Seoul Metro

I’m visiting South Korea for the first time for the NewCities Summit, where I’m being honored as a Global Urban Innovator. Seoul is an enormous city with an incredible infrastructure. There’s a lot to love about this city, and the metro is just one of those things. It’s a huge system but amazingly efficient, which is a good thing for a population of 25 million. The stations and trains are spotlessly clean despite the fact that no trash can is to be seen – anywhere. There are also public bathrooms at each station. But the best thing for non-Korean speakers is a brilliant numbering system which not only tells you where you are but in which direction to travel. Platforms are all behind glass and the platform and train doors align exactly. A fanfare plays when each train approaches

and inside the carriage, a different melody announces arrivals.

I’m in love with Seoul’s musical metro.

Global Urban Innovator

I am excited to announce that I have been named one of eight Global Urban Innovators by the NewCities Foundation, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making cities more inclusive, connected, healthy, and vibrant.

I’ve been selected for this honor for my work through Small Change, which NewCities recognizes as an “innovative use of technology to address urban challenges.”

“Global Urban Innovators represent the very best, as their grassroots solutions make our cities easier to navigate, make them safer, and leverage the Internet of Things to create a better life for citizens,” said John Rossant, Chairman of NewCities.

As a Global Urban Innovator, I’ll play a leading role at the NewCities Summit in Incheon Songdo, South Korea from June 7 – 9, 2017, where I will share a presentation about Small Change with hundreds of global leaders gathered to discuss the theme “Thriving Cities: The Building Blocks of Urban Wellbeing.”

I’m honored to be included as a 2017 Global Urban Innovator with these startups and social enterprises that are changing cities through cutting-edge innovation:

  1. Alt-A – Songdo, South Korea
  2. CityTaps – Paris, France
  3. Green City Solutions – Berlin, Germany
  4. Safetipin – Gurgaon, New Delhi
  5. Small Change – Pittsburgh, USA
  6. Spin – San Francisco, USA
  7. WhereIsMyTransport – Cape Town, South Africa
  8. ZenCity – Tel Aviv, Israel

Global Urban Innovators alumni include some of the world’s pioneers in urban tech, including the multi-award winning addressing system what3words, the civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive, and India-based Jugnoo, which started as an autorickshaw aggregator, and has evolved into the go-to platform for everyday needs such as fresh fruits and vegetables, rides, and groceries.

Bro Culture

I’m the founder of a startup.  It’s a tech startup. I’ve built an online platform that connects real estate developers with investors, and I spend tons of time, energy, and resources making sure this platform is secure, reliable, and easy to use. I love my startup and I love what I do. I am determined to make it one of the best equity crowdfunding platforms in the world.

I wish I could say that l love the tech world as much as I love my startup. But unfortunately, there are some truths in the recent spate of articles about how this industry can be hostile to people who may not look and act like the folks traditionally at the top. The Atlantic‘s April 2017 cover story asks, “Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?” and a New York Times piece that ran a couple weeks ago tells the story of “Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin.”

These articles detail the ways women, minorities, and older workers are paid and promoted less than men, interrupted in meetings more than men, and are much less likely to get funding from venture capitalists. According to the New York Times piece, these are all signs of “bro culture,” which is built on “reckless spending and excessive partying,” values “speedy growth over sustainable profits,” and encourages “cutting corners, ignoring regulations and doing whatever it takes to win.”

All of this makes me feel uncomfortable in the tech world and makes me feel like I don’t belong there. And yet, I know that this is where I want to belong. This is where I know that I do belong. I, and a host of other women, old and young, have plenty to contribute. It’s baffling that we are not embraced.

There is very little that I can do on my own to fix this, but I am doing something small. This Friday, April 21, I’m bringing Bay Area social entrepreneur and financial innovator Jenny Kassan to Pittsburgh for a special one-day workshop for women entrepreneurs. Jenny — a Yale and Berkeley-educated attorney and advisor — has a practice that focuses on helping women raise capital on their own terms and making an impact doing what they love. There is no one in Pittsburgh who has a practice quite like Jenny’s.

So please, come and join me. Come and figure out how to make your business bigger and better. Fly in the face of the “bro culture” by building a spectacular business of your own.

Register for the workshop.

An Interview Jenny Kassan: “Ask yourself what makes you come alive.”

Have you seen this inspiring interview with Jenny Kassan? The Bay Area social entrepreneur and financial innovator spoke with The Courage to be Happy Community ezine about the obstacles she’s faced along the way, and how she’s overcome self-doubt.

Reading the interview, it’s clear just how giving, honest, and positive Jenny is. She’s all about empowering entrepreneurs to help one another, and motivating women to figure out the things that—in her words—”make your heart sing.”

The Yale and Berkeley-educated attorney and advisor also shared one of her favorite quotes, from civil rights leader Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Are you ready to make your heart sing, and help your business come alive?

Jenny will be in Pittsburgh on Friday, April 21 to present her “Fund and Fuel Your Dreams” workshop, which she recently gave as a three-day version in San Francisco. One of the most knowledge sources when it comes to creative capital-raising for social enterprises and small businesses, Jenny will help you learn to:

  • Take your business to the next level.
  • Make an impact doing what you love.
  • Avoid pitfalls and stay in control.
  • Find investors that are the right fit for you.
  • Get clarity and support in a community of inspiring women.

Join us for this special one-day workshop, and learn the tools and strategies for raising capital on your own terms.

Fuel and Fund Your Dreams

Friday, April 21, 2017
8:30 a.m. (registration) – 5 p.m.,
Location: The Shop, 621 N. Dallas Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Price: $99, includes reception following workshop