Are you a woman in NYC Tech and interested in participating in this series? Make sure to read the whole article…
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 women in tech 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 Mindie Kaplan, the founder and CEO of Rated VR, a full service VR agency. With 10+ years working in media and branding at Microsoft, Nissan, and Ford, Mindie has been at the forefront of cutting innovation which she brings to Rated VR. Mindie is considered an expert on mixed reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence and she routinely speaks on these subject areas.
Mindie Kaplan of Rated VR
What’s your background and how did you develop your career as a female entrepreneur in the NYC tech ecosystem?
I came from a fairly corporate background and 2 other Startups that provided the foundation to finally take the leap. I had several influences to finally pull the trigger; I used to be in Automotive marketing for Ford & Nissan where I was surrounded by men and a handful of strong women. I’ve never let that hold me back, it actually inspired me even more to stand out. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I saw the grit, promise, excitement, instability and sheer unknown of the lifestyle. I knew that NYC would be the hardest and best place to finally launch my company. It has been a great ride so far and the ecosystem has been extremely supportive already. As for what I stand for in the ecosystem, I definitely have a connector mentality first and foremost. Community plays a huge role as we continue to grow whether it’s bringing on new vendors, clients or even collaborating with peers in the space.
What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?
There are many advantages of being a woman in tech. I’ve found that the community is extremely supportive and ultimately wants to see one another succeed. Another clear advantage is more room to make your mark. When you can disprove the misconceptions of doing business like a woman or a man by being direct and holding your own, people gravitate to that. Being a woman surrounded by men in tech can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it. I find it to be an advantage when we can make our mark not just from a gender prospective, but how we hold court in that environment. More and more, we’re getting a seat at those tables and it’s extremely encouraging to see that progress.
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurs and women in tech in New York?
More female speakers, moderators and representation on advisory boards.
What is diversity to you and do you see it evolving in tech?
I definitely see diversity evolving in tech in many ways. When I first got into the space, diversity as a whole was much harder to come by. Now, I find myself surrounded by many types of creators, doers and visionaries with various backgrounds and abilities.
Why do you think it’s important that women retain, grow, and develop into senior roles within their organizations?
Having women in senior roles is crucial, not just for sake of a quota, but, for the differentiating skills that women possess. The best companies diversify talent with women included at the top to tap into their management styles, leadership abilities, business development skills and mentorship qualities.
How do you see the future of teams and interactions in a diverse environment and what implications will this have?
I see the future of teams as a more well oiled machine with diversified talent. When you have the same team dynamic at the top and on all sides, you tend to get the same results. Diverse teams bring a myriad of prospectives, skills and outcomes. This will bring forward the best ideas, hacks and ultimately…change.
How can women rise in the ecosystem and what are the unseen barriers?
Women can rise in the ecosystem by asking for what they want. This could be an intro, a percentage of a deal, etc. We are typically wired to tiptoe around what we want which doesn’t suit us well in business. It’s a choice to develop and cultivate the skills that will get us out of comfort zones to get the results we want. The biggest unseen barriers are people’s gender misconceptions or generalizations (& our own, actually). The best news is that can easily be proven otherwise.
Please tell us about a few organizations that you are involved with or respect that are promoting women in tech.
SheWorx & Dreamers // Doers. SheWorx: a global collective of ambitious female entrepreneurs redefining leadership. Dreamers // Doers: a high impact community of trailblazing, entrepreneurial women.
What can men do to participate in this discussion?
Men can be a huge asset in this discussion. The more they can surround themselves with women who are contributing to real change, the more collaboration can take place.
The team at AlleyWatch believes it’s important to have an inclusive discussion around the challenges facing women in tech along with highlighting the work of the female entrepreneurs that have made NYC one of the best places for women in tech according to some recent studies. That’s why we are running this series that showcases women in tech in New York.
If you are a female founder in NYC working in tech and interested in participating in the series please visit this link or click on the image above.
Please feel free to pass this on to any women in NYC that you feel should be considered for the series. Thank you.