Kathryn Finney: Meet Tech’s Superwoman

May 24 - On The Dot
 
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: What Does It Really Mean to Be Diverse?

Full disclosure: Today’s On the Dot might result in curt comments to your male co-workers about what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world. I can’t assure you that those guys aren’t part of the problem, but I can assure you that by the end of this newsletter, you’ll be inspired to kick some serious butt at work (figuratively, of course).

Diverse teams equal better teams, plain and simple. Sometimes, change can be slow, but with all of our powers combined, we can make it happen. Let’s do this!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 24 Percent

A Wall Street Journal report examined diversity in tech jobs at the top nine tech companies in 2015, and the results are pretty dang depressing. The company with the most female employees is eBay, at 24 percent. Apple is second, with 22 percent female workers, while Intel follows at 20 percent.

An even bigger bummer is that a couple of social-media platforms are the lowest. A measly 16 percent of tech jobs at Facebook are held by women, while Twitter has only 13 percent female employees. To put it in perspective, if you left only 13 percent of a tweet, you’d have about 18 characters. Think about it: That’s pretty hard to work with.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Kathryn Finney, Founder of digital undivided

Kathryn Finney is tech’s superwoman. She’s firing on all cylinders and doesn’t have any time to waste. Finney started one of the first fashion blogs, called The Budget Fashionista, in 2003, and a few years later, published a fabulous book about shopping on a budget. In 2012, she became the editor-at-large for BlogHer, a website with a cornucopia of content written by women, for women.

Her time in the digital space pushed her to establish what might be her biggest achievement yet: an innovative incubator called digitalundivided. In just a few years, digitalundivided has helped build 48 companies and raised $13 million in investments.

digitalundivided provides training and support for black and Latina woman-owned startups. Finney says startups owned by black women raise $36,000 in capital, which is pennies compared to the average that a failed, mostly white-male-led startup raises: $1.3 million. She calls this a “network effect,” meaning these women are not a part of the same network as men in tech and therefore, are not recognized for funding.

Finney knows about this firsthand. A decade or so ago, she was the only black person and one of only four women in an accelerator program. No one asked to hear her pitch, and an investor told her that he flat-out wasn’t going to invest in a black woman. Doesn’t that get your blood boiling?

The reason why Finney is passionate about increasing diversity in technology is simple. She says we’re consumed with technology. (Definitely! After all, you’re reading or listening to this, thanks to tech) If the creation of exciting new tech doesn’t include a diverse group, then they won’t be a part of the future.

While the tech world seems like an insurmountable challenge for our gender, I’m relieved women like Finney are heroic enough to break into it and show others how to do the same.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Sometimes, we beat ourselves up for not being braver. But remember these words by inspirational writer Mary Anne Radmacher:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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