Inside the Shatter Summit, Featuring the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women

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Shelly Kapoor Collins
Shelly Kapoor Collins

Photo Credit: Ando Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography

Earlier this week many of the Bay Area’s most distinguished women gathered at the Battery for a talk summit hosted by venture capitalist Shelly Kapoor Collins and the Shatter Fund. The event was a daylong networking extravaganza filled with several discussion panels, lunch, and a rooftop cocktail party. Kapoor Collins is a leading figure in Silicon Valley who believes that women can change the economy for the better—if they are given more leadership, CEO, and founder roles. Her venture capitalist firm focuses on supporting female-driven ideas, but Kapoor Collins is an anomaly. There are still too few woman VCs. Until more females are a force behind funding, there will continue to be a lack of women in influential management positions. This was the underlying topic of the summit—that if the face of investing is shifted to be more female-centric, the economy will transform as well. Kapoor Collins is a soft-spoken dark-haired beauty who welcomed the crowd with statistics illustrating how female-lead companies provide higher returns on investment and more profitability.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

One of Kapoor Collins strengths is her ability to bring together a wide variety of fascinating panelists. The event began with a talk between her and Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist and a champion a female leaders and employers. The two discussed how a new normal needs to be created and that it can be granted if women are given more access to capital. Jennifer Siebel Newsom gave the keynote address, a passionate speech calling for gender equality and a breakdown of limiting stereotypes that pigeonhole girls as princesses and boys as warriors. Siebel Newsom blamed the media and entertainment industries for perpetuating these dangerous misrepresentations of gender.

Linnea Roberts
Linnea Roberts

The first panel, moderated by Kapoor Collins, examined the state of investing and featured venture capitalist and founder of Double Bottom Line Partners, Nancy Pfund, Airbnb’s head of global communications and strategic engagement, Kim Rubey, and Goldman Sachs diversity ambassador, Linnea Roberts. One of the most candid speakers was Roberts, who wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is and encouraged women to take ownership, do their homework, look to other smart women for guidance, and pay it forward. “Women need to be door openers not gate keepers,” Kapoor Collins said. There was no shortage of girl power in the panel. Pfund shared that when she is asked to speak at events she only agrees to talk if other women are also a part of the discussion.

Kara Goldin
Kara Goldin

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

The second panel, moderated by Techcrunch’s Chrystine Lawson Villarreal, showcased lessons in entrepreneurship and included Hint Water founder Kara Goldin, author Samantha Walravens, and Suzanne DiBianca, Salesforce’s chief philanthropy officer. Goldin talked about her company from the perspective of a female seeking funds from a venture capitalist; Walravens, whose book Geek Girl Rising comes out on May 23, shared an insider’s view of females in Silicon Valley; and DiBianca recommended that founders make philanthropy an essential part of their business from the start.

Alison Pincus and Dave Morin
Alison Pincus and Dave Morin

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

Next there were two fireside chats. One Kings Lane founder Alison Pincus interviewed her friend Dave Morin, one of Facebook‘s founding engineers who created the now defunct app Path and who is a venture capitalist himself at Slow Ventures. Morin discussed his new project, Sunrise, which is currently in stealth mode, but looks at depression and how it affects humankind, the concept of failure, and how he and his wife, Brit (founder of Brit & Co.) treat their relationship like a business.

Shelly Kapoor Collins and Tina Sharkey
Shelly Kapoor Collins and Tina Sharkey

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

Kapoor Collins interviewed her friend and mentoring figure, Tina Sharkey, an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. Sharkey shared details of her new company, Brandless, which will debut later this year and bring higher quality products to the masses. “Better doesn’t need to cost more,” Sharkey said. She believes everyone deserves access to affordable organic products and with Brandless she promises to change the face of consumer commerce. At the end of the chat, Sharkey and Kapoor encouraged female founders to be bold and get to the truth. To be successful, one must declare victory and stop apologizing, one must be present and be real.

Tamara Mellon and Alison Pincus
Tamara Mellon and Alison Pincus

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

At 5 p.m., everyone from the summit moved to the gorgeous rooftop penthouse for cocktails, canopies, and a discussion with Tamara Mellon, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo shoes who currently runs her own namesake fashion brand. Pincus, pretty in a pink coat and hair coiffed into a ballerina’s bun, interviewed the British shoe designer. Mellon shared how early in her career she felt isolated and unsupported because the Jimmy Choo board consisted of only men. One of the themes that ran throughout each of the interviews and discussions was the importance of books. Everyone openly shared the tomes that have influenced them and are currently sitting on their nightstands. The overall mood was that of encouragement and inclusion. Although the day was a little long, it was a successful and well-attended event with much information shared. Kapoor announced that there was so much interest she plans to make the Shatter Summit a quarterly affair. Notable females in attendance included Allison Speer, who (along with Pincus) acted as co-host and organized the event, Kaitlyn Krieger, Samantha Duvall, and Ilana Stern.

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