Female Digital Entrepreneurs on Creating Inclusive Tech Industry: ‘We Have the Power’ (Video)

Digital entrepreneur Kathryn Finney says she founded Digital Undivided, an incubator for women in tech and startups, so women can help other women and create a more inclusive tech industry.

“I started a fashion blog called Budget Fashionista, and during that time period I noticed that there were virtually no women of color in the startup space, particular in the media side of it,” Finney said Thursday at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco. “And when I sold [Budget Fashionista] and started BlogHer, I realized there were none of us at conferences, so I went to the founders of BlogHer and said, ‘I want to start something for black women and latina founders.’ I think that’s an important story about how women help other women.” 

Moderator Cathryn Posey then introduced three women guided through Digital Undivided, asking them to weigh in on why they founded their own companies in the tech space. 

Bryanda Law, CEO and founder of Quirktastic, Farah Allen, CEO and founder of The Labz and Valeska Toro, founder of Sola Travelers, all said that they noticed a lack of female diverse representation in their respective fields, and started their companies to fill that void.

See Video: Lea Thompson on Hollywood Sexual Harassment: ‘It Was Like Kryptonite’

“I love to travel and in 2017, I went on a solo trip and while I was out there, I was sexually harassed,” Toro said of the impetus for her Sola Travelers project. “The next day, I met a woman who completely changed the way I looked at the world. She was able to tell me things that I wasn’t able to find anywhere else. She was a woman living in that area, so she was able to tell me where to go, what not to do, and give me all this information that is not available to us.

“Where are women finding this information, especially when you are traveling alone as a woman?” Toro asked. “So I created this community of women who help each other travel, write reviews and recommendations and how to stay safe.”

She said that when she first thought of the name for her company, people told her “sola,” translating to “woman alone,” had a negative connotation. Her response to that is simple: “Just because you are a woman alone doesn’t mean its sad — it’s powerful.”

Law created Quirktastic, a platform that creates media and tech products for “geeks, nerds, alternatives, free spirits, and intellectuals of color,” because she said she could not find a place for “quirky” people like her to express themselves.

See Video: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Calls Out Trump on Border Policy: ‘In Oakland, We Put Children in College’

“I created this community of people who felt they were misfits and that their voices weren’t heard,” Law said.

For Allen, The Labz offered a way for creative types to explore their passions while remaining mindful of the nitty-gritty of company-building. “Creatives would never be excited about business processes and my job was to fix that,” she said. “While you’re working, we’re collecting all data for your business processes.”

All three entrepreneurs asked for the support of the audience attending the breakfast. “Right now, there’s a woman obsessed with a town and dreams of going there, but doesn’t know how to start,” said Toro. “We have the power to change that — she doesn’t have to sit there alone.”

Also Read: The Scene With Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch at the Power Women Breakfast San Francisco (Exclusive Photos)

The July 12 breakfast was hosted by TheWrap CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Sharon Waxman, at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco. Actress Lea Thompson and daughter Madelyn Deutch were the keynote speakers, while Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also discussed their experiences as female leaders.

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast series is connecting and inspiring the leading influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in the key cities where those women work, create, gather, network and connect. All ticket proceeds go directly to benefit women’s leadership programs and gender equity initiatives via WrapWomen Foundation.

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Digital entrepreneur Kathryn Finney says she founded Digital Undivided, an incubator for women in tech and startups, so women can help other women and create a more inclusive tech industry.

“I started a fashion blog called Budget Fashionista, and during that time period I noticed that there were virtually no women of color in the startup space, particular in the media side of it,” Finney said Thursday at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco. “And when I sold [Budget Fashionista] and started BlogHer, I realized there were none of us at conferences, so I went to the founders of BlogHer and said, ‘I want to start something for black women and latina founders.’ I think that’s an important story about how women help other women.” 

Moderator Cathryn Posey then introduced three women guided through Digital Undivided, asking them to weigh in on why they founded their own companies in the tech space. 

Bryanda Law, CEO and founder of Quirktastic, Farah Allen, CEO and founder of The Labz and Valeska Toro, founder of Sola Travelers, all said that they noticed a lack of female diverse representation in their respective fields, and started their companies to fill that void.

“I love to travel and in 2017, I went on a solo trip and while I was out there, I was sexually harassed,” Toro said of the impetus for her Sola Travelers project. “The next day, I met a woman who completely changed the way I looked at the world. She was able to tell me things that I wasn’t able to find anywhere else. She was a woman living in that area, so she was able to tell me where to go, what not to do, and give me all this information that is not available to us.

“Where are women finding this information, especially when you are traveling alone as a woman?” Toro asked. “So I created this community of women who help each other travel, write reviews and recommendations and how to stay safe.”

She said that when she first thought of the name for her company, people told her “sola,” translating to “woman alone,” had a negative connotation. Her response to that is simple: “Just because you are a woman alone doesn’t mean its sad — it’s powerful.”

Law created Quirktastic, a platform that creates media and tech products for “geeks, nerds, alternatives, free spirits, and intellectuals of color,” because she said she could not find a place for “quirky” people like her to express themselves.

“I created this community of people who felt they were misfits and that their voices weren’t heard,” Law said.

For Allen, The Labz offered a way for creative types to explore their passions while remaining mindful of the nitty-gritty of company-building. “Creatives would never be excited about business processes and my job was to fix that,” she said. “While you’re working, we’re collecting all data for your business processes.”

All three entrepreneurs asked for the support of the audience attending the breakfast. “Right now, there’s a woman obsessed with a town and dreams of going there, but doesn’t know how to start,” said Toro. “We have the power to change that — she doesn’t have to sit there alone.”

The July 12 breakfast was hosted by TheWrap CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Sharon Waxman, at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco. Actress Lea Thompson and daughter Madelyn Deutch were the keynote speakers, while Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also discussed their experiences as female leaders.

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast series is connecting and inspiring the leading influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in the key cities where those women work, create, gather, network and connect. All ticket proceeds go directly to benefit women’s leadership programs and gender equity initiatives via WrapWomen Foundation.

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Watch Judith Light, Shannon Watts Speak at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast NYC on Facebook Live (Video)

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Watch Sen Amy Klobuchar, Amber Tamblyn Speak at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast on Facebook Live (Video)

Lea Thompson on Hollywood Sexual Harassment: ‘It Was Like Kryptonite’ (Video)

Lea Thompson, the veteran actress who has directed her own daughter in her first feature, said on Thursday that getting sexually harassed during auditions “was like Kryptonite” – killing her ability to win roles in her younger years.

“I didn’t realize these things were unacceptable and how they kept me down all these years,” she said, speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco. “I was in really bad auditions and people would start on me and it would take all my power away to the point where I didn’t get the job. It was like Kryptonite… It was obvious when a director was shopping for a girlfriend.”

See Video: Watch Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast SF on Twitter Live

Thompson spoke at Dolby Laboratories headquarters in San Francisco with her daughter Madelyn Deutch, who she directed in “The Year of Spectacular Men,” which Deutch also wrote and scored. They were the keynote at the breakfast which also included Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Compton Mayor Aja Brown, along with a panel of entrepreneurial women of color. The series recognizes influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands, and is also held in cities like Washington D.C. and New York.

Referring to the #MeToo phenomenon, Deutch, 27,  said, “This movement has made me check myself in how I look at women in positions of power,” adding that she is at times unfair in her criticism of other women. “We are trained in scarcity versus abundance. There’s always been less opportunities so it’s always been, ‘Be the best at your job.’”

Thompson said that the movement has made her see progress in diverse representation and storytelling.

“I had an agent tell me there were three roles I could play:  virgins, whores and mothers,” Thompson said, who may be best known for playing Michael J. Fox’s mother in “Back to the Future.” She added: “That’s maybe why people like ‘Back to the Future’ so much, because I played all three. That’s what’s so great about diversity in storytelling and business — It’s gotten boring doing the same business model and telling the same stories… When you do diversity, you get new business, new stories, new inspiration and you appeal to the new America.”

She added, “I like that now you aren’t considered crazy if you say [on set] ‘Hey, I feel uncomfortable. Maybe we shouldn’t do that.’ I’m glad the conversation has been started.”

Deutch added that she learned a lot from casting her own movie, specifically about the lack of diversity in lead roles. She explained that she had five love interests in the movie, one of which was played by Brandon T. Jackson. When she asked him why he wanted to be a part of this movie, Jackson had a heartbreaking explanation.

“He said, ‘as a person of color, I’ve never been offered a romantic lead. I’ll go and audition for them but I’ve always been offered rapper, drug dealer, or pimp as a person of color.’ Thats what you find when you cut your path — you make discoveries that are inclusive.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called out Donald Trump’s border policy, saying that her city puts children in college, not cages, referencing immigrant children still in detention. “This [is a] crazy national moment we find ourselves in where my government is putting children in cages,” said Schaaf. “In Oakland, we put children in college, that’s what we’re about.”

Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Schaaf also spoke about the challenges they have faced in their positions because of their gender. Before she went into politics, Brown said she thought she would have to be older to pursue her dream.

See Video: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Calls Out Trump on Border Policy: ‘In Oakland, We Put Children in College’

“I assumed I had to be 40,” said the 36-year-old mayor, who was only 31 when she was first elected. “I was always asked, ‘Are you old enough?’ and I would say, ‘I think I am! There’s no age restriction!’ There are just barriers we have to do break through mentally.”

During TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast, three female digital entrepreneurs discussed their reasons for starting their own companies. Bryanda Law, CEO and founder of Quirktastic, Farah Allen, CEO and founder of The Labz and Valeska Toro, founder of Sola Travelers, all said that they started their companies to fill a void of diverse female representation in their respective fields.

“I created this community of people who felt they were misfits and that their voices weren’t heard,” Law said about Quirktastic, a platform that creates media and tech products for “geeks, nerds, alternatives, free spirits, and intellectuals of color.” Toro founded her company, a platform for women to write reviews while traveling, so women could help other women find safe places to travel to and empower each other, conveying the idea that traveling alone doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. 

Allen, a technologist, founded The Labz, so musicians would have an easy way to protect their copyright. “Creatives would never be excited about business processes and my job was to fix that. While you’re working, we’re collecting all data for your business processes.”

“I’ve heard two things today,” Deutch said after listening to the other panels at the breakfast. “I keep hearing that we can’t do it alone and [we need] money. Those are the things I hear on a loop — you need support, scaffolding as you build the building, and you need investors.”

“To be inspired by all of you is wonderful,” Thompson said, addressing the audience. “As Michelle Obama once said, we hold each other to impossible standards and that’s what stops us from helping each other.”

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch Judith Light, Shannon Watts Speak at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast NYC on Facebook Live (Video)

TimesUp Fund Logs 3,000 Complaints Since Launch, Leaders Say at Power Women Breakfast DC (Video)

Watch Sen Amy Klobuchar, Amber Tamblyn Speak at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast on Facebook Live (Video)

Lea Thompson, the veteran actress who has directed her own daughter in her first feature, said on Thursday that getting sexually harassed during auditions “was like Kryptonite” – killing her ability to win roles in her younger years.

“I didn’t realize these things were unacceptable and how they kept me down all these years,” she said, speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco. “I was in really bad auditions and people would start on me and it would take all my power away to the point where I didn’t get the job. It was like Kryptonite… It was obvious when a director was shopping for a girlfriend.”

Thompson spoke at Dolby Laboratories headquarters in San Francisco with her daughter Madelyn Deutch, who she directed in “The Year of Spectacular Men,” which Deutch also wrote and scored. They were the keynote at the breakfast which also included Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Compton Mayor Aja Brown, along with a panel of entrepreneurial women of color. The series recognizes influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands, and is also held in cities like Washington D.C. and New York.

Referring to the #MeToo phenomenon, Deutch, 27,  said, “This movement has made me check myself in how I look at women in positions of power,” adding that she is at times unfair in her criticism of other women. “We are trained in scarcity versus abundance. There’s always been less opportunities so it’s always been, ‘Be the best at your job.'”

Thompson said that the movement has made her see progress in diverse representation and storytelling.

“I had an agent tell me there were three roles I could play:  virgins, whores and mothers,” Thompson said, who may be best known for playing Michael J. Fox’s mother in “Back to the Future.” She added: “That’s maybe why people like ‘Back to the Future’ so much, because I played all three. That’s what’s so great about diversity in storytelling and business — It’s gotten boring doing the same business model and telling the same stories… When you do diversity, you get new business, new stories, new inspiration and you appeal to the new America.”

She added, “I like that now you aren’t considered crazy if you say [on set] ‘Hey, I feel uncomfortable. Maybe we shouldn’t do that.’ I’m glad the conversation has been started.”

Deutch added that she learned a lot from casting her own movie, specifically about the lack of diversity in lead roles. She explained that she had five love interests in the movie, one of which was played by Brandon T. Jackson. When she asked him why he wanted to be a part of this movie, Jackson had a heartbreaking explanation.

“He said, ‘as a person of color, I’ve never been offered a romantic lead. I’ll go and audition for them but I’ve always been offered rapper, drug dealer, or pimp as a person of color.’ Thats what you find when you cut your path — you make discoveries that are inclusive.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called out Donald Trump’s border policy, saying that her city puts children in college, not cages, referencing immigrant children still in detention. “This [is a] crazy national moment we find ourselves in where my government is putting children in cages,” said Schaaf. “In Oakland, we put children in college, that’s what we’re about.”

Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Schaaf also spoke about the challenges they have faced in their positions because of their gender. Before she went into politics, Brown said she thought she would have to be older to pursue her dream.

“I assumed I had to be 40,” said the 36-year-old mayor, who was only 31 when she was first elected. “I was always asked, ‘Are you old enough?’ and I would say, ‘I think I am! There’s no age restriction!’ There are just barriers we have to do break through mentally.”

During TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast, three female digital entrepreneurs discussed their reasons for starting their own companies. Bryanda Law, CEO and founder of Quirktastic, Farah Allen, CEO and founder of The Labz and Valeska Toro, founder of Sola Travelers, all said that they started their companies to fill a void of diverse female representation in their respective fields.

“I created this community of people who felt they were misfits and that their voices weren’t heard,” Law said about Quirktastic, a platform that creates media and tech products for “geeks, nerds, alternatives, free spirits, and intellectuals of color.” Toro founded her company, a platform for women to write reviews while traveling, so women could help other women find safe places to travel to and empower each other, conveying the idea that traveling alone doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. 

Allen, a technologist, founded The Labz, so musicians would have an easy way to protect their copyright. “Creatives would never be excited about business processes and my job was to fix that. While you’re working, we’re collecting all data for your business processes.”

“I’ve heard two things today,” Deutch said after listening to the other panels at the breakfast. “I keep hearing that we can’t do it alone and [we need] money. Those are the things I hear on a loop — you need support, scaffolding as you build the building, and you need investors.”

“To be inspired by all of you is wonderful,” Thompson said, addressing the audience. “As Michelle Obama once said, we hold each other to impossible standards and that’s what stops us from helping each other.”

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch Judith Light, Shannon Watts Speak at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast NYC on Facebook Live (Video)

TimesUp Fund Logs 3,000 Complaints Since Launch, Leaders Say at Power Women Breakfast DC (Video)

Watch Sen Amy Klobuchar, Amber Tamblyn Speak at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast on Facebook Live (Video)

Watch Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast SF on Twitter Live (Video)

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco kicked off on Thursday with opening remarks by Jennifer Bowcock, VP of Global Communications and co-leader of WE, Women’s Empowerment Group at Dolby Laboratories.
The event features a spotlig…

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco kicked off on Thursday with opening remarks by Jennifer Bowcock, VP of Global Communications and co-leader of WE, Women’s Empowerment Group at Dolby Laboratories.

The event features a spotlight interview with actresses Lea Thompson and Madelyn Deutch discussing their collaboration on the film “The Year of Spectacular Men” and the joys and pitfalls of mothers and daughters working together in Hollywood.

Keynote speakers include Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Moreover, Kathryn Finney, founder of digitalundivided, will share data from the group’s most recent Project Diane report on the state of Black and Latinx women in the entrepreneurship and innovation economies. Three female founders of digital companies, Bryanda Law, Farah Allen and Valeska Toro, will speak about defying the odds on another panel.

The July 12 breakfast is hosted by TheWrap CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Sharon Waxman, at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco.

TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast series is connecting and inspiring the leading influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in the key cities where those women work, create, gather, network and connect. All ticket proceeds go directly to benefit women’s leadership programs and gender equity initiatives via WrapWomen Foundation.

Watch the video below.

 

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The Scene at TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast Washington DC (Photos)

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