Tag Archives: women in business

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Gender Diversity In Startups Might Be More Important Than You Thought

Did you know that while it is no secret that the tech startup community is lacking women, this gender imbalance may actually be impeding startups? David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, delves into this topic and provides tips for combating gender disparity in this Wall Street Journal blog entry.

Cohen references a 2010 study completed by researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College on collective intelligence in groups. As Cohen points out, the study “found that groups with more women had a higher collective intelligence, which led to better group cooperation.” David also stresses the importance of creating a more balanced work team in stating, “This is not just a problem for women – it’s a big problem for all of us, because we’re missing out on immeasurable untapped talent, creativity and different points of view.”

Continue reading David’s post to learn more on his five tips that will help you create a more diverse startup culture. You can also learn more about related collective intelligence research from Christopher F. Chabris, a previous NCWIT Summit presenter, in his archived presentation titled, “Women and the Collective Intelligence of Human Groups.”

Source: NCWIT

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Top 10 Ways Managers Can Increase the Visibility of Technical Women

Below are ten important recommendations supervisors or managers can readily adopt to improve visibility of their employees. These recommendations are particularly useful for improving the visibility of women, as well as employees from other underrepresented groups.

  1. Look for key opportunities where employees can increase their visibility

Recommend qualified women for these opportunities, and encourage these women to pursue such opportunities. Also, identify junior women who have the potential for more visible roles and work with them to develop the necessary experience and skills to fill such roles.

  1. Identify and recommend women for top leadership roles

Identifying these women early and actively developing their leadership skills is vital for increasing women’s representation in top leadership over the long term. Doing so also increases overall retention of female technical talent.

  1. Ensure women are visible at strategic corporate events

It is tempting to default to established networks and connections when selecting people for roles at high-profile events, but this can mean overlooking talent from underrepresented groups. Take the time to identify, recommend, and select women for visible roles as speakers, as panelists, in customer briefings, in cross-trainings, or in other roles important to your business.

  1. Give female employees credit for their work

You can make a difference by publicly recognizing female employees for their technical accomplishments. Research shows that women tend to give their team credit whereas men are more likely to take individual credit. In addition, women are often raised to believe that it is arrogant to “sing their own praises.” This belief sometimes means women go unrecognized for important achievements.

  1. Promote female employees’ technical contributions; market their value and technical ability

Not only is it important to give employees credit for their work, it is important to make sure that this work is visible throughout the organization, in the right places and with the right people. This advocacy is an important part of being a sponsor.

  1. Ensure women have a combination of effective mentors and sponsors with organizational clout

Research shows that women with mentors and sponsors (sometimes called advocates) are much more likely to remain with a company than those without. Mentors provide advice or guidance, while sponsors advocate for an employee throughout the company. It is important that sponsors have knowledge of the organization, as well as influence and power.

  1. Look for rotational assignments that will help broaden female employees’ experience, visibility, and influence

Employees must be visible across different parts of the company, as well as knowledgeable about the larger company and its industry picture. Recommend and encourage women to pursue cross-company, rotational assignments that will develop and expand their strengths and talents.

  1. Ensure female employees are focusing on high-value, visible work

Assign women to critical technical roles with high visibility. Keep track of which employees on your team get which roles. Watch for patterns where women are assigned to roles that are less visible or more endangered (e.g., first to be downsized or potential “scapegoat” roles).

  1. Encourage participation in technical conferences and membership in professional organizations

Publicize opportunities for professional development. Provide time and funding for women to attend conferences and professional development sessions.

  1. Help women expand their networks

Use your own network to help women expand their networks, connecting them with influential people across the company and in the industry.

 

Women Entrepreneurs: Pitch your idea

Article repost from Huffpost Technology here

Tell your story and be bold is my motto.

As entrepreneurs, innovators, and simply ideators, you must keep pushing the envelope. Perseverance and creativity are the name of the game. A recent Wall Street Journal study and article, “Women Executives Make Venture-backed Companies More Successful,” finds that “Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies where only males are in charge.”

Whether you are bootstrapping or pitching to get VC/angel investors, you must keep in mind two things about your business pitch: keep your story simple and sweet. I’ve been asked lately about what the top “must haves” for women are when pitching their businesses and/or ideas. There have to be some formulas for success, right? As women in a male-dominated industry, we should be sharing these trade secrets with each other!

Do women pitch differently than men? What makes our style different from men? The answer would be there are no gender differences in pitching your idea to an investor. Bottom line: whether you are men or women, you must do your due diligence in understanding your product and services. Only then can you know how your VCs/audience will see or react to your pitch, and you can effectively make persuasive arguments to cater to them.

One thing to understand is that you will undoubtedly get the door shut in your face. In fact, I’ve chatted with one entrepreneur who said, “I’ve pitched to over 25 VCs and they all said no.” I would say to do your homework! Learn about who the VCs you’re pitching to are. One size doesn’t fit all! You must know who they are and if they’ll even give your business model a glance so that you can strategize. Lastly, never give up!

With that in mind, here are my top 5 must-haves.

How to Pitch Your Ideas

WHAT/WHY/WHO/HOW/WHEN

1. What is your idea? Explain and elaborate about your concept
2. Why will this idea work? Explain your inspiration and the data to back it up
3. Who are your competitors? Or is there a similar concept?
4. How would this idea make your consumer’s life easier over your competitors? The next question would be how you get your Return of Investment(ROI)–you have to explain the benefits!
5. When will this launch? Explain your launch milestones and strategy behind them

I would love to hear your stories of your successful pitches! Tell me about your top advice to all of the entrepreneurs out there who are ready to tell their story in the comment section.

Check out the full study here by Dow Jones VentureSource

Follow Ivo @MsSonicFlare