017 - Taking the Better Together Pledge with Jonathan Sposato
Women in Business & Technology
Colleen shares an update on her exploration of sports and leadership after checking out the Seattle Ignited Women Project and an F Bomb Cocktail Club event. Then, Sonia has a conversation with Lauren Wesley Wilson, the Founder and President of ColorComm, a networking organization focused on advancing the visibility of women of color in communications, marketing, advertising, and digital. Colleen interviews serial entrepreneur, investor, and author Jonathan Sposato about his book, Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits. Our hosts wrap it up in the Cutting Edge segment with a conversation about a New York Times article entitled Women in Cryptocurrencies Push Back against Blockchain Bros. Please subscribe, rate, and share the episode. Find us online at www.wibt.com. Send any and all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @MicrosoftWomen.
In this episode
- 02:15 - Who is Jonathan Sposato?
- 04:42 - What is the Seattle Ignited Women Project?
- 05:26 - What is the "Women in Business & Technology" podcast focused on ?
- 06:42 - Who is Lauren Wesley Wilson?
- 07:03 - How did ColorComm first begin?
- 08:45 - What prompted Lauren to start ColorComm?
- 10:24 - In his new book "Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits," what does author Jonathan Sposato focus on?
- 10:51 - What is there to gain when we have more female entrepreneurs?
- 12:12 - How are businesses affected when having female entrepreneurs?
- 13:25 - Why should we talk about and explore the impacts of women’s leadership in a workplace?
- 14:34 - Why has Jonathan Sposato set his sights on gender equality in the workplace?
- 19:01 - How does having one female in the startup affect the company?
- 25:19 - What is the reverse mentor relationship?
- 28:56 - What were some changes that Sposato noticed throughout his career?
- 39:08 - How are women in tech like canaries in a coal mine?
- 40:27 - What does it mean to create a "family forward" work culture?
- 41:12 - Why shouldn’t meetings start before 9 AM?
- 46:20 - What are solutions to improve gender equality in the work system?
- 49:03 - What is unique about the Seattle area?
- 53:19 - What does Sposato's book, Better Together, have to offer for people?
- 57:30 - What percentage of Blockchain investors are women?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
Who is Jonathan Sposato?
He is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and author of Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits.
What is the Seattle Ignited Women Project?
It’s a gathering that’s dedicated to redefining what success and strength means as a woman.
What is the "Women in Business & Technology" podcast focused on ?
They discuss the intersection of business and technology, of course, but also focus on women championing for equality and leadership in industries across the board.
Who is Lauren Wesley Wilson?
She is the founder and president of ColorComm, a networking organization for women of color in communications, marketing, advertising, and digital.
How did ColorComm first begin?
It first started off as a luncheon, then it grew to a community and corporation. It has been around for seven years now and it continues to conduct ways for women of color to advance in leadership positions.
What prompted Lauren to start ColorComm?
She was motivated whenever she was working in a position and hadn't noticed a woman of color in a leadership position. Despite women dominating as middle managers, it were males that were at the top of the leadership levels. Also, sprinkled in between, there were a few people of color.
In his new book "Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits," what does author Jonathan Sposato focus on?
He explores that few women lead Fortune 500 companies and that only 3% of tech industry startups funded by venture capitalists are started by women.
What is there to gain when we have more female entrepreneurs?
Sposato states that we have two things to gain from having women in a leadership position. One appeals to the heart, the other is to the business mind.
How are businesses affected when having female entrepreneurs?
Women make incredible leaders, board members, vice presidents, and CEOs. Sposato has cited various sources in his book of how having women in meetings, just the presence of them, increases the return on investments. This prompts the idea, how can women impact a workforce when they are in a more authoritative position?
Why should we talk about and explore the impacts of women’s leadership in a workplace?
Sposato holds this belief that women have leadership qualities and management attributes that are more commonly associated with the way that women lead in order to figure out what a company can learn. This way, we can all be better together.
Why has Jonathan Sposato set his sights on gender equality in the workplace?
As an angel investor, he noticed that males seeking financial backing for their startups could often secure funding in 90-120 days. If females had ideas of similar quality, it often took over 1 year for them to secure funding. He felt it was his responsibility to begin speaking up.
How does having one female in the startup affect the company?
Sposato truly believes that having at least one high ranking female in the organization can improve the product, customer satisfaction, and culture of the company. A company would be much better with a female co-founder at the highest level of a company.
What is the reverse mentor relationship?
Sposato states that for, higher ranking mean, it’s really important to listen and pay attention to the needs, career aspirations, and goals of the junior women in an organization. This way, certain aspects of a company can be tweaked so the environment and culture of women in the workplace is more supportive and can help advance them to a higher ranking position.
What were some changes that Sposato noticed throughout his career?
Sposato had learned so much from women that were in higher ranking positions above him. He felt that the relationship was 50/50 and beneficial for all of them because it was different in research and system, but something new and good. When women started leaving, he noticed how things got worse due to the legacy system and framework that’s been set.
How are women in tech like canaries in a coal mine?
When canaries in a coal mine start dying, you know the environment is toxic. Instead, tech companies are wondering why the canaries cannot breathe. When one dies, a company will get a new one because that’s the solution. The problem is, there isn’t enough oxygen in the coal mine, not that there are too few canaries.
What does it mean to create a "family forward" work culture?
Some of the solutions are policy-related (which can always be adjusted) and some are physical designs of a work environment.
Why shouldn’t meetings start before 9 AM?
In Sposato’s experience, he’s discovered that the Seattle school district didn’t start school until 8:30. Statistically, the vast majority of childrearing falls on the mother. Earlier meetings mean that the women can’t spend time with their children, which ripple effects other emotions that leave the employee less fulfilled, happy, or productive.
What are solutions to improve gender equality in the work system?
Sposato states that there aren’t inclusive solutions to implement in a company but one is, for example, if you give people noticeably large bonuses, people will notice and work better. It also shows that you, as the leader, really mean business because you're willing to spend the money.
What is unique about the Seattle area?
Sposato believes that Seattle’s tech industry will be a role model for gender equality in the workforce for others to follow. He states that there is magic happening within the city. The culture includes containing more young, progressive, and liberal individuals. He feels like the Seattle area has a certain gentility and it cares about doing good and well at the same time.
What does Sposato's book, Better Together, have to offer for people?
Better Together was written to provide managers, CEOs, board members, and business owners a blueprint to attract, recruit, hire, and build a sustainable gender balanced workforce at all levels.