Female CEOs: They still wait for a man to walk in

Betsy Alexander, CNBC
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Each week CNBC's "Raising the Bar" series will provide insight into the minds of business leaders as they talk candidly in some of Manhattan's most interesting watering holes about everything from making mistakes to making it big.

"We tend to ask for less," said Lisa Price, founder and CEO of Carol's Daughter, the hugely successful beauty products company she started in her kitchen. "And then someone's listening to us and thinking, 'Well, this person needs a loan and she's asking me for $75,000. But if I do my calculations, she needs, like, half a million, so maybe she doesn't know what she's doing,' you know? And it's not that you don't know what you're doing, you're just scared to ask for half a million!"

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Price and Julie Rice, co-founder and co-CEO of SoulCycle, sat down for (virgin) cocktails at Mastro's Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. Both started businesses to meet their own needs: Price wanted beauty products that were natural, smelled good, and would enhance her own skin and hair, and Rice wanted a hassle-free way to "roll" into a fitness class that would offer more than just a standard indoor cycling routine.

Julie Rice, co-founder & CEO of SoulCycle, (left) and Lisa Price, Carol's Daughter
Source: CNBC

As women-run businesses become more of the norm, some things don't seem to change as rapidly as others. "The more successful that our business has become," Rice said, "I often feel like we go into a room and we sit there and, you know, I don't know what people are expecting. But I feel somehow, they think we're gonna bring in the person that really runs the business…people are looking behind us and in front of us and under the table and we're like, 'No, this is what is here. You got it.'"

"Be present," is the advice Rice would give budding entrepreneurs. It's almost as important as looking toward the future. Social media, where almost every moment is documented, has made this easier than it was when Price got started. "I sometimes wish I had moments from 18 years ago, on film, but we didn't take pictures of everything then."

Despite their success, they both liken entrepreneurship to a game where the goal post keeps moving.

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"If you really stopped to think about how challenging the challenges really are…you would really never make it happen", said Rice. Price laughs: "Thank God I didn't know."

Mastro's, located close to Rockefeller Center and the Broadway theater district, serves up a menu with 16 different steaks and chops and an array of fresh seafood. At the bars: Live entertainment seven nights a week plus hand-crafted cocktails and an eclectic selection of wines.

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The Cocktails

Mastro's Virgin Strawberry Mojito

Build in a tall glass:
5 Mint Leaves
2 Fresh Strawberries
.5 oz. Strawberry Puree
½ Lime Squeezed

Muddle above ingredients and add:
2.5 oz. Sprite *
.5 oz. Simple Syrup

Shake and top with:
Club Soda

*If you want a more spirited version of the Mojito: Substitute the 2.5 oz of Sprite with 2.5 oz. of Bacardi Light Rum.

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