As female business professionals seek entry into the start-up world, it's important for those who have forged the path to bring others along. Women in Wireless was formed in 2011 to do just that. The Seattle chapter was formed at the same time to provide thought leadership and opportunities to women who wanted to transition from the corporate structure into an entrepreneurial environment.
Maria Dykstra spoke with me about the goals and vision for the non-profit group based out of Bellevue, WA. Major quarterly events focus on discussion of industry issues and leadership topics through keynote presentations by executives from Amazon, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and other successful companies. Additionally, there are also more informal networking and social events that focus on the needs of the individual professional. These needs include professional appearance, LinkedIn profile building, and portfolio development and presentation.
Maria is a former Microsoft employee who started as a customer manager in 1999 and grew through the ranks into a position primarily responsible for major revenue generation and product launch. Her career arc is one any professional would envy. She left Microsoft in 2012 to start her own digital media company. Tre Digital is focused on start-up company growth through digital and social marketing. This experience provides Maria with unique insights on the journey for female entrepreneurs as they balance work and personal lives.
Maria said the issue she sees for many women as they transition through the corporate world is getting lost in the shuffle of daily routines. With children and family it's hard to know what to do during those major aspects of life change. Women in Wireless is a source of connection for those seasoned professionals as well as younger women to cultivate a network of like-minded people. Sharing experiences and knowledge will allow the leadership growth opportunities necessary for women to stay involved in the corporate and startup worlds.
The incoming President will be Lisa Sali, who works for Amazon in the Seattle area. Maria Dykstra will stay part of the team and be joined by Diane Najm. Diane is a startup founder as well. Maria and Diane have major connections to The Founder Institute out of Silicon Valley. This is a great network available for future entrepreneurs to tap into as they move forward.
Women in Wireless has been involved with Startup Weekend events and will be deeply connected with Seattle Startup Week starting October 26 in Bellevue, WA. Events for the rest of 2015 and the coming year include more social events to assist in cultivating networks, and Mobile Mixers where founders and entrepreneurs hold roundtable discussions of the issues that women are dealing with today.
With the background and connections each board member brings to this group, female professionals of any age now have access to a major accelerator network and resources never before available. The group is only three years only. However, given the focus on getting diversity into the technology start-up world, Women in Wireless is a great starting point for women at any point in their professional life.