Something really cool happened today.
Entirely coincidental, but still totally awesome.
I was invited to speak on a panel at IBM's Cloud event here in Boston.
Not only was it 100% female, it also happened to include three other blonde women (an accidental circumstance according to the event organizer, Chris!) They are the brilliant:
- Kelly Abuelsaad, Software Engineer at IBM
- Kathy Conrod, VP Sales at Lighthouse Computer Services
- Nancy Cremins, Startup Lawyer and founder of SheStarts
Our fearless moderator was Sangeeta Guatam, Senior Management Consultant at IBM, and albeit not blonde, she was just as fabulous as the rest of the panel.
Usually when I attend a panel event, or speak on one, I am a minority. Even in the seemingly female-driven world of B2B marketing, most of the speakers invited to participate are male. Now, these are not scientific numbers, but I'm sure we can all agree that on the whole, there is a major deficit. Where are all the women?
Giving Women a Voice - Literally
I wanted to promote a fantastic new resource for women with something to say and event organizers who want to diversify their speakers: Innovation Women. Created by Bobbie Carlton (of Mass Innovation Nights), this is a new speakers bureau dedicated to removing all the excuses around not having an equal representation of gender at events.
If you're a woman who would like more opportunities to speak at professional events, you can create a profile for a nominal yearly fee of $100. (BONUS: Use code Katie2015 to get 25% off. I promise Bobbie didn't ask me to write this.)
If you're planning an event, it's free to browse the site to find qualified, smart, brilliant women to deliver compelling content to your audience. No excuses.
Why I Love This
On the panel today I had the opportunity to share a quote I had recently heard from Madeline Albright:
I just love this. We all play a part in an ecosystem of helping each other to bridge the gaps prevalent in the workplace - yes even in 2015. Bobbie's new venture does exactly that, and at scale.
Another resource I want to bring attention to is SheStarts, from fellow panelist Nancy Cremins. SheStarts is dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs with an ecosystem of events, networking, and other resources. This is so critical as women starting companies just don't get the breaks men do.
Nancy offered an excellent POV on the panel today as to why. It is a common behavior for investors (the majority of whom are male) to fund and support people who look like them. (Pattern recognition.) Those entrepreneurs, in turn, become investors and continue the cycle.
The State of Women in Entreprenuership
The homepage for Innovation Women offers up some sobering statistics:
- 85 percent of the companies that get venture funding have no woman on their senior management team.
- Only 16.7 percent of the Fortune 1000 have a woman on their board.
- Over the last 15 years, the number of female VC partners has declined from 10 to 6 percent.
And this 2014 study from Babson on venture capital funding for female entrepreneurs highlights additional perspectives:
- Startups with women on their executive team are 3X more likely to get VC funding now than 15 years ago.
- However only 2.7 of venture capital investments have a woman CEO.
Ugh. But here's my favorite stat from the same study:
Businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have higher valuations at both first and last funding (64 percent higher and 49 percent higher, respectively).
Thank you to Chris Avery from IBM for the invitation to participate in today's panel event, and to my co-panelists for a fantastic discussion. I invite you to check out both Innovation Women (code Katie2015) and SheStarts.