AWESOME builds connections in Silicon Valley

March 04, 20152 minute read

The importance of advancing women in mostly male fields rings true in the tech field as it does in the supply chain field. Ann Drake, CEO of DSC Logistics and founder of AWESOME, joined 3000 leaders from throughout the Bay Area by hosting a table at “Lead On: Watermark’s Silicon Valley Conference for Women.”

The keynote speech was given by Hillary Clinton, who took up the Watermark conference charge to “Lead on!” and applied it to women in all fields — including her own — saying she might even use “leadon” as a hashtag.

According to Ann Drake, “Watermark draws from the high concentration of tech companies located in Silicon Valley. We hope to strengthen ties between AWESOME and Watermark so we can aim at the same goal: making connections among highly qualified women who are prepared to succeed in top leadership roles.”

As one of AWESOME’s guests said, “The most strategic advances are happening in AI, transportation and logistics, supply chain, TMS, warehousing and distribution — it’s where the conversation needs to go next in Silicon Valley, with a lot more visibility.”

Joining the AWESOME table were an outstanding group of women leaders representing a variety of roles in leading edge companies. These included an expert in supply chain technology projects for Apple, Inc.; SVP of Business Development for Qualcomm; and Director of Sourcing for Williams Sonoma. The group also included a number of successful Silicon Valley serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists engaged in private equity and investment firms such as VC Core Ventures Group and Goldman Sachs.

One leading Silicon Valley venture capitalist at the AWESOME table was Sonja Perkins, who founded Broadway Angels (an all-woman Bay Area angel investment group). Sonja was featured this week in a Wall Street Journal article “Working Their Way Around Male VC Dominance” highlighting the important role women play in recognizing and taking advantage of new business opportunities.

According to the article, Sonja and other women in venture capital “talk about the opportunities that can be lost when a VC firm is all or nearly all male. If an entrepreneur’s target market is females, for example, no one in the room may instinctively appreciate the size of the business opportunity.”

The article continues, “Mark Suster, a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist, basically agrees. ‘When you lack diversity as a decision making group, opportunities are lost,’ he said. ‘There’s no doubt that there is a gender diversity problem in venture, and venture needs to fix it.’”