The Gender Gap in Venture Capital: How Female Business Owners Are Proving Themselves

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

As much as we push for equality, women still face many uphill battles in the business world. The industry is primarily dominated by men and with that comes challenges for female entrepreneurs. For one, women face barriers when it comes to accessing capital to start and grow their businesses.  In fact, solely female companies accumulated only 2.3 percent of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in the US. 

Thankfully, female entrepreneurs are starting to gain ground in venture capital and make strides to create equal opportunities in the industry. If you are a woman in business and plan to search for venture capital, wow them with some of these leadership skills to make you stand outContinue reading

Why women in Tech Industry Still Experiencing Inequality?

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

As well as we think we are standing right now in regard to our equality rights and performance, subgroups of minorities still exist where some individuals are better regarded than others. According to Pr News Wire (2019), 46% of women surveyed in an Ivanti Women Tech Survey 2019 stated that the marketing industry has not been able to completely close the gender gap to encourage more women to take part in the tech industry. Most of the women interviewed argued that stereotypes will determine men and women to be viewed as having separate roles within one company, with males being valued at a higher demand rate and thus women being disadvantaged.

Here are some of the main reasons women in tech industry are still experiencing inequality. Check them out to find more. You are welcome to add solutions and comments!

Highest paying jobs: predominantly male

The first reason why women in tech can sometimes show lower salaries than men are that, unfortunately, until now, most of the highest paying jobs in the technological world are predominantly male – and guess what? According to the Business Insider, women earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes in the United States. One of the main issues is that women are being underrepresented in various leadership roles and positions, which is why this wage gap is bound to happen.Continue reading

9 Leadership Skills of Successful Women to Make Them Stand Out

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Gender equality in the workplace is gaining momentum, offering many opportunities to women leaders. This is good news for women who have been plagued by harassment, salary inequality and feelings of insignificance for years. Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, and the youngest CEO to lead a public offering, believes that decision-makers are starting to realize that being more inclusive of women is simply good business. 

Cultural transformations are taking place but they need to be translated into actions, whether it’s acing a job interview, successfully re-entering the workplace after a period of staying at home with children or developing leadership skills. Here are some of the skills successful women leaders need to stand out. 

  • Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our own emotions, and those of others around us. It involves empathy, self-awareness and social skills. Emotions should never get in the way when making decisions. The more a woman is able to relate to and work well with others, the more success she will have. Continue reading

How to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

In honor of the recent National Women’s Equality Day, we’re taking a look at how to promote gender equality in the workplace. 

Women have made so many strides in business over the past 50 years: they make up 47% of the workforce and are more likely than their male counterparts to have earned a bachelor’s degree by 29. Companies who invest in gender diversity see big economic returns, as companies who rank high in gender diversity categories are 15% more likely to outperform economic output averages. 

Despite these accomplishments, the global wage gap will still take 108 years to close at the current rate and women in the US earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

In order for women to be achieve workplace equality, they must be granted equal opportunity, access to top decision-making positions, and equal pay. A recent study revealed that this is closer to reality than ever before: the number of female CEOS of Fortune 500 companies reached an all time high in 2019. Yet this high sees only 33 women leading top companies in the US – that’s just 6.6%. 

For an organization to achieve gender equality, it needs to come from the top. Creating and cultivating an environment where women can work and thrive is a win-win for everyone. Discover 6 lessons from lady bosses and more tips for how your business can achieve gender equality with this visual created by Fundera.

Please click “Continue Reading” to see the entire infographic. Thanks!

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What is the Glass Cliff? (Infographic)

Career advancements often don’t come easily for women, what with facing gender discrimination on the job, struggling with pay inequality, and even dealing with sexual harrassment. If these obstacles were not enough, several female professionals also must confront the reality of the glass ceiling, the notorious barrier to achievement that often holds women back from reaching executive roles in corporations. Still, even for those high-performers that are able to successfully break the glass ceiling and take on top roles, far too many competent women are faced with yet another massive career challenge: the tricky paradox of the glass cliff.Continue reading

Top 5 Women in the Investment Game

Finance has always been a male-dominated profession, especially when it comes to positions of power. Women in finance face multiple hurdles on their way to the top. They are often underestimated and expected to work harder than male counterparts to prove their worth.  Additionally, women are often held to different standard and even simply overlooked when it comes to rising up in a work environment. These facts are supported by statistics, which show that even though women are actually 3 percent more effective than men in terms of leadership, only about 3 percent of top company CEOs are women.

If you want to make it big as a woman in finance, then consider finding a role model or mentor. Here are five women who have shattered traditional perceptions and made a name for themselves in the investment world:

 

Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Investments

Called “the most influential woman in finance” by Boston Magazine, Abigail Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. Fidelity Investments is a 72-year old firm, but Johnson is “determined to remake her family’s company for a new generation. And she’s willing to shake up the old-boys club to do it.” She has been featured on many Forbes’ lists, including Forbes Most Powerful Women of 2018 with a rank of #5.

After over 30 years of working at Fidelity under her father, she was named CEO in 2014, and Chairman in 2016. Johnson is famous for pivoting away from traditional Fidelity strategies, and in her first year as CEO, Fidelity saw profits of over $5 billion for the first time ever. Apart from being an undoubtedly stellar female businesswoman, Johnson works with youth organizations to promote financial services as a career choice for young women through Fidelity’s Boundless program.

 

Linda Bradford Raschke, Professional Trader
Professional trading is a difficult field. Al Hill, co-founder of TradingSim writes, “First off, trading is honestly worse than a sales job or entrepreneurship when it comes to steady income. The level of uncertainty can be unbearable if you have never gone without a steady paycheck.” But the level of unpredictability didn’t stop Linda Bradford Raschke, who has made it to the top as a professional trader.

Starting off as a trader in the early 1980s, Raschke worked as a market maker for stock options. After working at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange and then the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, she became a self-employed day trader. She has written a book on trading strategies that is widely featured in the media and is often called upon to lecture on trading for many renowned organizations like Bloomberg. Even though she is retired today, her legacy included two financial firms that bear her initials LBRGroup, Inc., a commodity trading advisor, and LBR Asset Management, a commodity pool operator.

 

Lubna S. Olayan, CEO, Olayan Financing Company

Lubna S. Olayan is the CEO of one of Saudi Arabia’s top companies, Olayan Financing Company. Not only is she responsible for 50 manufacturing companies, but she has also been featured on the Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women” list. Olayan is a great example of breaking barriers. As a Saudi woman in the 1980s, working in business was not considered socially acceptable. Even today, it is still rather uncommon for Saudi women to work outside the house.

But Olayan didn’t care much for these societal restrictions and didn’t let cultural perceptions get in her way. Today, she employs over 540 women in her company and is a strong advocate for women in the workforce. Her skill and perseverance led her to become the first female board member of a Saudi public company, Saudi Hollandi Bank in 2004. She has also served as a board member for Egyptian Finance Company and the investment bank Capital Union.


Aileen Lee, Founder and Partner, Cowboy Ventures
Featured on Forbes’ Midas list, Aileen Lee is the cofounder of Cowboy Ventures. According to Forbes, “Lee secured the #97 rank thanks in part to her investments in Bloom Energy, which could list on the public markets as soon as May and was most recently valued at about $3 billion; Dollar Shave Club (acquired by Unilever for $1 billion in 2016); and Rent the Runway, which raised funding this year at an estimated valuation of nearly $800 million.”

Sound investments aside, it is worth noting that Cowboy Ventures in one of the first VC firms to be launched by a woman. Previously, Lee worked at the prestigious firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for 13 years. As a champion for women in the workplace, Lee is also a founding member of All Raise, which runs a one-on-one mentorship series for women in investment called “Female Founder Office Hours.”  

 

Marie Chandoha, President and CEO, Charles Schwab Investment Management
With over 35 years of investment experience, Marie Chandoha was named CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management (CSIM) in 2010. Chandoha got where she is today by taking risks. For instance, as stated by Forbes, “she once took a role at a company heading an underperforming department. She knew the job could disappear if she didn’t turn the unit around and the parent company collapsed it.” Instead, Chandoha successfully made the department profitable again, allowing her to move on to other roles.

Prior to joining CSIM, Chandoha was the global head of the fixed-income business at BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors). Chandoha is a strong businesswoman, but also has an innate concern for the well-being of others. She acts as a mentor to many women colleagues and encourages them to take career risks and stretch themselves. She is also an advocate of sustainability and owns a ranch with her husband dedicated to sustainable farming practices.

Being a woman in investment is no easy feat. With a multitude of various obstacles along the way to the top, much still needs to be done to even the playing field between men and women in business. That being said, if you’re a woman in finance looking to shatter the glass ceiling, don’t lose hope. After all, as proven by these five titans of the investment world, sheer grit and determination can lead to success.

How to grow up and live a fulfilling life

When you grow up

You spend your life trying to figure out what you’re going to be when you grow up. Maybe you know from the get-go or maybe, like me, you are just trying to figure out the next step along the journey.

When I was little, I never really had a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought, “I could be a ballerina, or maybe a teacher, or a doctor, or a secretary.” Every time I picked something, I felt like I was jumping in a category of people and nothing felt just right. What if I started a job when I was 22 and woke up ten, twenty, thirty years later and decided it wasn’t for me? In some ways, I feel like my early career has been dictated by the fear that I will have to choose something and stay with it… for the rest of my life.

That’s intimidating.

When I was 18, my mom (age 48) decided to quit her job and go back to school to become a doctor. Nobody knew how this was going to go.

There was only one school that accepted her, so clearly not many places thought she could do it, right?

How can someone reinvent themselves just like that?

Last year, my friend Aaron lost his job at age 52. He told me, “It’s likely the best years of my career are behind me now, Kirsten.”

When we live to be a 102, how can the best years of our lives be behind us at age 52?

One day while my uncle drove me to the airport, he said he wished he could find work he really loved. “I love antiques, but where are the jobs in antiques? Plus, who would hire a guy in his late fifties anyway? I’m worthless on the job market.”

Do you know the feeling? You have experience, and yet somehow it doesn’t mean anything?

So what’s left for you?

While I was in grad school at UC Berkeley, I studied demography, or population studies. In one class, the professor put up a picture on the screen and said, “The U.S. population is aging. We know it, we can see it, and the only way we are going to be able to survive it is if you go out and make better institutions.”

When I look at these four situations, I think, “There’s got to be a way that we can live that supports us in finding something we care about and can make a living doing, no matter how old we are, no matter what stage in life we are in.”

Now there is.

Whether you’re looking for a new story, sending kids off to school, leaving a long standing career for retirement, or something else entirely, you can reinvent yourself. This is something I believe deeply.

Launched in 2018, Aging Courageously will inspire and strengthen you to make your dreams real at EVERY age. Rather than follow the social momentum of slowing down as you get older, with Aging Courageously it’s never too late to feel engaged and passionate about your life.

Who am I?

I’m Kirsten. I guide people in restoring their sense of self through major life changes.

How did this become my life?

As I said, when I was little, I felt like every time I considered a career for myself I was deciding on something that would stick for the rest of my life. Honestly, being put in a category like that scared me. So, I decided I didn’t have to just do one thing. I researched brain cancer in a genetics laboratory at Mayo Clinic, curated exhibitions at an Austrian ethnographic museum, worked as the head baker in a farm to fork bakery on a fruit orchard, and got a Master’s degree at UC Berkeley where I studied populations and aging. After it all, I was sure there was something more for me.

That something more turned out to be sharing my own story. I wrote a memoir called “In My Own Skin”. It’s memoir about my story of loss, love, and growing up after my dad died when I was 14 and my family was in a car crash. Reflecting on the choices and circumstances that have shaped my life, I want to help you love who you are and make your dreams possible from where you’re standing right now.

Let’s get this started!

That’s why I started Aging Courageously. Because the best way to grow up to a fulfilled life is to believe it’s possible at ANY age.

And that’s why I’m excited to share stories of Aging Courageously with you, my new friends at Scrappy Women. We know what it’s like to create something from nothing – “to take risks and put ourselves out there;” “to care about something more than we care about being comfortable, socially acceptable, or politically correct;” and “to be absolutely, totally committed to extraordinary results.” As we venture on this journey into the world of aging, grab hold of your scrappiness and dive in. Let’s show the world just how far our scrappiness can take us in living long, healthy, and fulfilled lives.

Stay tuned for my next post about my friend Sherry, a 70 year old “graduating” into entrepreneurship.

Kirsten Schowalter is the founder of Aging Courageously and the author of the memoir In My Own Skin.

(In case you’re curious…Above is a picture of my mom speaking at her medical school graduation.)

What Business Women Should Consider When Finding a Mentor

Navigating the road to your career is not always easy —  especially as a woman. Although we have been pointedly fighting for gender equality in the workplace for decades, if not centuries, there is still a long way to go.

Finding a mentor can help alleviate some of the challenges that come along with finding out how to get where you wanna go. However, finding a mentor can be a challenging process itself. Here is what you need to know as a business woman looking for a mentor.

Workplace Discrimination

It’s vital to keep workplace discrimination in mind when looking for a mentor, especially if you’re a woman of color. Plenty of bias, prejudice, and stereotyping go on in the workplace, including persistent pay gaps between men and women. In order to avoid, tackle, and overcome discrimination issues, you must learn to recognize sexism in the office. Examples of gender discrimination include:

  • Unequal pay
  • Biased interview questions (i.e. do you have kids?)
  • Confirmation bias
  • Diminished responsibility
  • Gender roles and stereotypes i.e. men are strong, women are emotionally intelligent
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  • Unlawful termination

Hopefully, there are no major signs of gender discrimination in your office, but if there are, know your rights and speak up. You can always talk to the Human Resources department to discuss  your options.

When thinking about who you want to be your mentor, keep in mind the people who are doing the discriminating, and take note of who is speaking up. Perhaps a male manager checks the person saying something that can be offensive, perhaps a female manager takes action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Obviously, you don’t want to have a mentor who will discriminate against you or other women, so try to find someone who can guide you in standing up for workplace rights.

Gender and Female Empowerment

In a mentor, you will want to find someone who does more than stand up for others when they need help. You want someone who will not see you as just a woman, but as a strong, skilled employee. Of course, being a woman is also powerful, so you should look for someone who will help empower you.

According to the findings from research on hostile work environments, “a whopping 84 percent of women have been told that they behave too aggressively, while 47 percent report being asked to do lower level tasks not asked of their male counterparts, like taking notes or ordering food.”

Due to this type of gender discrimination, you should consider gender as a factor in who you choose to be a mentor. If you choose a male mentor, they can potentially help you go after what you want more. The Wall Street Journal reports that “men are more likely than women to feel confident they are en route to an executive role.” In their study they found that men win more promotions, challenging assignments, and access to top leaders than their female coworkers.

Finding a male mentor can help you adopt a strong, confident attitude in the office that can help you further progress in your career. On the other hand, there are definitely major benefits to having a female mentor.

A female mentor is more likely to understand your perspective. They are likely to have experienced workplace discrimination at at least one point or another, and they can help you find ways to conquer it; having a female mentor can help you become the strong career woman you are striving to be.

Regardless of gender, you should look for a mentor who encourages employee development. This can be someone who pushes you and others to look for new opportunities in the office, such as applying for other positions within the company and helping you advance your career. They will be the ones to give you the push you need to get where you want to go, even if it means exploring paths you hadn’t really considered, such as getting a Master’s of Business Administration or another degree relevant to your career.

Being a Good Leader for Other Women

There is no question that the business world needs more women in it, especially in positions of authority. Hopefully, your mentor will help you rise to meet and surpass your goals in your career. This way, you can become a leader, and eventually a mentor, for other employees looking for guidance.

Of course, you should do everything you can to use your position of leadership and power in the workplace to be a good boss to other women and lift up female employees in particular. Washington State University states that being a good leader to other women means fostering “a business environment that invites and involves women in business to gain respect and to feel valued for their contributions, leaders and managers can work to overcome the roadblocks on the way toward building fulfilling careers.”

On your path to finding a mentor and learning where you want to go in your career, make sure to learn from women leaders other than your mentor. Look for inspirational readings from other women, like Inna Rosputnia and Mariellie Rodriguez Mundy. With consideration, patience, and confidence, you can find the right mentor to help you be your best self in the workplace.

3 Tips for Women Entering the Welding Field

Contributed article in our career series. Enjoy! – Scrappy Kimberly

Fields like welding can seem challenging for women. While it does have its fair share of challenges, times are changing and more and more women are considering a career in welding. You may have to navigate a bit differently if you want to prevent incidents and perform to the best of your abilities. With that in mind, here are three tips for women entering the welding field. Image Ref: Royalty Free Photo

Have the Right Protective Gear

Women have different frames than man. Not only are they often shorter and lighter, but their hands also tend to smaller.Continue reading