Friday, May 15, 2015

#ChoosePossibility Project

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy's open letter on tech was posted at blog Re/Code encouraging women and the media to steer the dialogue toward the “missing perspective on women in tech.”

The posting is noteworthy because it finally says what younger women have been trying to tell us for the past few years: "Stop giving us the old song and dance about 'the dearth' of women in a profession and about 'how few women in leadership' there are. Start showing us the role models, the innovators, the intrepid women entrepreneurs and investors who ARE making a difference in today's marketplace."

So, of course, the editors of the LA Times once again contract for YET ANOTHER article focused on 'the dearth', ''how few', and those favorite bogey-men 'bias', 'prejudice', and 'discrimination'. For shame, Tracey Lien!

Go directly to the Singh Cassidy posting because you will see the names of a host of impressive women in leadership today - something we could be writing about.  Something we should be writing about. And something that I have written about in each of my three books. See:

#ChoosePossibility Project

LA Times: In Open Letter, Female Founders Push for Positive Women-In-Tech Stories by Tracey Lien, May 15, 2015 p. 1.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Center for Women in Leadership

Congratulations go to Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, professor at the Graziadio School of Business of Pepperdine University on the formation of the Center for Women in Leadership, there, and for winning an award of $149,000 from the Waves of Innovation II for the pilot program development. I read about your work in today's LA Times, "Getting Women to Lead."


HopSkipDrive is a ride service for kids (and potentially for seniors) designed to take some of the stress out of scheduling a family's busy life. It was created by three moms who understand the struggle of getting kids around town safely.
  • Joanna McFarland, co-founder and CEO, has an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Carolyn Yashira Becher, co-founder and COO, has a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley and a JD from UCLA School of Law.
  • Janelle McGlothlin, co-founder and CMO, has a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Strategic Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Altogether, they have eight kids they tool around to school and events, providing the women  with great personal experience with "the pain" or problem that HopSkipDrive was designed to address. The web site was created in March 2014. The business was established as a Delaware corporation in August 2014 and is based in South Pasadena, CA.

Every HopSkipDrive driver is vetted by a 15 point certification process which includes a minimum age of 23 years, 5 years' experience with some form of childcare service, clean background check, clean references (which are actually checked), and a car at least of the model year 2005. The company has an estimated 100 drivers to date. Each driver's vehicle is required to go through an annual 19-point inspection by a certified mechanic. HopSkipDrive provides insurance coverage that specifically covers kids.

HopSkipDrive's minimum fare is $20/ride. They offer packages for as few as 5 rides ($95 or $19/ride) to 50 rides ($600 or $12/ride). There is a 30 mile limit on trip length without prior arrangements. Trips can be scheduled anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks in advance. The password security, sign-in/out, and other driver and rider "rules" provide assurances that "only a Mother could love" -- or any parent or responsible adult for that matter.

HopSkipDrive's service area currently is focused on the San Gabriel Valley/East LA market around their South Pasadena base.  Expansion plans have not been revealed. Nor is it known whether or how much the company may have received from angel investors. Contact information on the site, as is often the case with women-owned businesses, is limited to the generic phone number to the support team at 1-844-HOP-SKIP. The company appears not to have a board of director or advisors at this point.

Shuddle is another kids/seniors driver service serving the San Francisco market area currently with about 200 drivers (most of whom are women). Founded by Nick Allen (previously founder of SideCar, another on-demand driving service) with $9.6 M in venture funding from RRE Ventures (Steve Schlafman, Principal) and another $2.4 M from Comcast Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, and Accel Partners.

Bloomberg lists Allen as COO, Treasurer and board member. Rodrigo Prodencio is a co-founder, CEO and chairman, while Kirstin Greene (founder of Forerunner Ventures) is a board member.

These firms represent a unique example of women founders, women investors, women drivers, focused on addressing difficult challenges faced dominantly by the women's marketplace. How they grow and succeed will be another new and unique story to be told.