Women4Tech @ MWC Americas 2018

2018 saw the MWC Americas event move to its new home of Los Angeles. The location may have changed, but Women4Tech returned to the show, bringing together a total of 27 leaders from across the telecoms, tech, investment and media industries, to discuss strategies to bring about greater diversity and inclusion in the digital age.

One of the highlights for me was CMO of Synchronoss, Mary Clark, having a frank conversation with her boss, Glenn Lurie, CEO of Synchronoss on how male leaders can better support and mentor female employees in to positions of senior leadership.

Jeanne Holm, Deputy CIO for the City of Los Angeles, discussed how her team is helping to build a tech talent pipeline in LA, bringing young women into government service through its Data Science Federation, and ensuring an equitable and safe working environment for women through their partnership with Time’s Up.

Fireside chats between Deloitte’s Heather Rangel and Michelle Morris, VP of Global Marketing Solutions for Facebook and Jessica April, VP, Integrated Marketing for Reuters, further explored the themes of building talent pipelines and support for women at various stages of their careers.

As W4T moved to Los Angeles for the first time, we looked to the worlds of Media, Sports & Entertainment and asked inspiring leaders to share their personal stories and career journeys, as well as passing on any practical advice and tips to those aiming for leadership roles.

The session featured Michele Edelman, EVP of Marketing at Vubiquity, Christine Pantoya, SVP and Global Head of Mobile & Direct-to-Consumer, NBA, Joanna Lambert, General Manager of Finance & Tech for Oath, Denise Colella, Senior Vice President, Advanced Advertising Products and Strategy, NBCU and Jefferson Wang, Managing Director, Accenture. It was great to have such a varied panel and to be able to include male advocates alongside these inspiring female leaders.

The Innovating session focused on funding – our panel discussed why women are significantly underrepresented in investment teams and how we can increase funding and support for female led businesses. Only 2% of all venture funding in 2017 went to female led businesses and what’s worse is that the average deal size for a female founder led company was a little over $5 million versus $12 million for male founder led companies.

A special thanks goes to Steve Brumer of 151 Advisors and the panellists Elana Lian, Director, Intel Capital, Tasneem Manjra, Head of Network Development, Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Kira Makegon, EVP of Innovation, RingCentral and Anarghya Vardhana, Partner, Maveron. You can read Tasneem’s own blog on the session here.

The final session of the day was hosted by our own Regional Marketing Director for Latin America, Paula Ferrari. The GSMA is Topic Chair of the Digital Inclusion theme within the W20 (Women 20) group, which is advising the G20 on issues around gender equality and the economic empowerment of women, supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #5 (Gender Equality).

This closing panel featured updates and reflections from Rachel Samrén, EVP Chief External Affairs Officer, Millicom and Andrea Rey, Partner, EY, who have both been closely involved with the project, with the aim of increasing benefits for women and their communities and economies by ensuring that women are digitally included.

So what’s next for Women4Tech? In 2019, we want to continue to expand our programme and we will feature Summits and a range of activities at all 3 MWC events in Barcelona, Shanghai and LA. You can get in touch with Keren Bowman to discuss speaking opportunities by emailing kbowman@GSMA.com. We will also be hosting a session at the M360 Africa event in Kigali, in July 2019.

As we continue to develop the programme, we want to hear from you! How can we improve? Are there any key topics that we should be covering? Do you want to recommend any inspiring female or male speakers? And remember to follow us on social media for updates using the #GSMAW4T.