Sonja Perkins: Giving Women a Glimmer of Hope

August 18 - 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: Investing in Women

When you’re hoping to find a mentor in your boss and she is just trying to get through emails and meet deadlines, growing a career can be disheartening. We often think our leaders will take us under their wings and shepherd us, but sometimes, that’s just wishful thinking.

Today, whether you’re an executive or an entrepreneur, think about a young woman you can invest your time in. Simply lending an eager ear and having an open mind can mean an awful lot to an up-and-comer.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 10.9 Percent

Women are getting more entrepreneurial by the day. We’ve got great ideas and we’re gaining the confidence to implement them.

Here’s the good news about women creating our own companies: In a recent global job-creation survey of more than 2,600 entrepreneurs, researchers discovered women entrepreneurs are responsible for creating 10.9 percent of jobs, compared with 8.3 percent among male entrepreneurs. Not only are women creating their own successful businesses, they’re also creating jobs and opportunities for others.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Sonja Perkins, Founder of The Perkins Fund, Broadway Angels and Project Glimmer

We love featuring women who have used their gifts to help other women, and today’s Woman to Watch has done just that. Sonja Perkins received her master’s degree from Harvard and has been working diligently in the financial sector ever since. She became a partner at venture capital company Menlo Ventures at the young age of 29, and guided the company for more than two decades before creating her own business this year, The Perkins Fund.

More than half the founders of The Perkins Fund are women, which is astonishing considering the venture-capital industry average is less than 5 percent. And throughout Sonja’s career, 40 percent of the companies she’s funded were started by women, a move that’s helped her focus a lens on the gender imbalance in the venture-capital world.

Keeping with that trend, in 2011, Sonja founded Broadway Angels, an invitation-only, angel-investment group made up of world-class investors and business executives who all happen to be women. These ladies have an awesome track record when it comes to investments. Sonja says she started the group to inspire women to become more involved in both venture capital and tech.

Another super cool venture Sonja created is Project Glimmer, which works to inspire at-risk girls and women to believe in themselves. The idea came to Sonja in 2009 while attending a holiday benefit for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. She learned that while there are plenty of charities collecting donations for children, teenage girls are often overlooked. So, Sonja encouraged everyone in her life to donate beauty products, jewelry and fun stuff that teens like. Project Glimmer was born from her initial “Glimmer Drive” and has given more than 120,000 gifts to thousands of women and girls throughout the U.S., with the mission to offer a little glimmer to those who need it most.

With such a philanthropic spirit and successful determination, it’s no surprise Sonja has received countless accolades for her work. She received a Women 2.0 Award for her work in reshaping the future of technology, and last year, Worth magazine named Sonja on its list of 100 Most Powerful People in Finance. Thanks, Sonja, for believing in—and supporting—women!

QUITE THE QUOTE

Don’t put a cap on your own potential. Take a lesson from Sonja Perkins and Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of genetic-testing company 23andMe, who said:

“There’s something beautiful about ignoring all realistic constraints.”

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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