Closing Keynote with Liberty Mutual & The Responsibility Project: Doing the Right Thing


Lisa Stone: Emcee

Kathryn Finney, The Budget Fashionista
Telle Whitney, Anita Borg
Jory Des Jardins
Jen Shelby, Astia
Deborah Jackson, Women Innovate Mobile
Angie Chang, Women 2.0, AC
Angela Benton Black, Web Media, AB

Lisa: Putting biz in context of our real lives. I have a Brady Bunch with Christopher Carfi. Three kids 11, 16 and 24. Why does this matter in the context of business? Elisa, Jory and I bootstrapped for two years and then decided to raise VC, I had opportunity to do the wrong thing. VCs insisted we pick a CEO and decided how we were to split founder's stock. VCs want hierarchy but we decided we would remain equal partners and I try to raise my kids that way - not to allow outside forces to impose hierarchy so it's how I do the right thing.

Kathryn will give examples of how she does the right thing.

Kathryn Finney

Kathryn: We are used to doing the right thing by others and not by ourselves. Started The Budget Fashionistaand felt myself doing everything for everyone else but not for Kathryn. End of 2011 set a challenge for myself. I would be a Michael Phelps level world class swimmer. I had to make changes in my life to right by myself.

Hair is an emotional experience for many women but couldn't maintain and be a swimmer. So I cut off all my hair. There are wigs, wraps weaves. If I want the hair back I can buy some. Taking a test next week to become a certified life guard. By doing right by myself I'm better in my biz and as a wife, friend, sister.

Telle: 2002 took a break from Valuable Technologies, head of engineers. Took 6 mo off. Then started some consulting. Worked in engineering focused world with few women. One was Anita Borg. Said "I will help you." I had biz experience, easy to do. Then she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her org was floundering. My whole identity was as technologist. Wasn't ready to say I'll really help. Husband said "you wont do this?" Board begged for my help but went against my core identity. Then I decided I would help. And we grew the business - grow a non-profit same way you grow a for profit - so you'll have more impact. Women come to our conferences and say "you changed my life" Almost missed the opportunity because I didn't look hard enough at what is the right thing.

Jory: Always had a game plan, A B C D. Always looking to the next job, next plan. I got into blogging while I was in a job I didn't plan to keep. It wasn't a good time to leave my job, dot com bust, lucky to have a job, supporting boyfriend in grad school. But loved it and was passionate so I quit my job with not plan - total leap of faith. Woke up and said "something will happen" and met Elisa and Lisa so now I follow my gut. Moment we knew it was right to move BlogHer to building a business was when we knew we built something significant and we could build the idea better than anyone else and trusting that we would find the resources. That was the right moment for BlogHer.

Deborah: Tend to go to many male dominated investment conference - awestruck by energy in this room.

Women who found companies and are successful, listen to their own voice. You are all amazing.

Great to have an hour to talk to one entrepreneur. Often only get 2-3 minutes to talk to an entrepreneur or hear about a company.

WIM first women oriented incubator. Founded first company with 5 women from Goldman Sachs - boutique investment firm. 6 equal partners - hard to make decisions. Learned it is important to have clear decision making structure.

Then moved into healthcare technology. And then decided to focus on investing in women. Golden Seeds #3 angel investing group in country. Women who invest in women-founded companies. Then decided I want to have a company. Friends and family said "you're too old - relax" I didn't have an idea but I wanted to have a company. Thought I would go out there and find things to work on. Then realized there needed to be an accelerator. Found two other great women who also wanted to start an accelerator.

Looked at Y Combinator, Tech Stars, others. Very few women going through their programs. Launched WIM in December. Knew it was the right thing when out of nowhere we got press coverage without aggressively marketing. Took applications - 1. Female founded company 2. Have something in the mobile space. Got 140 applications.

Picked top 4. We are a start up so have small first class. They start on Monday. Giving each company $18K for 3 months. 80 different mentors.

Important to communicate your information with charts and graphs. March article in Fast Company about network/alumni of Y Combinator. A bunch of dudes and graphics and lines showing how they were connected. Old boy network 2012. So we mapped out our network. Women don't realize powerful networks they have until they plot them out.

Everyone you are connected to has opportunity to be a mentor, investor, adviser...

Suggest people who you think should be part of a class. We are looking to grow. Tools are available to women to create wealth and take over the world!

Next application deadline September 30.

Angie: EIC of Women 2.0. When first working after graduation it seemed most companies had 99 men and 1 woman. Media company to inspire and connect women.

We have startup weekends/hackathons. Can walk in with an idea and leave with a working prototype. Can try on being a founder.

Founder Friday networking events for women entrepreneurs in seven cities. @FounderFriday on Twitter

Jen: How Astia looks at the Entrepreneur Life Cycle:

1. Opportunity/Discovery
2. Commercialization
3. Start-Up
4. Growth
5. Exit
6. Leadership (serve on board, become investor)

Astia focus on 3, 4 - helping with relationship building

Our goal is to not exist in ten years.

Get to know each other. Every time you meet someone ask for something.

Next round of applications in June.

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[Editor's note: The transcript above reflects what the liveblogger heard, to the best of her ability, but is not a verbatim transcript of the session. As such, it may contain abbreviations or paraphrases.]