Cathy Schwallie Farmer, Startup Advisor & Board Member, Angel Investor & Autism Advocate
ABOUT: Cathy has been in Healthcare & Science technology for over 20 years. She is the co-founder of the Autism Angels Group, an investment group (focusing on neurodiverse solutions and founders’ investment and advocacy) and a member of the Berkeley Angels Network. Cathy is an active Venture Advisor at University of California, Berkeley: SkyDeck and Haas’s LAUNCH accelerators. Additionally, she is a mentor at the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (NSF i-Corps) and a Startup Healthcare Advisor and advisory board member of several for-profits and non-profits. She has had 2 startups of her own, one in the legal space and another in robotics. Cathy has been an angel investor for over 12 years mostly focusing on systems that will help people and the environment.
GIVE: Truth telling stories of a long career and falling into my passions of advising and investing.
GET: Always looking for new investors and philanthropy funders in the neurodiverse (Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia) space.
FUN FACT: Was a college radio DJ (before the internet ;)
EXCITING CONNECTIONS & MILESTONES MADE THROUGH THE FOURTH FLOOR:
- Became a board member of Inguo.io
- Met Jessica Karr from Coyote Ventures. We share deals with each other and make relevant introductions.
- Met Ari Qayumi and invested as an LP in her new fund, Mindful Venture Capital Fund.
- Met Charlotte Michailidis from Parenthood Ventures who introduced me to Diego Adame, Director of the LEGO Foundation, which led to an engagement with LEGO and our Autism Angels Group, with the new Play for All (Autism & ADHD) Accelerator.
- Have met startups and investors in the autism space including BeMe.
DREAM INTRO WISH: MacKenzie Scott
ABOUT: She is a retail executive working at the intersection of consumer and Web3. Consultant, investor, advisor and founder, Syama loves the entrepreneurial world and supporting female founders. For the past 10 years she has been the CEO of Scaling Retail, and prior held careers at Barneys New York, Gucci and Macy's. WWD Top Women in Business, Stevie Small Business Award, speaker and author. Areas of interest Web3, consumer, fashion, cannabis.GIVE: Let's talk about business building, consumer strategies and making $$$. I once launched a brand in 3 weeks, and it grossed $2M in 6 months.
GET: I'm writing a nonfiction book and ready to meet agents and folks in the space. I'm also actively building in Web3 and looking for collaborators and clients.
FUN FACT: I like to crochet and do chemistry experiments designed for kids :)
NEWS: I am building projects in Web3 for fashion, music, wellness and cannabis.
DREAM INTRO: I'd love to meet Naval Ravikant, Founder of Angellis
ABOUT: Having worked as a writer, editor, and independent personal trainer, Abby Sugar is a lifelong learner and taught herself about fashion, business and startups after studying English Lit in college. To Abby, learning is everything, and her life motto is f*cking figure it out – so she set out to build the brand that she and her cofounders wish existed when they were younger. As an outgoing, unapologetically queer startup founder, she strives to be a leading voice in and for the LGBTQ+ community. A Founder Institute Select Portfolio Company and named to the Forbes Next 1000 List in 2021, she speaks on podcasts, international panels, and gives frequent interviews about startups, fashion, diversity and inclusion, and topics important to LGBTQ+ individuals.
GIVE: Business Development, Marketing, Startups and Fundraising advice; Warm connections to individuals in my network when relevant!
GET: Values-aligned investors
FUN FACT: I have a couple of favorite quotes - this is great! The tattoos on my forearms read, "To catch the world at pure idea" (Jorie Graham) and "To grab hold of the IS of the thing" (Clarice Lispector). Ask me about post-modernism, world literature, and contemporary poetry!
NEWS: After successfully closing Play Out's pre-seed $500K raise in 2021, I'm currently raising our $3M Seed round (and seeking a Lead investor!) to reach $1M in annual revenue. Already in 2022, we have onboarded a new copywriter and digital marketing agency, moved into an office/photo studio space, and been accepted into Macy's The Workshop for a 4-week digital pop-up sales on macys.com and Pitch competition for a $100K business grant!
PRESS: NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/25/us/gender-equal-underwear.html Play Out named to Founder Institute's 50 Fastest Growing Companies: https://fi.co/50/playout
Susan Sierota , Executive Coach, Board Member & Founder/CEO
ABOUT: Susan is a 2X venture-backed founder and previous CEO with 20+ years of executive coaching experience, having coached leaders from seed through IPO. When Susan isn’t coaching executives, she functions as a board member, advisor, and LP Investor. Susan’s leadership experience and strategic abilities are vast and varied as she has led companies across every different stage of growth and several different Industries. As the Founder and CEO of Waggit, Susan completed a successful exit for the IoT consumer hardware product and b2b SaaS data platform that will forever change pet health. Susan also Founded Kasasa, a B2B SaaS suite of banking products and the first and only consumer facing national brand established in the community-banking marketplace that is still thriving today. Before exiting, Susan grew Kasasa to +$500M and the company was recognized as Austin’s best place to work every year. Prior to her startups, Susan was head of growth at Peet’s Coffee and expanded the business nationally. At Coors, she turned-around Coors Light from a decline into steady share growth delivering $2B in annual revenue and surpassing Miller Light for the #2 share beer with work that was recognized as best-in-class by the Wall Street Journal. Susan also grew several brands and launched new categories during her 8 years in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble.
GIVE: 1) Here to provide a sounding board to Fourth Floor members. Examples of areas of expertise include funding strategy, culture, business strategy, board and team leadership, go-to-market, scaling, brand, and community. 2) Happy to open my network when relevant!
GET: 1) Always open to introductions to great leaders who desire a coach who believe both that they cannot create an awesome customer experience without having an amazing employee experience; that they need to create value beyond revenue to build a sustaining business. 2) Looking to expand my board service to larger ($50M+) high-growth companies that match my more detailed criteria that I am always happy to share!
FAVORITE QUOTE: "The Power of the Pack is the Wolf and the Power of the Wolf is the Pack."
FUN FACT: I am a high school dropout. A few years later, I did get a GED and then a masters degree.
DREAM INTRO: I would LOVE to get an introduction to Karen Lynch, CEO, CVS Health and Julie Sweet, Chairman and CEO, Accenture. Both of these incredible women are making such amazing moves doing well by doing good.
ABOUT: Ebonique attended the top art & design school in the country, Parsons School of Design, and is now working tirelessly in support of using technology to increase the wages of art workers and to allow more people to see themselves as art collectors. She was the former Executive Director at a small NGO that helped foreign dignitaries who were invited by the US State Department to explore the United States and was invited to the White House multiple times to discuss entrepreneurship & women's issues.
GIVE: As a former political marketer, who helped candidates get elected without breaking the bank by identifying unusual demographic data and clearly defining voter motivations, is offering a one-time free marketing strategy session. *For Fourth Floor members only: https://calendly.com/eboniqueboyd
GET: Download our app and give us feedback before we finalize MVP 2.0 roadmap! https://www.budgetcollector.org
NEWS: We won the "For the Culture" Award last month for a pitch competition sponsored by AARP Innovation Labs & 1863 Ventures.
FUN FACT: I once found funding to help former sex workers run for public office and spoke about it at an Oxford alumni event.
ABOUT: As Co-founder and COO of Hx, I drive the mission, vision, and direction of the company; creating and implementing business operations strategies; forming strategic alliances and partnerships; and analyzing our performance for scalability and growth.
GIVE: I would love to offer my time and experience in building traction and growing a startup.
GET: I would love to build strong relationships, develop possible collaborations, and establish strategic investors
FUN FACT: On a more personal note, when I'm not having adventures with my husband and children, I love to find small independently owned cafes and try various roasts and brews of coffee.
NEWS: Hx was recently accepted into the Microsoft for Startups Cohort!
ABOUT: Erin Gleason Alvarez is an independent arbitrator and mediator. She also serves as Founder and CEO of Take Charge Negotiations, a consultancy that provides negotiation training, coaching, and strategy sessions based on mindfulness techniques.
GIVE: Negotiating with investors can be nerve-wracking. These discussions often lead to feelings of a power imbalance, weighed heavily in favor of those investors. I'm happy to help start-up's work through these perceptions and develop a solid negotiation plan before agreeing to a package.
GET: We have one remaining seat open on the Advisory Board for Take Charge Negotiations, which will go for seed funding this year. I'm hoping for someone who's not a lawyer (we already have plenty of those, lol), perhaps with a background in finance.
FUN FACT: I am very close to earning my certification as a yoga instructor, a dream I've had for many years.
NEWS: I'm very excited that we have created a series of recorded meditations to support women's success in negotiation... from visualizing your ideal outcome to calming down in the middle of a vexing session. There's so much emotion involved in negotiation but most of us are not taught how to recognize that and work with it.
DREAM INTRODUCTION: Thrive Global - Can anyone here help make that intro?
ABOUT: Adonica Shaw is the founder of the women's reproductive health platform Wingwomen, a 3-time TEDx speaker, author, midwifery student, and women's health and wellness advocate. As a health advocate, she serves as a Mental Health Subject Matter Expert for the Conscious Inclusion Company. And she is known for her work as both a Patient Advocate for the Preeclampsia Foundation and Momma’s Voices, and a voice for maternal health matters after surviving a "Code Blue" Eclamptic Crisis just 3 days postpartum. Adonica is a 2021 Globant “Women Who Build” nominee, and she is also a former public board member for the Healthcare for the Homeless and Farmworkers Board in San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her second book, “Shatter Your Own Glass Ceiling,” is set to be published in 2022.
GIVE: My background is in marketing and pr. I'm happy to help anyone create a press kit for their business. Draft a professional bio, and ideate ways to construct their personal branding. I'm also a wiz at Wordpress and Squarespace website development. I'm happy to give feedback on how to set up a personal site.
GET: I need help creating a cap table ahead of my raise. I would also secure two additional advisors for my company. Ideally, someone with a background in finance, and women's reproductive health.
FUN FACT: I had a horrible fear of heights that made it hard for me to travel in airplanes or on steep mountains for the greater part of my life. A few weeks before my 30th birthday I got so fed up with the anxiety associated with heights that I purchased a Groupon to learn how to fly a plane. I honestly thought I would chicken out, but I didn't, and kept at it. For this reason, I'm no longer afraid of heights, and flying lessons are a fun hobby of mine.
NEWS: My company,Wingwomen was accepted into the Nasdaq Milestone Makers Winter Cohort. The Winter 2022 Milestone Makers program selects 12 companies from around the world that are working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (#3 Good Health & Wellbeing and SDG #5 Gender Equality). Our mission at Wingwomen focuses around providing access to peer support and access to health information to women around the world. In doing so, we were selected for the program.
Special Feature: A Founder's Story
Meet Micheline Khan, founder of the first app in Canada focused on culturally responsive mental health support for BIPOC communities by Lisa Richmon
Easier said than done is founder speak for following the advice you dispense.
Accidental entrepreneur, mental health champion, and ecologist, Micheline Khan designed the Althea Therapy app to connect culturally responsive mental healthcare providers with communities of color across Canada. She wanted to build trust and create a safe space for Blacks, Indigenous, and racialized groups who have experienced barriers to therapy that go way deeper than the mental health stigma endured by white communities.
The full-time ecologist-turned-founder says the 24/7 Founder/CEO struggle is real. “When you love what you’re building and you’re filling a mental health void for oppressed communities, you want to spend all your time doing it.”
She gets that her commitment to her cause often contradicts what she preaches as a mental health advocate focused on wellness. Real talk about her own mental health journey doesn’t ruffle her. It informs her why.
Raised by Trinidadian and Guyanese parents, Micheline grew up in Ontario in a home with a strong mental health foundation that provided support and information. Unlike the typical BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) experience, stigma and shame never prevented her from asking for help and working through issues and challenges.
Althea Therapy started as a project sparked by Micheline’s interest in the pandemic’s stress-stretching impact on BIPOC in Canada. “Communities of color are at greater risk but don’t see themselves reflected in the existing mental healthcare platform,” she says. “Black and Brown people are four times more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric unit and less likely to be offered psychotherapy over medication.” Her goal was to normalize the ask for help – and create a safe space with a therapist who could relate culturally. To execute her vision, she built a culturally robust platform that truly reflects and attracts individuals who have been discriminated against and excluded from the current delivery system.
“The app was just a project until I showed it to a friend who stared me dead in the eye and said how important and necessary this work is. ‘The world needs this. It can’t be your secret. You have to put this out there.’ So that’s what I did.”
If therapy is like dating, and therapist chemistry is the greatest indicator of future success, you want someone who gets you. “Opening up to a therapist who shares a common cultural background and understands concepts such as microaggressions and racial prejudice can make clients feel more empowered, says Micheline. “You don’t have to spend so much time backing up to explain every nuance and issue. In therapy, you need someone who understands the different layers of identity. It’s so important to be able to address those issues in a safe space.”
From a user experience perspective, Micheline says she’s grateful for the positive feedback on the app’s value connecting individuals with a hybrid intersectional identity and talking about the layers of identity and culture. It’s so important to have professionals on the platform who are culturally intuitive and know how to address patients’ true selves. It’s also equally affirming for the therapists to be validated while serving their unique communities.
“I built this for people across Canada because I'm Canadian and I know my community best. I see the same issues reflected in different countries so perhaps one day we will scale Althea Therapy to serve people globally.”
Micheline recently entered and won the pitch event for The GUILD's GUILD Academy, an 8-week pre-accelerator program to help entrepreneurs launch a startup.
“The Fourth Floor has so many advisors who are very strong with strategic marketing and sales. What I need to move forward and build this out in the workplace is a strategic partner or advisor who can help with sales and marketing. I’m not tied to someone in a particular industry. It’s more about what values we share and what they’re willing to do for their communities.
Being a founder (and full-time ecologist) forces me to set boundaries on my time and energy. When I don’t comply, I get a harsh reminder or a little nudge, like losing my voice just two weeks before I fly home to Canada for Christmas!
Members of the female-founders club know that your private life can take a hit too and before you know it, you’re back ‘on the couch.’
“There’s this feedback loop of euphoria and crashing depression, like ‘what am I doing here?’ It takes time and experience, embracing the highs and lows, not letting them take away your motivation. Being prepared for the full range of emotions helps me stay the course.”
ABOUT: Andra is a Forbes 30 under 30 awardee and Founder of Hiboo, an AI Enterprise platform that empowers companies to build positive safe cultures with Conversational AI-powered analytics. She is a behavioral marketing nerd with ten years of experience at large organizations and high-growth startups. While working with Google as the Product Marketing Manager for the first Shoppable Video, her work impacted growth metrics for multiple global brands such as Kate Spade, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder, Macy's. In addition, startups covet her consulting work, helping diverse founders understand their customers and scale with applied empathy and contextual data™. Her work combines an empathic and intersectional approach with social scientific methods to create meaningful, sustainable growth and a strong community around the product. Andra's mission is to enable diverse folks to voice their concerns in the workplace in a safe and private environment and ultimately help them build successful businesses with the power of empathy and data.
GIVE: 1) Growth advice - how to target your customer with applied empathy and data to scale your startup (for early-stage founders) 2) Investor CRM and strategic introductions (if your startup applies) 3) Pitch deck feedback 4) Founder-to-founder no-BS talk, because this thing called startup is HARD!
GET: 1) Looking for a CTO/CPO (opportunity for a co-founder) with expertise in AI, Analytics and/or SaaS solutions to help us build the product further. 2) Strategic angel investment (opportunity: defined product with market validation in a $300B industry with customer pilots, clean cap table). 3) Runway capital 10-20K to keep the lights on until we raise our first round. The company has been self-funded by the founder. 4) Board member/Legal counsel.
FUN FACT: After living in Mexico for a while, I eat more spicy than Mexicans :-). I've been adding "salsa verde" to French dishes and more. Oops, hope there's no chef around to give me the look.
NEWS: Recently, Hiboo was announced the winner of the MassChallenge IBM AI program for innovation.
WHY are we featuring Sarah? Because she is talented, experienced and immediately engaged our community offering expert advice and support. We are in awe!
ABOUT: Sarah developed her beauty expertise at Estee Lauder, Chanel, & Procter & Gamble and integrated marketing talent at MKTG Inc, Nike and Diageo's millennial marketing agency. Recently she restaged Borghese and launched Codex Beauty, the clean, effective, sustainable skincare. In both instances, she created something from nothing. Sarah has worked with more than 10 founders.
GIVE: I enjoy advising founders on a pressing topic. The topics range from marketing, social, digital, operations, sales...Often I uncover a key opportunity as I solve their issue. For instance, today I identified a brand's Point of Difference as I helped them optimize holiday sales.
GET: Although I enjoy consulting, I am looking to professionalize and scale a founder led brand in the beauty/wellness space.
FUN FACT: My favorite quotation is Maya Angelou's "...people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This is also true for brands working to develop a relationship with their consumer.
ABOUT: Mariam has always been passionate about innovative technologies and causes for a better planet. She is the co-founder of a few startups in the technology space (semiconductors, telecommunications, digital advertising) and the founder of two startups in the renewable space. Mariam is self-driven, motivated to reach her goals, hardworking, and people oriented. Her professional career has taken her through a variety of fields in the startup space in Silicon Valley and globally. She holds an FAA Private Pilot License and enjoys flying. Mariam is a published author of short stories and poetry, speaks multiple languages, and has traveled extensively.
GIVE: Mentoring, advice, entrepreneurship pointers, assistance with working in multiple countries, international connections, and business experiences.
GET: Mentoring, advice, always eager to learn new things, networking, meeting people with the same vision (working for the environment and beyond).
NEWS: We are very excited about our prototypes and look forward to our patent filing! Currently seeking seed funding to commercialize our products.
PRESS: Check out my two interviews on YouTube: US Can Tec: Renewable Energy & Bioplastics Tech Entrepreneur Mariam Ispahani, Sonali Bioplastics "Resilient & Passionate" The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs w/ Mariam Ispahani
FUN FACT: Love cats, but am learning to love dogs.
ABOUT: Hafeezah Muhammad was born in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. She is the the founder of Yoüme Healthcare, a telehealth company focused on expanding access to youth mental health services across Middle America. Mental illness and behavioral disorders are approaching crisis levels with an estimated 12 million young Americans missing out on treatment each year because only 24% of clinicians accept insurance. Yoüme is one of the first pediatric telehealth companies to be accredited to all major insurance providers including Medicaid. In addition to being a founder, Hafeezah is the mom of 20 month old Fatima and seven year old son, Azeem. She loves airplanes and sleeps better on an airplane than her bed.
GIVE: Completing a technology assessment of your company and how you can leverage it to scale and save money.
GET: I need help with PR! I am a closet introvert and dislike reaching out, but once I am there, I do a great job.
NEWS: Yoüme Healthcare gained exclusive rights to patented AI technology which allows us to predict suicide using NLP in therapy sessions. We are building out products like, digital play therapy, digital art therapy and digital bibliotherapy to integrate in our app. The most exciting news is that we just came back from an 11 day humanitarian trip to Nigeria providing mental health services to orphans.
FUN FACT: I played basketball and was HORRIBLE! I was very good at designing and memorizing plays which helped my team win. This experience has conditioned me to look at my team's individual strengths and outsource their weaknesses. I wrote a book called the Cop and The Convict that comes out later this year. It's a fiction based on my father and brother's life. All of the proceeds will be donated to charity.
ABOUT: Adriana holds a Masters in Integrated Product Design from UPenn and a BSc from MIT in Mathematics and Computer Science. She and her co-founder are YC and NSF I-Corps fellows and their patent was recognized as Philadelphia’s invention of the year in 2019. She was named one of the top 30 Femtech Healthcare Influencers in 2019 and has won awards such as the SheKnows BlogHer competition (2019) and the AlphaLabGear Hardware cup (2018). She has represented Lilu at SXSW, and TechCrunch Battlefield, and the Anita.B Org 2020 PitcHer where they took audience choice award. In her spare time Adriana loves to run, cycle and attempting to snowboard. She is from Mexico City and lives in NYC with her husband, and a very furry cat.
GIVE: Would love to grab a coffee or virtual coffee to chat about product design, customer discovery, user research, manufacturing overseas, setting up and running a crowdfunding campaign, fundraising for a women's health-tech startup. Happy to give pitch and pitch deck feedback.
GET: Intros to decision makers at maternity focused e-commerce brands for partnerships and collaborations.. And follow us on social media @wearlilu
NEWS: We recently got awarded an NSF SBIR Phase I award to further develop our technology to support moms reach their breastfeeding goals and we're super excited. We also got backed by AdAstra Ventures, a women-led venture group. And we're launching two new sizes for our massaging pumping bra, L and XL, which is the #1 request we get on our website.
RECENT PRESS: https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/lilu-breast-pump-bra/ https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ad-astra-launches-venture-builder-offering-bespoke-support-for-female-founders-301314970.html?tc=eml_cleartime
FUN FACT: I am training for the NYC triathlon in July and super excited! First signed up in 2019 but it got canceled due to a heat wave, then 2020 we all know what happened, so 3rd time is the charm!
ABOUT: I am a seasoned veteran with 30 years of experience as a computer graphics architect and principal engineer at top fortune 500 companies. I have a master's degree from Stanford University and am a holder of 7 patents as the principal inventor. I am one of Forbes Next 1000 Honoree. I co-founded OHZONE, a 3D fashion tech startup that was awarded Top Fashion Tech 2021 by Retail Tech Insights, covered in the latest Vogue Startup Spotlight, and one of the Top 200 for Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Sustainability Challenge 2021.
GIVE: Humor and my unique take on solving problems.
GET: Everything you can give that other networks can't. I am greedy.
NEWS: I am recently named as one of the Forbes Next 1000 Honorees. When my intern filled out the application for this, I asked one of our advisors to review it. She said not in so many words, fat chance. We submitted it any ways, what do we have to loose, we already wrote it, right? My first thought after getting the surprise email notification at 7:00am, is "****!" I needed to figure out how to do press release.
RECENT PRESS: https://fashion-technology.retailtechinsights.com/vendor/the-ohzone-breaking-the-entry-barrier-in-the-digital-realm-cid-214-mid-23.html https://www.voguebusiness.com/technology/startup-spotlight-3d-assets
FUN FACT: I got kicked out of a network group for making a joke in the chat, they felt that I was not serious enough. My recent favorite quote is "The first step to failure is trying!"
ABOUT: Topaz Smith is a cultural enthusiast and the founder of EN-NOBLE. A travel service that serves travelers who are frustrated by underwhelming mass market tourism options, who are looking for travel experiences that your typical traveler drives past on a tour bus. EN-NOBLE curates authentic and immersive experiences that blend popular tourist attractions with lesser-known cultures in order to sustain local economies. The company pledges that 1% of its revenue is reinvested with local vendors to build their capacity and travel products. Topaz has a background in tourism and policy and has previously worked at a leading hotel in Positano (Amalfi Coast), served in the U.S. Peace Corps, and contributed to a United Nations global initiative in NYC. Due to her global travel experience across five continents, Topaz has discovered most of the experiences the travel and tourism industry provides are unauthentic, leading to over-visited attractions and underwhelming trips. Topaz has contributed to an international business project focused on sustainable tourism in Brazil and wrote a grant for an eco-cultural center in Ethiopia in efforts to diversify income generating strategies for a pastoralist non-profit. Additionally, Topaz has raised over $230,000 for education resources for schools and libraries in the Caribbean.
GIVE: Create experiential learning activities, scaffolded exercises and cultural programming that advances understanding and diversifies perspectives. Curate authentic cultural experiences while sustaining local economies domestically and internationally.
GET: Introduction to universities and corporate institutions interested in experiential activities and cultural programming for their employees and student body.
Experience Asia, Africa and South America in NYC through EN-NOBLE's NYC curated experiences. Visit our website at www.en-noble.com to learn more and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to travel internationally in NYC.
ABOUT: Cricket Lee is an advocate for inclusion and sustainability in fashion and has created a new Science Tech shopping platform and SAAS "Gene" to change how fashion brands make and sell clothing. As an inventor and serial entrepreneur, she is particularly noted for creating Fitlogic, an apparel fitting solution that was chosen as creating the best fitting jean in America on Good Morning America January 22, 2020. Her team proved in beta tests online to eliminate fit related returns, which is currently a $556B problem. As a consultant and product development specialist, she has created products and launched programs for HSN, Saks Fifth Avenue, British Airways, JCPenney, Ralph Lauren, Ford Models and Hanes. In her journey she has been featured in over 750 stories creating over 50 million impressions including The Today Show, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and ABC News. She won over 70 awards in creative advertising excellence and was a finalist in Southern California (LA) Fashion Awards as Trendsetter and Industry Icon 2016, 2017.
GIVE: High Level Product Positioning and Distribution Assessment
GET: Investors and Fashion Brand Champions
NEWS: We have recently elevated our platform to a global level and are creating our new brand presence. We are the sustainable solution to the huge returns problem on the planet.
RECENT PRESS: Good Morning America, Good Housekeeping Chooses Fitlogic as Best Fitting Jean: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/style/video/find-clothing-fits-68501212 Wall Street Journal Cover Story: "Cricket Lee Takes on the Fashion Industry" https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120526696495628087
FUN FACT: I'm a singer and have opened the show for Willie Nelson and BJ Thomas. I also wrote a song with BJ and his wife Gloria (who won song awards). I also produced a CD at that time for BJ with Warner Brothers.
ABOUT: Marie Roker-Jones is the co-Ceo of Essteem. Essteem organizes Equalithons (hackathons for equality), first-of-its-kind, virtual DEI events that connect tech companies that uphold diversity and inclusion commitments to underrepresented tech talent who want to work for those companies. She is a social impact startup founder with over ten years of experience in leading gender and racial diversity strategies as a founder for Raising Great Men and senior editor for The Good Men Project. Marie also has workforce and career development experience creating workforce re-entry programs for underrepresented communities. She has helped tech companies and startups create inclusive and impactful work cultures through Veteran and military spouse hiring initiatives. Marie was the lead for The Charter for Compassion's Compassionate NYC and facilitated dialogue on privilege fragility, designing for inclusion, and debiasing through #CompassionConvos.
GIVE: How to source for diverse talent and build inclusive work cultures through social impact. Cultural competency for working with Veterans or the military community.
GET: Introduction to talent acquisition for tech companies looking to hire for diversity and introductions to angel investors who invest in social ventures.
FUN FACT: I am a Reiki practitioner.
NEWS: We are working with Harvard Ventures for an April hackathon.
ABOUT: Lin Chen is the CEO + founder of Pink Moon. Sustainable beauty has been a core component of her professional life for nearly a decade. Her experience and passion for holistic living ultimately led her to create Pink Moon, a NYC based consultancy that aims to uplift and radically transform the beauty industry. She has intentionally built a business that works solely with female-founded brands that value sustainability, philanthropy, and holistic wellness because she believes that these values are key to creating a more conscious and empowering beauty space. Pink Moon is now also a digital wellcare + community space, curating female-founded sustainable and mindful brands while giving back to those in need.
GIVES: Happy to give strategic advice about branding, transitioning to being a more eco/sustainable business, and happy to connect anyone in my network.
GETS: I'm raising a seed round for my company Pink Moon and have a list of investors I'd love a warm intro to but also would like to meet angels who are keen to invest in e-commerce, retail, and/or wellness.
FUN FACT: I love making cocktails at home and creating delicious, fun recipes.
NEWS: We are a social impact mission-driven company and have given back to over two dozen charities since our launch last June!
RECENT PRESS: Our Midnight Melody Body & Hair Oil was recently selected by Brit + Co as 'best self-care product of 2021. SELF Magazine highlighted us as an 'Asian American-owned small business to know'.
ABOUT Deborah: I have 10+ yrs of rich experience in Creative Marketing, E -Commerce, Fashion Production, and Academia. I've been privileged enough to work with Bloomingdale’s, Laquan Smith, Nicole Miller, Calvin Klein, Macy’s, and the LIM College of Fashion. Most recently I co-founded Beyond the Runway which is a revolutionary web and mobile app that is changing the online shopping experience. As an expert in the fashion industry I enjoy anything that allows me to engage with and teach others within that space.
ABOUT Margaux: Margaux has been a serial entrepreneur for over 10 years. She is currently the CEO and co-founder of Beyond the Runway, a multi-brand fashion e-commerce site that allows you to create a fit avatar based on pictures to virtually try on clothing. Early in Bitcoin’s adoption cycle in 2012, she relaunched the first American Bitcoin exchange, Tradehill, while also co-founding two other early bitcoin exchanges companies—MonetaGo (now a blockchain value transfer company) and AlphaPoint (now a white label exchange software solution) that are still operating today. Her first company, a music app, sold. Margaux has been featured on the cover of ETFs & Funds in The Wall Street Journal, as well as in the documentary “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin.” She got her BA from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Merchandising at the Academy of Art University GIVES: To leverage our expertise in the form of one-on-one consults and office hours, forums, etc. There will also be positions opening with Beyond the Runway this year that I look forward to offering to other The Fourth Floor members. Stay tuned there! GETS: Deborah wants to connect with some The Fourth Floor Life Coach experts this year to get guidance on personal goal setting and future development.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "Done is better than perfect"- Sheryl Sandberg. LIVE by this! NEWS: Yes!!! We just completed a pre-launch for our BTR app which has been months in development. A HUGE accomplishment! You can check that out here: BTR YouTube Video
ABOUT: Tobi is one of "12 women in machine learning to watch," as recognized by Samasource. She is a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and considered an expert in ML and data science. A trained applied mathematician with a passion for leading high-impact initiatives and solving complex technical problems,Tobi has built production predictive systems for Fortune 500 companies resulting in billions in revenue and multiple patents. Most recently, she has brought her skills to bear with Ilekun Health, a category defining platform remaking the way patients find health care providers.
GIVE: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning consultation & Intros from my network.
GET: Intros to preseed and consumer health investors & Marketing/advertising content creators FAVORITE QUOTE: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - MLK
NEWS: I am gearing up for our initial launch. Anyone who is interested in being a user (from patient, provider, or advertiser perspectives) should join our mailing list via www.ilekunhealth.com and to see a MVP product demo.
FUNDING: Currently raising a pre-seed round.
ABOUT: Felicia is an entrepreneur and advocate for mothers and caregivers. She left her full-time career in marketing and publicity to be a stay-at-home mother to her three children, which set her on the path to founding Persistiny - a tech start-up dedicated to tracking, valuing, sharing and leveraging the invisible workload of motherhood. Felicia has served on the board of directors for three start-ups, one of which had a successful exit in 2015. She has also served on the board of several non-profits.
GIVE: I have a passion for marketing and branding. I’m always happy to brainstorm with fellow founders, or give my feedback on marketing materials.
GET: I would love to connect with the parents in the Fourth Floor to learn about their experience with invisible labor and how it affects their mental health, relationships and professional lives.
FUN FACT: I’m an experienced group facilitator. I love working with groups to build authentic, vulnerable connections.
NEWS: Persistiny is in the process of building our advisory board and officially opening our pre-seed round of funding. I welcome the opportunity to work with fellow Fourth Floor members. Reach out and let’s talk!
FUNDING: We will officially open our round in Q1 2021.
ABOUT: Kaitlin Christine is a fighter and fierce advocate. After losing her mom to breast cancer due to malpractice, she exhibited similar symptoms and had to fight to get proper care and was diagnosed with breast cancer at only age 24. After working as a National Patient Speaker and Hereditary Cancer Specialist for the world's leading genetics company, Kaitlin founded Gabbi. Gabbi empowers women to understand their bodies and proactively seek the care they need. By selling to health insurers, Gabbi helps identify and manage female members in order to deliver maximum cost savings and improve health outcomes. Kaitlin lives in Portland, Oregon.
GIVE: We all go up together! I love leveraging my expertise and network. Expertise includes: email marketing, pitching and public speaking, startup life, best restaurants and wineries, health insurance, women's health.
GET: I am most interested in growing relationships with investors, key decision makers at health insurance companies, and potential hires in engineering, marketing, and operations. I also have a secret list of female celebrities who focus on women's health and/or have been impacted by cancer--if you know one, I would LOVE an introduction.
FUN FACT: I was training for the Salt Lake Olympics as a Ski Racer before college. NEWS: Signed our first customer and currently raising our pre-seed round.
ABOUT: Ashlee Wisdom is a public health enthusiast and health equity champion. She is the Founder & CEO of Health In Her HUE, a digital platform that connects Black women and WOC to culturally competent healthcare providers, services and health content. Health In Her HUE’s mission is to reduce racial health disparities by leveraging the power of technology, media and community to improve health outcomes for Black women.
GIVE: I am happy to make myself available to anyone who'd like to discuss health equity and I'm willing to make any helpful introductions to Fourth Floor Members who are building a health tech company.
GET: I am looking for a CTO and would love any and all referrals and recommendations for the right CTO. I am also looking for strategic partners!
My favorite quote: "I get angry about things, then go on and work." - Toni Morrison
NEWS: We were recently featured in Forbes and Pop Sugar and Bloomberg Law and Above The Law
FUNDING: I am currently raising a pre seed round for Health In Her HUE.
ABOUT: Kristen Carbone is committed to making the lives of the people around her more comfortable, fulfilling and beautiful. After a decade long career working in curatorial departments in Museums across New York and New England she founded Brilliantly, a brand dedicated to meeting the long term, quality of life issues faced by women who’ve had an experience with breast cancer. She currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island where she lives with her two children.
GIVE: I'm looking forward to providing insights and having conversations about community building, startup life, pitching, brand positioning, event planning, and parenting.
GET: I'm always looking to expand my network and find deep connections and symbiotic, collaborative business relationships.
FUN FACT: My hidden talent is estimating volume. I can always pick the right sized tupperware for leftovers. The very best part of running my own business has been getting to know the women in the community I'm trying to serve. I'm driven by human connection and while this effort has been difficult, I'm inspired and fueled by the relationships I've built.
ABOUT: Emily created Shine Registry as a platform for female founders to ask for startup needs in the style of a wedding registry. You can ask for a gravy boat when you’re getting married - with Shine Registry you can ask for office supplies and network connections when you’re starting a business. Her company is changing the way communities show up for people they care about and reimagining the relationship between women and ambition.
There are more than 250 female founders that currently use Shine Registry.
GIVE: Emily is a non-technical founder that has gone through several rounds of finding and onboarding technical talent and can provide insight into that process.
GET: Shine Registry is looking to build new brand partnerships before relaunching the site in early fall. Special focus on products new business owners love and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
FUN FACT: Before becoming a startup founder Emily's previous jobs ranged from converting an abandoned auto-body shop into a campaign office and managing internal policy processes at the Pentagon.
ABOUT: Steph is an entrepreneur and community builder with management experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States. She co-founded and runs Solstice, an enterprise dedicated to radically expanding the number of American households that can take advantage of clean energy using community-shared solar farms.
GIVE: List of funders, can offer connections to investors.
GET: Advice on how to raise a Series A next year, in addition to sales advice.
FUN FACT: I know all the lyrics to every Elvis Presley song because my father was a Chinese Elvis impersonator.
NEWS: Despite the difficulties of this COVID-era, we continue to sign additional contracts with the largest wind and solar developer in the world and are expanding to a new state (IL) to work on our first urban project in the Chicago area which will also allow us to serve a more diverse customer base.
ABOUT: Alissa Baier-Lentz is the co-founder & COO of Kintra Fibers, a material science company that makes high-performing bio-synthetic textiles that biodegrade like a natural fiber. Kintra exists to solve the microfiber pollution in the ocean and the use of fossilized carbon in fashion that traditional synthetic fabrics perpetuate. Prior to Kintra, Alissa launched and scaled HERO Backpacks. Each HERO backpack gives one day of school to a girl who will be the first in her family to graduate. After all, you can’t spell HERO without HER!
GIVE: For anyone seeking to curate a sustainable wardrobe, or to learn more about the solutions that exist for the fashion industry to become circular, I am happy to be your guide.
GET: To be connected to fashion brands with an interest in innovation / sustainability, and investors with an interest in the bio-based product economy / sustainability.
FUN FACT: I have one letter from the declaration of human rights tattooed on my arm. If I were to stand united with the other 6,772 humans in this living art project, we would spell out the declaration.
NEWS: Exciting news coming soon!
ABOUT: Brandi DeCarli is the Founding Partner of Farm from a Box, an off-grid toolkit that revolutionizes local food production and enables communities around the world to grow their own nutritious food with clean technology. She is currently a SheEO Venture fellow, a board member of Jordanian agritech accelerator HASSAD, and a Rising Talent with the Women's Forum. She is a frequent global speaker on technology's role in climate resilience and women's leadership, including her TEDx talk, "How technology and togetherness can transform our world." A firm believer in the power of collaboration, Brandi is passionate about rejecting old rules and driving positive change in the world through innovation, compassion, and connection.
GIVE: I love exploring strategic partnerships and potential collaborations, and have earned the nickname of “Constellationist” as a result. I am happy to brainstorm ideas and help!
GET: We are a growing company, and I welcome intros to potential funders, partners and/or interested buyers.
FUN FACT: I used to work on a Big 5 game reserve in South Africa, and am an excellent spotter and overall adventuress. (animal calls? Not so much.)
NEWS TO SHARE: It is an exciting time to be working on building food independence! We just released our 4.0 model for the US market and have some pretty incredible new deployments coming up, ranging from a few family farms and farm-to-table programs to a multi-unit project in the Pine Ridge community of South Dakota. We’re working to get some solid sales traction in before opening our next funding round.
CEO & Co-Founder of Priori
ABOUT: Basha Rubin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Priori, the legal marketplace changing the way in-house teams find, hire and manage outside counsel. Priori has been named a 2018 and 2019 Intelligent Business by the Financial Times for their work managing legal costs. Basha writes and speaks extensively on how technology is changing and will change the marketplace for legal services. She holds a JD and BA from Yale University and is a member of the New York Bar.
GIVE: Real-talk advice / experiences from the trenches for newer entrepreneurs.
GET: Always looking to connect with in-house counsel who are interested in innovative approaches to working with outside counsel and want to learn more about Priori's model.
FUN FACT: I almost always have a fantasy novel I'm reading on my phone. Nothing like a little escapism in your pocket in this moment!
NEWS TO SHARE: Two recent articles about us feature how we use data to drive smarter, more efficient outside counsel hiring choices and price certainty. You can also read our case study with Hearst that was shortlisted for the Financial Times Intelligent Business Awards in 2019.
Co-Founder & CFO of Caira Surgical
ABOUT: Irina launched CAIRA surgical with her fellow classmate after graduating from Columbia Business School. CAIRA is a revolutionary surgical assistant for joint replacement. Prior to CAIRA Surgical, she worked in leverage finance focused on medical device and provider sectors.
GIVE: Irina has an extensive background in healthcare banking. She is always willing to help healthcare startups build a go to market strategy.
GET: Introductions to potential advisors and investors focused on the orthopedic market.
FUN FACT: In her free time, Irina is working on getting her private pilot’s license.
Founder & CEO of
ABOUT: A former Event Planner turned Accidental Entrepreneur. Suzanne is the Founder & CEO of Private Packs. Private Packs has reimagined the therapy pack and sculpted it for the intimate areas to deliver discrete comfort. Private Packs was born out of a traumatic Brazilian waxing incident. GIVE: Anyone that needs help learning from the inventor’s perspective of filing a patent (i.e.: don’t file a design patent on your MVP design – rookie mistake), building a successful crowdfunding campaign, and overseas manufacturing. GET: I’m looking for advisory board members and a marketer with CPG experience to join our team. FUN FACT: I am a former Marksman for the Royal Canadian Air Force. NEWS: Launched in 2019, Private Packs will transform the healing process for women in their most sensitive areas, specifically after childbirth, bikini waxes, intercourse, and surgery. There is huge potential for us to make a real difference in the lives of vulva owners around the world.
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Livepin Inc.
ABOUT: Yang Cheung is a co-founder of Livepin, a cloud-based SaaS live broadcasting platform that helps businesses reach and grow their audience by providing intelligent distribution solutions through global delivery and real-time analysis of video content. Prior to co-founding Livepin, Yang spent 13 years in software development and product management in the financial services industry.
GIVE: Help other founders with product related questions. Bring more members to The Fourth Floor community.
GET: Introduction to potential partners, clients, advisors, and investors.
FUN FACT: Yang lives in Brooklyn with her parents, in-laws, husband, son, daughter, dog and frog.
NEWS: We have released real time transcription and translation feature in closed beta. Please let me know if you would like to see a demo!
Partner, Jayaram Law
Lawyers for Innovators®
ABOUT: I started in BigLaw and after a handful of years, I ran for the hills eschewing law altogether and spending the next five years in a start-up, a non-profit and home with my kids. When I founded the New York City practice of Jayaram Law, I discovered that I actually love private practice, I just needed to find a forum that matched my passions. I am also an angel investor and over the last three years I have built a legal practice that bridges the gap between traditional law and innovative growth. In addition to advising early stage companies, I work with larger entities in managing their domestic and international trademark portfolios,
cross-border trademark strategies, and the intellectual property direction for companies such as Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founder Collective, The Shatter Fund and Ankura Consulting Group.
GIVE: 30 minute general mentor calls with Founders. AMA! (Ask me anything!)
GET: I am looking to hire a junior corporate associate and an administrative assistant in my New York office; I would love any referrals.
FUN FACT: I grew up on an intentional spiritual community (think: commune without the indoctrination) in West Virginia.
NEWS: I know of a number of fantastic founders looking for co-founders, if anyone is looking to become a co-founder to a very early stage business, please let me know.
CEO & Founder of Radical Health
ABOUT: Ivelyse is the founder of Radical Health, the first Latina owned Public Benefit Corp in NY. Radical Health improves health equity through meaningful conversations and technology. The latest app Radical Relay is a “know your rights” for health AI based chatbot that helps pregnant people ask the right questions before, during and after pregnancy to address maternal health inequities.
GIVE: I love thinking strategically about alternate ways to generate revenue or how to maximize social impact.
GET: I’d love to meet others who have bootstrapped companies and scaled.
FUN FACT: In her spare time, Ivelyse loves to thrift. She had a side hustle selling used clothes to support Radical Health in its early stages.
NEWS: Ivelyse was recently appointed as a Commissioner to the NYC Commission on Gender Equity.
Founder and CEO of EggFund
ABOUT: EggFund helps the 1 in 8 Americans suffering from infertility afford their dream of having a baby by providing affordable loans. We provide funding for fertility treatment, adoption and surrogacy. Within months of launching, EggFund surpassed $1M in loans funded to men and women, across the US, to build their families. Our goal is to create thousands of families, and plan to introduce additional products in the next year. Prior to starting EggFund, Carmela had a successful 20 year career in the art world. Most recently, as co-President of a global art media group. After starting EggFund, she found out she was pregnant. She lives in NYC with her daughter, Elisabeth, and husband Geoff.
GIVE: I'd like to get more members and organizations involved.
GET: A strategic legal advisor who can help us as we build out the business by making introductions to potential partners and investors, and/or providing strategic compliance/financial advice.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "If it's easy, it's probably not worth doing."
NEWS: We are about to onboard new lenders to meet more of the customer demand for EggFund's affordable loans
CEO & Founder of Queen of Raw
ABOUT: Corporate attorney turned fashion tech and sustainability entrepreneur. Stephanie is the Co-Founder of Queen of Raw, a marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles, keeping it out of landfill and turning pollution into profit. Stephanie is a NASA/NIKE/IKEA/DELL Innovator, a Grand Prize WeWork Creator Awards Winner presented by Ashton Kutcher, a thredUP Circular Fashion Fund Recipient, and was nominated as a Founder to Watch by Women 2.0. She is a Member of Pledge 1% and Founding Member of Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, along with Aveda, Kering, and Stella McCartney.
BUSINESS WIN: Want a deep dive into sustainability, women in business, and the future of fashion, supply chain, and materials? Check out our podcast "Material Is Your Business."
GIVE: Expertise in sustainability and innovative marketplace technologies
GET: Strategic partnerships with fashion brands and retailers looking to improve their bottom line by 15%
FUN FACT/HIDDEN TALENT: The first piece of fabric I ever loved was my Fisher Price Security Bunny. I still keep her with me.
COO & CLO of Simplecast
...a podcasting technologies company
ABOUT: Jeanine was a talent-side entertainment and media attorney (she even first-chaired and won a 2-week jury trial for a talent agency!) before transitioning into tech leadership. Since then, she's co-led the auction process to sell a company to GoDaddy, launched an international joint venture with one of the world’s largest companies, and was part of a small team charged with turn-around efforts after the company was acquired by a PE firm. She loves fundraising (not many people can say that!) and enjoys angel investing in tech startups, mentoring high-potential women professionals, and serving on corporate boards.
INTERESTING BUSINESS: Jeanine was actually Simplecast's first outside investor 3 years ago. When Simplecast raised their Series A, the Founder invited her to join as COO full-time.
GIVE: Advice to women founders of young companies about fundraising and maybe even some intros.
GET: Meet more women tech executives and entrepreneurs.
FUN FACT/HIDDEN TALENT: In all of her "spare time", Jeanine keeps busy with her 2 rambunctious boys, 2 dogs, 5 chickens, a hive of bees, growing her own food and making craft beers on her little “urban farm” in Los Angeles.
CEO & Co-Founder of ClearOPS, Inc.
...a privacy technology company, that is speeding up enterprise sales
ABOUT: Prior to ClearOPS, Caroline spent the last 18 years as an attorney, both as outside and in house counsel, and the last 8 years as a privacy expert.
BUSINESS WIN: ClearOPS was just featured in a podcast called AI in the Wild. Give it a listen here.
GIVE: A seat on the ClearOps advisory board to a person who has experience in customer relationship management or privacy.
GET: Intros to potential customers or other networking opportunities.
FUN FACT/HIDDEN TALENT: Caroline learned how to fly Cessna airplanes in her early 20s and almost got her private pilot’s licens