Ita Ekpoudom: How to Add Your Ripple to Create a Tidal Wave of Change
I like to think that October 2014 was a really good month for women, as it marked the birth of both GenderAvenger and Tigress Ventures.
GenderAvenger Founder Gina Glantz and I have many differences — we live on opposite coasts, and we’re of different generational, cultural, and professional backgrounds — but when I had the pleasure of hearing Gina speak at a launch event for GenderAvenger in May, all of those differences disappeared and I immediately recognized that the underlying reasons we started our organizations were the same.
We both deeply and truly believe that the amazing women who are our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and colleagues all around the world make essential and valuable contributions, and that our voices and perspectives must be reflected in the broader conversation. We have chosen different paths to achieving this and I love the simple yet powerful path Gina has chosen. While the GA Tally may seem to be just a basic app that makes a pie chart, in this sea of virtual information that we must wade through every day, little ripples of praise (or discontent) in the form of easily digestible and shareable visual content can bring about a tidal wave of change.
Since meeting Gina and downloading the app, it’s interesting how much more aware I am when I attend conferences and panels of the composition of speakers and panelists. Earlier this month I was invited to be a panelist as part of a "NextGen Focus Group" at the NextGen Wealth Management conference where the audience consisted of asset management professionals who are trying to crack the code of connecting with the much sought after Millennial and early Gen-Xer. The panel’s moderator (a woman) took great care to bring together a group that reflected a fantastic gender and cultural diversity.
We remarked afterwards at how dynamic the discussion was in our engagement with each other and the questions from attendees. Over lunch, our table noted how the range of opinions and experiences of diverse groups contributes to the quality of discussion, and it reminded me of GenderAvenger. So I pulled out my phone, opened the app, and showed them how it worked by charting our panel and tweeting it. As simple as that:
These are the kinds of panels I want to be a part of and to hear from. So next time you attend a conference, whether as a speaker or attendee, take note of who is talking and add your ripple to the tidal wave.
Ita Ekpoudom is the Founder and CEO of Tigress Ventures, an advisory and consulting firm working with women entrepreneurs, professionals and investors. Prior to starting her firm, she worked in product management at American Express and TravelClick. Ita began her career at Goldman Sachs. She is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Finance and earned her MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She is the Chair of the Women Entrepreneurship Council for St. Francis College in Brooklyn and she is President of the Alumnae Association of W.O.M.E.N. in America.