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017 - Taking the Better Together Pledge with Jonathan Sposato

Women in Business & Technology Episode 17

Updated on August 14
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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He is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and author of Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits.

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It’s a gathering that’s dedicated to redefining what success and strength means as a woman.

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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.

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She is the founder and president of ColorComm, a networking organization for women of color in communications, marketing, advertising, and digital.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Women make incredible leaders, board members, vice presidents, and CEOs. Jonathan Sposato has cited various sources in his book "Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women" 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Some of the solutions are policy-related (which can always be adjusted) and some are physical designs of a work environment.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Some studies estimate that only 4-6% of women are Blockchain investors. It’s important because the early days of an industry are where the fortunes are made.

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