CSweetener At Glance
- Tech-enabled mentor matching program for women in healthcare to ensure ideal member/mentor pairings are made
- Match rising women leaders seeking support with experienced women and men who desire to give back
- Focused on supporting the next generation of women leaders: New to the C-Suite or within 1-2 years of C-Suite title
- Open to entrepreneurs and larger company team members
- 501c3 designed to create social value and fill a real market need
- Profile female entrepreneurs who join the program and help them identify the kinds of support they need
- Profile experienced mentors interested in providing guidance to emerging and aspiring women C-Suite members
- Provide opportunities for short-term engagement between entrepreneur members and mentors to test compatibility
- Allow for longer term mentorship pairings when the match is well made and both parties agree that the relationship will have mutual value
- Offer scheduling and video conferencing services that make meetings easy to schedule and remove geographical barriers of geography from matching
- Provide methods for receiving feedback and a resource library of educational and practical materials to create a richer experience for all involved.
- Build community among mentors that amplifies the value of giving back
Our Mission: Amplify the Odds of Success
of healthcare decisions made by women
of startups have women on the founding team
women in the C-Suite by Series B
Women comprise fewer than 6% of all decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms, and they hold only 16% of Board roles in U.S. corporations. Yet, it is widely documented that more gender-diverse teams have higher profitability and greater client satisfaction than all-male teams. Catalyst has identified a strong correlation between the number of women on boards and in the C-Suite and a company’s return on investment (ROI) and return on equity (ROE).
C-Sweetener is a not-for profit organization dedicated to helping women benefit from mentorship to become the best leaders they can be. The program was inspired by an opportunity that the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship provided to our co-founder, Lisa Suennen, an experienced healthcare entrepreneur, long-time venture capitalist, and a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Health Innovators Fellowship.
Having long observed that female entrepreneurs are eager for mentorship and support from those with experience and success in the healthcare market, Suennen has used her Aspen Fellowship opportunity to found C-Sweetener in order to advance the healthcare field for all concerned and help create a level playing field that will enable the best entrepreneurs, regardless of gender to win.
Co-founder Lisa Serwin, a long time crusader for healthcare access and a successful health care entrepreneur has joined in this endeavor. Serwin has firsthand experience with the challenges of entering the C-Suite. Lisa has held CEO as well as other C-Suite positions, including CFO and COO.
On average, Lisa receives 5-10 requests a week for guidance and mentorship from young female executives, and she has dedicated many hours over her career to informal mentoring support; she credits some of her success to excellent mentoring in her early career.
In addition to C-Sweetener, Lisa is Senior Managing Director, Healthcare at GE Ventures and Managing Partner of Venture Valkyrie, LLC, a healthcare advisory firm that provides strategic advisory services to large and small healthcare companies as well as venture capital funds around investment and innovation strategy, innovation program design, market development and product conceptualization, and partnerships. See detailed bio HERE.
Lisa also actively guides entrepreneurs and companies and would not be where she is today without the guidance and support of her mentors. Lisa is dedicated to giving back, with a special emphasis on guiding and celebrating newly appointed female executives.
With over two decades of experience with both start-ups and established organizations in the healthcare, consumer product and retail sectors; including for and not-for-profit Board experience, Lisa has been fortunate enough to touch most positions in the C-suite, from CFO to COO to CEO. She ran the Commission on Medical Research, Education and Training for the State of Nevada and received a State Proclamation from Governor Guinn. Lisa was recently named one of the 20 women in finance you should add to your company’s board by Business Insider.
See detailed bio HERE.
Olivia is a long-time women’s advocate and successful healthcare executive with over 20 years of experience in biotech and pharmaceutical drug development, commercialization and healthcare management. She has more than 10 years of experience managing oncology programs as both a senior commercial leader and cross-functional team leader on global projects. Olivia has a proven track record launching and building blockbuster drugs; directing high-profile programs at all phases of development from late stage research through development and commercialization and managing assets to maximize corporate value.
See detailed bio HERE.
Lisa is a passionate advocate of women and currently serves on Advisory Councils focused on gender diversity and inclusion for Vital Voices and California Film Institute’s Mind The Gap. With 25+ years of international marketing and commercialization of healthcare, health and wellness and consumer packaged goods in the US, Europe and China, Co-founder and VP Marketing of a women’s healthcare startup and Founding Partner of a healthcare-focused management consultancy, Lisa has well-rounded experience. She has worked across digital health, medical devices, life sciences and biotech with companies such as Medimmune, Agilent, Emergent Biosolutions, Sightlife and Procter & Gamble, along with many startups. Lisa currently advises healthcare startups on commercialization, strategic partnering and marketing strategy.
See detailed bio HERE.