Tag Archives: personal advisory board

Egyptian Women Entrepreneurs and Mass Challenge Women Finalist Teams Inspired Each Other

As an expression our commitment to advancing women as leaders, WomenLEAD Inc, hosted a group of a dozen Egyptian woman entrepreneurs last week at Mass Challenge offices. Thank you  to the Mass Challenge for co-sponsoring the event , and World Boston who coordinated; with the US State department to bring these women to Boston.. We had dynamic discussion, with four women owned Mass Challenge startups joining in, about many challenges and similarities of woman entrepreneurs here and in Egypt. Topics included how to find angel investors, what barriers we all face, including those  unique to women founders. WomenLEAD Inc.’s CEO and Founder Ilene Fischer demonstrated WomenLEAD’s innovative platform, and how building a Personal Advisory Board can create exponential growth for individuals and companies.

The Egyptian companies included hardware and software companies, sustainable energy companies, online translation services, marketing services and social impact products like a safe, cost effective water pump. Four Mass Challenge Finalist companies with women CEO’s/Founders shared their experiences as women.

egyptian women 2

entrepreneur. When asked what they will take away from their experience in the US, which included visiting three other start up  incubators around the country, one Egyptian woman stated “I have learned the world is open to me and that I have to help myself to help my community. I have more skills to learn and training to take to achieve my goals.

Another was so inspired by Mass Challenge and enjoyed meeting other female engineers. “Only 10% of women are engineers, and it feels so good to be around women here. When we have a problem we close our mind and say ‘there is no solution, but we just have to change the way we look at a solution and ask ourselves Why and Why not’…we should try it!”

After exchanging business cards around the table, all agreed: If women met around the world, there would be no war. All the women at the table both the Mass Challenge start up and the Egyptian Women Founders/ CEO’s were inspirational and determined to make a difference in the world; creating jobs and having their companies make a social impact.

Jennifer Chayes: A woman who LEADS in technology

J ChayesWho says girls aren’t good at math? No one who’s met Jennifer Chayes, Managing Director and Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research New England and Microsoft Research New York City.

Chayes earned her Ph.D. in mathematical physics from Princeton and has taught at UCLA and the University of Washington, in addition to doing cutting-edge research on how the Internet works.

You read that right. Using her background in mathematical physics, Chayes models and analyzes how people use technological and social networks. Thanks to her research, she shares no less than 25 different patents, and has coauthored over 110 scientific papers. She was the first woman to lead one of Microsoft’s research labs.

But just as impressive as Chayes’ professional accomplishments is her commitment to supporting women in her field, for which she was awarded the 2012 Women of Vision Award for Leadership from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. (Check out her acceptance speech here.) When she started teaching at UCLA in the 1980s, she realized that many female students suffered from a lack of confidence in their abilities. She now works with DigiGirlz, a Microsoft initiative to encourage female high school students to consider careers in technology. Women make up 44 percent of the researchers at her lab in Cambridge. She is also an advisory board member of WomenLEAD, Inc.

Chayes believes that young women need role models and greater self-confidence, but she is also working to combat inaccurate stereotypes of science work that discourage many women from participating. As she told Mass High Tech in 2012,

“We lose most girls in middle school. They don’t necessarily realize that careers in math, science and technology can be really collaborative. They have these images of working in a solitary mode. […] Any of these young girls can help to envision the future. They should realize there is tremendous creativity in this field. It’s not a solitary endeavor.”

We have no doubt that many young women now will someday say that Chayes and her work inspired them to pursue careers in technology, and we commend her commitment to improving work conditions for women in her own lab while continuing to shatter stereotypes about what women can do. Jennifer Chayes is a true trailblazer for women in technology, and we are pleased to recognize her as a Woman Who LEADS In Technology.

Jennifer-Chayes

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Dunsire: A Woman Who LEADS in Biotech

D DunsireDeborah Dunsire former CEO of Takada Millennium Pharmaceutical is a big name in biotech, but her leadership is an inspiration to women in any field!

Dunsire was born in South Africa, where she studied medicine. She started her career as a physician, but it wasn’t long before she turned her attention toward the development of potentially life-saving pharmaceutical drugs. Over the next 20 years, she became a leader in her field, earning the 2009 Woman of the Year Award from the Healthcare Business Association.

She has combined the science and business of healthcare to bring new drugs for cancer treatment to market. Dunsire’s early successes in pharmaceutical research, development and commercialization were so significant that her company, Sandoz, brought her from Johannesburg to Switzerland, to work at global headquarters.

From there, she was sent to New Jersey and soon took up the  management of the company’s portfolio of oncology drugs. When Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy to become Novartis, Dunsire was named senior vice president and put in charge of oncology for all of North America. She helped Novartis transform its approach and quadrupled the revenues of its oncology unit in just ten years.

In 2005, Dunsire became CEO of Millennium, a company of over 1000 employees that develops and markets new drugs for cancer treatment. She transformed Millennium from a small, promising drug-maker to a thriving biotech company that, in 2008, was worthy of a $8.8 billion acquisition by Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Under her leadership, Millennium was recognized by, Fortune (#20 on the Fortune 100 Best Places To Work list in 2012) , The Scientist and The Boston Globe (#1 among large companies in 2012) as one of the best places to work. During Dunsire’s tenure, the company’s executive team was between 40 and 60 percent female. She credits this diversity to a board that was sought out the right people, regardless of gender. “It was and is a very diverse company,” she told Pharmalive in 2006.

Her leadership lessons are useful for men and women alike. In a 2009 interview with the New York TimesDunsire advised leaders to let their employees make mistakes and learn from them without management’s interference.

Dunsire also has some specific advice for women who want to lead in biotech. When she was named one of FierceBiotech‘s Top 10 Women in Biotech, she told young women to

Be passionate about your work and the fact that through the biotech work we do we can change outcomes in human health. […] Be optimistic but grounded–there will be many disappointments, but learn from failure and rise up and do it better.

That is great advice for any leader.

As part recent organizational changes, Deborah has decided to leave the Company at the end of her Takeda board term in June. She will be sorely missed in the biotech community and the small circle of women CEO’s at major global companies so we are looking forward to her next endeavor!  Deborah Dunsire is a powerful example of a Woman Who Leads in Biotech and we are proud to recognize her.

Deborah-Dunsire

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

 

WomenLEAD, Inc: The Big Idea and Why It will Work

WomenLEAD,Inc has just become a finalist in the MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup incubator. Between now and October we will have free office space, access to interns, and free coaching from mentors; experienced serial entrepreneurs. During that time we’ll be building the first release of WomenLEAD, and we’ll need to be able to pay for software developers to help us turn our ideas into a working system. That’s why we’re launching this campaign. Your contributions will help us get to the place where we can start getting paid by companies for our work. We expect the beta to be completed in the fall with a January 2014 public launch.

Let me give you a little background so you can determine if this is an idea worthy of your support.

In the US women and men are equally represented in entry-level jobs. But women only occupy fourteen percent of the senior executive ranks. Other than the fact that seems inherently wrong, who cares?

Well, it turns out companies do. A study by the Harvard Business review showed that 52% of women in Engineering, Science and Technology leave their careers mid-career. Not to start families, but because they find the work environment unsupportive, they have unclear career paths and they have no role models.

Companies care because it costs them around $100,000 to replace these highly-skilled women.

Equally compelling are studies that demonstrate that companies with women on their boards and on their senior teams perform better financially. A lot better ( 53-84% better on return on Equity according to Catalyst)

From my perspective, this is great news. I’ve been championing women’s rights for decades, having founded one of the first battered women’s shelters in the country, having worked on the Equal Rights Amendment Extension, and recently supporting women in their careers as the CEO of a non-profit dedicated to advancing women in STEM.

This is great new because companies now see it is in their best interest to do something. Instead of having to fight for equality, there are many companies who now are COMMITTED to do something.

So here’s the idea. I’m creating a online application for women to build their own online “Personal Advisory Board”. What’s an advisory board?

Whenever I’m facing a new opportunity or challenge, I reach out to this incredible group of women who have become members of my “Personal Advisory Board“, Their advice and guidance has been invaluable. In my last role I tripled our organization’s revenue and doubled the membership. I attribute this to the deep relationship I have with the women  and men on my personal advisory boards.

I’m inherently a networker, at business functions multiple times a week where I get to meet powerful women. Over time casual relationships turn into deeper relationships and I’ll ask them to join my personal advisory board.

I realize that not all women network the way I do, nor are they located in cities where there are many opportunities for networking, so something else is needed. Specifically, women need a way to find people for their advisory board online.

WomenLEAD is building an online platform to enable women to build their own “Personal Advisory Board“. The idea is simple. You search for advisors using a matching algorithm that helps you find people who can meet your needs. You start a conversation, either on line or on the phone, and if you find you click, you ask if they’ll join your “Personal Advisory Board”.

Once they’re on your “Personal Advisory Board”, you can talk with them individually or as a group about whatever is of interest to you in your career. Working with a multi-site team? Find out who has experience who can help. Have a challenging manager? Get advice on how to handle it. Putting together a career road map? Share it with your “Personal Advisory Board” and get their feedback.

If you have people you already know you can add them as advisors – women and men – buy just sending them an invitation from WomenLEAD, Inc.

It’s my belief that women will advance further in their careers if they have a strong supportive group behind them. And this is better than traditional one-on-one mentoring because a single mentor may not be able to provide you with what you need when you need it.

It turns out that companies also think this is true. I have four large companies, including a Fortune 150 and a Fortune 10 who are interested in making WomenLEAD, Inc  available for their employees.

But I need to show working software to be able to get their business. Once we have the first clients on board, we’ll be able to make the investments in the WomenLEAD to fully realize our vision, including online training, leadership assessment and communities focused on specific interest groups (e.g. women in biotech).

But we need that initial working system to show them, which is where you come in.

Once we get the first solid beta ready, we’re convinced we can get funding from potential customers and investors, but we need to take that first step and get development under way, which is how your contribution will be used. We are asking you to contribute to our Indiegogo campaign so we can achieve these goals.

I think that this is a tipping point for women now – businesses recognizing that it is in their best interest to support their women employees. I think we have a solution that will enable women to dramatically make progress in their career. I have evidence that companies will buy this solution. But I need some capital to get us started.

Will you help? If yes, click here and be taken to our Indiegogo campaign where you’ll be able to donate in just a couple of minutes. Thank you!

Deborah Dean: A Woman Who LEADS in Corporate Law

Debbie-DeanDeborah Dean has a unique name for her personal advisory board: The COTTON CLUB – from COT, or Circle of Trust.

On her journey from corporate attorney to corporate vice president, the support of Dean’s personal advisors made a huge difference.  Even now that she is a vice president at leading global software firm Dassault Systemes, she still looks to this trusted group of women for advice.

“They have served as a sounding board to help me crystallize my goals and understand the political landscape that exists in every company, as advisors to help me strategize as to how to approach and overcome challenges, and as a cheering squad to bolster my self-confidence,” Dean says.

Not only has Dean achieved tremendous career success for herself, she has become a champion for others. She leads an initiative to support women inside Dassault, helping them achieve personal and professional growth. That initiative also supports technical education for three girls in Rwanda, which she hopes will change their lives.

Since 2012, Dean has served on the board of Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST) and recently co-authored an article on women’s advancement in the workplace through the Center for Women in Business at Bentley University.

Dean encourages younger women to set up their own personal advisory boards to help them achieve career success. “The business world is vast, with many twists and turns, and it is important to draw on the wisdom and views of others who are either in the same working world or who have gone there before,” she says. “Others have trailblazed – There is no need to keep blazing the same trail. Learn from those who have gone before.”

For the impact she continues to have on women in her company, in her field, and all over the world, WomenLEAD is proud to recognize Deborah Dean as a woman who leads.

Debbie-Dean

To learn more about how the revolutionary personal advisory board platform from WomenLEAD supports women’s development as leaders, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc.