There's no denying that the recent Newsweek cover story "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women" has garnered a lot of attention. First, the cover art went viral. Many considered it offensive...until they read the story and realized that the artwork suited the article perfectly. Next to buzz were the salacious stories within. They were carefully curated by the author, but still pretty shocking for mainstream media. So now that the fireworks are over and the edition has run its course on the newsstand, how do we keep the spotlight on women's opportunities and drive positive momentum?
Simple. By connecting women into stronger networks, by supporting one another's endeavors, by building leadership opportunities. You know this as the mission of the CLUB. What you may not know is how the CLUB provided background and positive content for the Newsweek article.
Late last year, journalist Nina Burleigh reached out to Annie Rogaski, Founder of the CLUB, to get her thoughts on the issues women face in Silicon Valley, and asked for introductions to professional women in Silicon Valley. Nina - who at the time was writing for ELLE magazine - was interested in profiling a young female entrepreneur who was pursuing venture funding. Annie immediately thought of CLUB member Eileen Carey, who was in the process of launching Glassbreakers, a tech startup and peer mentorship community for women. After a couple of conversations, Nina was certain that Eileen and her co-founder Lauren Mosenthal were exactly the right people for her profile. She loved their "hacker-hustler" partnership, and the fact that Glassbreakers is a technology designed for women.
Nina made a trip to Silicon Valley in December and spent time with Eileen, Lauren and many other people that they suggested. Annie organized a meeting at her firm so Nina could gain perspective from a mix of entrepreneurs and investors - all of whom were connections of the CLUB.
Just a few months earlier, CLUB Member Laraine McKinnon had been architecting the CLUB Incubator program, and CLUB members Holly Hogan, Katherine Mendonca and Diana Olin each suggested that she meet with Eileen Carey, who could contribute networking expertise. Laraine met with Eileen in August at a Starbucks and (as retold in the article) quickly became a mentor and financial supporter of Glassbreakers.
In January, an exciting twist came from Nina. She had just taken a job as national politics correspondent at Newsweek, and the first story she was writing was a cover feature on women entrepreneurs trying to make it in Silicon Valley. The article was going to cover Eileen and Lauren as they launched. The issue had an early on-line release (the cover art had been leaked) and hit newsstands on February 6, 2015. The in-depth story reviewed the good, the bad and the ugly for women in Silicon Valley tech. It featured a range of photos, including Eileen and Lauren; the Valley's prominent C-suite women; and - in yet another CLUB connection - a photo of the founders of the Women's Startup Lab, taken in their donated host space, the law firm of CLUB member Mindy Morton.
Each of these seemingly random events - connecting women into stronger networks, supporting one another's endeavors, creating leadership opportunities - is a success story for the CLUB. There are hundreds of connections and ideas happening through the CLUB. Though they may not always combine to make the cover of Newsweek, they are all critical to our mission to support women and grow the pipeline of women leaders. We encourage you to make the time to reach out to others, mentor, support, share the story and help build on the positive momentum - in Silicon Valley and beyond.