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March 1, 2016

Guest Post from Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, Founder of See Jane Invest and Moderator, Speak Up for Financing Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

 

I’m an angel investor, which means companies directly ask for my money. Because I work with angel investing groups, I choose among entrepreneurs who have made it through a tough selection process. They present their ideas to me and my colleagues at monthly pitch meetings hoping to secure sizable checks.

 

Kelly Keenan Trumpbour - Moderator, Speak Up for Financing Panel

Frequently, I am the only female investor in the room. The majority of companies pitching us have zero women founders in the mix. That’s changing, and I’m happy to report seeing more and more women at the helm of great ideas. I’ve been privileged to see suburb pitches from women founders who are on fire, and I am left with the unenviable task of choosing among them.

 

And yet, more often than I would like, when other female-founded companies are in front of me, the person telling me about it isn’t always the woman who created it. It’s often a guy.

 

Can I tell you how often I see a woman founder’s picture in a company’s slideshow, but the woman herself is not in the room with me? Do you know how many times women co-founders take a seat in the back of the room, ready and available for our follow-up questions, but they are not running the presentation?

 

It makes me want to rewrite the Tammy Wynette classic and belt from the top of my lungs, “STAND BY YOUR IDEA!! (twang twang twang) . . . . And show the world you love it!”

 

Ladies . . . LADIES!!! Just give me one other example, anywhere in your life, where you hand the microphone to a guy so he can explain your thought process about something you care so very deeply about.

 

Because I don’t hear random guys saying things like, “Well Bob, Ella went vegan in college because she believes in a cruelty free, sustainable food model, which is why she’s hoping you will offer her tofu from now on!” Or, “You know what Ron, that’s a great question. Does Tanya want to get married someday? I think the important question here is does she want to get married to you. And while we are so delighted by your interest, I think you can see that her brand will need to hold out for more.”

 

I know what you put into these companies. Many of you have maxed out credit cards, taken out another mortgage on a house, skipped sleep, ignored friends and exasperated family members. And then your team comes to pitch me and I don’t see you at the front of the room telling me why it is all (still) worth it.

 

And I think I know why. It’s not necessarily a lack of confidence or self-esteem. I think it’s because you care so very much about your idea that you want to entrust its communication to the very best possible messenger. If you are going to walk into a room full of mostly male investors, why not offer them your male co-founder? It’s smart. Like can attract like. But it’s also safe, and it bets against you being the best possible messenger.

 

If you have made it far enough as an entrepreneur to pitch me, you have found a way to live with risk. Maybe it’s never become what you might call comfy (and it never will), but like a decent roommate, you’re familiar enough with its rhythms to sleep a few hours most nights.

 

If you have enough of the gambler in you to put tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars behind your concept, risk a steady paycheck somewhere else, and cash in every favor for one shot at the gold ring, why not bet on your voice being the best voice?

 

Your job as the startup founder will always be far more difficult than my job as an investor. I don’t envy the strain you volunteer for, even if I admire your tenacity. But when I invest, I invest only in women-owned companies. I’m quite public about that. It’s on my websites, my social media pages, and my business cards. Two minutes into a conversation with me, and you will know I invest in women-led startups. Why? Because it matters to me that other people see and hear about an angel investor who expects women to be as present as men in the startup industry.

 

In putting my money where my mouth is, I’m hoping to model the change you need to get more investment. To get my investment, I need you to speak up and stand by your idea.

 

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!


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March 1, 2016

Guest Post from Jeanne Sullivan, Co-Founder of StarVest Partners and Panelist, Speak Up for Financing Panel at the Speak Up Women Conference

 

Three important places where your VOICE really counts:

 

  • In the Workplace:

This past year I was invited to deliver a TEDx for Barnard College. I am a Barnard Entrepreneur Fellow and this platform was one of the privileges. My theme was exactly the title of this post today. Here is why this title is so important to me – Women need to learn to find their voice and use it. How appropriate that this gathering is the Speak Up Women Conference.

In my TEDx talk, I used this theme related to dealing with Bullies, Bozos and Buffoons in the workplace. As anyone knows or has worked for more than month for a company an organization or firm, these people are everywhere (unfortunately). The approach that works best is to find one’s voice with these hard-to-deal-with people. Bosses, colleagues, customers, vendors and more. I believe the more effective approach is to use humor which often works to disarm the offender. I know one thing that does NOT work – and that is remaining silent and boiling over with anger and resentment.

 

  • When selling your idea, product or service:

 

Hone your ability to “sell” your idea, product or service.

I am a long-time venture capital investor and now Angel investor and advisor.  I am amazed that CEOs often cannot package their “story”.

Sullivan, Jeanne HeadshotYes…” story” is the operative word – I want you to tell me the genesis of your company – how you will execute and your plans and vision to build it big. How will you scale your business? Tell me about the “Business of the Business”. Don’t just fall in love with your product or tell me about the features and functions. Tell me about the channels where you plan sell this product or service. Lay out your marketing plan. Describe yourself as CEO and your team and track record. Lay out the financials around the business – how much capital you will require over time and your milestones.

Of course, investors want to hear about your product or service. But entrepreneurs need to remember that the primary goal of an investor is to make money – and they want to hear how you plan to make that money from their investment. And speaking of financials – Know your financials an I mean cold!”

 

Ladies – most of us are BAD at this but “You can learn this stuff”.

 

Get a finance professional at your side who can teach you. Let others show you how to understand the numbers and bring them to the meeting. When the snarky angel or VC says ‘What are the gross margins?’ And you have a blank look on your face, guess what? You got the first meeting, but you won’t get the second.”

 

“Investors want you to be stewards of their money.”

 

In an organization, these lessons are equally important. Imagine that you have a new idea or product for your line of business or company. Again, when packaging your idea – think about how to be most effective in presenting this innovation, new process or product. These are the stepping stones toward success for yourself and for the business.

 

  • Your Patter:

 

A talented PR person helped me along the way with this one.   Someone asks you to introduce yourself at a meeting, a party, a job interview. Package yourself with a few short phrases that …tells your story. Just start listening to others and you will quickly see the difference between doing this well or not.

 

Finding One’s Voice –

And…this discussion is part of the journey of life! It takes time and continuous practice in many settings to learn to be articulate – find one’s voice – to be packaged! I am always amazed and in awe of the young, articulate people who do this well. We can learn from each other – I am still learning every day.

 

I look forward to meeting you at the Speak Up Women Conference on March 5th at the United Nations and hearing about your experience!

 

Link with me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeannemsullivan

Connect with me: @Gianna212

 


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February 22, 2016

What’s different about the Speak Up Women Conference?

We all want to go to events for different reasons. Some want to go to meet others. Some want to go because of the topic or to hear the speaker being featured. Others want to go because there is a chance to network in a great location or over great food or wine.

Here are the top 5 experiences you don’t want to miss at the Speak Up Women Conference at the UN on March 5th:

 

1) The Caliber of Women You’ll Get to Connect With

The women who attend the Speak Up Women Conference are  individuals who are committed to making a difference in the world by using their voices to build better businesses, communities and lives. They invest their greatest assets – their time, money, energy and efforts – to be around others who are doing all they can to create a better, bolder world for others…and themselves. They know great things happen at events at the United Nations, a different caliber location for such an auspicious opportunity.

They also know that it’s worth it to invest their time here among like-minded women who are truly moving and shaking the world.

If these are the people you have been looking to be in the same room with, then make sure you are in the room at the Speak Up Women Conference.

 

2) The Featured Topics of Discussion at a Single Event

In just one day at this one event, the Speak Up Women Conference, you will find yourself in conversations with other motivated, courageous, and inspiring women about speaking up in business, for money you need to grow your business and dreams, in your home, in your personal relationships with family and friends, and in your community – not to mention the keynote conversations about the impact speaking up can have when you are courageous enough to do it.

In order to cover all of the topics we will be discussing at the Speak Up Women Conference, you would have to pay for and attend at least 5 different conferences, including 5 different locations and associated travel and accommodations as well as time away from your family, friends and weekend commitments, not to mention childcare considerations and more.

 

3) Don’t Just Get a Book; Meet the Author and Get It Signed

At the Speak Up Women Conference, you won’t just buy a book. You can do that at home. You will have the unique pleasure and chance to meet and talk with the author as she signs your book.

Whether it is Victoria Moran, Laura Day, Judy Goss, Laura Fredricks, Michelle Tillis Lederman, Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, or any of our other powerful speakers, this is your opportunity to meet them in person, have your book personally signed, and take home not just a book, but the experience of meeting each one of them.

 

4) Time to Meet Fellow Attendees

The Speak Up Women Conference doesn’t only give you time to meet the phenomenal speakers appearing at the event, it also provides you with time during breakfast, lunch and the after-party to connect with fellow attendees. You never know who you are going to meet at an event like this.

With the type of women attending, you may just meet the one person who could be that game changer for you and your endeavors, business and interests.

5) Special Guest Appearance by Jillian Manus – At the Speak Up Women Conference, you won’t just eat lunch. Jillian Manus will be joining us to share her remarks about speaking up, why it is important and how it does make an impact.

Why should this make a difference for you? Not sure who Jillian Manus is or why you would want to listen to her?

Website Manus, Jillian

Jillian Manus is a presently a Managing Partner of Structure VC, a Silicon Valley early-stage venture capital firm providing capital and brand strategy to tech companies focused on creating value in under utilized assets and excess capacity. Structure is the Architects of the Zero Waste Economy. Prior to SC, Jillian has had a multifaceted career as co-director of M & A for Credit Suisse in Zurich, Director of Development for Universal and Warner Bros Studios, TV agent for ICM, Associate Publisher of Upside Magazine. She is the founder of 3 companies, Global Goal Sports Management, Manus Media & Literary Agency and Broad Strategy, a brand acceleration and investment company.

She attended Oxford University and NYU where she served on the board of Trustees. Ms. Manus is a highly regarded public speaker, providing political and business commentary in both print and television, including Bloomberg News, Hardball and Fox News.

Jillian sits on numerous corporate and philanthropic boards including Box.org, Center for Investigative Reporting, Duke Engage National, Hyp3r, Iggbo, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Communities in Schools and College Track. She served seven years as Chair of The Woman’s Conference where she joined Maria Shriver to create the largest women’s conference in the world; 15,700 women STRONG.

As an active philanthropist, she created the Manus Family Foundation whose mission is “to create paths of safety and self-sufficiency for women and children.” The two primary levers of investment for her are education and health. Jillian was recently selected by the San Francisco Business Times as a 2016 honoree for the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business.

 

Jillian speaks up and has spoken up in all the areas of her life that we will be discussing during the Speak Up Women Conference. This is your opportunity to not just be in the room with her, but to hear what she has to say about why speaking up has made huge difference for her in her life – in business, in her community, and for herself.

 

So don’t miss the Speak Up Women Conference! Time is running out and so are our limited number of seats!

 

Haven’t purchased your ticket yet? The Speak Up Women Conference at the United Nations is on March 5th. Time is running out! Don’t miss out on this elite experience to raise your game, and your life, to the next level by learning how to really speak up and make an impact.