SEATTLE & DENVER – August 20, 2020 – The Female Founders Alliance (FFA), an organization dedicated to achieving equitable representation among business owners and leaders, celebrated champions of intersectional gender equity at the third annual Champion Awards.
Finalists for the awards were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by FFA’s community. Winners were chosen after tallying thousands of votes, and announced at a virtual gala held on August 20th. Founded in Seattle three years ago, FFA grew by five hundred percent since last year’s Awards, which resulted in an impressive roster of finalists from a range of geographies, industries, and backgrounds.
Attendees were treated to inspirational stories like that of Role Model Award winner Loria Yeadon, who is the first woman and person of color to serve as CEO at Seattle YMCA’s 144-year history. Yeadon recently learned to swim and posted videos of herself doing so on Youtube. “I didn’t have access to pools like other kids in our small rural town because they were not open to people of color,” she said in her acceptance speech. “We have an opportunity now to ensure that those barriers that existed before, don’t exist today.”
“The incredible work that all the women here are doing just inspires me to work harder,” said Jacqueline Murekatete, founder of the Genocide Survivors Foundation and winner of the Advocate Award. “We all have the same goal and the same mission, and that is creating a world where diversity is seen not as adversity, but as an asset.”
Venture capitalists Sydney Sykes and Frederick Groce, co-founders of San Francisco-based BLCK VC, won the Investor Award for their work advancing Black and African American investors in the historically homogenous VC space. Trish Millines Dziko, Founder of the Technology Access Foundation, won the Sponsor Award for her decades-long work equipping students of color with skills needed to enter the field of technology. Tiffany Dufu, Founder and CEO of The Cru and author of “Drop The Ball”, was selected by voters as winner of the Founder Award. The Company Award winner was Syndio, a technology startup that empowers companies to analyze, resolve and monitor pay equity. As in past years, FFA also selected thirteen outstanding nominees to receive the 2020 Unsung Hero Award.
“My goal is to find and celebrate the best in our community, the people that open doors, lift as they rise, and pull up an extra seat at the table for others,” said Leslie Feinzaig, Founder and CEO of FFA. “I believe that championship is compounding. It’s how we change the world.”
The 2020 Champion Awards featured cameos from dozens of FFA’s community members. The gala was opened by Megan Rapinoe, captain of the US Women’s Soccer team, who is also an entrepreneur and dedicated champion for equity. Rapinoe welcomed guests and congratulated the finalists. “If we don’t bring intersectionality and equity to the table, we’re just missing part of the story,” she said in her introduction. “Congratulations to the Female Founders Alliance. Your team has done an incredible job leading this important work.”
2020 Champion Awards Winners
The Advocate Award: Jacqueline Murekatete, Founder & President, Genocide Survivors Foundation
The Company Award: Syndio
The Founder Award: Tiffany Dufu, Founder & CEO, The Cru, Author, “Drop the Ball”
The Role Model Award: Loria Yeadon, President & CEO, Seattle YMCA
The Sponsor Award: Trish Millines Dziko, CoFounder & Executive Director, Technology Access Foundation
The 2020 Unsung Heroes:
- Brittany Chavez, Founder & CEO, Shop Latinx, Los Angeles, CA
- Deepti Sharma, Founder & CEO FoodtoEat, New York, NY
- Give InKind, Tacoma, WA
- Jasmine Crowe, Founder & CEO, Goodr, Atlanta, GA
- Karla Brollier, Founder & Director, The Climate Justice Initiative, Seattle, WA
- LaNesha DeBardelaben, Executive Director, Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, WA
- Lora DiCarlo, CEO & Founder, Lora DiCarlo, Bend, OR
- Melanie Pang, Director of Advocacy, Houston Food Bank, Houston, TX
- Ruth Rathblott, CEO Harlem Educational Activities Fund, New York, NY
- Sherrell Dorsey, Founder & CEO, The Plug, Charlotte, NC
- Shila Nieves Burney, Founding Partner, Zane VC, Atlanta, GA
- Silvia Mah, Co-Founder, Adastra Ventures, San Diego, CA
- The Intentionalist, Seattle, WA
Partners & Sponsors
About the Female Founders Alliance (FFA)
Founded by CEO Leslie Feinzaig, the Female Founders Alliance is a network of 20,000 founders, investors, partners and supporters that collaborate to help women and non-binary startup leaders succeed. FFA offers programming, community, incubation, deal flow and investment opportunities, with a mission to increase the number of successful founders 20 times over in 10 years or less.
Learn more at www.femalefounders.org. Follow us on Twitter @2point19, Instagram @female_founders_alliance, LinkedIn @femalefoundersalliance, and #2020ChampionAwards.