Women In Comms

WiCipedia: From military life to startup founder

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Non-profit Girls in Tech launches a jobs board; making the transition from situation room to board room; ushering in a new tech agenda in the White House; and more.

  • If you're wondering which industries are even more difficult for women than tech, look no further than the military, which comprises just 10% women. Forbes recently wrote about one veteran, Roxanne Bras Petraeus, who transitioned from the military to being a startup founder. Roxanne is now the founder and CEO of Ethena, a company that works on corporate training programs for the prevention of sexual harassment, and she sees a career as an entrepreneur as fairly natural for those coming from the military. Moreover, as an extreme minority in service, she knows a thing or two about harassment. As another female vet tells it, "I recall uncomfortable mandatory training in Officer Basic Course, where sexual harassment actually happens while the sexual harassment training was going on, whether it's through certain looks, explicit remarks or suggestive language. ... I think technology provides an opportunity to make the training more real and more lived." We look forward to seeing how Ethena can change the game, especially as they aim to implement training sessions in military settings in the future. (See WiCipedia: Exclusive networking club affected by racism and pandemic cocktail.)

    If there's anything that can prepare someone for a life as a female startup founder, it's experience in the military. (Source: Pixabay)
    If there's anything that can prepare someone for a life as a female startup founder,
    it's experience in the military.
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • A new microfinancing venture capital fund in South Africa is the country's first Black-woman-owned private equity group for women. Khula Lula, Venture Burn explains, was recently founded by investor Milisa Mabinza and just made its first seed investment to an e-commerce fashion company. While the amount was small by US standards (around $13,000) the action is monumental for South African women and marks the potential beginning of a new era where female founders and investors are able to "address the existing challenges faced by black entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs in securing funding." (See WiCipedia: Mansplaining makes for a sticky situation.)

  • Girls in Tech, the preeminent non-profit organization that aims to introduce technology to girls at a young age, has recently launched a jobs board in order to connect women to new work opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. A press release explains that the jobs board will focus on tech jobs at every level, from intern to exec and from recent college grads to those re-entering the workforce or seeking a career change. "Providing support in hiring, recruitment and job search efforts has always been a priority for Girls in Tech, and today we're taking further action with the launch of the Jobs Board to help address the needs of both job seekers and organizations rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. (See Girls in Tech launches job board.)

  • Wondering how a Biden/Harris presidency could affect the tech industry, and in particular, diversity in tech? ABC News thinks that Silicon Valley and beyond may be in for a pleasant surprise. Not only do reports from tech company founders say that President-elect Biden has listened to their ideas and taken them into consideration, there is also hope that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could be a voice for women and racial minorities in the sector. "It's about innovation and market share that's lost when our leadership teams don't reflect the communities that we serve," said Ahmad Thomas, the new CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. "I know she [Harris] gets it. I know she leads from a place of authenticity." (See WiCipedia: Is Trump going to end diversity training in tech?)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

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