Knowledge sharing is the single most important act that has to happen for women in Silicon Valley.
When you hear panel moderator Christina Farr of VentureBeat say that at times she’s hesitant to write about women led companies because of the comments she receives from angry readers, you know there’s a problem here.
That being said, things are changing as more venues are provided for women to talk about how they got to where they are. BoxWorks, the enterprise software customer conference that took place earlier this week, provided this venue.
There are very few panels at enterprise software conferences devoted strictly to women. There are even less with the phrase “wonder woman” in the title. The panel was called “Wonder Woman” on the “secrets of Silicon Valley track”:
"Women own 40% of America’s private businesses, and kick-ass females are driving Silicon Valley to new heights. Get their unique insights on technology, leadership and life in the world’s innovation capitol."
The panel included Karen Appleton a VP of Business Development at Box, Dawn Lepore the former Chairman and CEO of Drugstore.com, Ellen Levy, Managing Director at Silicon Valley Connect, and Dana Evan, Former CFO and EVP of Verisign.
The panel offered up many suggestions for overcoming the challenges of being in a male dominated world.
From left to right: Karen Appleton, Ellen Levy, Dawn Lepore, Dana Evan
1. Don’t gender discriminate when it comes to mentors
When Dawn Lepore was CIO of Charles Schwab Steve Jobs was her mentor, but he didn’t know it. Lepore would have calls with CEOs of major companies and she would ask that the call be one hour -- they would each get 30 minutes to direct the conversation. Lepore would answer questions about Charles Schwab IT for 30 minutes. For the other 30 minutes she would ask leadership questions. Multiple people on the panel mentioned when they were coming up the ranks there were no women, so they turned to male mentors for guidance and support.
2. Ignore the Nonsense
Growing up in a house with a mom who was a PhD in Math at Stanford and also had 5 kids, Dana Evan grew up with the notion that there wasn’t anything she couldn’t accomplish. Fast forward a few years, Evan is the top sales executive at Netscape. However it wasn’t always a walk in the park.