteric and wonderfully produced.

What is something coming up that excites you? 

The NIST Tech to Protect Final competition in May and the November elections.