I was recently riding the Denver airport train en route to baggage claim. With almost each stop along the way, the doors would open and passengers would board, and with almost each stop, the doors would close on a startled passenger. The first time it happened, we were all shocked. Then, with each passing stop, someone would pull the frightened boarding passenger in, saving her from the viciously slamming doors, and we’d all shake our heads and laugh. Sometimes I think we all need to be reminded that complete strangers have your back—or in this case—your arm.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2018
Recently, some big news hit in the realm of smashing female oppression: In June 2018, women in Saudi Arabia will finally be given the right to drive. Throughout the years, Saudi women have endured the longstanding policy and the many reasons why they weren’t allowed to drive a car. For instance, male drivers might not know how to deal with driving alongside a female driver, or—get this—allowing women to drive could lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. Seriously? According to The New York Times, one Saudi cleric even said women’s precious ovaries would be harmed. Saudi women, of course, are over this ridiculousness and, frankly, have been driving illegally for years, despite the risks of arrest and jail time. Thankfully, they’ll soon be able to get behind the wheel without fear of legal reprisal.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Polina Raygorodskaya, Co-founder and CEO of Wanderu
Today’s Woman to Watch, Polina Raygorodskaya, is doing her part to make wandering the world a little less complicated and a whole lot more adventurous. Polina is the co-founder of Wanderu, a travel website and app that provide the simplest way to book bus and train travel in North America and Europe.
Polina is nothing if not confident, charismatic and determined. After her family fled communist Russia in the 1990s, relocating to Boston as refugees, Polina promptly learned how to adapt to her new life in her new country like a champ. So, it’s no wonder that, when faced with frustrating travel challenges in her adult life, Polina once again employed her tenacity to solve a real problem.
Running her own PR firm at the time, Polina often traveled by train and bus to various cities, but discovered a lack of user-friendly options when it came to figuring out the cheapest and most efficient routes. Comparing and booking available bus and train travel options between two cities had to be easier than spending hours sorting out transportation schedules. From her frustration blossomed the brilliant idea for Wanderu.
The platform couldn’t be easier to use. Travelers simply type in their origin and destination cities with corresponding dates, and are presented with a variety of travel options. For instance, from Chicago to Minneapolis, you could choose a $29 Megabus ticket and know whether the bus offers Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, is green-certified and has a bathroom on board—all with one click! Wanderu makes planning a work trip, a family visit or a getaway a cinch!
Since Wanderu’s inception, the company has booked more than $1 billion in partner ticket sales and generated more than $100 million in annual revenue. And Polina’s just getting started, with Wanderu recently adding hotel- and flight-booking services to its offerings.
As for the advice Polina would give other 20-something female entrepreneurs who know the corporate world is not for them, it’s quite simple, she says: If you can’t find the job you love, create it.
QUITE THE QUOTE
The keys to entrepreneur Polina Raygorodskaya getting her company off the ground were a belief in herself and in her project. As writer Margaret Shepherd said:
“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.