Meet 9 amazing women shaking up tech & venture

Women’s History Month serves as a great opportunity to celebrate amazing trail-blazing women. It’s also a stark reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done to reach gender equity in our lifetime. Women stand to lose $400,000 over a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap, and the gap gets significantly wider for women of color. 

We’re thrilled to recognize some of the most successful, respected executives in the tech industry — who also happen to be women. We’re honored that the leaders below have joined us as operator limited partners (LPs) and/or portfolio company (PortCo) founders on our mission, along with so many others (it was challenging to narrow this list to single digits!). Each of these women contribute greatly to the Collective Venture Model, which is all about bringing together founders, operators, and investors from diverse backgrounds to supercharge rising companies and create mutual value. 

Together, we’re rebuilding venture from the ground up, with the world’s best operators at the forefront, including:

Bonney Pelley
New Relic Senior Vice President of Strategy & Operations

At New Relic, Bonney has held several product and business operations roles over the past 6+ years, helping the company achieve nearly 5x revenue growth post-IPO. She’s known for building high-performing teams that excel at turning strategy into execution because they are connected to company goals, driven to make an impact, and have fun along the way. 

Claire Hough
Carbon Health Chief Technology Officer

A 25-year technology industry veteran, Claire has helped several startups (including one of her own) grow and scale their teams — while committing to diversity, equity, inclusion, and servant leadership. After leading engineering teams at Netscape, Napster, Udemy, and others, she recently joined Carbon Health to help democratize healthcare through technology. Claire is an active mentor for engineering managers and product managers, and participates in the Persistence community for women leaders across tech.

Erica Ruliffson Schultz (@efr_schultz)
Confluent President of Field Operations

Erica is consistently recognized by her peers as running the most effective revenue organization and engine in enterprise software. She has a deep understanding of how to scale through all types of change, having experienced it at Confluent, New Relic, and Oracle. She creates a culture of respect, authenticity, transparency, inclusion, and accountability, and is a great advocate for women in tech. We are extremely lucky to have her on our own board of advisors, helping position Operator Collective portfolio companies for success.

Jenn Knight
AgentSync Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer

Jenn was one of the very few female developers specializing in Salesforce when she joined LinkedIn as the company’s first Salesforce engineer. She went on to lead technical teams at Dropbox and Stripe before co-founding insurtech unicorn AgentSync. There, she has focused on building a diverse team since day one (her current engineering org is majority female) because she fundamentally believes teams, products, and companies are all better when there’s a diversity of voices, thoughts, opinions, and perspectives shaping them.

Michelle Grover (@Jcmish)
Former Twilio Chief Information Officer

As Twilio’s first CIO, Michelle helped the company uplevel its technology systems and processes to drive innovation and growth — making her one of Insider’s 100 People Transforming Business. She also has a deep-seeded passion for fostering diversity and inclusion in tech leadership, and serves an advisor to Techtonica, a nonprofit that helps guide women and non-binary individuals into the technology industry. Previously, she helped grow TripIt from a 25-person startup to a key product for SAP Concur, where she became senior vice president of software development.

Meghan Noel
Amplitude Global Vice President & Head of PreSales

Meghan has led sales, presales, solution sales, marketing, product, and customer success teams at digital, SaaS, and cloud businesses for over 25 years. She drives organizations to outperform revenue expectations while maintaining focus on product strategy, customer value, and the customer experience. Prior to joining Amplitude, Meghan held a variety of leadership roles at SAP Concur over the course of her 12 years there, including senior vice president of global SMB presales and general manager of digital media solutions.

Melanie Fellay (@melfellay)
Spekit CEO & Co-Founder 

Melanie is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree who, along with her awesome co-founder, Zari Zahra, is changing the way companies enable employees to master their tech stacks, unlocking exponential increases in productivity. She also takes her role as one of the too-few female entrepreneurs in tech very seriously. In Melanie’s own words: “We need more women in leadership, we need more women breaking glass ceilings, we need more women starting companies and to do that, we need more young women believing that they CAN and SHOULD shoot for the moon.” That’s exactly what she herself is doing, as evidenced by Operator Collective portfolio company Spekit’s meteoric growth

Rashida Hodge (@RashidaHodge)
Microsoft Vice President of Azure Data & AI Customer Success

Rashida is a powerful advocate for women and people of color in tech and investing. She’s a big believer in authenticity and bringing personal nuance to your work, as well as in the value of strong communities and developing next-generation leaders. Rashida is a board member at Girls Inc., and founder of the Real Hope for NextGen Engineers Endowment at her alma mater, North Carolina State University — in addition to being one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 in Technology

Magdalena Yesil (@MagdalenaYesil)
Informed Executive Chair & Broadway Angels Founder

Last, but light-years from least, Magdalena is an immigrant, serial entrepreneur, board member, author, and “Alpha Girl” who’s best known as the first investor and a founding board member of Salesforce. She was an early pioneer in the commercialization of the Internet and her latest startup, Informed, is using AI to change the way the financial industry processes consumer applications. Magdalena founded Broadway Angels, a group of female venture capitalists and angel investors, and we are endlessly grateful for her continued support on Operator Collective’s investment advisory committee.

 

These values-aligned women are part of the reason we’ve been able to create a multiplier effect in our community and grow our investment network by 50% in just the last year. In fact, of the referrals we’ve received to companies with one or more female founders, almost three-quarters were made by women. It’s a testament to what happens when you intentionally expand and diversify your investor list, especially in an industry where less than 2% of enterprise software funding goes to companies with at least one female founder.

We can’t wait to see where the Collective Venture Model takes our community next.

In Operator Collective's portfolio, 48% of companies have a female founder, 38% a female CEO, 30% a female tech exec, and 20% all-female founders.
Operator Collective Portfolio Companies through 2021
We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are keys to building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.