Give us your “elevator speech” – a snapshot of who you are, what you do for a living, and how we should “know” you.
Having moved to the US at the age of 16 from an area of the world relatively patriarchal (Italy), and speaking little to no English, I have spent the better part of the last 20 years doing everything possible to leverage the incredible opportunities I was lucky to gain access to when I came to this country. I am now a female entrepreneur looking to continue creating value by promoting entrepreneurship and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, with a strong emphasis on female entrepreneurs.
Please tell us more about your business, what do you do, why did you start it and what are you future plans?
My most recent venture, VentureCamp, is a live and work incubator spurring innovation and creating new successful businesses in support of economic growth and entrepreneurial social responsibility. VentureCamp’s unique program encourages participation from aspiring entrepreneurs in traditionally under-served population groups such as women, students, and veterans. VentureCamp also introduces a unique spin to its proposition –an Interactive Docu-Series enabling the public to watch, learn, support, and participate in what I feel is one of today’s most challenging and rewarding journeys to success – Entrepreneurship.
The opportunity was presented to me approximately one year ago, and I immediately saw that it would not only allow me to continue working with other female entrepreneurs to launch unique and innovative companies globally, but also help me grow personally by partnering with incredible individuals such as Jeff Hoffman (co-founder of Priceline.com), Karl Mehta (founder of Playspan), and Mike DeLazzer (co-founder of Red-Box) amongst others.
The idea is to challenge the traditional incubating and accelerating model for building companies, to prove that there are entrepreneurial gems, both from a concept and individual perspective, in places other than Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley, and that this model can be replicated on a global scale to engage, educate, entertain and empower aspiring entrepreneurs globally.
What is your personal motto?
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” “Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today” “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”
What advice would you give to other women who want to do what you do or want to start businesses?
Do not ever doubt yourself, stay focused and reach out to other females. It is a hard road, and female entrepreneurs feel they have to prove themselves to a greater extent than males do. Truth is we do, but not because we are not capable or less prepared, but rather because we need to continue driving change and break some lingering societal misperceptions about us, what we can do, and how we do it.
What are your takes/views on ‘power for women’?
What makes women powerful is that they have a wider set of tools available to them. These skills need to be embraced and used appropriately to be effective. Women bring a greater degree of sensitivity and emotional intelligence to any given situation, which allows them to more fully read and therefore leverage nuances in dealing with individuals. That said, that extra emotional element needs to be harnessed and channeled appropriately because it can be as destructive as it is constructive.
Can you tell us about your relationship with each other, when did you meet, when did you decide to work together and why?
Did you mean how the other people in VentureCamp met? VentureCamp was born at the YG-8 Summit. It was a prelude to the G-8 Summit. We realized very quickly, after basically one or two conversations, that we all had the same vision. We wanted to create a new fully immersive start-up ecosystem and that is VentureCamp. We built a team through our networks and the networks of those who joined our team.
What are the most rewarding thing you have done for other women?
I have been humbled by the opportunity to work and help launch some amazing women entrepreneurs, and witnessed how their hard work, perseverance, and con!dence paid off.
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given regarding power?
Lead by example, motivate by empowering and communicate a clear vision and purpose, and hire slowly, !re quickly.
Besides your daily work, what else are you passionate about?
Taking care of my loved ones and experiencing life to the fullest.
What question should I have asked, that I didn’t? (This is your opportunity to answer the question no one ever asks!)
What do female entrepreneurs need to do shatter the glass ceiling?
Stick together, help each other, embrace who you are, and remember everyone is still watching us – we should embrace our feminity, our ability to empathize and our natural emotional intelligence, but we should also be wary of passionate outbursts, crossing the line between being feminine and using sex to manipulate, and ultimately harness our passion to turn a negative workplace stereotype about women into something that redefines us positively and constructively.