CAN YOU BE A THOUGHT LEADER ABOUT THOUGHT LEADERSHIP?
After an early career in technology, I co-founded a trade association for women entrepreneurs with some friends from business school. Over the next ten years, we grew the organization, then called the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), from one office in Silicon Valley to Seattle, LA, Boulder, and beyond. During that time, I also co-founded the first venture capital conference for women entrepreneurs, Springboard, which has led to over $9B in funding for women founded and women-led companies.
Through my roles with FWE and Springboard, I had the bully pulpit to advocate for increased venture financing for women and to foster an ecosystem in support of women entrepreneurs. Utilizing a variety of thought leadership strategies — speaking, media, convening, building a community — and a lot of serendipity, we saw some real progress along the way.
Fast forward a few years, I had the opportunity to take what I learned and begin to coach and consult with other leaders on their journey to become thought leaders. This led me to research thought leadership, write a best-selling book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, about the 7 steps from leader to thought leader and begin to speak widely on the topic. Over time, this opened the door to speaking invitations at major companies, conferences and universities and then teaching thought leadership as a Lecturer at Stanford Business School. I continue to coach aspiring thought leaders and thought-leading companies.
I believe that thought leadership is one of the very best mindsets and skillsets for individuals and companies that want to be trusted as change agents and transformational leaders in their industries.
As the CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, I work with leaders and their teams to accelerate their journey from leader to thought leader. I am the author of the best-selling guide Ready to Be a Thought Leader? (Wiley) and I have two popular courses on thought leadership for individuals and organizations on LinkedIn Learning. I also co-taught the first course at Stanford Business School on thought leadership with JD Schramm. Over the last twenty years, I have had the privilege of speaking before tens of thousands of people worldwide, at companies, conferences, and organizations.
A Wellesley graduate with a Stanford MBA, I began my career in the technology industry at companies like Motorola and Broderbund Software. I then co-founded and was CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). I grew FWE (now Watermark/Upward) into the country’s leading organization for women-led high-growth start-ups.
With Amy Millman, I co-founded Springboard, the prestigious women’s startup launchpad that has led to over $10 billion in funding for women entrepreneurs. I also co-founded and served as President of Invent Your Future Enterprises and co-created the Invent Your Future Conference.
I served on many for-profit and non-profit boards, including TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, the Northern California Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, and the Wellesley Business Leadership Council. I am a long-time advocate for choice, raising money and serving on the boards/leadership councils for NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and served as a Board Member of 416 Holdings, a for-profit company formed to increase the financial self-sufficiency of Planned Parenthood affiliates. I also served on the advisory board of Aspira Women’s Health (a public company).
Over the years, I have been honored to have my work recognized including as a Champion of Change by the White House. The Silicon Valley Business Journal also honored me among their Top 100 Women of Influence.
Community and Board Service
I serve on the board of TheatreWorks, the Tony award winning Bay Area theater. I am a member and past board member of the Northern California Chapter of the International Women’s Forum and a member and past Chair of the Wellesley Business Leadership Council. I am a long-time advocate for choice. I served as Chair of the Leadership Council of NARAL Pro-Choice America and previously served as Chair of the Advocates Board of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and as a Board Member of 416 Holdings, a for-profit company formed to increase the financial self-sufficiency of Planned Parenthood affiliates. I also served on the advisory board of several start-ups including Kokko, Inc., The GUILD, and Aspira Women’s Health and as an advisor to Watermark, Invent Your Future Enterprises, and Springboard.
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