Hey everyone! We are back with another profile, and for those who are interested in money — from smart investments or building a business — read on!
Investment and the images of women of color may not be synonymous, but if Natalia Oberti Noguera has her way, that will change very soon. Natalia is founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing boot camp for women philanthropists. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. This is key as women seek to balance the tech industry. Natalia is a game-changer in this area and has some major insight to share!
Name: Natalia Oberti Noguera
Current Occupation: Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship
Favorite Website: Twitter
2013’s Ultimate Goal: Add #morevoices to the table.
Quotations that govern your mission, inspire you, and are just awesome:
When you do the right thing, it may not pay immediately, but it does pay. –Luz Urrutia
Powerful leadership is about understanding that you belong there. —@CarlaHarris
[I]f you don’t have a seat at the table: Bring Your Own Chair. —@midyaponte
People think #feminism is just for women. No fool, feminism is for everybody. —@aminatou
Twitter Handle: @nakisnakis
Madame Noire: Where are you from, Natalia, and where did you attend college?
Natalia Oberti Noguera: I’m half-Italian, half-Colombian. My father used to work for the UN, so we moved around quite a bit while growing up, primarily in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic). Summers were often spent in the United States, as my maternal grandmother used to live in Pennsylvania. I went to Yale for college and double-majored in Economics and Comparative Literature.
MN: What were you doing in your career before you started the Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: I built a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC from about six women to over 1,200 members within two years.
MN: What events led you to start Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: Having the same conversation over and over: “It’s so hard to secure funding as a for-profit social venture.” [It] inspired me to launch the Pipeline Fellowship.
MN: What have been the results to date for the organization. Why do you feel its important to have Pipeline in place?
NON: In 2011, only 12 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only four percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since running our first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained fifty women and has expanded from New York City to Boston, as well as San Francisco, and plans to head to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Pipeline Fellowship alumnae have gone on to invest in their third and fourth startups, as well as launch accelerators and angel groups.
MN: Since you focus on women and diversity, I’d love to know if you felt you’ve ever been challenged due to gender and race. How did you handle it? And what might your suggestions be for other women facing similar situations?
NON: Last year, I was invited to judge a tech startup demo. Judges were asked to sit in the front row and that’s where I found myself when a guy told the guy next to him — loud enough for me to hear, however not directly addressing me — “I thought that only the judges were supposed to sit at the front.” I turned around and said, “And what makes you think that we’re not judges–because we’re women?” My approach is to call out -isms. As an LGBTQ Latina, it can get tiring. However, after hearing Ruth Simmons, former President of Brown University, mention how important it is for us who speak up to continue to do so because others in the room might not realize that they have the right to do the same, I understood that burning out isn’t an option. If you’re wondering how to handle a situation, remember:
Some conversations are uncomfortable but also necessary. They are so uncomfortable because they are so necessary. —Molly Lambert