Tuesday, July 9, 2013

League of Extraordinary Women

As I continue to mine the internet researching the movement that is taking place among women, I came across two articles in Fast Company magazine about a "League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World."

These articles represent an unprecedented network of high achieving women from the world's largest companies, innovative start-ups, philanthropic organizations, government and the arts.  They have combined forces to change the lives of girls and women everywhere.

It states that this interconnected group of women are formulating groundbreaking initiatives and hacking long outdated aid models by tapping new thinking and a growing data set that suggests, investing in girls and women will create measurable economic benefits for all.

Pat Mitchell, a 69 year old award winning journalist believes that the League is the embodiment of a new global women's movement. "It's distinct from the first wave started by Gloria Steinam primarily because it is inter-generational and highly collaborative, focused on specific issues with specific solutions.

This group of women are modern social capitalists who aren't content to throw money at top-down solutions.  Instead they believe in using new methods to solve global problems one girl at a time.

Their goal is to create lasting institutions and models that will bring the issues of very poor women and girls to the table and that will help these women help themselves.  They aim to elevate deserving like minded peers and develop future generations of leaders.

I would call these 60 women definite Role Models for our next generation of up and coming professional women.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Women Role Models

When I was in my 20's and a striving woman entrepreneur there were NO women role models that I could look up to and follow.  All the "business books" that I read showcased male dominated businesses.  

In the industry that I worked in, filled with furniture and accessory manufacturers it was an 'old boys network', there were No women owned businesses. Almost all the conversations I had with decision makers were with men.

So as I walked the halls of the Big Furniture Markets in High Point, NC, Atlanta, and Dallas I may not have been totally taken seriously as a 27 year old female, but I was respected because as President of a company that represented clients such as Sears and Montgomery ward I brought buying power where ever I went.

Today I look around at all the women CEO's, Philanthropists, and Entrepreneurs and I get excited for our current generation of girls.  Girls and young women now have real role models to show them the way, and to enlighten them on the mistakes they've made on their journey to get to the position they are in today.

I look forward to seeing the progress they will make as they grow into Women.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wendy Schmidt Invests in the Planet

Focusing on Women Angel Investors, one woman, Wendy Schmidt, wife of billionaire Google chairman Eric Schmidt is a full time philanthropist and is putting her money where her passion is, saving the Earth.

Schmidt runs two foundations: The Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Schmidt Family Foundation, which funds 150 groups that work in 5 general areas; climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, environmentally conscious sailing and the vitality of the island of Nantucket.

According to an article in Forbes magazine in June, since 2006 Wendy has spent $225 million on philanthropic efforts making her a powerhouse on the environmentally philanthropic scene.

In 2004, after Google's public offering Wendy heard Al Gore speak and invited him to present his talk at Stanford University.  With her husband, she invited 350 Silicon Valley's smartest people to the event and seated an environmental expert at each table.

That event lead to the creation of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the 11th Hour Project.  She says "it is called that because we are in the 11th hour now and we need to change what we're doing."

Her husband's feeling about Wendy's work is that "Wendy believes that we can combine environmental stewardship with good business judgment and real economic growth and what she's doing will change the world."


Friday, July 5, 2013

Women Investing in Women

At the end of last year I could feel and see a change happening.  Which is why the book I wrote for professional women entitled "A Higher Purpose" became relevant.

Now is the time for women to step up and come together to start making changes.

In an article by Harvard Business Review it said that "according to the Kauffman Foundation, venture funds with women on their teams invest in women founders 70% of the time.  The more women investors at the table, the more women run companies are funded, and the pipeline of women run companies grows.  The difference is that women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less more invested."

There are now organizations specifically focused on getting more women involved in angel investing.  As the number of women angel investors increases, so should the number of successful women founders.

Then in April 25, 2013, an article appeared in Forbes magazine entitled "Women Angel Investing Reaches All-Time High."  It opens with Angela Lee, a longtime entrepreneur and founder of 37 Angels, an 8 month old Angel Network and initiative to train women to become investors saying "currently only 13% of angel investors in the U.S. are women and I want that number to be 50%.

But Meghan Casserly, a Forbes writer countered Angela's statement in the article by citing that the Center for Venture Research just reported that in 2012 Women Angels represented 21.8% of the Angel market, an impressive leap from the 13% figure used in 2011.

Julie Works, CEO of Womenable says that "increasing the number of women investing will have a direct correlation to an increase in women-led firms and it certainly increases the kind of companies that are funded.  Adding women to the equation certainly broadens the view of whats worth investing in."

I totally agree! Women have a different view of the world and bring a whole diverse set of skills and talents to the table than men do.  Women should be investing more in women.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where Are the Women Investors?

Last year after putting together a business plan to launch my DB Adventures project into the education and technology space nationwide, and build out a company to make that happen, I started talking to investors.

I already knew that our educational system needed to change and teaching kids by using technology is the way to go.  I also knew when I created an Adventure Series for kids and developed a whole online, interactive, comprehensive curriculum to accompany it, with a turn key system for teachers, that it would be a valuable resource.

It was developed with several different learning styles in mind.  It was created with flexibility for teachers to easily incorporate the lessons into their daily plan, and it provided valuable life skills needed to help students succeed in our emerging world.

Everyone I spoke to about the program loved it, and kids loved the story and the characters.  The people who didn't really get it were the male Angel Investors and male Venture Capitalists.  They were all looking for the next Facebook or technological advancement created by a college kid working out of his apartment, writing code.

Men tend to have a different vision than women do and while I have always worked with men throughout my career, I felt in this case, having a woman invest in this program may be more beneficial.  Women get the benefits of empowering our children and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.

But at the time there were rarely any women at the funding lunches, cocktail gatherings and an all day investing event that I attended.

In the beginning of 2012 studies showed that only 10-15% of Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists were women.  By the end of 2012, that number was beginning to change!