Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector, be it as investors (or associates), founders or in management positions at major companies. Is the problem the old boys network – or that success in technology is seen as a young man’s game? In this series, we speak with some of the top industry women in New York as they discuss the challenges they face, the perceptions that need to be changed and the work that’s being done – or not – to help to promote women in tech.
Today we hear from Gotham Gal Joanne Wilson, angel investor, blogger, Co-Founder of the Womens Entrepreneur Festival and yes, ok, wife of Fred.
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurship in New York?
Women should be supporting women. It is not easy to be an entrepreneur, period. It is a hard uphill climb and the risk/reward ratio is high. Women who have already made an uphill climb in any aspect of their careers should support other women who are coming up from behind.
What is being done that you like presently?
I am proud of the Womens Entrepreneur Festival that I put on with Nancy Hechinger at the ITP division of NYU. It is a true woman fest and through that mentors are made, relationships are formed and women leave the event feeling empowered and confident.
Are you involved in any organizations that help to promote female entrepreneurship?
I am a big supporter of female entrepreneurs. I am an angel investor and out of my portfolio almost 70% of the investments that I have made are behind women entrepreneurs. I also write a Monday blog post high lighting Women Entrepreneurs. I also am the co-founder of the Womens Entrepreneur Festival.
Do you feel investors have a different mindset when it comes to investing in a woman-run company? For example, does the work/life balance issue come up?
There is no question that it is not easy for some people to get comfortable with the work/life balance that women are trying to achieve. Many times male investors have a hard time understanding what women are attempting to build. Many women build businesses that fill voids in their own lives. Yet at the end of the day, if you have the numbers and the eyeballs, the right investors (the means the people you want to work with) will be there to invest.
Do you think that women in top roles at major tech companies are scrutinized more closely than their male counterparts?
If you do your job, then that is all that counts and you will be rewarded. Many times I think it is other women who are more judgmental about women in top roles at any company.
Where do you and your company fit into the ecosystem?
I am an investor, a supporter and a mentor to women.