Petra Kassun-Mutch wants to revolutionize the way entrepreneurs do business, bringing social consciousness and a feminist mind-set to a space that is all too often profit-centric and male-dominated. A former executive turned serial entrepreneur, Petra is determined to demonstrate how a business can be both responsible and profitable, widening the definition of innovation to be more inclusive and altogether more exciting.
My first job ever was… a fry girl at McDonald’s — I also had lobby duty.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I wanted to be able to show up authentically, create opportunities for others, and design and launch innovative, values-led enterprises that helps transform institutions and systems.
My proudest accomplishment is… leaving my 18-year corporate career and role as President for a $46M division of a multinational publishing company to found, build and grow a Platinum LEED (first in the world), a mid size award winning artisan goat and sheep milk dairy in Prince Edward County — even though I had no experience in cheese, farming, or the food processing industry. I didn’t even know you could milk a sheep! But I do now! We won the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation two years after opening.
My boldest move to date was… Combining activism with scalable entrepreneurship.
I surprise people when I tell them… I was once a certified milk and cream grader, licensed HTST operator, and drove a milk truck.
My best advice to people starting out in business is… Everyone should start their career in sales. You will learn about markets, people, and learn how the world really works. For me personally it was transformational.
My best advice from a mentor was… Be the market you intend to serve. In other words, don’t try to sell something to people (or markets) you don’t truly love, respect or understand.
Women can support other women by… Leading with intersectional feminist values at the heart of all you do. Investing in women, including trans and gender non-binary female entrepreneurs.
My biggest setback was… Having to sell the business I loved and started because of an ill-timed divorce. In entrepreneurship, business is personal, and the personal is business.
I overcame it by… Taking a break, reflection, lots of self care, trying new things (not always successful), and surrounding myself with dynamic, diverse, creative kick ass women friends.
Something you can’t learn in a classroom is… How to cope with and recover from major loss.
To me, innovation means… A lot more than just high growth/extreme cheap scale tech. Today’s definition of innovation is too narrow and leads to a gender gap in innovation policy that goes under recognized. We need to support process innovation alongside product innovation.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I know how to macramé.
I stay inspired by… Watching The Walking Dead and working with entrepreneurs.
The future excites me because… I believe we can and will create a human-centric, values-led economy in the future, one that will promote individual, community and global wellness, a world without fossil fuels, a future where structural and cultural gender driven inequality for women, trans, queer-identified people (anyone experiencing discrimination based on gender) are a thing of the past.
My next step is… To pioneer what it means to design and operate an enterprise based on feminist business best practice.
We met Petra at the 2017 Feminist Art Conference held at OCAD, where she mediated a panel of feminist entrepreneurs. Check back to meet more of the incredible woman entrepreneurs that attended. Until then, hear more from Petra at liisbeth.com.