A woman in a black dress delivering a speech on a stage with purple lighting.
Maureen Taylor at Inspirefest 2019 Image: Conor McCabe Photography

‘Challenge the status quo’: Insights on how to think like a founder

28 Aug 2019

Maureen Taylor, CEO of SNP Communications, gave the Inspirefest 2019 audience advice on how to think like a founder.

What really sets founders apart in their mentality, according to Maureen Taylor, co-founder and CEO of SNP Communications, is the extent to which their interests and their values compel them.

Knowing what compels you in life will shape your career journey far better than creating a checklist to use throughout it.

Over the past 25 years, Taylor’s career has brought some highly successful people to her attention. The founders and leaders she has met sparked in her a desire to take inspiration from their stories and spread their knowledge for the benefit of others.

Speaking at Inspirefest 2019, Taylor described the workforce of today as integral in making the world a better place. She wanted to explore how to better support members of it in development of leadership skills alongside their passions, ethics, values and whatever most compels them, all in the name of work that is meaningful.

There are three main areas to focus on in order to achieve this, according to Taylor, which she explained to the audience at the event.

Who are you?

It’s important to know who you are as a person before you become a leader or a founder.

“Founders are artists. They feel so strongly about what they’re doing, they don’t think about their career or they’re not looking at a checklist on how they’re gonna do it,” Taylor said. “They’re just compelled. They have resilience.”

No matter your age, background or gender, among other things, it’s crucial to cultivate a growth mindset instead of a fixed one, she added. A growth mindset means that you’re looking forward, asking why and, ultimately, challenging the status quo.

What do you do?

The ‘doing’ is your behaviour. It’s one thing to have intent, but another to actually do something. The doing is critical, because it’s what you’re judged and valued on, and it’s how you make a contribution.

A major aspect of what you do is your attitude towards learning. The growth mindset coupled with resilience allows people to get together to make some sort of change.

“A growth mindset is always being a student, so you don’t stay stuck in something, you ask why,” Taylor said. “It’s not just about walking out or staging a rebellion, but rather the ability to question.”

Why does it matter?

How does your behaviour influence others and the world around you? This is an important question in thinking about how we contribute to the collective intelligence that we share with those around us.

Overall, to think like a founder, Taylor’s top tips are to:

  1. Be resilient with a growth mindset
  2. Challenge the status quo to drive culture
  3. Believe in and lead collective intelligence

Watch the video above to find out more about Taylor’s advice.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Ultra Early Bird tickets for Inspirefest 2020 are available now.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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