Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1096324

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Page 28 of 51

We Mean Business > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 9 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 27 CEO of Moxxly, a start-up that makes it easier for mothers to pump milk when they return to work after having a baby. Early on, Delzer and Santhi Analytis, co- founder and chief technology officer of Moxxly, attended and were inspired by Y Combinator's Female Founders Confer- ence. It buoyed them as they faced chal- lenges launching their start-up, from raising money to building the company to designing and manufacturing their product. "You're part of this movement," Delzer says. Formerly known as Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, Girl Geek X offers regular talks and networking dinners at tech compa- nies such as Qualcomm, LinkedIn, and Salesforce. Each event draws between 70 and 400 women. ere, women have the chance to be in the spotlight and practice public speak- ing, as well as network and seek advice in a safe, supportive space. Over the course of Girl Geek's 11 years, attendees have successfully parlayed the dinners into more high-profile speaking invitations, new jobs, and leadership roles, says Angie Chang, cofounder and CEO of Girl Geek X. "e dinners are a great way to build that network and get those opportunities that attendees may be not getting at their own companies," she says. "We provide a weekly place for women to get reinspired." Last year, Girl Geek X launched the Ele- vate Virtual Conference, an opportunity to hear talks by female tech leaders, as well as connect with one another in a private on- line forum. Some 2,500 attendees tuned in for the one-day virtual conference, which will be held again this year in March. "e new normal is always to look around the corner, pushing forward with your ideas," Chang says. "Girl Geek X is part of that. We encourage women to take the mic, to put themselves out there." CORPORATE BOARDS One way to advance women in leader- ship is through finding opportunities to serve on corporate boards, traditionally a male enclave. At the forefront of this movement is the- Boardlist, founded by tech executive Sukh- inder Singh Cassidy. Corporate boards, after all, help drive the culture and leadership of a company, particularly because the board oversees the company's CEO. With the in- creased focus on equity in the tech industry, a gender-diverse board can help companies build more inclusive workplaces. "Boards are the pinnacle of the power structure," says Shannon Gordon, CEO of theBoardlist. "A number of studies have shown that the more diverse a board is, the better a company performs against almost all financial measures. It's literally good business." More than 5,000 women are showcased in theBoardlist's marketplace of female leaders, including founders of companies with at least $5 million in annual revenue and executives at the vice president level (or above) at companies with at least $25 million in annual revenue. Not all of the women in the marketplace are in the tech- nology industry; though its origins are in the tech industry, theBoardlist encour- ages women in all industries to join. Since theBoardlist's launch in 2015, companies seeking to diversify their board have paid to run 500 searches, resulting in such high- profile placements as two new eBay direc- tors, Adriane Brown and Diana Farrell. "We have lots of proof that there is a pipeline of female candidates who are ready for the boardroom," Gordon says. "We want to make sure those women are visible." In addition, theBoardlist holds work- shops and boot camps in major cities throughout the country that walk women through the job of corporate boards and the steps they can take to make themselves an appealing candidate. "Board searches seem closed and mysterious, especially for people who are not on the proverbial golf course," Gordon says. "We democratize and demystify the information." MENTORS AND SPONSORS In any industry, mentors and sponsors are critical to career development. In the tech industry, it can be more challenging to find the right mentor or sponsor, in part because a go-go start-up culture doesn't leave much time for the cultivation of relationships. In the greater Washington, DC, region, the volunteer-run Women in Technology trains women for corporate board roles through its Leadership Foundry (women must apply to participate). e nonprofit, which is celebrating its 25th year, also holds some 75 programs annually, includ- ing a local job fair and its flagship Mentor- Protégé Program. "One of the biggest challenges years ago was not having enough role models ISTOCKPHOTOS A number of studies have shown that the more diverse a board is, the better a company performs against almost all financial measures.

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