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.

Memo to the Silicon Valley boys’ club: Arlan Hamilton has no time for your BS

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Backstage in the greenroom of the podcast festival where she’s scheduled to appear, Arlan Hamilton is quietly singing the lyrics to Janet Jackson’s “Control.” She’d like to walk on stage as the song plays, but the festival crew has copyright concerns. So instead, she is shimmying offstage in her chair, half-humming the chorus under her breath: “I’m in control / Never gonna stop / Control / To get what I want / Control / I like to have a lot.”

Like everything Hamilton does, the song request is equal parts self-aware and unapologetic. Hamilton knows that she stands out—she is the only black, queer woman to have ever built a venture capital firm from scratch. She also knows that she has a reputation for being direct, particularly when it comes to Silicon Valley biases, and how her own story is portrayed. (Indeed, the song is a jab at Gimlet Media, the podcast festival hosts, who devoted an entire episode of their StartUp series on her to what they saw as her sometimes counterproductive need for control.) But Hamilton exudes calm, even as she attempts, through her L.A.-based firm, Backstage Capital, the near impossible task of disrupting the way that venture investors pick winners and create wealth.

“It was crazy to me that 90% of venture funding was going to white men, when that is not how innovation, intelligence, and drive is dispersed in the real world,” she tells me. “I had no background in finance, but I just saw it as a problem. Maybe it’s because I was coming from such a different place that I could recognize it.”

Three years ago, the then 34-year-old Hamilton arrived in Silicon Valley with no college degree, no network, no money, and a singular focus: to invest in underrepresented founders by becoming a venture capitalist. The story of how the former music-tour manager studied up on investing from her home in Pearland, Texas, and pushed her way into the rarified world of venture capital, scoring investments from the likes of Marc Andreessen and Chris Sacca, has become legendary in the industry. After making contact with Y Combinator president Sam Altman, she bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco. For months she stalked investors by day and slept on the floor of the San Francisco airport at night. She was broke. Finally, in September 2015, she got her first check, for $25,000, from Bay Area angel investor Susan Kimberlin, who believed in Hamilton’s vision that the Valley’s lack of diversity wasn’t a talent-pipeline problem as much as a resources problem: Diverse entrepreneurs needed money. With Kimberlin’s endorsement, Hamilton created Backstage Capital and began investing. Other funding soon followed, from backers including Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Box CEO Aaron Levie. This past June, Hamilton announced that Backstage had exhausted its first three seed funds, doling out between $25,000 and $100,000 to 100 startups in everything from beauty products to business analytics. And at all 100, at least one founder is a woman, person of color, or someone who identifies as LGBTQ.

Now Hamilton is gearing up for Backstage’s next chapter, a $36 million fund dedicated exclusively to black women founders, a demographic that’s glaringly absent in Silicon Valley: Just three dozen black women entrepreneurs, nationwide, have raised more than $1 million in venture funding. Hamilton calls her latest initiative the “It’s about damn time fund.” Her first two $1 million investments, to be announced before the end of the year, will go to existing Backstage portfolio companies. And that’s just the start. This spring, Hamilton will launch the Backstage Accelerator to foster early-stage startups with locations slated for L.A., Philadelphia, and London. She’s also laying the groundwork for a $100 million fund to provide underrepresented founders with even larger checks.

Every nascent VC is under pressure to demonstrate success—Hamilton even more so. Those in Silicon Valley who believe that the next Facebook will be created by a woman or person of color are watching her portfolio closely. Others view Backstage with more skepticism, seeing her funds as relatively inexpensive ways for investors to appear committed to diversity without having to do the hard work internally.

Hamilton shrugs it off. In an industry where privilege begets privilege—and at a time when racial justice in this country seems precarious, at best—she is claiming her seat at the table. “How much of a fist in the air would it be to just be obnoxiously wealthy as a gay black woman?” she wonders. “And [how powerful] to be able to help other people do the same?”

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

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Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

“We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

CareerBuilder Promotes President and Chief Operating Officer Irina Novoselsky to Chief Executive Officer

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CareerBuilder, one of the largest independent technology companies providing “hello to hire™” HR solutions to global customers, today announced the implementation of its leadership succession plan. Irina Novoselsky, who joined CareerBuilder in October 2017 as President and Chief Operating Officer, is being named the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. Matt Ferguson, following 14 years as Chief Executive Officer, will assume the role of Executive Chairman effective today, helping to oversee the Company’s continued evolution as it invests in mobile, artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide innovative end-to-end employment and HR solutions.

Under Ferguson, the company grew its marketing from 16 million unique visitors and 400,000 jobs per year to 200 million unique visitors and nearly 8 million jobs globally last year. CareerBuilder now serves 90 percent of the Fortune 1000 and has expanded into 185 markets globally.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team,” Ferguson said. “For nearly 25 years, CareerBuilder has been instrumental in transforming the HR industry. We led the way in online recruiting, and now we offer our customers a single destination to help them find, manage, screen and onboard talent,” said Ferguson. “CareerBuilder has served millions of job seekers, employees and businesses worldwide – and we’ve built a strong and enduring culture that is poised to disrupt this industry again. With Irina assuming the CEO role, we have a determined, passionate leader to take CareerBuilder’s strategy and innovative technology solutions to the next level, and continue helping people and businesses succeed in the new world of work. All the pieces are in place, and the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and continue to serve as Executive Chairman.”

“Irina is a talented tech executive with the perfect complement of skills to further establish CareerBuilder as the innovative partner of choice in the competitive HR tech space,” said David Sambur, Senior Partner of majority shareholder Apollo Global Management and current Chairman of the CareerBuilder board.  “I also want to thank Matt for his 14 years of service and I look forward to his continued leadership as our new Executive Chairman.”

“I’m honored to be at the helm of a company with such a long heritage of innovation, service excellence and talented people,” said Novoselsky. “Our strength in online recruitment – combined with new, AI-powered solutions that span the end-to-end candidate and recruiter experience – puts CareerBuilder in a unique position to help our global customers improve their workflows, integrate their processes to drive profitability, increase productivity and maximize business results. Today’s HR teams are being asked to do more with less, and CareerBuilder’s industry-leading technology and services can help them.”

Continue onto Career Builder’s Press Room to read the complete article.

Gifts for the Woman Who Has Everything

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Cedrick-Shoes

TAMPA, Florida  – As the holidays approach, many people will begin making a list of what to buy the loved ones in their lives. For some people, it can be a daunting task, especially if they will be buying for someone they feel already has everything. Research out of the University of Toronto suggests that people may want to give the gift of experiences, because that can help foster stronger relationships.

The good news is that there are some gifts that are both a tangible item the person can hold in their hand, as well as providing them with an awesome experience. The unique line of high heels by Exotics by Cedrick is one of those options, being deemed as a gift for the woman who has everything.

“Shoes can make or break an entire experience. They can elevate your game, make you feel incredible, and take you places you have dreamed of,” explains Cedrick McDonald, owner of Exotics by Cedrick. “People find that my shoes not only make for a great gift for the fashion forward person on their list, but they will have an awesome experience while wearing them.”

When people buy for someone they feel has everything, it tends to make them feel a bit deflated Cedrick-Shoesabout the gift-giving process, because it makes them feel like the gift won’t be special or unique. Those opting for high heels by Exotics by Cedrick will find that they feel anything but deflated, and they know their gift will be special, unique, and is going to create a buzz anywhere they are worn.

Here are 5 reasons to give Exotics by Cedrick this holiday season to the fashion aficionado on your list who has everything:

  1. She doesn’t have shoes like this. While you may think she has everything, there’s a good chance she doesn’t have anything like the shoes from Exotics by Cedrick. The line of shoes is so unique that they are patented. The shoes have been artistically designed to have a snakeskin outsole and are encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
  2. You are giving the gift of experience. The shoes you wear can make a big difference in how you carry yourself and in your confidence level. When people put on a pair of Exotics by Cedrick, they feel beautiful, glamorous, and powerful. They have been designed to make the shoe wearer feel as beautiful as can be.
  3. She can express herself. Being able to express oneself without even opening up their mouth is a great experience. The shoes by Exotics by Cedrick are so unique and chic that, like a picture, one look says a thousand words.
  4. She will stand out. In a world filled with cookie cutter houses and people doing their best to keep up with the Joneses, she will stand out with her new shoes. It’s unlikely that anyone else at her office or dinner party will be donning such a high fashion pair of footwork that most would consider a piece of art.
  5. The shoes have meaning. Being able to choose shoes that come from a company that gives back to special causes makes wearing the gift 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.

“People have enough sweaters, so this holiday season be a bit more daring and bold,” added McDonald. “Getting someone a feisty pair of high-fashion high heels is going to really surprise them, and they are going to love you for them and the experience they give them!”

Cedrick-ShoesMcDonald 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. His shoes are all made in limited quantity, making them even more unique and desirable.

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.

# # #

Source:

Science Daily. There’s a science to gift giving. sciencedaily.com

Netflix creates new executive position focused on inclusion and diversity

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Netflix is creating a new executive position that will focus on inclusion and diversity among employees of the streaming entertainment giant.


Vernā Myers has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president for inclusion strategy, Netflix announced Wednesday. The company said Myers will help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix’s operations worldwide.

Prior to joining Netflix, Myers worked as a consultant at the Vernā Myers Co., where she advised corporations and organizations on issues including race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

Her appointment comes two months after Netflix fired its chief communications officer after he used a racial slur on at least two occasions in the workplace. Jonathan Friedland, who had served as Netflix’s top spokesperson for the past seven years, acknowledged that he had spoken in an “insensitive” way.

“Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” he wrote on Twitter in June.

Earlier this week, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix named Rachel Whetstone — a veteran of Facebook, Uber and Google — to succeed Friedland as chief communications officer.

Diversity executives have become increasingly common at major corporations. Silicon Valley in particular has become the focus of media scrutiny for what some workers have described as a lack of gender and racial diversity at technology and internet companies.

Myers has previously consulted for Netflix, the company said. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix’s chief talent officer.

Continue onto the Los Angles Times to read the complete article.

From Intern To NYSE Head: Stacey Cunningham’s Barrier-Breaking Rise To The Top Of Wall Street

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By: Moira Forbes

When news broke that Stacey Cunningham had been named President of the New York Exchange, it was hard to find a headline that didn’t make mention of her gender. Cunningham’s rise to the top of one of Wall Street’s most high-profile, male-dominated arenas shattered a 226-year-old ceiling, but the depth of coverage around her history-making appointment caught the industry veteran off guard. “I knew that the fact that I was a woman taking this job would be part of the story. I didn’t realize how much of a story it was going to be,” recalled Cunningham.

Having launched her career as an intern on the trading floor as in 1994, Cunningham never viewed gender as something that either defined or limited her career, a perspective which fueled an initial hesitance to embrace the “first female” label her story now so often carries. “I took it for granted. It wasn’t something I saw as a barrier. There wasn’t a ceiling I was seeing that I was punching through,” she says.

The same determination in not making gender a factor in the opportunities she pursued ultimately contributed the barriers Cunningham was able to break in reaching Wall Street’s top ranks, and she now realizes why spotlight on her trajectory matters.“I do hope that one day gender won’t be as much a part of the conversation. But it’s so important to so many people, and knowing that I’m helping somebody else recognize more opportunities is really rewarding.

I recently sat down with Cunningham to discuss growing up on the floor of the world’s largest stock exchange, the double-edged sword of working in a male-dominated industry and how she’s harnessed the power of her differences, then and now. Edited highlights below.

On Succeeding In a Male-Dominated Arena

Since her internship days, Cunningham has learned a thing or two about how to “play her own game” in the unique work environment of the trading floor. While Cunningham is quick to admit that learning to thrive in an arena customized for men was not without its challenges, she ultimately turned the reality of being outnumbered into a career advantage. “Being a woman in a male-dominated industry cuts both ways. There are pros and cons. I certainly saw the benefit of having a higher profile on the trading floor. I would walk around people knew who I was, because there weren’t that many women down there. That helped my career in many ways.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

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.