Meet the Ellen DeGeneres of Tech

Ever heard of big time Silicon Valley venture capitalist and business mogul Tim Draper? Well apparently the apple does not fall far from the tree, regardless of gender… or the gender dynamics of the whole orchard.The Valley Girl Show with Jesse Draper

Tim Draper’s daughter Jesse Draper has been making a major mark of her own in the tech world with her show, The Valley Girl Show.

Clearly, Jesse has as much pride in her Silicon Valley roots as her father, as well as in the people who make its most prominent industry go tick. But Jesse takes it one step further, ensuring that everyone in the tech industry gets an equal chance at the spotlight. Being a women in a man’s world herself, Jesse Draper has made it part of her mission to feature as many female as male guests on her show. She’s hosted the likes of both Elon Musk and Sheryl Sandberg.

The Valley Girl Show guest Sheryl SandbergBut that doesn’t mean she gives the women on her show any different of an experience. She treats each guest with equal parts respect and humor, every single time. She’s been known to make her guests do all kinds of silly and embarrassing things, like hula hoop, robot dance, or blow bubbles. In fact, you could call her the Ellen DeGeneres of tech. (She calls herself that anyway.)

Jesse inspiration for creating her show came about as she watched CNN and CNBC growing up, and noticed that the interviewed entrepreneurs were only grilled about the financial side of their business, and never shared anything about their inspiration or vision. So she started recording her own show 6 years ago in her parents’ garage, and has grown it into a must-see program on Fox TV today.

What’s more, this Tough Cookie mogul also founded an angel investment fund called Valley Girl Ventures to provide early-stage investing to more women-run businesses, something she feels is dearly lacking. And she also organizes networking events for professional women all across the country. As Jesse says, “I see younger men just putting themselves out there . . . For women, it’s a learned confidence.”

Well I’m excited to see another Tough Cookie out there encouraging more women to be confident, put themselves out there and grab life by the balls.

Perhaps Jesse is also related to wildly successful advertising mogul Don Draper. OK obviously not. But then… it wouldn’t be a terribly hard picture to imagine.

Source: Fast Company

Grace Hopper Celebrates Women in Tech

This week on Wednesday 10/8 to Friday 10/10, a swarm of the world’s most powerful and prominent women in the tech industry – new and experienced, young and old – will gather at the Phoenix Convention Center for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The sold-out conference, which is sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery, boasts being the world’s largest gathering of women in technology with nearly 8,000 expected attendees, representing 67 countries and 925 organizations.

That’s pretty impressive!

Grace Hopper Celebration

The 3-day event is going to feature workshops, a career fair, and panel discussions on various topics from industry leaders. And according to Anita Borg Institute spokeswoman Kate Carey, this year’s conference theme is “Everywhere. Everyone,” emphasizing the need for more diversity to help drive innovation and build future technology. So by that, it sounds like they really are encouraging anyone and everyone, everywhere, to attend. Unfortunately, if you didn’t already jump on this bandwagon, it’s now sold out. So you’ll have to wait for the next one.

GoDaddy adWhat’s particularly interesting is GoDaddy’s involvement, being one of the event’s key company sponsors. We all remember GoDaddy’s old and outdated (in more ways than one) advertising campaign featuring busty women in tiny tees. So I would not have pegged them for a pro-women’s issues company.

But apparently, CEO Blake Irving has had a change of heart in recent years – perhaps partly due to the tragic passing of his sister, who was a psychology professor specializing in women’s issues. Since then, he has pledged himself to helping women in technology, and has been quoted saying things like,

“anything I can do to help forward women in technology is important,”


“We’re trying to create an environment where women get to work with each other and not be on a four-person team of men, and have their points get across. It’s something we feel is important.”

Good for you, Irving! You’ve become a Tough Cookie. We’ll stand with you on that.

So if you are one of the lucky ones who scored a ticket to the Grace Hopper Celebration before it sold out, then I hope you have an amazing time and get a ton out of it.

And I hope you’ll write me here and tell me how it went!

Source: AZCentral

GoldieBlox Builds Girls Into Engineers

If you haven’t heard of GoldieBlox, you need to – especially if you have daughters that you want to help teach about the wonders and awesomeness of engineering and math; daughters you want to see learn to embrace their inner geek and be empowered to do whatever they set their minds to.

That’s what GoldieBlox is all about!

GoldieBlox girls

According to the folks at GoldieBlox, part of the problem for why we have so few women engineers is because from a young age, girls aren’t given toys that encourage those skills or ideas. Instead, girls are given barbies and dolls and play-dress-up.

GoldieBlox % female engineersBut what if you gave young girls a toy that taught them how to use their minds to build amazing things? What if we could start them young learning to develop spatial skills and engineer something of their own invention?

Only 13% of total engineers worldwide are women. Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women.

Let’s change that!

Let’s do like GoldieBlox and believe in girls who want to learn these skills. Let’s give them the choice to be more than society has taught them to be. Let’s put the future in their hands.

I mean, think about it. If more little girls could learn to build something like this, imagine how cool that would be for the whole world!

Now those are some little Tough Cookies!

Source: UpWorthy

Google Puts $50M Towards Girls In Code

GoogleGoogle is at it again!

My friends make fun of me for being too big of a Google-ite. I love everything Google does. I think they are an amazing company that excellently balances being a massive corporation and an open-minded innovative company that is doing some real good in the world. I use all Google and Android products, and while I always see areas of improvement for them, I feel that overall Google does an amazing job keeping their priorities straight and progress moving forward.

Now one of the areas I admire Google for is their efforts to promote science, engineering and tech education among youth. They already have a program called CS4HS (Computer Science 4 High School). And since 2010, they have also been pouring $40 million into the Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, the NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) and programs.

Made With CodeNow Google is adding one more.

Over the next three years, Google is rolling out $50 million for a new program called Made with Code, which aims to encourage more young girls to get into programming and tech by learning how to code.

Because “things you love are Made with Code”, according to the program’s motto.

The program will highlight influential women in the computer science industry, and reward girls who are getting started, providing them with lots of resources, community programs, and coding events. The girls in the program will work on one of a few available projects, depending on their skill and interest – everything from creating a meme, to 3D printing a bracelet, to sequencing music sounds, to building a website or mobile app.

Pretty cool huh? Learning to be a Tough Cookie should start at a young age, when the brain is more impressionable, and values are imprinted that can last into your adult life. So you go Google – go inspire some more Tough Cookies in our youth! I for one think what you are doing is awesome, and much needed.

Here’s to Tough Cookies, at every age!

Source: Tech Times

Ladies, Ellevate Yourselves!

Sallie KrawcheckMeet Sallie Krawcheck – one of “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”, multiple times over. Her stellar resume includes posts like CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., CEO of Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit, CFO of Citigroup Inc, and President of the global wealth & investment management division at Bank of America. But after over 20 years on Wall Street, Krawcheck needed something new and more fulfilling.

So she hopped over to professional women’s networking organization 85 Broads in 2011 and took up the reins there, growing its revenue by 100% in her first year. Then last month, the indomitable Krawcheck decided to relaunch and rebrand 85 Broads to become Ellevate. The organization has 34,000 members and counting, and has also begun some new initiatives to keep the power growing.

Besides this rebranding, Sallie Krawcheck is also partnering with Pax World Management to create the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX) — an index fund that focuses on investing in companies who have women in board seats or senior management positions. As the Fund puts it themselves,

“This Fund is the first of its kind – and is the only mutual fund in the United States that focuses on investing in the highest-rated companies in the world in advancing women’s leadership.”

How awesome is it that this Tough Cookie Krawcheck is out there promoting that very fact, and showing the world what we women can do?

Let’s take a page out of her book and start investing in the future of our fellow womenkind. Let’s step up and believe in our own abilities to lead and direct and chief executive officiate.

Let’s be Tough Cookies too!

Source: DailyWorth

How Bitcoin Empowers Afghan Women

So I’ve talked briefly before about how amazing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are. But I haven’t really explained enough about why, or how much they can really change the world.

You see, Bitcoin has enormous potential to revolutionize everything about how we save and exchange value, and really, how we live and thrive as human beings. This is particularly true for people in the developing world, who struggle with rights as basic as earning a living and being able to keep what they earn.

In Afghanistan, this is especially difficult for women, where social and economic barriers prohibit women from gaining an education and earning their own income. Even if they do manage to earn any money, it’s in cash, which can be incredibly dangerous for women to carry on them as they walk home. And then once they get home, the family often takes most of what they earned, and the women have no way of making sure they get to keep it for themselves.

Womens Annex Foundation classroomThat is, until now – until Bitcoin and a company called the Women’s Annex Foundation (WAF). This revolutionary non-profit organization offers computer labs for women to share their skills and knowledge around blog writing, software development, video production and social media, and earn Bitcoin in return for their work, along with free Web access in a safe place, and a chance to further their education with each other. As co-founder Fereshteh Forough says,

“We want to teach the girls how they can use education combining the tools that they have – social media and technology – and create their own sustainable economy.”

In Afghanistan, WAF has over 2,000 users who are paid in Bitcoin. And the beauty with Bitcoin is that there is no bank or central authority the girls need to deposit it into in order to keep it safe and have access to the funds. The user holds all the ownership themselves, and doesn’t need any third party approval or anyone else to set up a Bitcoin wallet. Before these women would have had to open a bank account, requiring extensive documentation and often legal guardian approval as well, making it all too easy for others to control the funds in their accounts.

But now with Bitcoin, these women can keep total, totally secret control of the money they earn at WAF. They get paid almost instantly to their Bitcoin wallets, with lower fees than with a bank account, and with more control and privacy. As Matthew Kenahan, an active member of the Bitcoin community and big supporter of WAF adds,

“If the WAF can provide a platform in which women can have their own income – a platform which pays out in bitcoin, a truly pseudonymous protocol which can truly conceal the identity, I think that we have the potential to really shake things up.”

Bitcoin is immensely empowering for these women. And WAF is helping that empowerment take a big step in the right direction. But there is still so much further to go, and so much more than can be achieved. Fereshteh Forough has a vision of what this could look like, and how Bitcoin can continue to drive this change.Womens Annex Foundation computer lab

“It’s the concept of digital citizenship, or communication without borders, and that’s how technology empowers people. I always wanted to have this for women in Afghanistan – to be powered using education and technology.”

Bitcoin means independence and empowerment for these women – the ability to earn and own their own education and income. And that is truly a remarkable thing. It’s a lot of responsibility and self-reliance. But for many of these women, that’s something they’ve been starved for and longing to have. We here in the developed world may not understand quite as acutely how hard it can be to not have these basic human rights. But for these women in Afghanistan, it’s been a long time coming. And now, with today’s incredible advances in technology and digital currency, it’s within their grasp.

After all, WAF’s motto is “No politics, just Internet”.

Source: CoinDesk

Changing the Ratio

Rachel SklarMeet Rachel Sklarformer lawyer and founding editor of the Huffington Post & Mediaite, as well as advisor to start-ups such as and – in short, one powerhouse Tough Cookie!

I love Sklar because she has been making it her personal mission to Change the Ratio, and get more women in key positions in tech companies. From that effort was born, a private network of women founders, journalists, strategists, execs, activists, and makers which Sklar co-founded with fellow writer/editor Glynnis MacNicol. quickly grew into a massive hub where fellow amazing women could find partners, sponsors, funders, new jobs, even new hires, and feel like they’re a part of a strong network, a sisterhood, or as Sklar calls it –

“this posse of total ninja rock stars”

Now these women of are eager to tell their stories and help even more women. They recently published a collection of essays on Kindle called The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women, which (not surprisingly) sold extremely well. So I couldn’t agree with Sklar more when she says that,

“there is a wildly underserved market for smart stories from smart women.”

In fact, that’s the very reason why I started Tough Cookie. And that’s why I’m telling you about Sklar and Because these stories need to be told, and women need to know that we are not alone. There are many many more of us out there – strong, awesome, rockstar women who can do anything we set our minds to.

So come on Tough Cookies!

Let’s work with each other, not against one another. Only together can we change the ratio.

Source: DailyWorth

Photo: Ladybrille Woman

The Other Woman in Cryptocurrency

Woman in BitcoinAfter writing that post about Crypto Moms, I came across this piece on Pursuing Nothing and immediately sympathized with the writer’s plight. Like me, she is not actually a mom, or anyone’s wife, and therefore doesn’t relate to the few emerging organizations that try to encourage women to get more involved in bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

But you don’t have to be a mom or a wife to get into this stuff.

Take me for example. I’m not even that technically-oriented. I did used to work at Google, but in sales and advertising. Now I’m a filmmaker and executive producer of multimedia news company Money & Tech. It’s been through that medium that I’ve learned to love this magical world of cryptocurrency. And despite having zero background in programming or computer science or cryptography, and despite being a wife or mother of any sort – I’ve managed to develop a decently solid understanding of digital currencies like bitcoin and the technology behind them.

It’s some incredible stuff! And it’s a shame more women aren’t getting into it too. So I’m all for any ways we can try to encourage that more – be it or But there has got to be a way for women like me, who don’t identify with either of those, to feel welcome in the bitcoin community.

Like  says in her Pursuing Nothing piece, my value isn’t only in my purchasing power. I’m a smart, capable human being who has a lot to contribute to this emerging industry, which is exactly what Sarah and I are both doing.

So how about it Tough Cookies – won’t you join us?

Source: Pursuing Nothing

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Crypto Moms!

Now I’m not a mother, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be. But regardless, I love what the Crypto Moms are doing. I’ve talked before about Bitcoin: why it’s so incredible and revolutionary, and why we women need to be more involved in helping drive that forward.

Crypto MomsWell, that’s exactly what the moms behind are doing. It’s not hard to understand that for digital currency to become truly mainstream, the huge gender imbalance must be corrected, since women control more than 50% of consumer purchasing power.

And it’s not just for moms either. Crypto Moms is a site dedicated to all women interested in digital currency. As they say on their website, their mission is

to encourage and assist women to participate in the emerging world of crypto currency overwhelmingly dominated by men.

That sure sounds like a group of Tough Cookies to me!

Source: CoinReport (

Source: Bitcoin PR Buzz (

Ladies, Bitcoin is Awesome!

Bitcoin survey on genderAccording to the latest of Lui Smyth’s Simulacrum new online survey of Bitcoin users, about 93% of all users of the cryptocurrency are male. Now it may not be a terribly representative sample, but it still is a strong indicator.

As Bitcoin enthusiast Arianna Simpson said, “If women fail to take an active interest in Bitcoin now, when it is still in its infancy and its potential is largely untapped, we will have yet another sector in which the gender is underrepresented and trailing.”

As the Chief Content Officer and Executive Producer of Money & Tech, I’m driven to tell the story behind the incredible innovations we are seeing in financial tech and digital currency right now. How people are reacting to it, what it means for us as a global community and economy, and who is helping drive it forward into the future.

But at the same time, my path and my passion are also (and have always have been) about the strength and presence of women in arenas where we are less represented, which is just as true of filmmaking as it is of tech and (even more so) the digital currency community.

I’ve forged my career so far by tackling industries commonly dominated by men – including filmmaking, tech, and even wildland firefighting – proving that women can be just as strong, powerful and nerdy.

I’ve shown that women can be leaders on the edge of exciting new horizons. And that’s pretty much where we are now with digital currency and its foundational technology of the distributed decentralized ledger. I think we’ve only just tapped the surface of what is possible, and the effect this can have on us, our lives, the global economy, and the way we interact and exchange value as human beings.

In fact, that’s precisely what I talk about on the Bitcoin panel at the San Francisco BIL conference back in early March. This is a fascinating moment in history to be on the front lines of. It’s pretty exciting stuff!

So c’mon ladies, don’t be intimidated! Let’s take on this big techie world of cryptocurrency together. It’s about time Bitcoin got a woman’s touch, don’t you think?

Let’s give Bitcoin a taste of our Tough Cookie!