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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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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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How She Built This with Hayley Leibson, Lunchclub—November 12, 2019

HOW SHE BUILT THIS
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

 

Please join Wharton Alumni Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) for breakfast and conversation with Hayley Leibson, co-founder & COO of Lunchclub.

Lunchclub is an AI superconnector that makes introductions for 1:1 lunch and coffee meetings. Lunchclub’s mission is to power a future of work where making new connections is easy, meaningful, and fun. Hayley is also the founder of Lady in Tech, an award-winning tech and lifestyle blog for women, and writes a column for Forbes that motivates and moves millennial women to enter the tech industry and build impactful products at scale to improve the world.

Lunchclub has made tens of thousands of in-person connections that have resulted in outcomes including hiring, startup and entertainment investments, consulting and advising, new friendships, and co-founders meeting and starting a business.

Lunchclub is invite-only and live in 8 major cities including the San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, LA, London, and Toronto.

For her inclusion and diversity advocacy work, she’s been featured in ABC 7 News, BBC World Service, BBC 100 Women, Tech Forward, and OZY. She was named a “Top Tech Influencer” by IVY Magazine, “Most Influential Women in Tech” alongside Sheryl Sandberg and Katrina Lake, and included in 20 On The Rise 2018.

We hope you can join Hayley for breakfast and conversation moderated by Shannon Grant. As part of this event, Lunchclub is also giving Wharton attendees an invite to try Lunchclub.

Register Online
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Time: 8:30am – 9:30am
Location:
 CANOPY Jackson Square – 595 Pacific Ave, 4th Floor

Cost: $10 Members, $15 Non-Members