The STE²M Economy

All aboard!

Today was a STE²M day.  What's that?  Females in Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Engineering, and Math.

I spent most of the day with Women helping other Women and Girls as well as with Dads of Daughters discussing strategies for girls to learn programming, challenges for female founders in Europe, and Enterprises looking for more great Channel Talent.

And it hit me. This is a new economy.  (Take this survey to help us change the world around this!   CLICK HERE!

The STE²M  economy. 

Did you know that studies in Africa show that children of mothers who have spent five years in primary education are 40% more likely to live beyond the age of five?  And that if Egyptian women were employed at the same rate as men that country’s GDP would climb by 34%?


How do we grow this new Economy?    STE²M (science, technology, entrepreneurship, engineering, and math) fields play a direct role in driving economic growth.  Women in STEM jobs earn 33% more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.

We grow this one woman at a time.

the Change Makers

  • Chics Connect has seen phenomenal growth and has taken some amazing initiatives for connecting women,who help each other to achieve their dreams,ambitions,missions as well as assist in everyday challenges life throws at a Neo-Age Women of today. Chics Connect is now present in Dubai, Jamaica, California, India and Denmark and is launching in Toronto, Turkey, Denmark and Australia soon.  They have 4,800 members across the world!
    Their fearless leader helping to create this new economy is Hurratul Maleka Taj - who is passionate and at 25,  has already started 2 companies!  I loved chatting with her today about her plans! Watch out world!


SonderConnect's goal is to support women entrepreneurs. Since their launch in April 2016, they have focused on  mentoring  and supporting their founders. The first batch of 13 founders have been mentored consistently over the period of six months. The founders are encouraged to approach SonderConnect even after their graduation from our mentoring program. Over the next few years their goal is to become the ultimate women entrepreneurs support and mentoring group. India being the oasis of startups, we believe there is immense potential for women lead organizations.

Their fearless leader is Lathika Pai, who is a serial entrepreneur and has over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship.  Her team consists of:  Vaishali Kasture, Sejal Shah Gulati, and Anju Shenoy -- all amazing leaders and change makers.   I have dinner with them each and every time I head to India!


Girls in Tech is focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology. Adriana Gascoigne founded GIT in 2007 to create a support framework to help women advance their careers in STEM fields.  GIT has more than 50K members around the world!

Today, GIT aims to accelerate the growth of innovative women entering into the high-tech industry and building startups.  They achieve this through the creation of proprietary, innovative programming and strategic global partnerships.

Today, I met with the new head of GIT Berlin, the fearless  Nakeema Stefflbauer.  She is founder of her startup helping everyone learn how to code, understand architecture, and more.


She is passionate about changing the game in Europe - especially the hub of entrepreneurship Berlin!

Women of the Channel  - Bob Demarzo - Yes, men are supporting this new economy too!


The Women of the Channel connects women in telcom and IT Channels for the purpose of collaborating to grow their businesses, and to support each other with best practices and mentoring.  Bob has his right hand leader -- Allison Hughes -- running the event, but Bob is actively engaged and very supportive.

Our discussion today was around how to help startups in the channel / sales aspects and to ensure that female founders and VCs are well represented!



The Lowe's Difference: My Thoughts From Their Leadership Summit

The Lowe's Difference:

I had the honor of participating in the Lowe’s Leadership Summit.

It all began a story.  And a packed room of amazing women leaders from throughout the world.


Here’s what I took away!

  1. Lowe’s Women’s Diversity is Strong. Did you know when they send the note out about the Women’s Leadership meeting, it would fill up in less than one hour?   They expanded the room this year, and added more people from Canada, India, and beyond.   They mean business. They are amazing women!
  2. Leadership matters. Robert Niblock, their CEO, stayed the entire meeting.  He didn’t sneak away for calls or meetings and truly participated.   Women’s leadership at Lowe’s is important to him.   Jennifer Weber, the CHRO, of Lowe’s led the meeting and participated the entire time.   This participation showed me that Lowe’s knows that diversity matters.   It is not just a nice to have.

img_73653.  Inspirational Takeaways from Amy Cuddy, Alison Levine and Kristan Seaford

  • Success isn’t always about going up, sometimes it goes up, down and sideways – embrace and learn – Alison Levine
  • Hope can change lives and business – Never give up – Kristan Seaford


  • Feedback is free. Growth is optional.   Anna Marie Chavez
  • The Power Pose is backed up with real data. Make the change – Amy Cuddy


4.   Startups + Enterprise = Innovation and it is alive and well at Lowe’s. Lowe’s Innovation Lab’s is all about disruptive technologies, including shipping a 3D printer to the International Space Station to help astronauts print parts and tools on demand. They also developed the Holoroom, a VR headset to help shoppers visualize bathroom and kitchen improvements. The Woman of Lowe’s have phenomenal ideas that can help innovate Lowe’s into the next generation.


5.  Have common values and goals. The key to making any relationship work is to have a common vision as the foundation. The entire day was based on the value based structure of Lowe’s.

  1. Be a part of something bigger
  2. Make a difference in somebody’s life every day
  3. Listen intently, sense and respond
  4. Be who we say we are
  5. Give your best always

My Summary

My favorite quote is “Tell me the facts and I’ll believe, but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever!”.   This Summit for Leadership and Innovation was a set of stories that will live in my heart forever.  From Jennifer’s opening, to Robert – the CEO – stories about each of the values, this conference was a driver to more innovative approaches through diversity of thought.

Dads of Daughters - Secret Weapon for Changes in STEM

Diversity Drives Innovation

Diversity drives innovation.  According to HBR, employees of firms with diversity are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.  But companies have driven for this goal for a while attempting to do the same things to make change.   Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity.

And change is needed.  While over 50% of today’s consumer purchases are made by women, where products are designed and funded, women are underrepresented.   Only 6% of venture capitalists and 16% of founders and their teams are women today.

What should we do differently to drive a change?

Women have been supporting each other since the early days of quilting circles to lean in circles from Sheryl Sandburg.  And while these groups are important and valuable (I am on the board of Girls in Tech, and WITI as well as on the advisory board of GSV Reboot), we need to do some things differently  to drive change.  To move to the next phase of driving more women into leadership roles in enterprise, startups and venture capitalists, we need women and men working to change structural circles by co creating together.


Dads of Daughters - Secret Weapon for Diversity in STEM

I have successfully run diversity groups in large organizations.  Companies often ask me the secret of the success and while there are a few, one of the biggest was bringing in dads with daughters to play a role.    Why?

Every movement must have a personal passion.   Dads of daughters have the passion for making progress as they do not want their daughters to face what women today face.   Daughters encouraged by their dads are twice as likely to graduate from high school, and score higher on STEM subjects.


By having dads of daughters and women and girls coding, designing, and disrupting around healthcare, safety, wearables, financial services, and more, we can showcase talent to corporations and startups, and really start the movement of change.   I have dads of daughters in the advisory board positions of diversity groups and on my teams.

For one project, I carefully selected my partner in the work effort based on his background.    He was a dad with a daughter.   Once I explained our work to hire more diverse candidates in tech, he got it intellectually but more importantly, he got it emotionally.  He did not want his daughter earning less or not feeling included just because she was a woman.   Winning his mind and his heart showed in his passion and preparedness for our meetings.

If a startup begins with 10 people and 3 of them are women, the ratio as the company grows remains the same.   We are going to fix the gender diversity epidemic in Silicon Valley engaging 100% of the population.   We know that gender diverse companies outperform those who aren’ it isn’t charity.  And we know if at least 3 of the first 10 folks in a company are women, it will mean hundreds more women when the company hits 1000 employees.

DoDs:  Dads of Daughters
So what do you do?  If you are a start-up, start early hiring a diverse and talented team.   If you are an enterprise,  engage dads of daughters in your efforts for inclusion, hiring, and promotion.   You will be surprised at how much having 100% of the team on the field makes a difference!

Women Rock! Paper Scissors! TedX Talk!