Fast Company

LEADING OUT LOUD

FEMALE FOUNDERS IN THE INSTAGRAM ERA ARE FINDING THAT THEY HAVE UNPRECEDENTED INFLUENCE—WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT IT.

Tyler Haney was fed up. Last November, she was trying to fill an executive role at her athleisure company, Outdoor Voices, and had brought in an external recruiting firm. Haney had been clear about what she was looking for, but the recruiters seemed oblivious to—or disdainful of—her wishes. So the 30-year-old founder and CEO went on her Instagram account and posted a sweaty gym selfie to her nearly 50,000 followers with an impassioned caption: “I may look sweet and people call me cute . . . but underneath it all I am a BEAST. It’s wild how many people try to chip away at this strength on a daily basis.”

The message was nonspecific in a way that prevented any controversy. And it was more about energizing her users than selling product—though perhaps those goals were the same. Broadcasting her discontent was a risk, but a calculated one. “People loved it,” Haney says. The post drew nearly 6,000 likes.

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