Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Tech Demo Day NYC hosted by Capital One in partnership with Women Who Code and AngelHack. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Capital One over the last year to spotlight some of their amazing associates and their corporation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, so I was honored to attend their Demo Day. In a nutshell, Women in Tech Demo Day is an opportunity for smart and talented women to come together and pitch their tech-savvy ideas (whether it’s for an app or a web-based destination) to solve specific challenges that women in tech and business face.
This year’s theme was about solving the problem of unconscious bias and gender discrimination, whether it be in the workplace or elsewhere. As someone who primarily operates in the style and beauty industry, it was a refreshing change to be surrounded by so many brilliant tech-focused women. The teams could create projects in advance and use the time during WIT Demo Day to continue working on their ideas and were expected to present their projects to professional judges on pitch day. It was really incredible hearing the different presentations. I literally wanted to download every app – very cool.
One of the most touching parts of the Women in Tech Demo Day was hearing tech start-up founder and current Capital One employee Asmau Ahmed share her experience as a woman of color trying to secure funding for her startup venture Plum Perfect. Her experiences, as she explained, were not unique as many women (and women of color in particular) face these hardships. People just simply don’t believe you’re capable and inherent bias prevents them from taking a risk on you, regardless of how talented and innovative you are. Part of hearing these truths was disheartening. I mean knowing that she literally took her photo off of her LinkedIn profile to get more meetings with investors is a sad but true reality. But on the other hand, it was incredibly empowering to hear that she fought through adversity and eventually secured Series A funding for her idea.
Here’s one of the best takeaways from Asmau’s speech – a list of ways YOU and I can make a difference when it comes to women getting investment funding for their brilliant ideas:
1. Become an investor.
Now this may sound nearly impossible or like a far cry from anything you can do to help women get more funding for their businesses but it’s absolutely not far-fetched. Every time you make a purchase or support a Kickstarter from a women-led businesses, you are inherently making an investment in that business. You’re helping to keep the lights on, or providing raw materials or helping that business develop a new team. Your financial support is so important. If you can do BIG, by all means please do! Find a small company you believe in and pledge your support. But all investments – big or small – help.
2. Advocate for having more women and diversity on boards.
Most of the decisions that are made to invest, from venture capitalist firms, are coming directly from their boards. It’s typically a group of investors and more likely than not, that board is comprised of wealthy white men. Diversity is severely lacking in this arena. Do what you can to be an advocate for more women and people of color being included in the decision-making. The more of us there are making these decisions, the less bias and discrimination.
3. Get the men in your lives to become allies.
This is often underestimated as well. Having strong support from men is really important. At the end of the day, the industry over-indexes in male support and dominance. Once we can change and defy perceptions about what you have to “look like” in order for you to be considered capable, more opportunities will open up.
4. Amplify your voices by helping each other.
This is a BIG ONE. I’m always preaching about the importance of collaboration over competition. Partnership and collaboration is so incredibly important, especially among women. We’re so much stronger as a unit. Asmau made such a great point by stressing that we have to stick together.
5. Never settle. Don’t give up!
This was a great point to end on. At the end of the day, the strides that are being made in various industries, including the tech industry, are being made because there were women (our predecessors) who refused to give up.
Think about how much further my daughter’s generation will be if we push hard enough to open doors for women and girls everywhere NOW. I’m hopeful that with events like Women in Tech Demo Day, more women will get the exposure they need to make substantial changes in this industry. Thanks to Capital One for having me and for pledging their support to such an incredible movement.
Interested in attending WIT Demo Day? They’re headed to D.C next! Click here to register for tickets to attend or to pitch your ideas. Get in FREE with my code: “WITDDwithChristina”
I was invited to attend Women in Tech Demo Day on behalf of Capital One and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company. For more information on Capital One Careers, click here.
Spending the past few days in my Dad’s hometown of Jamaica has really allowed me to reflect on what’s important. While I spend most of my busy days working on this blog, on BabyBrownSugar.com and filling your social media timelines with updates about my crazy life, what really matters most to me is spending quality time and creating amazing experiences with people I love. The Cricket Wireless team, as part of their “Something to Smile About” initiative has asked me to expand on something that makes me smile. Well, being able to spend quality time with good friends & family on the beautiful island of Jamaica this week was definitely something to smile about.
I spent these last few days in Jamaica enjoying the island with a mix of good friends from back home and family in Jamaica that I hadn’t seen in YEARS including my Grandmother (pictured bottom right).
In order for me to enjoy amazing experiences like this, I have to find ways to save while still providing my family with the products and services we need. Brands like Cricket Wireless make that a little easier. They offer affordable, no contract cell phone plans like their 5 for $100 plan that allows for Unlimited Talk, Text & Data (2.5 GB high-speed per line) on 5 phone lines for $100/month (pretty awesome). Makes it easy to save money and still keep in touch with the people you love – something I’m dedicating myself to doing more of.
Enough about me. Cricket Wireless wants to know what YOU guys smile about. They’ve partnered up with everybody’s favorite media powerhouse Queen Latifah for a Twitter chat tonight, Tuesday March 10th from 8PM – 9PM EST. I’ll be participating in the chat as well so of course I want to know something YOU smile about. We’ll be chatting all things family and money-saving tips with the @CricketNation Twitter account that Queen Latifah is taking over.
Have any questions for Queen Latifah? Just tweet me with them @LoveBrownSugar!
I’ll see who I can sweet talk to get them answered for you! See you tonight on Twitter at 8PM EST for the #STSA Twitter Chat with @CricketNation! We’ll be using the hashtags #STSA and #SIGSTSA during the chat tonight so follow along with us!
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Cricket Wireless via Style Influencers Group. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Cricket Wireless or Style Influencers Group.
As we prepare to usher in 2015, there are a few things I’m really excited about that I know will help me have a productive and inspiring year. Though the focus around this time of year is typically on New Year’s resolutions and the “practical” things like a weight loss regimen or a great tax accountant, I’ve rounded up a few fun things that I plan to use in the New Year. Just as important to your life and your daily motivation are the images and things you surround yourself with. I wrote a post not too long ago about 3 Ways to Decorate Your Work Space and emphasized the importance of visual stimulation.
Take a peek at 5 Items Helping Me Prepare for 2015:
1. Pardon My Fro Personalized Notepad
I can’t rave about Pardon My Fro enough. This brand has some of the coolest printed stationary among other dope things. I got this notepad custom made with my name and one of my favorite PMF dolls (called Tinsley – isn’t she fly?) I’m one of those people who has to see things written down in order to process them and to eventually get them done. I know a notepad like this will help me with productivity.
2. A new camera lens for my Canon DSLR
Earlier this year, I posted on Instagram that I was looking to up my photography skills on this here blog. I asked you guys to tag your fave photographers so that I could ask them where to begin. I asked, you answered! The top recommendation via Instagram’s top photogs was for me to upgrade my current camera’s kit lens (the 18-55 mm one that comes standard with an entry level DSLR) by acquiring a 50mm lens.
I finally bought this Canon EF 50mm/f 1.8 one with a gift card I got for Christmas, and I am SO in love. Look out for better picture quality and even more amazing close-ups of my favorite products here on LoveBrownSugar.com.
3. Beats by Dre Headphones
Nothing gets me in the zone like some good hype music. Music can literally change my mood. I also find that I’m way more productive when I have a soundtrack behind me. I was so excited to receive these Beats by Dre Solo 2 headphones in pink for Christmas. They are my favorite color AND some of the best headphones on the market. I’m unstoppable now, obviously.
4. Nate Berkus File Folders
Remember when it was “back to school” time as a child? Most other kids in my class were obsessed with their new sneakers or a new haircut. Me? I was obsessed with my stationary! Folders and binders and pencils – oh my! Back in the day, you weren’t cool if you didn’t have Lisa Frank stationary. Remember that? Anyway, things haven’t changed much since second grade. I have bigger boobs and bills now, but still the same old Christina. It follows, then, that I would be hyped about some decorative file folders I found at Target from the Nate Berkus line. Cannot WAIT to put them to good use.
5. Post-It [BIG PAD]
You all probably know I’m a real stickler for creating vision boards. This one epic year, back in 2011, I created one for myself and it completely changed my life. Every goal I had placed on my board was accomplished in 12 months. It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever experienced! Since then, I’ve been an avid believer. So when I saw this Post-It Big Pad at a recent Staples visit, I just had to grab it. I plan to use it for my own 2015 Vision Board as well as to plan out my monthly inspirations for LoveBrownSugar and BabyBrownSugar. Stay tuned for another post on that whole process right here on LoveBrownSugar.com.
Are you based in/around NYC? If so, join me at the Live Your Dream Tour this upcoming Saturday, January 10th for a live Vision Board party! I will be co-hosting this exciting event with the Live Your Dream team and I hope to meet some of you there!
Click here to purchase tickets!
What inspires you? What items get your inspirational juices flowing when it’s time to work? Leave a comment!
Now that I’m a fly momma to a little princess, everything I do and use in my day-to-day life has to have multiple uses. As a style blogger, having the right gadgets to capture great images while still responding to important business email, is a necessity. Also since I’m a girl on the go who often travels for business (and sometimes pleasure) I need gadgets on hand that serve multiple uses. Enter the line of Intel-powered 2-in-1 tablets. Intel powers intelligent, connected devices that make life simpler. I recently discovered the Intel-powered Dell Venue 11 Pro and so far I’m loving it. Here are three reasons why: