Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector. 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 Eleanor Haas, Managing Director of The Calyx Group, which, for more than 25 years, has helped both early stage and Fortune 500 companies to achieve sustainable growth primarily in B2B services related to technology, publishing and information services, financial services and marketing services, by helping those companies to develop successful new revenue streams, new products, new customers and new businesses.
What was/is the biggest challenge facing you as a female entrepreneur?
Being taken seriously. “Why would you want to worry your pretty little head about that?” said one fellow pro at a conference.
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurship in New York?
Stop talking about problems and celebrate not just successes but leadership in innovation.
What is being done that you like presently?
Women themselves are taking themselves more seriously – thinking big. A few years ago, their businesses were trivial. Now it’s another story. They’re increasingly part of all the accelerators and incubators. 37 Angels is training women investors, building a community of women investors and helping to fund startups, many of which have women in leadership roles. Astia is building a community of investors, both men and women, that funds companies with women in a C-role. Springboard and Astia are both providing important outreach for women investors.
Are you involved in any organizations that help to promote female entrepreneurship? Or, do you do anything personally to help promote women in technology?
Mentoring at random. Coaching Astia presenters.
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?
No way. “Work/life balance issue” is so passé. It’s just a question of underlying assumption that women are inferior to men, can this entrepreneur in fact deliver.
Do you think that women in top roles at major tech companies are scrutinized more closely than their male counterparts?
Of course – the underlying cultural assumption that we are inferior to men means we have to outperform men to be considered equal.
Do you have a hero and if so, who is it?
Eleanor of Acquitaine and Elizabeth I were amazing innovators at a time when women literally had no power.
Where do you and your company fit into the ecosystem?
We help women entrepreneurs to outperform themselves and others – to succeed with planning, fund-raising, revenue-generation, branding and other key areas. We are developing a concept to celebrate women innovators.