By Marjella Alma
“We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward,” Hillary Clinton said at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference this past February. “We can literally count on one hand the number of women who have actually been able to come here and turn their dreams into billion-dollar businesses."
I’m not a feminist -- maybe you can call me an “idealist realist” -- and I believe in meritocracy in business. The best person for the job should do the job regardless of gender; but I am fascinated by how women in business and politics change things. In this blog, I am going to give credit to some amazing women I’ve come across along my journey as CEO and co-founder of eRevalue, albeit short.
I wonder if you will recognize this, but many times my husband (CFO at eRevalue) and I leave a meeting with completely different takeaways. “Were we in the same meeting?” we'll ask. Yes, we definitely were -- but with entirely different perspectives and emotions.
That mere observation, coupled with the fact that women are just now starting to climb the ladder, is at the very least remarkable and suggests how more women at the top may impact corporate decision-making. This will, I believe, lead to more well-rounded decisions -- why not call it “curvy decision-making” (I know, bad joke, I take it back) -- as issues will be analyzed and considered from more diverse vantage points.
Beyond a finger-counting exercise, the gender gap and related biases in Silicon Valley are palpable challenges that companies – large and small, established and emerging – face each day. A recent article in the Guardian noted that only 11 percent of executives and around 20 percent of software developers in Silicon Valley are women. To a large degree, this may have to do with personal preference, but I think our female data scientists at eRevalue would disagree.
What’s more, only 53 percent of big tech companies have women on their executive management team, compared with 84 percent for America’s biggest firms of all kinds.
Okay, so this is research that I like. Let’s deep dive into the facts, and have a good ol’ discussion on this one, as we do everyday at eRevalue.
A new study by Quantopian shows that women CEOs in the Fortune 1,000 drive three times the returns as S&P 500 enterprises run predominantly by men. How is this possible? The study compared the performance of Fortune 1,000 companies that had women CEOs between 2002 and 2014 against the S&P 500’s performance during that same period.
As you can see below, the 80 women CEOs during those 12 years produced equity returns 226 percent better than the S&P 500.
For some reason, at eRevalue, I have a lot of women around me. This was really not planned. These include our “women who code” in London, to our chairman in Toronto, head of North-American business development, and global Piloteers. We’ve built Datamaran -- our flagship software -- with many female thought leaders from HP, Onimpact Suncor Energy, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and more.
Breaking down silos has been the foundation of my professional life, and gender is undoubtedly a key part of that. I’ve witnessed and supported the efforts of business leaders to go beyond the bottom line and focus on both short- and long-term value creation within their companies. I realize now more than ever how important it is to break down the silos that exist between men and women in the tech sector, and keep an industry that is all about no-boundary innovation moving forward powerfully.
That’s why I am beyond thrilled that eRevalue has been selected as one of the finalists for TechCrunch Disrupt New York 2015. This is an incomparable opportunity to engage directly with other men and women who are positively disrupting business at the largest tech event in New York, and to bring ‘sustainable business and long-term value creation’ to the forefront of the conversation -- but we need your help.
Okay, so here comes the ask -- a small one but with a potentially big impact.
On Wednesday, May 6, the audience and our network can vote for us to participate in the Startup Battlefield. In this conversation, we hope to explain our business model and reinforce how we help businesses embrace the risks and opportunities associated with some of the most complex issues of our time -- climate change, modern slavery and boardroom diversity -- with confidence and foresight.
Voting runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on May 6 and will all be possible via this link. Simply click on the “VOTE” button that will appear that day next to our company profile.
Let’s keep breaking down silos between men and women -- one positive impact at a time.
We're just about to set the sails of Datamaran V1, so you if you're interested in learning, feel free to get in touch to schedule a demo.
Image credit: 1) eRevalue 2) Quantopian
Marjella Alma is the CEO and Co-Founder, eRevalue Ltd. She is a former Director of the Global Reporting Initiative - the most widely used standard for sustainability reporting. She has had a front row seat in the ESG space for the past 7 years. She believes technology will be a game changer and founded eRevalue in March 2014 to drive the role of big data in ESG.