Accelerating the success of female founders and funders

To our WAFFA Community, 

Black Lives Matter. At WAFFA, we’re dedicated to increasing the success of women in entrepreneurship — and support for the black founders and funders is an inextricable part of our mission. We are coming together as a leadership team to reflect, learn and accelerate our commitment to black female founders. Today and always, we stand in solidarity with the black community.

Please find further resources below, as we amplify important voices from the black and entrepreneurial community.

Yours,
Jarah, Alice, Shannon, Gail
Caroline, Anita, Miriam, Shilpa, Crystal, Katie, Linda, Melina, Rima and Marina

__________________________________________________________

Wharton AAMBAA (African American MBA Association) released this statement on Monday, June 1:
 

Dear Wharton MBA Community,

We struggle to find words that truly encapsulate our current feelings. Black people living in America experience many emotions during times like these, emotions that also arise in response to injustices across the entire global African diaspora. The pain we feel when witnessing inhumane, intentional, and tragic acts of violence towards our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and friends ranges from sorrow to rage to exhaustion and beyond. We also know that as Black community allies, you are dealing with your own set of feelings as you work to identify the best ways to support and stand in solidarity with us.

In just the last few weeks, many of your Black peers have been wrestling with:

  • Disproportionate health impacts of COVID-19 on the Black community specifically
  • The racial profiling and false police reporting of Christian Cooper at the hands of an MBA-educated business leader
  • The modern-day lynching of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of three white men
  • The murder of unarmed and sleeping Breonna Taylor by police officers
  • The execution of unarmed Tony McDade in broad daylight by police officers
  • The public, recorded, and widely disseminated murder/fatal suffocation of George Floyd by police officers

….and that’s just the most recent news. The list of atrocities against Black people goes on and on, year after year.

As future business leaders, we believe that we all have the responsibility to actively and sincerely support one another in the midst of tragedy. We also know academic pedigree does not beget empathy or humanity. Amy Cooper, despite her top-tier MBA education and investment banking vice president role, chose to use her privilege to intentionally and unnecessarily put Christian Cooper’s life at risk.

Given the frequency of racially-charged injustices like those listed above, it is important to know that denouncing racism and systematic oppression requires more than a passive retort of racism. It requires non-Black people taking an active, anti-racist stance.

While we encourage everyone to do their own research, take time for introspection, and engage in productive conversations, we believe the following starting points may be helpful to those struggling to identify a path forward:

  • Who Gets to Be Afraid in America – an article by Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University
  • Covert vs. Overt White Supremacy – a methodology similar to what we all learned in MGMT 610 in the culture iceberg that outlines that there are visible and less visible components to racism and white supremacy. While many of us are likely aware of the original term of white supremacy identifying overtly racist behaviors and organizations like the KKK, more recently sociologists have begun to encourage us to think of white supremacy as an ideology, as a collection of ideas that encourage us to value whiteness (white norms, white culture and white people) more highly than and above other cultures (UUSCJ)
  • Shareable Anti Racism Guide – a compilation of literature (books, articles, etc.) that provide a vast and diverse set of learning opportunities that can enable active awareness of and ability to effectively combat racism
  • National Donation & Resource List – a Google document that contains many of the community bail funds, memorial funds, political education resources, names of involved organizations, and general advice/tips for people attending protests or using social media as an organizing tool

To those of you who are allies already, we thank you. To our Black students here at Wharton and beyond, we grieve with you, we stand with you, and we value you. The work that we do has always been, and will always be, for you first and foremost.

__________________________________________________________

Black Tech for Black Lives announced on June 3:

“Black Tech for Black Lives” pulls together a set of specific, actionable commitments intended to “support frontline leaders working to create a more just world.” The pledge is designed to elevate Bay Area community leaders working in tech’s epicenter on specific policy goals regarding issues like policing reform, local elections and by hiring and supporting more Black talent in tech.

TechCrunch coverage:  https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/03/black-tech-for-black-lives-pledge/

Learn more/consider signing the pledge here as a Black Person in Tech or as an Ally: https://www.blacktechforblacklives.com/

TODAY

13% of Penn Wharton founders are women and they raise 6% of the venture capital.

WITHIN 5 YEARS

Our goal is that 20+% of Penn Wharton founders are women and they raise 20+% of the venture capital.

THE FACT IS

Women-led businesses have been largely overlooked by the investment community.

2.2%

of US Venture Capital Invested in Women-led Startups

6%

of capital going to women Penn Wharton founders despite the fact that they represent 13%

We believe in a powerful Wharton network that lifts women up and helps them succeed.
We believe in a world where any Wharton woman can start, grow and fund a wildly successful business.
We believe in a “yes bias” for Wharton women, where fellow alums take the call, make the intro, and if they say “no,” they explain why.

Online Events

New Startup Mindset with Sandra Shpilberg — July 16, 2020
Join WAFFA for a conversation with Sandra Shpilberg Founder and CEO of Seeker Health, Wharton alumnae, and author of New Startup Mindset. She will share how she started, built, and excited her digital health startup, all while not …

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