Since Talent is my passion, I like gumption. A lot.  Gumption is rising above your circumstances. Striving. Doing what you need to do without being sure of immediate (or any) results.  Gumption makes the difference.

I’m from Minnesota originally, a place where they eat gumption for breakfast.  I had a first-hand example in my Grandma Svea, the original Working Mom.  She built and ran her own restaurant, employed other women, and worked dawn to dusk while raising four children.  Later, her “retirement job” was selling used airplanes, mostly to men.  Seriously.  She finally retired for good at age 89.  She’ll be 97 next week.  Gumption.

More recently, I’ve been inspired by a few other women from the diverse generations currently in our workforce:

  • Dr. Tausha Robertson, in her 40s, after a successful career in healthcare consulting, seized her passion for the largely ignored 65 million strong Gen-Xers.  Like the scientist she is, she researched her potential audience and founded Ms. X Factor, a digital platform that cultivates a community of influential, multicultural, Gen-X women seeking to do adulthood their way.  With 5,000 unique monthly visitors, Tausha just may have captured the next frontier in generational marketing.  Gumption.
  • Sallie Krawcheck, in her early 50s, leveraged her Wall Street investment and leadership experience to start Ellevest, which is “redefining investing for women”.  She also hosts an easily consumed vlog called Makers Money, a weekly show about women, money and power.  Gumption.
  • Katlyn Grasso, in her early 20s, founded GenHERation, a network where young women and companies connect through their digital platform and national events called “Discovery Days” – bus trips that literally bring several dozen lucky young women to multiple corporate HQs and startups in one day to meet the women in charge.  Gumption.
  • Rebecca Powers, in her 40s, started Impact Austin – now in its 15th year – where women philanthropists pool and direct $500,000 annually to local not-for-profits, vetted through a collective, fair and rigorous process by the givers themselves. Gumption.
  • Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, in their 20s, co-founded and lead The, tagline: “Your ultimate career finder and guidance destination”.  They’re taking on the big guys in the employment branding (think: Linked In, Glassdoor, Indeed) and job search space.  Gumption.

And here comes Page Kemna.  A full-on Millennial, breaking through with serious gumption.  A recent University of Denver graduate, she was having limited success with her job search. In her words, “I’m gonna take the reins on this one…”.  She composed and recorded an intelligent 4 minute song about her worth as a candidate titled “Hire Me!!”, which by itself is clever, and memorable (no surprise it went viral).  Once you see the video, you’ll understand why the offers are now rolling in and there’s no doubt Page will go far.  She’s got the secret sauce of so many successful women who have come before her.  Gumption.

Looking to make a difference, fulfill a dream, or better yet, disrupt a market?  You’ve got this!  Gain some inspiration from the examples above, summon your unique talents, your passion, and – oh yeah – a whole lot of gumption.


Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson or connect via email at