January has always been a time of renewal for me. Last January, I made the decision to turn the Female Founders Alliance from a hobby to a mission. In the months that followed, FFA evolved from a small Facebook group to a social impact corporation running a national accelerator for female-founded, venture-scale companies. With the support of incredible partners and sponsors, we’ve accomplished what honestly feels like an enormous level of impact… especially considering that it was achieved by a tiny, bootstrapped team in a super short period of time.
That level of accomplishment opened up unprecedented opportunities, which make for an exciting start to 2019. We are already working on this year’s Champion Awards, will soon kick off a new round of Access events and are preparing to host a new class of companies at Ready Set Raise this summer. In 2019, our member programming will be front and center, and we will open up ways for non-founders to take part in, and contribute meaningfully to, the community. In the next few weeks and months we will share much more about what’s coming and how you can participate — whoever and wherever you are.
As we prepare to take on an even more ambitious agenda this year, one thing is clear: I can’t do all of this alone, which is why today’s announcement is near and dear to my heart. I wanted it to be the first in a long string of upcoming announcements that we’ll share in this brand new year.
Today, we are announcing the formation of FFA’s Advisory Board and appointing Lydia Frank as its founding member. Lydia is a tech industry veteran who has helped grow PayScale from a disruptive startup to the market leader in its industry and who created PayScale’s first employee-led task force on inclusion, diversity, equity and advocacy, serving also as its executive sponsor. As a thought leader on pay equity, Lydia is a sought-after speaker, is regularly cited in the media and has contributed content to publications like Harvard Business Review, Money, Fortune, and TechCrunch. Lydia is also a close ally and frequent contributor to FFA, a key member of the 2018 Ready Set Raise leadership team, and a champion to the RSR class of 2018. I am thrilled to finally formalize her already substantial contributions to our team, and proud to call her our partner in this journey.
I am also excited to share that we invited a select group of investors, all of whom are close friends to FFA, to become our partners and take a small stake in our company. Thanks to the continued commitment of incredible sponsors like Seattle Bank, UPS, the Washington Technology Industry Association, Uniquely HR and more, we remain primarily funded through revenue. But after experiencing an unprecedented level of support from a few actors in the investment community, I also wanted to formally share our destiny with these investors, who have become my friends, role models and mentors in the past few months.
Finally, I’d like to welcome two new members of the FFA leadership team: Samantha Agee and Rohre Titcomb. Samantha and Rohre are both experienced founders and CEOs themselves, who bring experience, maturity and enthusiasm to our team. Samantha, our new Vice President of Business Alliances, is a tech and startup veteran with 20 years of experience in business growth, channel development and management, and sales management. Rohre, our new Director of Operations, has founded four companies in the past decade and continues to serve on the board of three of them. She is also a five-time World Champion in Ultimate Frisbee, and the founder and owner of Seattle’s professional Ultimate Frisbee team, the Cascades.
Last January, FFA changed from one person’s hobby to one person’s mission. This January marks a new beginning. It’s the start of a whole new phase, and I couldn’t be more excited about the people I get to share this journey with: Lydia, our investor partners, Samantha, Rohre, our original volunteer leadership team Kath, Mitika and Laura – and our hundreds of members, partners, sponsors and collaborators.
This is our village. Here’s to changing the world in 2019.