AWE, Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs

Qz85GAQ5qoCFNScuolZg4kqviofCI9Vjl0GsrFqcFPyQNDHqRM7iMY0XzDAKPRL2m0oanw=s152I was invited down to Philadelphia to speak at the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs annual gala.  I took the train down to begin the day at lunch.  I met with Jane Hollingsworth, the President of AWE and Barbara Schilberg, CEO of BioAdvance who was being honored that night and a handful of other impressive women.  We sat around and discussed our businesses and AWE. 

In the afternoon I got to sit down with the group of women entrepreneurs who are the 2012 fellows that AWE has chosen including the fellows from last year.  Each are doing something completely different so the only constant is that they are all women entrepreneurs.  Life Science is very strong in Philadelphia so there was a bent towards that.  Yet there is always a constant in regards to how women tend to operate. 

One woman spoke of her company, a non-profit.  She had spent four months getting a meeting with a guy who ran an incubator as a volunteer and got him to merge with her.  Changed the name of the company, started getting investors but after all that leadership found herself not being the person who was the face of the organization but the guy who merged into her company.  Through AWE she is going to get support and advice on how to lead going forward and that is a very good thing.

That evening there was a dinner and speeches.  I am pretty comfortable on the stage but need to get much better at just talking off a few bullet points.  I am not there yet.  What I wanted to talk about is not really what I ended up talking about. The past few weeks have been super tough being displaced and so I am a little out of sorts.  Lesson learned for me and I will get better at the speech giving going forward. It is mostly about confidence that I won't go off on a tangent and babble. 

Bottom line AWE is awesome.  Such an impressive group of women who have built companies, are building companies and more important a community that is supporting each other.  The next step is getting some of these women to start investing in each other.  I felt incredibly to be honored that I was asked to speak to this group. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. Maya S. Penn

    That sounds like a really great organization Joanne! I do public speaking a lot, but I need to get better as well. I spoke at a TEDx Youth event this month and that was REALLY nerve-wracking. But I’m sure you did great. Sometimes we’re harder on ourselves than we should be. 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      I think you are right Maya. I am harder on myself than anyone else could be.

  2. Jill Stern

    I can’t speak worth crap so mind me not, but if you really want to hone your skills, you should hire a speaking coach. All the top guys use them. There are also Toast Masters groups all around that I have heard are wonderful for practice.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks jill

  3. Wavelengths

    I was disturbed by this comment yesterday, and I had to come back to visit it.”One woman … had spent four months getting a meeting with a guy who ran an incubator as a volunteer and got him to merge with her. Changed the name of the company, started getting investors but after all that leadership found herself not being the person who was the face of the organization but the guy who merged into her company.”This predatory person, even from this distance and with few clues, shows signs of being a disturbed personality. A manipulator, unrepentant about taking credit where no credit is due, narcissistic to put his face in front of hers — and if she worked four months to get in front of him, I wonder if he was “playing” her.I strongly advise that this woman get some counsel from people who understand the “gaming” of sociopathic personalities who thrive on taking something for nothing and damaging others in the process.I went through something like this. The best advice I got was from a psychologist who I met incidentally, who heard part of my story and said, “Look it up in the DSM. There are ‘numbers’ for that.” The DSM is the bible of psychiatrists and psychologists who are looking for the correct diagnosis of a mental or emotional disorder. The psychologist was right. This is a disorder that doesn’t look in any way like mental instability, as most of us understand it. But, then again, Bernie Madoff was a “friend to all!”I’m glad you got a chance to encourage her. She may need a deeper level of understanding than her peers can provide to get a handle on this and get herself clear of the predator’s taint.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      That certainly resonated with me, also. I have had very similar experiences and see it as a personal ‘work in progress’ to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I lost a couple of years of me/my identity, let alone a lot of money. Never again.

  4. Carl Rahn Griffith

    I have done presentations all around the world, to audiences sometimes comprising of thousands of people, yet when it comes to a pure/raw speech I am lousy. Years of relying upon PowerPoint really kills the ability to just engage with the audience – and it’s hard to practice, by definition. I am trying, and I increasingly feel it’s all about getting back to basics and just holding an imaginary conversation – it’s neither a speech nor a PowerPoint. As I get older I see the eulogy as the style that really resonates with people – maybe I am in that phase of life where I attend more funerals than weddings/christenings! – but, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is; it’s all about sincerity, passion, feeling and empathy.The feeling of being in a ‘non-place’ is ironically discussed in my blog this week. I ramble on a bit, and go off on tangents (as usual) but it very much reflects the frustrations we can feel with communication to an audience.http://carl-rahn-griffith.t…I still blame PowerPoint, mind 😉

    1. Gotham Gal

      great advice. i hold imaginary conversations with myself all the time!

  5. Kirsten Lambertsen

    It’s really interesting to see the topic of women entrepreneurs getting more and more attention. I have to confess, after being in digital startups since ’97, I’ve gotten used to the environment.It’s exciting and refreshing to see the issues actually getting some sunlight.Another interesting post on this matter just came up on Women 2.0 today… A great read by a thoughtful writer.(Full disclosure: I know the other and she mentions me.)

    1. Gotham Gal


  6. Joanne Lang

    I received a fellowship from AWE, it made a huge difference to my confidence and network in Philadelphia – I am so sorry I missed you there (I was in Utah). I highly recommend AWE as a group. PS I am sure you did not babble and if you did it was highly useful 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks joanne!