Welcome Evolve Women

Evolve Women provides a platform of educational and developmental programs for women through all stages of a career lifecycle. The organization began with a specific focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and provides programming to encourage and promote more women towards working in and to support women working within the STEM areas in the workforce. Evolve Women will also includes entrepreneurship and health/healthcare issues for women in the workforce.

A state-by-state breakdown of the striking gender gap in doctors’ pay

If you’re a doctor in Charlotte, N.C., you’re ideally situated to benefit from the highest pay in the health care business. There’s just one catch: If you want that big money, you can’t be a woman.

That’s because the city also has the biggest gender wage gap in the nation. Female physicians in Charlotte make an average of 33 percent less than their male counterparts, a difference of $125,000 per year, according to a new report by the social media site Doximity.

Read more here.

Welcome Springboard Alumnae!

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Springboard Enterprises. CSweetener is offering two free mentoring sessions (two credits) to alumnae of Springboard's Healthcare Accelerator Programs for use on CSweetener’s mentoring site. If you enjoy your experience, you are welcome to join CSweetener for a $250 tax-deductible donation (12 credits for one year). CSweetner is a not-for-profit organization.

To receive your two free credits, please sign up on CSweeteners website site (http://www.csweetener.org/find-a-mentor) and use the code "Springboard". Once CSweetener receives your email, you will be issued an invitation into the platform with two credits for two months.

We look forward to mentoring you!


CSweetener in Xcomony!

Amid Gender Gap Talk, Mentor Network Emerges For Women In Health, Bio

Alex Lash | Xconomy

It’s been more than a year since an infamous party with hired models in cocktail dresses captured the biotech community’s attention at the 2016 J.P. Morgan conference.

There has been plenty of talk since about closing biotech’s notable gender gap. At this year’s J.P Morgan conference, for example, a group of 100 life science executives and others pledged to follow a list of gender diversity “best practices.”

There has also been some action. Launched last fall, a nonprofit mentoring program for women in healthcare and biotech has already signed up about 100 women, according to its founder.

The group, called CSweetener, is meant as a boost for women who are nearing the executive level. It is the brainchild of life sciences investor Lisa Suennen, who is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and publishes a popular industry blog and podcast. Suennen and cofounder Lisa Serwin have cobbled together $125,000 in donations, grants, and sponsorships to commission a software platform that could be what Suennen calls a “Match.com for mentors.” Because of her high profile, she says she receives frequent requests from women executives for help and advice. “If I said yes to everyone, I wouldn’t have time to work,” she says. “So I thought, ‘What if I can outsource this problem?'”

Finish reading here!

Welcome to Fenwick & West, LLP

Lisa and I are thrilled to announce Fenwick & West as a new CSweetener sponsor.  For more than four decades, Fenwick & West has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, their clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation. Having worked alongside such progressive and cutting edge companies for so long, their culture has come to reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of our client base. Unlike traditional law firms, they move at their clients’ speed and have earned the reputation as a go-to law firm for growing companies that need insightful, strategic counsel to help tackle the challenging issues that arise when the law cannot keep up with their pace of innovation.

We are proud to add Michael Esquivel and Dawn Belt as our first two Fenwick attorney mentors and are delighted to be able to offer first rate legal mentorship through them.

Watch Michael discuss Two Guiding Legal Principles for Startups here: https://www.fenwick.com/Videos/Pages/Two-Guiding-Legal-Principles-for-Startups.aspx.

Transforming the C-suite: Developing and Advancing Women Leaders

Throughout history, successful companies, thriving economies and prosperous communities have been characterized by their openness to diverse ideas and their commitment to inclusion.

Yet despite progress in many areas, the evidence shows that there is much more work to be done, particularly in achieving true gender parity in all levels of business. While it is widely accepted today that the full inclusion of women executives improves a company’s financial performance, and a majority of organizations have a formal senior leadership inclusion initiative in place, the data shows that the number of women in these positions is still significantly low.

FORTUNE Knowledge Group, with sponsorship from Royal Bank of Canada, developed this study to reinforce the importance of female advancement by identifying the barriers in achieving gender parity and uncovering solutions to accomplish this goal.

The analysis in this study unearthed correlations between the profitability and revenue growth of companies that have achieved higher levels of gender diversity in senior positions. The findings in this paper outline six recommended practices to help address the low level of gender parity in major corporations.



CSweetener Press Release

CSWEETENER.ORG EXECUTIVE WOMEN’S MENTORING NETWORK LAUNCHES WITH THE AIM TO EVOLVE THE HEALTHCARE C-SUITE SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 7, 2017 / / -- CSweetener.org launched its mentoring network this week, with the goal of pairing women leaders in or nearing the c-suite with top industry female and male mentors, in an effort to make women more successful as c-suite leaders.  While the healthcare industry recognizes the importance of diversity and female contribution, it lags behind other industries in terms of promoting diversity and female leadership among its ranks.

“The numbers are telling: Only 34 percent of executives at the top 100 hospitals are female, and only 6 percent of CEOs funded at venture-backed healthcare companies are women.  Fewer than 10 percent of healthcare venture partners are women,” points out Lisa Suennen, co-founder of CSweetener and Managing Director of GE Healthcare Corporate Ventures.  “It is well known that an effective, experienced mentor can make a difference in the sustainable success of executives. CSweetener is committed to finding and connecting great mentors with tomorrow’s female leaders, to advance diversity across the board in healthcare in operations, finance, clinical and scientific roles.”

CSweetener has been highly anticipated by healthcare executives looking for an easier way to meet, engage and help one another succeed. “CSweetener has already been met with exceptionally positive feedback,” says Lisa Serwin, co-Founder and Executive Director.  “We have a remarkably high quality set of mentors who have strong executive experience and wish to give back with their time and advice.   Dozens of qualified mentees have enrolled and are beginning to match with mentors.  There is a hunger among experienced executives and entrepreneurs eager to engage in mentoring relationships to help advance the next generation of female leaders and we are gratified at the response.”

CSweetener’s software technology allows mentors and mentees to be matched according to interest areas, professional skills and personality attributes.  Mentees, all of whom are women in close proximity to the C-Suite or equivalent roles, can select from mentors with whom they are matched by the system.  Mentors are both women and men, as both genders are vitally important in advancing the role of women in senior leadership positions.  CSweetener is intended to remove the friction from the current, largely random, system of identifying mentors, particularly for entrepreneurs outside large organizations.  The match-finder and integrated video conferencing feature means limits on geography are removed.  Through CSweetener, tomorrow’s female leaders have access to highly experienced mentors, who are generally otherwise unavailable.

Furthermore, CSweetener offers mentees from larger corporations who prefer privacy not generally afforded within their own large company-sponsored mentoring programs.

Mentees pay a nominal annual fee to participate and there is no cost to mentors.  CSweetener had its initial launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and has plans to spread across the country as adoption grows.

Darryl Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Dignity Health, offered his personal support and that of the organization because “positive mentor-mentee relationships promote personal and professional growth. The CSweetner philosophy aligns closely with Dignity Health’s values of collaboration and excellence.”

About CSweetener.org

Lisa Suennen and Lisa Serwin, both healthcare industry veterans, founded CSweetener after observing that female entrepreneurs are eager for mentorship and support from those with experience and success in the healthcare market.  An outgrowth of Suennen’s Aspen Institute Health Innovation Fellowship project, CSweetener was founded in 2016 in order to advance the healthcare industry and help create a level playing field that will enable the best entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, to win. CSweetener has received the sponsorship and support of such leading healthcare companies as GE Ventures, Dignity Health, Welltok, 7Wire Ventures, Summation Ventures, Grand Rounds, Avia Health Innovation, MedTechWomen, Jiff, Abundant Venture Partners, Hopelab, Owned Outcomes, a grant from the California Healthcare Foundation and a variety of angel contributors. The company is headquartered in Mill Valley, California and is a 501c3.

For more information, visit www.csweetener.org or contact us.

Media Contact:

Lisa Suennen


Erasing the gender paradox in corporate America

U.S. business suffers from a gender paradox. Studies show companies with gender parity on boards and in the executive ranks outperform male-dominated ones. Yet, women represent only 9 percent of top management positions and 5 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

University of Michigan business law professor Cindy Schipani and colleague Terry Dworkin of Indiana University and Seattle University say companies can improve gender representation and narrow the pay gap by changing salary and mentoring practices. They also suggest a legal tweak that would encourage companies to promote .

"This gender paradox is continually puzzling to me because the evidence is overwhelming that companies with women in the C-suite perform better," Schipani said. "The business case is well established, but we're not seeing it happen."

The legal reform they suggest is for courts to consider the lack of women in leadership positions a presumption of discrimination.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-erasing-gender-paradox-corporate-america.html

Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities

Board diversity trends

Shifting demographics in the United States have brought diversity to the forefront of issues on the minds of C-suite executives and corporate boards. As the population of the United States continues to diversify, companies may need to determine ways to gain more diversity of thought, experience, and background in both management as well as the boardroom.

This study is the outgrowth of a multi-year effort organized by the Alliance for Board Diversity, collaborating with Deloitte for the 2016 census, which has examined and chronicled the degree of participation of diverse professionals on boards of directors across America’s largest companies.

Originally organized as a “snapshot” of board diversity, the data, since accumulated over time, has allowed for the development of information on trends relative to overall diversity as well as the comparative differences in rates of representation among minorities and women over a period of more than a decade. This 2016 report highlights the progress to date that has been made for women and minorities on corporate boards. While there have been some gains, they have been negligible at best, and certainly not representative of the broad demographic changes we have seen in the United States in the same period of time. Reviewing the data provides insight into board diversity changes from 2012–2016 across the Fortune 500. A few specific summary items to note:

  • Some progress has been made for African Americans/Blacks in securing/holding Fortune 500 board seats. The bulk of the African American male increases occurred within the Fortune 100. There has been an increase in the Fortune 500 of African American/Black women board members by 18.4 percent since 2012, while the total number of African American male board members in the Fortune 500 had only an increase of 1 percent.
  • The percentage of Caucasian/White women currently holding Fortune 500 board seats has increased by 21.2 percent since 2012, and the number of Caucasian/White men has decreased by 6.4 percent.
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders have shown continued growth. However, their starting baseline was small—thus their overall representation is still roughly three percent of all board seats, representing a total of 167 seats, with an additional increase (46.7 percent) in Asian/Pacific Islander women.
  • African Americans/Blacks appear to have the highest rate of individuals serving on multiple boards—indicating that companies are going to the same individuals rather than expanding the pool of African American candidates for board membership.
  • Nominal gains have been accomplished for Hispanic/Latino men, while we saw a loss of two Fortune 500 board seats for Hispanic/Latino women since 2012.
  • Currently, 65 percent of Fortune 100 boards have greater than 30 percent board diversity, compared to the Fortune 500 where that percentage drops to just under 50 percent of companies.

All in all, this year’s census provides powerful metrics on the slow change of diversity in the boardroom, and may help to guide corporations and advocates toward future improvements in women and minority board participation. Read the full report for more information.

McKinsey nails the problem: 88% do not believe their company is improving gender diversity enough

The case for gender diversity is compelling, but McKinsey research—including a new report, Women Matter 2016: Reinventing the workplace to unlock the potential of gender diversity—shows many companies are struggling to ensure women are represented fairly in top management. Progress toward parity remains slow. In Western Europe, only 17 percent of executive-committee members are women, and women comprise just 32 percent of members of corporate boards for companies listed in Western Europe’s major market indexes (exhibit). In the United States, the figures are 17 percent for executive committees and just under 19 percent for boards.

Mentorship Resources

Mentors are great because they love to impart wisdom, usually of their own volition. Most often, mentors share life advice and leadership skills that they've acquired through experience. No matter what problem you're facing, a mentor can be your best resource. Not only can they provide unbiased advice, they can also provide a wealth of emotional support.

Mentors may be an invaluable resource -- but, if you haven't found yours yet, there are some great resources online that can also help: great books to read, the newsletters to subscribe to, the motivational impetus, the calming forces, the must-use websitesservices, or influences.

Happy exploring, and happy sharing.

Women Are Less Likely to Apply for Executive Roles If They’ve Been Rejected Before

Although women make up 40% of the global workforce, they hold only 24% of senior management roles around the world — a figure that has not changed significantly over the past decade. Of chief executive officers of S&P 500 firms, only about 5% are women. Why aren’t more talented women moving up? Researchers have pointed to an array of reasons, from explicit discrimination to promotion processes that quietly favor men, but one of the most perplexing is that women themselves aren’t as likely as men to put themselves forward for leadership roles through promotions, job transfers, and high-profile assignments. Women begin their careers with ambitions that are just as high as their male peers, but before long they scale back their goals and shy away from competing for these jobs. The reason, many assume, is because women are risk averse or lack confidence, or maybe because they have different career preferences than their male colleagues do. But our research suggests women were much less likely to apply for a job if they had been rejected for a similar job in the past. Of course, men were also less likely to apply if they had been rejected, but the effect was much stronger for women — more than 1.5 times as strong.

Read more here. 

Many Companies Are Failing Their Senior-Level Women, Study Finds

Many companies are failing their senior-level women, a new study has concluded.

Researchers at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm, have found that about three-quarters (69%) of companies generate lower levels of employee engagement among senior women than their male counterparts. To obtain those results, BCG analyzed factors that contribute to engagement levels — like appreciation, mentorship, work-life balance, compensation and promotion opportunities, and cooperation with colleagues, among other things — for more than 345,000 female and male employees at 36 private companies across the world.

For the 25 companies that were in the bottom three quartiles of overall engagement scores, women's scores increased by a mere 4% from non-manager levels to senior manager levels, where men's scores increased by a full 12%. For the 11 remaining companies in the top quartiles, women's scores actually increased more than men's, the study found — by 7% and 5%, respectively.

Companies in the top quartiles do not have a gender-engagement gap between senior female managers and their male counterparts, according to the study, mainly because those companies had higher scores in mentorship, appreciation, and cooperation with colleagues — a few of the areas researchers determined are critical to engagement.

Overall, researchers found that the engagement gap occurs as employees become more senior. Even in the bottom three quartiles, both male and female junior employees typically reported similar levels of engagement, as did those at the manager level.

Ensuring engagement for all female employees (but especially those at the senior level) is crucial for companies, the researchers explain in the study, as two major problems can incur without proper levels of engagement: Weaker financial performance, and a less diverse leadership team. The latter, notes the study, can also cause additional financial penalties.


Mentoring Tips

David Cohen, with the help of Jon Bradford and Brad Feld, wrote a Mentor Manifesto to articulate the values and characteristics of mentorship in the Techstars community. There are some great tips:

  • Be socratic.
  • Expect nothing in return (you’ll be delighted with what you do get back).
  • Be authentic / practice what you preach.
  • Be direct. Tell the truth, however hard.
  • Listen too.
  • The best mentor relationships eventually become two-way.
  • Be responsive.
  • Clearly separate opinion from fact.
  • Hold information in confidence.
  • Clearly commit to mentor or do not. Either is fine.
  • Know what you don’t know. Say I don’t know when you don’t know. “I don’t know” is preferable to bravado.
  • Guide, don’t control.
  • Accept and communicate with other mentors that get involved.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Provide specific actionable advice, don’t be vague.
  • Be challenging/robust but never destructive.
  • Have empathy.

MedTech Innovator 2017 Global Competition and Accelerator

Applications for 2017 now open. MedTech Innovator is the medical technology industry’s nonprofit global competition and accelerator for innovative medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies. Our mission is to benefit patients by accelerating the growth of companies whose technologies will transform healthcare. MedTech Innovator is the largest platform of its kind, providing participants with broad exposure to the leading players in the medtech industry.

Sallie Krawcheck: Why I’m Over Women’s ‘Empowerment’

"I really felt like we were making progress. The pundits were certain that our first female president was on the way, the U.S. women killed it at the 2016 Olympics, women were progressing at work by "leaning in" and “knowing their value,” and New York Magazine even declared single women as “our most potent political force.” My Twitter and Facebook feeds seemed to agree—both were filled with people convinced that progress on feminism was gaining steam.


We’ve stalled. We’ve stalled visibly and dramatically. It's clear now that even before the presidential election, amidst all of the energy and excitement, we had already stalled."