LdC: How did you find your co-founder and what advice do you have for women looking for solid partners to get their vision off the ground?
TR: We met while I was an editor at CosmoGirl, and she was a teen social entrepreneur doing groundbreaking work. I nominated her for an award at the magazine. While she did not win, we kept in touch and eventually decided to work together.
My advice is to look for people who naturally gravitate toward the work you are already doing or who doing something similar. Try working together on a small project to see how you get along without committing to a long-term relationship. Take it slowly. And give yourself plenty of room to back away if it’s not working.
LdC: How do you feel racism, sexism affects young women’s views of themselves as entrepreneurs?
TR: The numbers speak for themselves. Women are few and far behind as heads of major companies, participants in incubators and accelerators, recipients of angel investments and so forth. In Start-Up Chile, for instance, through February of 2012, there were only 12 sole female founders out of over 300 companies, and I was the only African-American person. Clearly, there is a correlation between race and gender and the dearth of successful female entrepreneurs.
LdC: What is your biggest hope for female entrepreneurs of color this year?
TR: I’d like to see them applying for and entering in more programs that can help them succeed.
LdC: By the way, where did you go to school?
TR: Mount Holyoke College undergrad and New York University grad
LdC: And where were you before you started this cool endeavor?
TR: Traveling around the world with a pit stop in Atlanta.
LdC: I see your co-founder has a ton of accolades. How important is that in negotiations, obtaining meetings, etc and what advice do you have for women of color who would like to achieve more honors but find it hard being heard, being seen?
TR: I think women of color have to start applying for more fellowships, incubators and awards. And often that means looking for opportunities that are out of your comfort zone, perhaps opportunities in other countries or from organizations that are not gender or race specific. It also doesn’t hurt to get support in filling out applications. You have to be sure you can speak the language of the sector. Maybe you are a great fit, but if you don’t present yourself as such on paper, it won’t matter.
Well, there you have it, another inspiring woman. Don’t miss the next profile! In the meantime, stay up to date on the tech game via my Twitter feed @mediaempress and my site www.ldcoleman.com.
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