10 Incredible Nonprofits and the Women Behind Them

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Today, female leaders today are perceived to be more effective at taking initiative, demonstrating integrity and honesty and working for results than are their male counterparts, according to a survey from leadership consultancy Zenger Folkman.

Given this avowed power female leaders have, it may be timely to celebrate some of the women making an impact in the nonprofit sector.

Certainly, issues like the lack of access to education and healthcare have existed for decades, even centuries, but progress is possible through new ideas and the willingness to implement them. Those ideas and their implementation are coming from the women behind the organizations listed below.

These leaders are taking risks and innovating; they’re game-changers within their respective causes. And their entrepreneurial spirit is pushing them to not just ideate, but take action — as well as tackle historic problems using new solutions.

Under their leadership, these organizations are inciting significant changes, like creating the world’s largest sports movement for people with intellectual disabilities, and bringing surgical care to thousands of people in underserved communities. Driven by their founders’ desire to see results, social change is coming from the following ten organizations:

1. Movemeant Foundation

At the Movemeant Foundation, Jenny Gaither is changing the way women perceive their own bodies. After becoming a SoulCycle instructor in 2010, she faced the uncomfortable truth that she herself struggled with body-image issues. Her personal struggles inspired her to start the Movemeant Foundation, which empowers young women to feel confident in their bodies by equipping them with the tools to be active.

Through positive mentorship, health education and grants that encourage fitness and physical movement, the organization is shifting women’s focus from “slimming down” to discovering their strength and self-esteem. In addition, Movemeant events raise large-scale awareness for positive body images. Its flagship outdoor event, “Dare to Bare,” and other projects are empowering women to feel confident, whole and capable of anything.

2. Women for Women International

Women for Women International (WfWI) supports marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war. Since 1993, the organization has served nearly 429,000 women, by equipping them with life, business and vocational skills. With these tools, women can earn income, improve their health and well-being and learn about their legal rights to create a sustainable difference in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

The organization was founded by 23-year-old Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi-American humanitarian and entrepreneur. Under her leadership, from 1993 to 2011, WfWI grew to distribute more than $118 million in aid and loans to women in eight conflict locations. Among other accolades, Salbi has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2007) and a Clinton Global Initiative Leader (2010).

Jennifer Windsor is now WfWI’s CEO and leads 550 staff members across 11 international offices, working to empower women to strengthen themselves, their families and, ultimately, their communities.

3. Keep A Breast Foundation

When her friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, Shaney Jo Darden committed to raise awareness for the cause through art and creative-action sports culture. Her efforts resulted in the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB), an organization that provides young people with breast cancer education and support.

The organization is setting out to achieve its mission through art, education, awareness and action. From hosting traveling education booths at music tours, to promoting fundraising through its DIY Action program, the organization provides multiple channels for people to learn and play a part in the mission.

Continue onto Entrepreneur to read the complete list.

New Land O’Lakes CEO Is First Openly Gay Woman To Head A Fortune 500 Company

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In a historic first, Land O’Lakes Inc. named an openly gay woman as its CEO last week.

Beth Ford, who previously served as the company’s chief operating officer, accepted the promotion on July 26. She will officially succeed longtime top executive Chris Policinski, who retired last month, at the Minnesota-based company on Aug. 1.

Ford, who has worked for Land O’Lakes since 2011, joins Apple’s Tim Cook and the Dow Chemical Company’s James “Jim” Fitterling as the third openly gay person to serve as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is, however, the only woman in that group.

The 54-year-old Iowa native told CNN she was proud that her promotion had been deemed an important milestone by many LGBTQ rights advocates.

“I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life,” said Ford, whose resume includes stints at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. “If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.”

In a separate interview with Fortune, she added, “I think it must be really hard if you feel like you’re in a culture where you can’t be who you are. Work is hard enough, and then when you have to feel as though you can’t be who are, that’s got to be incredibly difficult.”

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit on Being a Black Woman in Silicon Valley

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The Detroit native studied at Penn and Stanford, worked for Goldman and Google, and now runs the gig economy pioneer that Ikea acquired in 2017.

Stacy Brown-Philpot didn’t grow up aspiring to be the chief executive of a technology company. Instead, she wanted to be an accountant.

While interning at an accounting firm in the 1990s, Ms. Brown-Philpot — who was raised by her mother in Detroit — worked for a partner who happened to be African-American. “I was like, ‘OK, there’s a black person who is a partner at this firm. This is something that I can accomplish.’”

But as Ms. Brown-Philpot acquired more experience and education, her ambitions grew, too. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1997, did a stint as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then became an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in 1999.

She went back to college to get her graduate degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, then in 2003 joined Google, where Sheryl Sandberg became a mentor. At Google, Ms. Brown-Philpot assumed a series of leadership roles and founded the Black Googlers Network, an employee resource group.

After nine years at Google, she joined TaskRabbit — which lets people hire freelancers for odd jobs — as chief operating officer. She became chief executive in 2016, and last year, she sold the company to Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted at TaskRabbit headquarters in San Francisco.

Tell me about your upbringing.

I grew up on the West Side of Detroit. My mom raised my brother and me by herself. We didn’t have a lot. My mother worked a job that didn’t pay a whole lot of money, so she had to make a lot of sacrifices. But she prioritized education. She would fall asleep helping us with our homework at night. She always taught us that no one can take your learning away from you. And with that, you can go anywhere and do anything.

So I focused on getting good grades. I wasn’t always a popular kid. I didn’t have the best clothes. But I was a smart kid. It’s cool to be smart in Silicon Valley. It’s not cool to be smart on the West Side of Detroit.

What was your first job?

I had a paper route with my brother. I would help him collect the money. I was like the C.F.O. of that operation, making sure we got paid.

And then you went to Penn.

I had no idea what an Ivy League school was. I was a fish out of water. My high school was 98 percent black. Penn was 6 percent black. So I had to find community. I had to figure out how was I going to succeed in this environment where most people don’t look like me, and don’t come from where I came from.

So where’d you find community?

There was a black college house. I didn’t live there. I would just go over there and spend time just sitting around with people that, you know, ate collard greens and fried chicken, just like I did growing up. It just made it safer for me and more confident for me to walk into a classroom and know I knew the answers and speak up.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

Sarah Guo breaks through at Greylock, becoming one of the first female general partners in the firm’s 53-year history

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Sarah Guo  didn’t necessarily set out to become a venture capitalist. She certainly didn’t imagine she would become one of the first female general partners at one of the oldest venture firms in the country. Yet Guo is both of these things today. Indeed, the venture firm Greylock Partners, which Guo joined five years ago as a principal, is announcing her promotion this morning.

Greylock, which closed its current (15th) fund with $1 billion in October 2016, now has eight general partners and four venture partners altogether.

For Guo, the appointment caps a lifetime spent in the world of startups. Before joining Greylock, she worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, where she led much of the bank’s coverage of business-to-business tech companies and advised public clients, including Twitter, Netflix, Zynga and Nvidia.

A graduate (for both her undergraduate degree and MBA) of the University of Pennsylvania, Guo also worked previously at Casa Systems, a 15-year-old tech company that develops a software-centric networking platform for cable and mobile service providers and that — in a twist that we think is pretty neat — was founded by her parents. (Her father, CEO Jerry Guo, took the company public earlier this year.)

In a conversation earlier this week, Guo said that growing up around entrepreneurship gave her an “understanding of how difficult” starting a company truly is. It also occurred to her early on that “something related to company building was what I wanted to do in the future.”

Guo also said that not much will change with her promotion. Broadly speaking, she focuses on B2B applications and infrastructure, cybersecurity, AI, AR and healthcare. She already sits on the boards of several companies, including the security startup Obsidian, which was founded by ex-Cylance and Carbon Black execs last year and quickly raised $9.5 million, led by Greylock.

She said she does hope to mentor more up-and-coming investors like herself, however.

Continue onto TechCrunch to read the complete article.

 

 

A Scientist-Turned-Investor Is Helping Female Entrepreneurs Build And Scale Their Businesses

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Dr. Silvia Mah, investor and founding partner at Ad Astra Ventures, and her team are equipping female entrepreneurs to build, run and scale investable businesses.With her primary focus on empowering, nurturing and launching women-owned businesses, Mah is investing in new ventures that allow women to break through barriers in order to excel.

In addition, Mah serves as the Executive Director of Hera Labs, a business accelerator for women-owned small businesses. She also is the founding member of Hera Angels, an early stage female angel group.

Initially, Mah earned her doctorate (Ph.D.) in Molecular Marine Biology preparing to work as a researcher in a lab. Her pivot to investing began the day she was offered a position to lead a program focused on service learning projects for multidisciplinary undergraduate engineering students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Working with the students ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. She knew she wanted her next step to be in business, wanting to work with scientific companies. “I really wanted to be in this arena of commercialization and service learning,” she stated. “I began asking myself ‘how do I teach these students to be entrepreneurial as engineers?’” In order to prepare for her next pivot, she went back to school and earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Rady School of Business at UCSD.

“During that time,” Mah details, “my father passed away. He was an entrepreneur in Venezuela. I received an inheritance. Instantly, I became an investor. I didn’t want to buy a new house, I wanted to purposefully ‘give it away’. I thought this was pretty cool because as an entrepreneurial advocate, and a startup advocate, I knew access to capital is the number one thing that is so challenging for entrepreneurs. I also saw women are not getting enough funding, but I could actually make a big impact with the inheritance I received. So I became an investor in only female and minority-led startups. Fast forward, I have 21 companies in my portfolio.”

Working as a scientist enabled her to develop a strong foundation, which ultimately made it easier for her to transition to the investment world. “There are two things going on here,” Mah recollects. “One is a practical thing, and the other one’s more strategic. The practical aspect is that a lot of investors, or what I come up against, is that the science part of it, or the engineering part of it is a little bit daunting. Most investors have had great businesses and they understand the business side of it [investing], and then they come to the science part. They’re like, ‘oh, my gosh, I don’t understand it.’ For me, I understand the science part because I’ve been in the field.”

“The strategic part of it,” she continues, “is more that the scientific method is similar to the business development method.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

5 Trends in High Fashion Shoes and How to Make them More Comfortable

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woman walking in high heels

TAMPA, Florida – It’s difficult to discuss high-fashion women’s shoes without discussing high heels. After all, heels or pumps tend to dominate the fashion world. Women love them, men love to look at them.

They make women look more attractive and feel bolder, a combination that’s hard to beat. When it comes to the trends in high-fashion shoes there is also one thing to keep in mind – high fashion doesn’t need to mean uncomfortable. The two can absolutely go hand-in-hand, and should.

“You want to love the shoes you are wearing, but you also want them to feel great on your feet,” explains Cedrick McDonald, owner of Exotics by Cedrick. “As an artist, I want to give the world beautiful shoes. I love the way their confidence soars when they put them on. It leaves us both feeling great.”

Here are 5 trends in high-fashion shoes:

  1. Designer. Donning a pair of designer shoes makes a bold statement, and that’s the direction people are taking. Designer shoes show some personality, preferences, and are seen as a status symbol.
  2. Bold with bling. Who doesn’t love some bling as a finishing touch for their outfit? With shoes that have bling, you are always ready to go and dress things up. Exotics by Cedrick offers a patented bottom outsole that features snakeskin and Swarovski crystals. It doesn’t get any more bold with bling than that.
  3. Comfort. Nobody wants to wear shoes that hurt their feet. The new trend is in ensuring that shoes are comfortable. Comfortable shoes will help people be more confident and happier.
  4. Heels and more heels. Having different types of heels is always in style. Women love the look, the way they make them feel, and the multitude of designs that they come in. Find heels that match your personality and you are all set.
  5. Shoes with meaning. Being able to choose shoes that come from a company that gives back to special causes makes wearing them that much better. People today appreciate shoe brands that give back to charities. Exotics by Cedrick has a passion for helping the cause of fighting AIDS in the world, and donates proceeds from the sale of every pair of shoes to the AIDS Foundation.

“Whether you follow the trends or help set them, we all love to see what’s going on with them,” added McDonald. “We can all agree that we love fine shoes and the way they make us feel. I bring my artistic ability to every pair of shoes I create, helping to set the trends.”

When it comes to making heels more comfortable, there are some things you can do. They include wearing them around the house for a few hours to help stretch them out and get them more broken in, putting some padded inserts in them, investing in good quality heels to begin with, and taking good care of your heels to keep them in excellent working condition. Also, choose a high heel that has a great outsole, because that’s where the magic is in keeping it comfortable. A good outsole offers extra padding at the ball, which is where most of your weight is applied.

McDonald is a bit of a pioneer in the shoe industry, having created a style that is unique enough to earn a U.S. patent. His line of designer footwear features high-fashion pumps with 4-6” heels that have an eye-catching snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals on the bottom of every shoe.  They are shoes that help make a statement not only about the designer, but about the person wearing them.

Started in 2016, Exotics by Cedrick is high-fashion shoe line that has been turning heads from the Golden Globes to the MTV Movie and TV Awards. The company motto is Live Life Through Your Soles, and he’s created unique-looking soles that stand out and make a statement. McDonald is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses in addition to Exotics by Cedrick. From the Tampa area, he aims to help set the trends in the high fashion world. To create his shoes, he starts with a hand sketch, usually in the middle of the night, and then creates the rendered design on CAD.

About Exotics by Cedrick

Owned by Cedrick McDonald, Exotics by Cedrick, a celebrity fashion and footwear designer, is a Tampa-based high-fashion high heel shoe company. The company has a patent for its unique design, which features a snakeskin outsole that is encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Since the company was started in 2016, the trend-setting shoes have made their way into many celebrity hands. To learn more about Exotics by Cedrick, visit the site at exoticsbycedrick.com

 

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These 50 founders and VCs suggest 2018 may be a tipping point for women: Part 1

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For the last several years, we’ve compiled profiles of women founders and investors at the end of each year because they’ve either raised substantial amounts of money or otherwise achieved notable milestones.

This year, we don’t want to wait until December. We’re too excited about the progress we’re witnessing, with women-led startups getting seed, Series A or later-stage funding each week — all while top venture firms grow more serious about pulling women into their most senior ranks, female VCs band together to fund female founders and other women go about launching their own funds.

Some of you will note that this list is far from comprehensive, and we’ll readily agree with you. But we think it’s better to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the women who deserve attention than try to capture every last person we’d include if only there were more hours in the day.

Herewith, a list of 25 founders and investors who’ve had a pretty good 2018 so far, with a second list of women in the industry coming shortly, so stay tuned.

Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of Mirror

Harvard grad Brynn Putnam was once a professional ballet dancer, but she may eventually find more fame as a serial founder. Two years after her last performance in 2008 with a ballet company in Montreal, Putnam started a New York-boutique fitness studio, Refine Method, around a high-intensity, interval workout. It would later sprout into three studios in New York and attract the likes of Kelly Ripa and Ivana Trump.

Now, Putnam is using its founding principal — that gym users can wring more from their workout hours — to build yet another business called Mirror. Centered around an at-home device, it looks like a mirror but enables users to see an instructor and classmates for fitness routines like Pilates, all while tracking their performance on screen. Mirror isn’t available to buy yet, but investors are already sold, providing the company with $13 million in funding earlier this year so it can bring its product to fitness buffs everywhere.

Ritu Narayan, co-founder and CEO of Zūm

Ritu Narayan led product management at stalwart tech companies, including Yahoo and eBay, but her biggest challenge eventually became how to ensure that her kids got to where they needed to go during her working hours. She knew she wasn’t alone; there are roughly 73 million children under age 18 in the U.S., many of whom are driven around by frenzied parents who are trying to make it through each day.

Enter Zūm, a now 3.5-year-old company that promises reliable transportation and care for children ages five and older. Zūm isn’t the first kind of Uber for kids. In fact, another competitor, Shuddle, shuttered in 2016 after burning through more than $12 million in funding. But Narayan’s company appears to be doing something right. Earlier this year, Zūm raised $19 million in Series B funding, including from earlier backer Sequoia Capital, which is famously metric driven.

The company has now raised $26.8 million altogether.

Daniela Perdomo, co-founder and CEO, goTenna

When Hurricane Sandy cut off power in and around New York City in the fall of 2012, Daniela Perdomo  and her brother, Jorge, were struck by the need for a network that would enable people to call or text even when there’s no Wi-Fi or cell signal. Today, that company, goTenna, is taking off, powered by an early device it created that pairs with a cell phone via Bluetooth to transmit messages using radio frequencies, along with a newer version of the device that allows them to create a kind of mesh network.

To date, the company has sold more than 100,000 units of its devices. It has raised roughly $17 million from VCs. In May, the company also partnered with an outfit called Samourai Wallet to launch an Android app that, beginning this summer, will enable users to send bitcoin payments without an internet connection. The move could prove crucial for some of its customers, particularly in disaster areas.

Chloe Alpert, CEO and co-founder of Medinas Health

Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of surplus medical supplies are discarded every year, according to Chloe Alpert, the founder of Medinas Health, a Berkeley, Calif.-based startup that uses inventory data and matching software to help big hospitals sell excess equipment to small clinics and nursing homes.

Alpert thinks Medinas can create cost savings for both sides by creating something that’s fast and trustworthy and working with third parties who can disassemble, ship and re-assemble medical equipment.

Investors believe her surplus marketplace has a shot. Her 10-month-old company raised $1 million in funding earlier this year, including from Sound Ventures, Rough Draft Ventures, Precursor Ventures and Trammell Ventures.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, co-founder of Promise

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins was raised by a single mom who occasionally fed her two daughters with food stamps before a union job enabled the three to escape welfare. But that formative experience made a lasting impact. In fact, after graduating from college, Ellis-Lamkins worked for a union that helped organize low-wage home care. By the time she was 26, she was head of the San Jose-based South Bay Labor Council.

Ellis-Lamkins is far from done in her work to ensure that the disadvantaged can prosper. Her newest project: working in partnership with governments that release people from jail on condition that they work with her company, Promise. The big idea: Promise provides support to people caught in the criminal justice system to ensure they can return to their jobs and families until their case in resolved, rather than remain incarcerated because they can’t afford bail. The latter scenario happens all too often, agree VCs. Toward that end, earlier this year a handful of investors — including First Round Capital, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital — provided Promise with $3 million to help put an end to it.

Continue onto Tech Crunch to read the complete article.

General Motors Names Its First Female CFO

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General Motors Co. is about to have two of the auto industry’s highest-ranking women in the upper echelons of its management team. The move is a sign of progress toward gender equality, though men continue to hold the vast majority of top jobs.

Dhivya Suryadevara, GM’s vice president of corporate finance for the last 11 months, will become chief financial officer on Sept. 1, replacing Chuck Stevens, the company said Wednesday. Suryadevara, 39, played a key role in GM divesting its German affiliate Opel, acquiring self-driving car unit Cruise Automation, investing in ride-hailing startup Lyft Inc. and arranging a recent investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

“Dhivya’s experience and leadership in several key roles throughout our financial operations positions her well to build on the strong business results we’ve delivered over the last several years,” Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Short List

GM will join Hershey Co., American Water Works Co. and Signet Jewelers Ltd. on a very short list of S&P 500 companies with women serving as CEO and CFO. Barra has promoted women to some key positions since taking the top job in January 2014. Two years ago, she named Alicia Boler Davis executive vice president of global manufacturing, and in March she appointed Kim Brycz as senior vice president of human resources.

Those three are the only women among GM’s 17 corporate officers. With Suryadevara replacing Stevens, the Detroit-based automaker’s ranks will get closer to mirroring the share of women in senior jobs among S&P 500 companies, which is 27 percent, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit that tracks women in leaderships positions. The automaker’s board is tied with several other companies as the most diverse among S&P 500 companies with half of its directors being women.

“Any time a woman is added to the C-Suite it’s something that should be celebrated,” said Anna Beninger, Catalyst’s senior director of research. “Given that the rate of change for women into the C-suite and into the CEO level has been so slow, any time we see one, it is certainly progress. On the flip side, it is one. We have to keep in mind that doesn’t mean a trend.”

Key Roles

When women do reach the C-suite, they are disproportionately appointed to roles that aren’t directly related to operations and therefore are less likely to lead to a future CEO opportunity, Beninger said.

“It’s going to be critical to get women into more C-suite level roles that are in the line — positions that allow them to demonstrate the skills that are necessary to take on a CEO role eventually,” Beninger said.

Barra’s career included a stint running GM’s human resources division, but she also served as head of manufacturing engineering and head of product development. Her top executive is President Dan Ammann, who was CFO from 2011 to 2014. Past CEOs Rick Wagoner and Fritz Henderson were both CFO on their way to the CEO job.

‘Well-Liked’

Suryadevara has been a fast climber. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in commerce from the University of Madras in Chennai, India, and an MBA from Harvard University. She’s a chartered financial analyst and accountant and worked at UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining GM in 2005.

Continue onto Bloomberg to read the complete article.

Four things you need to know about new Disney Animation chief Jennifer Lee

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The Frozen impresario who now takes over all of Walt Disney Animation is far less well known than her predecessor John Lasseter, but there are clues as to what motivates Lee and how she’s likely to lead.

This week the long-simmering parlor game over Disney and Pixar’s future was finally resolved when Disney announced that former creative chief John Lasseter would be replaced by Up director Pete Docter (at Pixar) and Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee (at Disney). The two are taking over duties from the Pixar cofounder, who took a leave of absence last fall following allegations of behavioral “missteps,” including unwanted hugs and kisses of female employees. Lasseter is staying on at Disney until the end of the year as a consultant.

Sources say both Docter and Lee were chosen because of their strong track records as well as their people skills—both play well with others, something that is particularly important given the internal tensions that Lasseter stirred and that have been made public in recent months. Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that Docter and Lee embody the spirit, culture, and values of their respective studios.

The only question is, will Disney and Pixar’s new leaders have the ability to not play nice when necessary? As one source says, “John could be tough and say, ‘This is not working.’ He pissed people off. Do either Pete or Jennifer have that in them?”

Docter, who is a member of Pixar’s storied Brain Trust, is more of a known entity, or at least has a long track record at Pixar. Exceptionally tall and introspective, Docter was one of the company’s first hires and went on to write and direct Monster’s Inc., Up, and Inside Out. He also wrote the original stories for all of the Toy Story films. Colleagues describe him as preternaturally calm, even in tense situations.

But Lee is more of an unknown, having arrived at Disney later in her career. A trained screenwriter, she is known for being “strong with story” as well as someone who has navigated the politics of Disney and Pixar “with class,” as one source says. Here are the four things you need to know about Walt Disney Animation’s new creative officer:

1. She was the first woman to direct an animated film at Disney

Lee made history in 2013 when she became the first woman to direct an animated feature at Disney; Chris Buck was her co-director. A (very small) smattering of women have directed animated films at other studios: Jennifer Yuh co-directed Kung Fu Panda 2 at DreamWorks Animation, and Brenda Chapman’s credits include Prince of Egypt (DreamWorks) and Brave (Pixar). But Disney was slow to crack open its boys’ club. Lee is also a director on Frozen 2, which comes out next year.

2. She comes from live action

Unlike most animation filmmakers, Lee didn’t go to CalArts (as Docter did) or any of the other traditional grooming grounds for animators. She was an English major at the University of New Hampshire, and then, after working as a graphic designer in New York in her twenties, got her master’s in film from Columbia where she studied screenwriting. Some of her mentors there were Andy Bienen, who wrote Boys Don’t Cry, and Eric Mendelsohn (Judy Berlin).

In a 2014 interview with Fast Company, Lee joked that she “snuck into” animation when her former classmate Phil Johnston asked her to work with him on Wreck-It-Ralph. That led to Frozen, which was already well into development when Lee came onboard; after turning in her rewrite, she was asked to join Buck as a director. One of her contributions was to make the film more of a musical comedy. “I was nervous about learning animation production,” she has said. “I didn’t go to school for it. But it was actually far more organic than I thought. I was the one in the room who knew exactly what was going on in the characters’ heads.”

Lee still works on live-action scripts—she wrote the screenplay for Disney’s recent adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Though it’s unlikely those gigs (and perhaps even her animation filmmaking) will continue given her new duties.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How this 23-year-old became the only full-time woman trader at the New York Stock Exchange

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Working in an industry where you are one of very few women can be challenging enough — but imagine what it’s like to be the only woman on staff.

That’s the case for New York Stock Exchange trader Lauren Simmons. The 23-year-old is an equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities, and she is both the youngest and the only full-time female employee to hold that position at the NYSE.

“When I tell people what my job is they are always surprised,” she tells CNBC Make It. In fact, Simmons says that if you had told her five years ago that she’d end up working on Wall Street, she wouldn’t have believed the news herself.

“It’s surreal,” she says.

Hitting the Street

Simmons moved to New York after graduating from Kennesaw State University in December 2016. The Georgia native had interned at a local clinical treatment center in college while earning a BA in genetics with a minor in statistics. She had planned to pursue a career in the medical field, but after realizing that medicine wasn’t her passion, she started searching for opportunities in other industries.

Simmons started applying to positions in finance — she had loved numbers since high school — and eventually secured her current position at Rosenblatt Securities by applying to an opening posted on LinkedIn.

“The one thing that I love about numbers and statistics, and kind of one of the reasons I came to the New York Stock Exchange, is because numbers are a universal language,” she explains. “When you put them on a board it connects everyone, which is probably one of the reasons why the New York Stock Exchange is so iconic.”

She started her role in March 2017, but says her employment was contingent upon passing the Series 19, the exam all floor brokers must pass to earn their badge.

“I had a month to take the exam,” says Simmons, “and when I tell you a lot of people did not think I was going to pass, they really did not think I was going to pass.”

The exam is rooted in financial principles and concepts. Despite her math background Simmons had not studied finance in college, and had to hit the books — hard. When she passed (“It shocked everyone”), she says it eased her doubts about whether she could manage the role. It also proved to the men on the floor that she was equipped to work alongside them.

“When I see statistics that say ’80 percent don’t get through,’ I look at the 20 percent,” she says. “So when everyone kept saying, ‘It’s a hard test. Don’t worry if you don’t pass,’ for me, I needed to pass to prove to myself that I could do this.”

Continue onto CNBC to read the complete article.

A Latina Google Strategist’s Views On Authenticity, Embracing Your Identity And The Power Of Instagram

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Dannie Fountain is known as a builder, whether she’s rebuilding her own identity or building a brand, she has a reputation for how tightly she can weave a story that just feels right.

While the skill set was there during her teenage years it was her freshman year of college that challenged her ability to put them to the test.

“I was adopted at 16, changing my identity all over again, and removing my ability to access the historical information that had been shared, because I no longer had access to their source – my mother’s anecdotal nuggets,” explains Fountain. “My identity changed once again during my freshman year of college. Through some health-related decisions, tough conversations, and a DNA test, I discovered that the wholly-British descent I’d been raised to understand was actually pretty off.”

The unexpected medical tests led to Fountain discovering that she was Latinx and deciding to melt into an identity that had always belonged to her.

Now as a strategist at Google and as an independent marketing consultant, Fountain uses her storytelling skills to support brands and their larger missions.

Below she shares how she champions inclusivity in all the spaces she inhabits, what advice she has for other Latinxs, and how she balances both her corporate job and side hustles.

Vivian Nunez: What made you join the team at Google in addition to working for yourself? 

Dannie Fountain: Truthfully, I wasn’t looking for a job when the Google opportunity happened. I was surviving (nay, thriving) in the rollercoaster of “feast and famine” that is entrepreneurship and I truly was in love with my life. When the Google opportunity first cropped up in my inbox, my reaction was one of imposter syndrome – who am I to believe I’m important/talented/brave/strong/cool enough to pursue an opportunity like this? But Google has this kind of kinetic power, one that won’t let you say no. So I pursued it, and the more I pursued it, the more I fell in love. Now, nine months later, I can truly smile when I say Google is my corporate home and the first place I’ve ever worked where I’ve unapologetically brought my whole self to work every single day. 

Nunez: How have you navigated the transition to an in-house, full-time job? 

Fountain: I’ve always been a “side hustler” in some form of the word – whether it was running my marketing consulting firm while in college or running my second business while maintaining my first. But this transition from freelancing to working at Google was an interesting one. Before I came to Google, I was on the road nearly 24/7 for speaking engagements and work. Not only was I coming back into a space where I had a boss again, but I also was going to have an apartment of my own for the first time in nearly 2 years.

The transition was smoother than expected in some ways (i.e. I have fallen in love with having a commute again) and harder in others (I didn’t actually stop traveling as much and so I still feel like I’m on the road all the time). Having coworkers and the resources to do all the things I’ve dreamed of doing is incredible – I love the opportunity for casual collision that sparks these moments of innovation that profoundly change the way I think about marketing. I’m beyond grateful for the access and opportunity I’ve gotten in the nine months I’ve been at Google. But at the end of the day, I’m a Googler and still a freelancer, so really not much has changed.

Nunez: How important is it for you that others understand that you are proudly Latina?

Fountain: In some ways, I feel so much shame for identifying as Latina. My grasp on culture and history is limited. My grasp on language is weak. My appearance is that of a white woman. It took me taking an actual DNA test and seeing the results with my own eyes before I’d actually start checking the “hispanic or latino” box on things, let alone verbally speaking that identity aloud.

But I also recognize my privilege. I know that I have the power to walk into a room and be presumed white and there is so much responsibility in that presumption. There’s this profound sense of urgency to make it unequivocally clear that [Latinx] is who I am, all in, 100%

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