Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is on International Women’s Day

Only seven percent of venture capital funding goes to women-owned businesses, and female entrepreneurs are often encouraged to “act like men” so they can relate better to the 89 percent of male venture capitalists. On the angel funding side, about 26 percent of angel investors are women and there is rising interest in investing in women-owned and led businesses. I’ve always been intrigued by venture capital and angel funding, while being equally disturbed by its gender gap.

It’s no surprise to those that know me that I see International Women’s Day as sort of a holiday – a special day to celebrate, reflect and acknowledge accomplishments. But, this year, IWD challenges us to boldly take action and #BeBoldforChange. So, I am doing something I consider to be bold – something I have read about, thought about and researched. I am putting my money where my mouth is and becoming an angel investor with a focus on women-owned and women-led companies.

A few months back I heard that a female-focused angel investment group (there are only a handful in the U.S.) may be starting in Pittsburgh. After some investigating, I discovered the Next Act Fund, and it was looking for founding members. After a lot of discussion at home, and exploration with other potential investors, I am proud to say I am now one of the first 20 members who will be investing in other women via Next Act. With a vibrant ecosystem of education, multiculturalism and innovation incubators, Pittsburgh is emerging as one of the hottest markets in the country for technology and start-ups, and provides plenty of funding possibilities.

I am excited to be supporting female entrepreneurs in my region. I am excited to be a role model for my kids, showing them you can take risks and follow your true north. I am excited to be doing something that will enable so much learning and new connections. And, I am excited to hopefully see my investments grow.

I’ve advocated for women and girls for most of my life. I came into it honestly. My mom, who is a strong, working woman raised four kids while my dad, a Marine Corps drill instructor, served his country proudly. When I turned 18, they sent me to an all-women’s college where female leadership was cultivated (thanks, mom and Seton Hill!). In my career, I have focused on marketing to women and moms, which became my professional and personal passion. As a mom, I work everyday to show my daughter and my son the importance of gender parity.

This is my #BeBoldforChange story. What’s yours? Together, we can make an impact that will change the world, one bold step at a time.

In partnership with the International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign, our parent company, Omnicom Group, challenged women across the network to share what action they will take this year to help drive gender parity. View the results here.

About Kelley Skoloda

Kelley is a Partner and Director of Ketchum's Global Brand Marketing Practice. She is the author of of the business book, Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women (Praeger/Mar 2009) and the architect of the widely-publicized Women 25to54 offering.

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