On June 19th, in front of an audience of 200 businesswomen in Google’s D.C. headquarters, Revolution’s Song Pak took part in an event to help inspire, engage, and connect the next generation of female entrepreneurs and investors.
Co-sponsored by United Women in Business and Google, the gathering was about generating meaningful conversation to challenge common assumptions around female entrepreneurship.
Song, Revolution’s Senior Vice President and Revolution Growth’s General Counsel, spoke on a panel and offered advice for the mostly 20-somethings in the audience, many of whom plan to start business or join new companies. From how to negotiate for stock options when you join a startup (“aim high!”), to preparing before you pitch an idea to investors (“female founders need to study even harder!”), to embracing failure not as a set-back, but as an opportunity to pivot, Song’s points centered around one key theme: confidence.
Despite starting around half of U.S. small businesses, women are far less likely to raise venture capital funding or start high-growth businesses than men. Why? Above all else, according to Song, it comes down to confidence.
Often men and women with equal experiences and skill-sets have very different expectations about what is possible. Song spoke to her time as a young lawyer at a large law firm in Texas, when she stunned her friends and left to take a risk working for a startup. Song simply believed it would work out, and it did.
Song also noted that there are women running extraordinary enterprises nationwide. Indeed Revolution Growth’s most recent investment in Lolly Wolly Doodle, the North Carolina social commerce apparel company, was founded in 2008 by first-time entrepreneur and mother-of-four Brandi Temple. If more women aspire to take risks and believe in themselves, those trends in high-growth entrepreneurship and venture capital will start to change.
In addition to Song, other speakers and panelists included:
· Donna Harris, cofounder of DC-based accelerator 1776
· Kathy Korman Frey, Founder of Hot Mommas Project and Entrepreneur in Residence at George Washington University
· Beverly Schwartz, Vice President of Global Marketing, Ashoka
· Rebecca Thorman, Vice President, Speek.com
After finishing their talk, the panelists mingled with audience-members and joined breakout sessions.