FIRST THOUGHT: Investing in Diversity
Plenty of attention is paid to the white tech guys in gray hoodies and the old men in the corner offices who run everything. At On The Dot, we’re committed to telling diverse stories and empowering women to break down barriers. And part of breaking down barriers includes embracing insight from all sorts of people.
Learning about and surrounding ourselves with people who are different than us, have a different background or a different skin tone, or haven’t followed the same path as us provides a new perspective and a little enlightenment, makes us more well-rounded and often fills us with inspiration.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 8
There’s a reason why I mentioned those tech dudes: They seem to be everywhere. From the looks of news stories and Twitter trends, you’d think men run Silicon Valley. Maybe they do—for the moment!—but it isn’t because women aren’t pushing the envelope.
In fact, eight high-profile women in Silicon Valley recently launched a program called Project Include to prove it. Project Include tracks and measures diversity in the technology sector. While some tech companies may say they have a plan to create a more inclusive work environment, often, such plans move at a snail’s pace and change lags. The women of Project Include have defined what an inclusive culture actually is, created a set of customizable recommendations for tech companies and can help measure their long-term progress toward truly diversifying staff. Now tech companies have no excuses!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Anjula Acharia-Bath, Partner and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Trinity Ventures
Anjula Acharia-Bath is no stranger to adversity. Growing up Indian in a suburb outside of London, she looked different than most of the other kids, who didn’t let her forget it. Her neighbors often used a derogatory term to describe her skin tone, and at school dances, boys refused to hold her hand. But radiant and resilient, Anjula took the path toward self-acceptance, and she turned her childhood hardship into a powerful and positive life mission.
A unique entrepreneur, Anjula has worked at tech startups and in venture capital, been an investor in a health-focused company, an advisor to a fitness startup and even started her own diversity-focused entertainment business. As a seasoned entrepreneur herself, she now spends her days investing in other women entrepreneurs and working to create greater diversity in the tech world as a partner and the entrepreneur-in-residence at venture-capital firm Trinity Partners.
From Silicon Valley to Hollywood and all the way to Bollywood, Anjula has made her mark. Prior to her work with Trinity Partners, she and her husband started a multi-platform entertainment company called Desi Hits that worked to create global diversity in the pop-culture world. Within weeks, the Desi Hits music podcast was downloaded a quarter of a million times!
These days, the company has backers like the founder of Interscope Records, and works with big brands, like Beats By Dre, the headphones business acquired by Apple for more than $3 billion. Desi Hits also successfully introduced artists like Lady Gaga to the hard-to-crack market of India. But when it comes to the entertainment world, Anjula is most devoted to Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, whose career she helped launch in the United States.
Anjula sees the power of creating a global culture that embraces a diversity of ideas. And throughout the course of her career, she has invested in women’s startups, one of the most well known of which is ClassPass, the successful workout subscription app. A dedicated philanthropist, she also sits on the advisory board for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, which funds health, education, safety and leadership programs that help girls in developing countries.
There’s no stopping Anjula and her mission to support women and women-run businesses throughout the world!
QUITE THE QUOTE
I’ll leave you today with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. She said:
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.