According to the statistics, we are nowhere close to where we should be when it comes to female leadership in the business world. The 2016 Fortune 500 list had a paltry 4.2% of companies with women at the helm, which is actually a decline from the 4.8% in 2014.
This trend is only slightly better in the startup world, with just 17% of startup founders being women in 2017 so far. Although there is a lot of work to be done to close the gap, it’s worth taking a moment to look at some amazing female CEOs and how they’ve used their ideas, passion, and smarts to build not only successful, but impactful businesses.
Susannah Vila — Flip
People are naturally averse to change, however, it seems like the idea of commitment scares many people — especially when it comes to housing. Buying a home is often seen as the ultimate housing commitment, but many young people are even turned off by the seemingly permanent nature of yearly lease agreements. Susannah Vila, Founder and CEO of Flip, has experienced this issue first-hand with her constant desire to live someplace new without contractual restrictions.
Flip is an advocate, assistant, and housing expert all rolled into one and it’s helping New Yorkers get out of tricky leases and find subletters. During this ever changing time and evolving world, Vila believes that people should have the freedom to live where they want — without fees or hassles — and has been dedicating herself to this since the start of Flip in 2015.
Steph Korey — Away
Traveling is something that brings the world closer together and gives people a priceless experience. We all want the best the world can provide — however, sometimes cost can get in the way. Steph Korey sought to provide people with luggage that merged function with affordability.
Korey co-founded Away with the idea and mission that getting away means getting more out of every trip to come. She raised $2.5 million to launch the startup and has been bringing high-end luggage to the mass market ever since. Korey’s hard work and dedication alongside her co-founder Jen Rubio has been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 Awards in 2016. This accomplishment shows that hard work and personal passion for a simple idea can go a long way.
Sara Mauskopf — Winnie
Before the birth of her son, Sara Mauskopf worked as a Technology Partner for companies like Google, Twitter, and Youtube. After having a child, she decided to make a career switch because she saw a clear challenge in the parenting world and decided to help solve it. The problem was the void in the technology space of parenting apps.
In 2015, Mauskopf left her job at Postmates to help found Winnie with the vision to create “the Yelp of childcare for parents.” The app would provide parents with the “know-how” on any situation they may run into or have questions about. Since the start of the company over a year ago, Mauskopf continues to achieve success in providing necessary inspiration and insight for modern parents.
Rebecca Kantar — Imbellus
Rebecca Kantar is reinventing how we measure human potential. Everyone has had to take an assessment in their lifetime, whether it be school admissions, standardized tests, or a job assessment. These can be tough and routinely cause anxiety and sometimes even loss of opportunity due to the outcome. Harvard dropout Kantar realized this this and founded Imbellus — a company named after a breed of Beta fish that doesn’t swim in schools.
Imbellus is a new way of assessing people based on how they think, not what they know. Kantar, once a Harvard student who had been denied for her requested study program, is now 26 and finds herself as CEO of a venture-backed technology company and has raised $4 million to kickstart her dream.
Katherine Ryder — Maven
Katherine Ryder, a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, now holds the position of CEO and Founder of Maven. Maven is an app that connects women with expert healthcare providers through video conferences — reducing wait times for appointments and misinformation from online sources.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Ryder along the way — her first attempt at entrepreneurship (a travel company) was unsuccessful. But she grew from the experience and dedicated herself to finding a cause where she could truly make a difference. She researched and found that at last count, just 4% of healthcare CEOs were women, yet women account for nearly 80% of all healthcare spending in the U.S. Seeing an obvious problem, she set out to create a path toward a solution and has been making strides toward this goal ever since.
Suneera Madhani — Fattmerchant
Suneera has not only sought to create a successful path for herself, but provide true value to her customers as well. Before starting her own company, she had worked for larger payments corporations and found the treatment of the merchants to be unacceptable. She sought to craft a payment technology company that specialized in making the entire payment experience better for business owners — including price, technology, and especially customer service.
Fattmerchant’s mission is to provide these three pillars and share in a transparent relationship with their customers. In just three years, she’s grown the company to over 30 employees and has processed over $1 billion worth of payments for her members.
Julia Hartz — Eventbrite
Julia Hartz, CEO of Eventbrite, is a powerhouse. Alongside her husband Kevin Hartz (previous CEO and Executive Chairman) and Renaud Visage (CTO), she co-founded the company that is changing the way we think about event planning and promotion. Eventbrite is the largest event technology platform out there, and it allows event organizers to plan, promote, and sell tickets to their events in a more streamlined way than ever before.
The company was born in 2005 and has been truly making a difference in the event industry ever since. Hartz has been at the helm of the company since 2016 and the company is thriving under her leadership. She has been listed in Forbes 40 Under 40 (2015), Inc’s 35 Under 35 (2014), and was noted as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013. Hartz and the Eventbrite team are changing the game and “bringing the world together through live experience.”
Ariel Kaye — Parachute
Ariel Kaye is CEO of Parachute — a vertically integrated high-end bedding company. Kaye was traveling in Italy when she checked into the Picturesque hotel on the Amalfi Coast. While staying there, she discovered the softest, most comfortable bedding and this inspired her to take the experience and carry it from vacation back to her own life. However, when shopping for sheets in the United States, she found herself surrounded by stacks of products that all looked the same.
She made it her mission to not only offer the best sheets on the market, but also inspire a community around sleep, wellness, and creating a comfortable home. She launched Parachute in 2014 and at the beginning, the line was just an assortment of bedding. It has now evolved into an incredible service providing the highest quality product. Kaye states, “I created Parachute because I want people to start and end their days feeling their very best — and that begins with better sheets for a better night’s sleep.”
Amy Chang — Accompany
Amy Chang has had a very successful professional career. She is currently on the board of directors for Proctor & Gamble and Cisco, and has seven years of total experience running Google analytics as an executive. She has taken everything she has learned in these past endeavors and poured her heart into Accompany. She co-founded the company using not only her past experience but her degree in engineering to craft a proprietary data platform that scours billions of pages on the web and uses intelligence and machine learning to provide the richest, most real-time profiles. Chang finds herself stepping into a new light of leadership as the startup’s CEO.
Marcela Sapone & Jess Black — Hello Alfred
This duo is a force to be reckoned with. Marcela Sapone (CEO) and Jess Black (COO) co-founded Hello Alfred with the principle that time shouldn’t be a luxury. The powerhouse pair was quoted saying, “We built Alfred to create time for people to do what they love.” Hello Alfred is a technology company that delivers it’s members a personal home manager. This individual visits their home weekly to work with them on errands, to-dos, and the on-demand needs in each of their uniquely scheduled lives.
Meghan J., a member since the start, stated “I honestly can’t imagine life without it. I can’t remember how I ever got groceries, or did laundry, or dry cleaning whatsoever before I had it.” This thought is shared by all members as well as those who have learned about this innovative startup. Sapone and Black won the TechCrunch Disrupt SF in 2014.
Fattmerchant is a direct cost payment technology company bringing business owners the savings they want, technology they need, and experience they deserve.