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Roundtable: Starting a Business in a New Environment — October 22, 2020

In today’s changing climate, entrepreneurs, communities, and markets across the globe are redefining the way they work, build relationships, and bring ideas to life. Whether you are entering a new physical environment or — like the rest of the world — are learning to navigate this new, increasingly digital environment, it is helpful to hear the perspectives of those who have taken unpaved paths before. In this special global roundtable, WAFFA sits down with three Wharton alumni entrepreneurs who have gone through the experience of starting up in a new environment — to glean some insights and life lessons that we might all be able to bring into our work and life.

Date: Thu, October 22, 2020
Time: 7AM PST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

About Lucy Xu Founder & CEO of The Port Global (Athens, Greece)

Lucy Xu is Founder & CEO of The Port Global, a marketing and business consultancy supporting startups and growing businesses across Greece and the U.S. She holds a business degree from Wharton, is a TEDx speaker, and has a background in technology and marketing (formerly IBM, Curalate, and Startup Grind NYC). In 2017, Lucy moved from New York City to Athens to explore a unique thesis on the potential for innovation, cooperation, and expansion that exists between these markets.

About Sasibai Kimis Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of EARTH HEIR® (Ampang, Malaysia)

Sasibai Kimis left a successful career in the finance industry to start the award-winning social business and craftsmanship focused brand, EARTH HEIR®, in February 2013. Earth Heir’s story began with a desire to create thoughtfully designed, contemporary heritage pieces handcrafted by master artisans in Malaysia. Earth Heir works with disappearing heritage art forms, and advocates fair trade principles, sustainability and ethical partnerships. As part of its social and ecological mission, Earth Heir focuses on the sustainability of its products and supply chain. 

Earth Heir won the British Council and Arthur Guinness Projects Social Enterprise Award 2015 and Sasibai was one of Wharton’s “40 under 40” award winners in 2015 and an Eisenhower Fellow in the 2015 Women’s Leadership Program. She is also a Vital Voices Grow 2019 Fellow, an Asia21 Young Leader 2017 with the Asia Society and is the Country Coordinator for Fashion Revolution Malaysia. 

Prior to Earth Heir, Sasi was a Vice President in the Investments division at Khazanah Nasional (Malaysia), a Director in the Private Equity team at First Avenue Partners LLP (London), worked in Ghana with Opportunities Industrialization Centers International and the United Nations Development Program, and in New York as an Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers.

Sasibai received a B.S in Economics (Finance and Management) cum laude from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and an M.Phil in Environment and Development from Cambridge University. She has spoken widely at universities, conferences (such as TEDx) and forums in Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Indonesia, U.K., United States, Switzerland and Japan.”

About Mitchell Sauers CEO of Uganda, UpEnergy (Kampala, Uganda)

Mitch loves building organizations that improve quality of life for all stakeholders. He currently serves as CEO of UpEnergy Group, a company that brings aspirational products within reach of low-income customers. Previously, Mitch spent time working in the investment bank at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, LATAM Airlines Group in Chile and Fenix International scaling up their solar home system business throughout Africa. He is passionate about income equality and climate change. Mitch holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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An introduction to government contracting and government financing — Oct 8, 2020

Join us to explore ways that Government and emerging and small businesses can work together and benefit each other.

Think of government and innovation, government and small businesses as diametrically opposite? Think it again! 

Join me to explore ways that Government and emerging and small businesses can work together and benefit each other, by a fireside chat with two leading experts who have worked in the conjunction of government and small and emerging businesses: Stan Soloway and Katie Bilek.

During the chat we’ll try to address the topics below:

Gov space where emerging and small businesses can have a sweet spot: e.g. digital services; business processes

Gov contracting 101: difference between a startup and an emerging business

Gov financing 101: SBIR, STTR and other alternative financing vehicles

Date: Thu, October 8, 2020
Time: 12-1PM PST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

About Stan Soloway

Stan Soloway is President & CEO of Celero Strategies, LLC, a full-service strategic consultancy focused on the federal market.

Prior to founding Celero Strategies in January, 2016, Stan served for 15 years as the President & CEO of the Professional Services Council, the largest and most influential national association of government technology and professional services firms. While at PSC, Soloway was the industry’s leading voice, policy strategist and resource for both government and the private sector. He regularly testified before Congress, was a prolific writer, appeared often on radio and television; and was routinely sought out by both corporate and government organizations to discuss current market trends, dynamics and strategies. Stan was the recipient of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Government Technology Leadership Award and, in 2015, was inducted into the Greater Washington Government Contractor Hall of Fame. He also was named the IT Industry Executive of the Year in 2013 by Government Computer News; has regularly been named one of the 100 most influential business leaders in Washington (Washington Business Journal) and one of the 100 most influential figures in national defense (Defense News and Gannett). He is a three-time winner of the Federal 100 Award for his leadership in federal information technology and is a Fellow of both the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Contract Management Association, where he also serves on the Executive Advisory Board. He is a principal at the Partnership for Public Service where he serves as a Senior Advisor to Government Executives (SAGE) and in 2016 was appointed to the Community Advisory Board of WAMU Radio, Washington, DC’s National Public Radio outlet.

During the second half of the Clinton Administration, Stan served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and was responsible for wide-ranging reforms to defense acquisition and technology policy and practices, and broader department-wide re-engineering. In recognition of his leadership in the department, Stan was awarded both the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

As passionate believer in the importance and value of public service, Stan also served from 2007 to 2013 as a Senate-confirmed member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and other national service programs, and is a major source of funding and leadership for community service organizations across the nation. Earlier in his career he was a public policy and public affairs consultant for nearly 20 years. He also co-produced the acclaimed PBS series “Great Confrontations at the Oxford Union.”

About Katie Bilek

Katie Bilek is the Co-Founder, govmates Consortium, and SVP, Republic Capital Access.

Govmates serves as the bridge between Government and Industry – maintain deep industry ties with thousands of non-traditional contractors.

Republic Capital Access, LLC is a leading provider of financing to companies doing business with the U.S. Government. They offer a unique approach to providing capital to businesses that provide goods and services to the U.S. Government, either directly or through contractual arrangements with U.S. Government contractors. They work with start-ups, companies in growth modes, companies going through mergers and acquisitions, or facing financial challenges, to structure unique funding solutions based on the company’s specific financing needs.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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A dialogue with Elaine Pofeldt about creating a business that you love — Sept 24, 2020

Please join us to have a dialogue with Elaine Pofeldt, the author of “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business,” to explore how existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, esp. women, can find and create a business that you love, is profitable, and offers the freedom and flexibility to take care of other aspects of your life!

The talk will try to address the topics below:

+ Elaine’s personal journey & her life philosophy 

+ What this book is about

+ The entrepreneurs’ side of the story if possible, by Elaine’s guest(s)

We will also want to make sure to leave plenty of time for audience Q and A.


Date: Thu, September 24, 2020
Time: 12-1 PM PST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

About Elaine Pofeldt

Elaine Pofeldt is an independent journalist and speaker who specializes in careers and entrepreneurship. She is author of the book The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business (Random House, January 2018), where she looks at how entrepreneurs are scaling to $1 million in revenue prior to hiring employees.  

As a senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine, she was twice nominated for the National Magazine Award for her feature stories. Her work has appeared in FORTUNEMoneyCNBCInc., Forbes, Crain’s New York Business and many other business publications and she is a contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit. 

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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When a Moment Sparks a Movement — Sept 23, 2020

Human and climate health are deemed the great equalizers, but Ita Ekpoudom and Davida Herzl highlight the racial disparities in both.

After the devastating murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, Ita Ekpoudom, #WhartonWoman and Partner at GingerBread Capital, wrote a deeply personal and moving essay about what happens when systematic racial inequalities in justice and healthcare collide. On Wednesday, September 23, join us for a conversation on how she channels this frustration into her work at GingerBread, a firm that invests exclusively in unstoppable female founders. 

One of these founders is Davida Herzl, CEO of Aclima, a company that maps global air quality by measuring and analyzing air pollution and greenhouse gases, block by block. Human health and climate health are undeniably intertwined, and right now 92% of the population breathes unhealthy air. In this conversation, we will dig into the economic and health inequities caused by air pollution in communities of color—inequities that make the coronavirus so much deadlier, especially for Black, Latinx and Indigenous people, as health statisticsclearly show. Public health is an essential foundation of a functioning economy and balanced existence, but pollution exposure and access to healthcare are not uniform—who you are and where you live matters.

We recommend reading Ita’s essay and taking 10 minutes to watch Davida’s address from Collision earlier this year.

Date: Wed, September 23. 2020
Time: 12-1PM PST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

About Ita Ekpoudom

Ita is a Partner at venture capital firm GingerBread Capital, which backs high growth female founded companies. Her mission is to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of successful women business leaders and investors. In 2014, Ita founded Tigress Ventures, an advisory and consulting firm that tapped her considerable network to bring together visionary entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals to help women scale their businesses and hone their leadership skills. 

Ita also served as Venture Partner at Plum Alley Investments, where she oversaw investment opportunities and pipeline for high-growth female-founded and gender-diverse startups. Previously, Ita held product management roles at TravelClick and American Express. She began her career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst in Credit Capital Markets and an institutional trader of preferred stock.

Ita holds an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and earned a Bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in Psychology, with a certificate in Finance, from Princeton University.

About Davida Herzl

Davida Herzl is co-founder and CEO of Aclima. Herzl leads a diverse team meeting the urgent need for a new class of tools to accelerate bold climate action. Aclima’s platform translates its block-by-block scientific measurements of air pollution and greenhouse gases into climate intelligence that helps governments, communities, and industry reduce emissions and protect public health. Herzl holds a Juris Doctorate, as well as a BA in Economics, Political Science, and Communications. She was named one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company (2019), one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2018 by Goldman Sachs, and a Grist 50 Fixer (2017).

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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Unapologetically Shellye: A Candid Discussion on Advancing Your Career – September 9, 2020

Join WAFFA for a discussion with Shellye Archambeau, a #WhartonWoman and one of tech’s first Black female CEOs, on her new book Unapologetically Ambitious. Growing up, Shellye faced more hurdles than most as she managed her personal and professional responsibilities while climbing the ranks at IBM and in her subsequent roles as President of Blockbuster.com, CEO of MetricSystem, and a board member at Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies and Okta. 

In her book, Unapologetically Ambitious, that comes out this October, Shellye discovers that ambition alone is not enough to achieve success as she shares practical tools and approaches to employ right now, including concrete steps to: capitalize on the power of planning, developing financial literacy, building your network and integrating work, marriage, parenthood and self-care. Join us for a talk on Wednesday, September 9th from 12-1pm PT and pre-order your copy of Unapologetically Ambitious here.

“In a world that too often tells women, especially Black women, to stay small, keep quiet, and know their limits, this book says otherwise.” – Sheryl Sandburg, COO at Facebook 

Join the #UnapologeticallyShellye movement on Twitter and Instagram @ShelArchambeau  

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Time: 12-1 PM PT / 3-4 PM ET
Location: Online, webinar link to be provided to registrants only
Cost: Free

About Shellye

Ms. Archambeau is an experienced CEO and Board Director with a track record of accomplishments building brands, high performance teams, and organizations. Ms. Archambeau currently serves on the boards of Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and Okta. She is also a strategic advisor to the Royal Bank of Canada, Capital Markets Group.

Ms. Archambeau has over 30 years of experience in technology.  She is the former CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley-based, governance, risk, and compliance software company.  During her tenure MetricStream grew from a fledgling startup into a global market leader. 

She is the author of Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers and Create Success on Your Own Terms. A book that will inspire you and provide the tools to enable you to fight the battles, make the tradeoffs and create the life you want.Ms. Archambeau enjoys the performing arts, traveling, cooking and writing a blog that provides career advice, insights and other musings (https://shellye.com).

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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WAFFA SHOPPING LIVESTREAM – BUY & SUPPORT FEMALE-FOUNDED BRANDS — August 20, 2020

Join WAFFA and the greater Penn/Wharton community to support and buy from Wharton female-founded brands.

Want to support Wharton alumni-founded businesses but don’t know how? 

Tune in with WAFFA and the broader Penn/Wharton community for an exciting livestream shopping event featuring some of our favorite Wharton female-founded brands. See the latest products, hear from the founders themselves, and show your support during this experiential event that’s more QVC than webinar.

Date: Thursday 20, 2020
Time: 3-4PM PST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

Brands & Founders

MELISSA MASH – Dagne Dover

GAYATRI KARANDIKAR – Nomm Cookies

PHOEBE KUNITOMI – Okko

TOMIDE AWE – Olori

MELINA FLABIANO – Keaton

Get your wallets ready and let’s go shopping!

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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Update from Wharton Campus: Introducing Venture Lab!– July 23, 2020

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship is expanding and rebranding as Venture Lab! Join us to learn about the resources available to alums.

Event Video

Presentation

About this Event

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship is re-branding as Venture Lab! Hear an update from the leaders of this program on campus. They’ll discuss the vision for supporting entrepreneurship on campus, including the plans for Tangen Hall, the brand new center for entrepreneurship at 40th and Samsome.

Learn about the big moves on campus for founders and the support and resources available to alumni.

About the speakers

Trang Pham, WG’18, is the Executive Director of Venture Lab at the University of Pennsylvania and leads entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Prior to Wharton, Trang launched several companies, helped clients create new technology products as a management consultant, and ran an incubator that built companies around breakthrough innovations in the government defense and aerospace industries.

Taylor Durham is the Associate Director of Communications at Venture Lab, a Contributing Writer at Wharton Magazine Blog, and Ambassador at Venture Café Philadelphia. A multimedia specialist with 8+ years in client-driven website development, Taylor is responsible for designing digital audio and visual media, graphic design, and authoring files to enable interactivity and navigation through product content.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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Lo Toney: I am a VC and a Black Man in America — June 24, 2020

Join us for a conversation with Lo Toney, Founding Managing Partner at Plexo Capital, where we’ll discuss his recent medium post, “I am a VC But Still a Black Man in America”.

After the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, there have been protests across the US and the world, calling for equal justice under the law and speaking out against racism in our institutions and interactions. Gross inequities exist across many realms, including in professional and personal settings. Lo shares his view on how individuals can use their platforms and voices to make a stand against racism.

Lo will also discuss how Plexo Capital, a $42.5M fund, has built an investment thesis around diverse founders and GPs—a strategy led by the ability to use alpha to generate above market returns. 

Date/time: Wednesday, June 24, 12-1pm PT
Location: online (zoom link will be emailed to all registrants)
Cost: free

Event Video

During the session, Lo invited participants interested in accessing Plexo Capital’s took kit for GPs to request it by completing the form at https://plexocap.com/#contact-us. 

 

About Lo Toney

Lo is the Founding Managing Partner of Plexo Capital, which he incubated and spun out from GV (Google Ventures), based on a strategy to increase access to early-stage deal flow. Plexo Capital invests in emerging seed-stage VCs and invests directly into companies sourced from the portfolios of VCs where Plexo Capital has an investment. Investors in Plexo Capital include Alphabet (holding company of Google), Intel Capital, Cisco Investment, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment (Cambridge Associates client), the Ford Foundation, family offices, and technology executives.

Prior to founding Plexo Capital, Lo was a Partner on the investing team at GV, where he focused on marketplaces, mobile, and consumer products. Before GV, Lo was a Partner with Comcast Ventures, leading the Catalyst Fund and worked with the main fund focusing on mobile messaging marketplaces.

He also worked with Zynga as the GM of Zynga Poker with full P+L responsibility For Zynga’s largest franchise at the time. During his leadership, web bookings increased by over 150% with margin expansion. Lo has also held executive roles with Nike + eBay as a startup funded by top tier investors.

Lo received his M.B.A from the Haas School of Business (University of California at Berkeley), where he completed the Management of Technology program, a joint curriculum program with the College of Engineering. Lo received his B.S from Hampton University in Virginia.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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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 following the Silicon Valley formula, and not being the formula

Date: July 16th, 2020
Time: noon PST / 3PM EST
Location: Online
Cost: Free

Event Video

About Sandra Shpilberg

Sandra Shpilberg is the founder and CEO of Seeker Health, a leading digital patient-finding platform. In 2015, Shpilberg founded the company to bring efficiency to the process of finding patients to accelerate the development of treatments for serious diseases.

The company grew rapidly to serve sixty-plus biotechnology companies, connect millions of patients with serious diseases to clinical trials, and achieve profitability. In September 2018, a life science services conglomerate acquired Seeker Health. Medical Marketing & Media named Sandra Shpilberg a Top 40 Healthcare Transformer, and she was a featured speaker at the 2018 South by Southwest conference and at numerous industry and technology conferences.

Prior to this successful entrepreneurial pursuit, Shpilberg held executive roles at biopharmaceutical companies. She has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial management from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

More information at: https://sandrashpilberg.com

About New Startup Mindset: Ten Mindset Shifts to Build the Company of Your Dreams

In 2015, Sandra Shpilberg founded Seeker Health, a digital patient-finding platform. The company grew rapidly to serve over sixty biotechnology companies and achieve great financial success. From the start, Shpilberg blazed her own path: she chose to be a solo founder, didn’t pursue an incubator, didn’t accept outside funding, led development of software despite not being a programmer, and charged customers from month one. Instead of creating hype, Shpilberg focused on customer needs, yielding a startup with revenue, profit, and impact; and in September 2018, a large life science services company acquired her startup.

In New Startup Mindset, Shpilberg shares her story of starting, building and exiting her startup and provides readers with sage insights and practical tools to follow this different approach. This book is a needed dose of reality for Silicon Valley and a large serving of inspiration for those who want to create something from nothing. It is a must-read for aspiring startup founders and current entrepreneurs, especially those who don’t fit the traditional mold of a Silicon Valley founder and are open to a new way of making a profound impact with the companies they create.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.

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The Art of Angel Investing with Angela Lee (37Angels) — June 25, 2020

Angela Lee, founder of 37 Angels, joins WAFFA for a discussion on the Art of Angel Investing.

About this Event

Angela Lee, founder of 37 Angels, joins WAFFA for a primer on the Art of Angel Investing. She will be covering how investors diligence early stage companies and questions to ask yourself before investing in startups.

This session is for you if:

-You’re a founder looking to raise an angel round now or in the future.

-An individual looking to invest in companies or learn more about the process

Event Video

Featured Speaker: Angela Lee

Angela Lee is an educator and entrepreneur. She serves as Professor of Practice and Chief Innovation Officer at Columbia Business school where she teaches top-rated courses in venture capital and leadership. Angela started her career in product management and then was a strategy consultant at McKinsey. She has started 4 startups and is also the founder of 37 Angels, an investing network that has evaluated 15000+ startups, invested in 65, and activates new investors through a startup investment bootcamp. Angela has spoken at the White House and is regularly invited to advise decision-makers at the highest levels, including Prime Minister Trudeau. She is a sought-after expert on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, MSNBC and Fox Business. She was recognized by Inc. as one of 17 Inspiring Women to Watch in 2017, by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 6 Innovative Women to Watch in 2015, and by Craine’s as a Notable Women in Tech in 2019. She serves on the boards of Fresco Education Fund and Cariclub.

About WAFFA

The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to accelerate the success of Penn Wharton female founders and investors. Today, 13% of Penn founders are women but they raise just 6% of venture capital. WAFFA harnesses the power of the Penn Wharton network to educate, support, and foster connections for female founders and funders.