Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit on Being a Black Woman in Silicon Valley

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The Detroit native studied at Penn and Stanford, worked for Goldman and Google, and now runs the gig economy pioneer that Ikea acquired in 2017.

Stacy Brown-Philpot didn’t grow up aspiring to be the chief executive of a technology company. Instead, she wanted to be an accountant.

While interning at an accounting firm in the 1990s, Ms. Brown-Philpot — who was raised by her mother in Detroit — worked for a partner who happened to be African-American. “I was like, ‘OK, there’s a black person who is a partner at this firm. This is something that I can accomplish.’”

But as Ms. Brown-Philpot acquired more experience and education, her ambitions grew, too. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1997, did a stint as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then became an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in 1999.

She went back to college to get her graduate degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, then in 2003 joined Google, where Sheryl Sandberg became a mentor. At Google, Ms. Brown-Philpot assumed a series of leadership roles and founded the Black Googlers Network, an employee resource group.

After nine years at Google, she joined TaskRabbit — which lets people hire freelancers for odd jobs — as chief operating officer. She became chief executive in 2016, and last year, she sold the company to Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted at TaskRabbit headquarters in San Francisco.

Tell me about your upbringing.

I grew up on the West Side of Detroit. My mom raised my brother and me by herself. We didn’t have a lot. My mother worked a job that didn’t pay a whole lot of money, so she had to make a lot of sacrifices. But she prioritized education. She would fall asleep helping us with our homework at night. She always taught us that no one can take your learning away from you. And with that, you can go anywhere and do anything.

So I focused on getting good grades. I wasn’t always a popular kid. I didn’t have the best clothes. But I was a smart kid. It’s cool to be smart in Silicon Valley. It’s not cool to be smart on the West Side of Detroit.

What was your first job?

I had a paper route with my brother. I would help him collect the money. I was like the C.F.O. of that operation, making sure we got paid.

And then you went to Penn.

I had no idea what an Ivy League school was. I was a fish out of water. My high school was 98 percent black. Penn was 6 percent black. So I had to find community. I had to figure out how was I going to succeed in this environment where most people don’t look like me, and don’t come from where I came from.

So where’d you find community?

There was a black college house. I didn’t live there. I would just go over there and spend time just sitting around with people that, you know, ate collard greens and fried chicken, just like I did growing up. It just made it safer for me and more confident for me to walk into a classroom and know I knew the answers and speak up.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

6 Ways Employers Recruit With Artificial Intelligence

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Companies hope chatbots and video interviews will improve the recruiting process for everyone.

Most job seekers and human resources managers would agree that the hiring process is flawed.

It’s as if the two groups speak different languages. For example, there’s a disconnect in how HR and job seekers prefer to communicate, and there’s also a gap between how employers present job requirements and the skills job seekers include on their resumes. Applicant tracking systems seem to arbitrarily weed out candidates or, worse, lose them in a black hole. Employers say they can’t find candidates with the right skills and are eager to fill open jobs.

There isn’t an easy fix for recruiting process problems. But employers want to talk to qualified candidates and workers want to talk to recruiters. This human-to-human connection is still the most important aspect of hiring. As strange as it sounds, technology may actually help more of these conversations happen. Here’s how:

Improved Job Postings

In order to attract the best candidates, HR needs to write a compelling yet accurate job description. The technology exists to assess and analyze job postings based on how well they do. Manually analyzing this data consumes a lot of time, but algorithms can quickly analyze successful job postings and descriptions and make suggestions to improve the wording to address the unique needs of specific candidates. This saves hours and improves the applicant pool. It also better informs potential candidates.

Chatbots

Companies already use artificial intelligence to provide customers with answers at any time. Now HR can use it to provide more information to job seekers when they need it. Chatbots allow applicants to ask questions and get quick automated answers while perusing the company’s website. Do you want to know what the company’s culture is like? Just ask.

Chatbots are also used to pre-screen interested candidates by asking qualifying questions. Be aware that information given to and provided by chatbots is reviewed by HR.

Video Interviews

Once you apply to a job, you may receive a link to a video interview platform before you talk with a recruiter. Recorded video interviews save recruiters time by replacing screening calls. They also provide candidates with an opportunity to prepare answers to questions.

Algorithms review recorded video interviews to evaluate the answers by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones. If all goes well, candidates move forward for in-person interviews.

Proponents of this kind of evaluation claim it removes human bias while providing recruiters with better-quality candidates in less time. For job seekers, a video interview provides the opportunity to thoughtfully construct your answers and explain your qualifications. During a phone interview, you may not have as much time to plan your responses as thoroughly.

The best advice for a video interview is to make sure you are prepared. Research the company, know about the job and make sure you record in a neutral, professional setting.

Continue onto U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity to Business

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cybersecurity

In today’s online age, the number of threats to businesses and their customers increases every day. The largest obstacle in cybersecurity is the perpetual security risk that quickly evolves over short periods of time, leaving businesses with a widening gap in manpower and the resources needed to protect their data.

Almost daily, more information about cyberattacks makes its way into the headlines—for example, in 2017, hackers struck Disney claiming to have the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and threatening its release unless a ransom was paid.

Big Business is not the Only Target

The lion’s share of news coverage often comes from larger companies. In 2013, hackers stole data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards owned by shoppers of Target stores. In September 2014, Home Depot admitted that 56 million payment cards could be at risk due to a cyberattack. These security breaches were constant in the news cycle, but what you’ll rarely see in the news is the fact that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small business, and 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack!

CyberAttacks on Business Lead to Attacks on Customers

From May 2015 to May 2016, 50 percent of small business respondents said that they had data breaches that targeted customer and employee information. As a consumer, consider the amount of data that you share with the companies you do business with. If you make an online purchase, the business is likely to have a record of your email address, your home address, your phone number, and potentially even have your payment information stored.

If hackers are able to access a marketing database, they may only need your email to use phishing techniques to trick you into providing more sensitive information. You may think you’re communicating with a reputable business, but in reality you’re communicating with hackers who are stealing your information. Businesses and consumers should take care to learn more about protecting themselves from cyber threats, and err on the side of caution whenever interacting with a suspicious email or communication.

Growing Threats and a Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybercrime damages are expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, while businesses and government institutions are scrambling to protect themselves. By 2019, experts foresee a cybersecurity skills shortage of nearly 1.5 million open jobs. Recognizing the need for skilled professionals in the field, Northcentral University launched the Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management program, specialized in Cybersecurity. With the cybersecurity field growing, there will be a need for individuals trained to manage threats, along with essential leadership skills needed to manage teams of talented cybersecurity specialists. Learn more about the Cybersecurity degree programs at NCU.

Source: ncu.edu

Taking Engineering to a New Level—Q&A with NASA engineer Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.

Where are you from?

I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.

When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.

How did you end up working in the space program?

As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Who inspired you?

My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.

What is a Science Program Manager?

Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”

STARS

Smile: Life is a great adventure
Transcend to triumph over the negative
Aspire to be the best
Resolve to be true to your heart
Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams

Source: NASA

Discover the Career Opportunity of a Lifetime in Insurance

LinkedIn

No matter what you want to accomplish or experience in life, chances are an insurance career offers the ideal path for you to pursue your goals and passions.

The insurance industry employs more than 2.8 million people in various roles, including art historians, data scientists, drone pilots, marketers, M&A specialists, and of course, actuaries—who ranked their jobs in recent polling as “the best job in the world.” No matter your educational background, or your interests—music, cars, advertising or finance—an insurance career is your gateway to a lifelong opportunity to learn and serve.

And now is an ideal time to explore the many career options insurance offers. Insurance is making huge investments in its future as a leading innovator of practical advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, telemetricsm and other emerging technologies. But perhaps our biggest investment is to find the right people. Over the next decade, hundreds of thousands of insurance industry jobs will be available to individuals like you; people who want to embrace and drive discoveries that power insurance’s primary mission: to make communities safer, more resilient, and more productive. And after a loss, to rebuild lives, households and businesses.

There may be thousands of different occupations in insurance, but only one career matters.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

How to Answer “So, Tell Me About Yourself”

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Women-job-interview

So, the first question you’re probably going to get in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume.

Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job.

A formula The Editor at The Muse likes is called the Present-Past-Future formula. So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.

Below is an example:

If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:

“Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.”

Remember throughout your answer to focus on the experiences and skills that are going to be most relevant for the hiring manager when they’re thinking about this particular position and this company. And ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the hiring manager already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

STEM Workforce Facts You Must Know

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Professional Black Woman

Employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations has grown 79 percent since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth.

There’s no single standard for which jobs count as STEM, and this may contribute to a number of misperceptions about who works in STEM and the difference that having a STEM-related degree can make in workers’ pocketbooks.

A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data takes a broad-based look at the STEM workforce from 1990 to 2016 based on an analysis of adults ages 25 and older working in any of 74 occupations. These include computer, math, engineering, and architecture occupations, physical scientists, life scientists, and health-related occupations, such as healthcare practitioners and technicians, but not healthcare support workers, such as nursing aides and medical assistants.

Here are seven facts about the STEM workforce and STEM training.

STEM workers enjoy a pay advantage compared with non-STEM workers with similar levels of education. Among those with some college education, the typical full-time, year-round STEM worker earns $54,745 while a similarly educated non-STEM worker earns $40,505, or 26 percent less.

And among those with the highest levels of education, STEM workers out-earn their non-STEM counterparts by a similar margin. Non-STEM workers with a master’s degree typically earn 26 percent less than STEM workers with similar education. The median earnings of non-STEM workers with a professional or doctoral degree trail their STEM counterparts by 24 percent.

While STEM workers tend to be highly educated, roughly a third have not completed a bachelor’s or higher-level degree. Thirty-five percent of the STEM workforce does not have a bachelor’s degree. Overall, about three-in-ten STEM workers report having completed an associate degree (15 percent) or have some college education but no degree (14 percent). These workers are more prevalent among healthcare practitioners and technicians, computer workers, and engineers.

Some 36 percent of STEM workers have a bachelor’s degree but no graduate degree. Roughly three-in-ten STEM workers (29 percent) have earned a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree. Life scientists are the most highly educated among STEM workers, with 54 percent, on average, having an advanced degree.

About half of workers with college training in a STEM field are working in a non-STEM job. Among workers ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, one-in-three (33 percent) have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field of study. But only about half (52 percent) of these STEM-trained workers are employed in a STEM occupation.

Among non-STEM occupations, management, business, and finance jobs attract a substantial share of college graduates with STEM training (17 percent), particularly those who majored in engineering. Roughly a quarter (24 percent) of engineering majors are in a managerial, business or finance job.

Overall, among adults with a STEM college major, women are more likely than men to work in a STEM occupation (56 percent vs. 49 percent). This difference is driven mainly by college graduates with a health professions major (such as nursing or pharmacy), most of whom are women.

But 38 percent of women and 53 percent of men with a college major in computers or computer science are employed in a computer occupation. And women with a college degree in engineering are less likely than men who majored in these fields to be working in an engineering job (24 percent vs. 30 percent). These differences in retention within a field of study for women in computer and engineering occupations are in keeping with other studies showing a “leaky pipeline” for women in STEM.

STEM training in college is associated with higher earnings, whether working in a STEM occupation or not. Among college-educated workers employed full-time year-round, the median earnings for those who have a STEM college major are $81,011, compared with $60,828 for other college majors.

The earnings advantage for those with a college major in a STEM field extends to workers outside of STEM occupations. Among all non-STEM workers, those who have a STEM college degree earn, on average, about $71,000; workers with a non-STEM degree working outside of STEM earn roughly $11,000 less annually.

The share of women varies widely across STEM job types. Women are underrepresented in some STEM job clusters, but in others, they match or exceed their share in the U.S. workforce overall.

In fact, women comprise three-quarters of healthcare practitioners and technicians, the largest occupational cluster classified as STEM in this analysis, with 9.0 million workers—6.7 million of whom are women.

And women’s gains since 1990 in the life sciences (up from 34 percent to 47 percent) have brought them roughly on par with their share in the total workforce (47 percent), a milestone reached in math occupations (46 percent) as well.

Women have made significant gains in life and physical sciences, but in other areas, their shares have been stable and in computer jobs it has declined. While there has been significant progress for women’s representation in the life and physical sciences since 1990, the share of women has been roughly stable in several other STEM job clusters.

In engineering, the job cluster in which women have the lowest levels of representation on average, women’s shares have inched up only slightly, from 12 percent in 1990 to 14 percent today.

African American and Hispanic representation in the STEM workforce. Overall, African Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in the STEM workforce relative to their shares in the U.S. workforce as a whole. But there’s one exception: 11 percent of healthcare practitioners and technicians are black, similar to the share of black people in the total workforce.

Within job clusters, however, the share of African Americans and Hispanics varies widely. For example, 37 percent of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are either black or Hispanic.

Source: pewresearch.org

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

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Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs.It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

30 brilliant networking conversation starters

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Networking

When it comes to conversation, you’re a natural. You can chat up a storm with just about anyone, you’re a pro at listening, and you love meeting and connecting with new people.

But when it comes to starting that networking conversation? That’s a different story.

This is one of the most common concerns we hear about networking: How do you just walk up to someone you don’t know at an event—and start talking?

Well, it’s a tad easier than it sounds. Fact is, no one’s going to turn you away if you walk up, smile, and say, “I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you.” In fact, others will probably be relieved that someone else started the conversation!

But, the process is definitely a lot easier when you have a few go-to icebreakers in your back pocket. So, we’ve put together a handy list to refer to before your next event—some of our own lines, a few favorites from our career expert friends, and icebreakers our Twitter and Facebook followers have used, too!

The Classics

When in doubt, just try the basics: asking what someone does, inquiring why he or she is at the event, or even just reaching out your hand and saying hi.

  • 1. “What’s your favorite conversation starter at a networking event?” – Connie B.
  • 2. “So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first and you can think about how to approach the conversation or how you could possibly work together. – @GrowSouthwest
  • 4. “Hi there! I’m Michelle. What are you passionate about?” – Michelle E.
  • 5. “What’s your story?” It always sparks a fascinating and non-generic conversation. – @leslieforman

Location, Location, Location

No matter what, you’ve got at least a couple things in common with every person in the room: the event you’re attending, the place it’s being held at, and the food and drink you’re consuming. Use that to your advantage by striking up conversation about what’s going on around you.

  • 6. If I’m at an event with food, I’ll often use that as a conversation starter, à la “I can’t stop eating these meatballs. Have you tried them?” – @erinaceously
  • 7. “How did you hear about this event?” – @myuliyam
  • 8. “It’s so hot (or cold) in here.” Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the person will either agree or disagree, and pretty soon you’re talking about weather patterns, your best umbrella, and then your career goals. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • 9. “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?” – Alexandra Franzen
  • 10. “What a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”

The Newsworthy

Another thing you have in common with, well, everyone? What happened in your city or the world today. While you don’t want to start up any hot political debates, some light-hearted headline sharing is a great way to break the ice.

  • 11.“What do you think about [insert topic germane to the event or person here]?” I’m biased: News is a great engagement tool. – @thatsportsgirl
  • 12. “Wow, I just can’t believe all the crazy news headlines today. What a week!”
  • 13. “Any chance you read the news today? I missed it, and I’m dying to know what’s happening with [insert news topic here].”
  • 14. “So, was it a pain for you to get here?” The mode of transportation and location in the city are always on peoples’ minds. There’s bound to be a story about it. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • 15. “Did you catch the game last night?” It’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason

The Introverts

If you’re an introvert, walking into a room full of unknown people can feel extra intimidating. One of our favorite approaches is to look toward the outskirts of the room and find someone who looks a little lonely. Maybe that woman sitting by herself at the table doesn’t know anyone and is just hoping that someone will come talk to her. Be that person, and try one of these lines.

  • 16. “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?” – Careerealism
  • 17. “As we’re both here at the (buffet, bar, waiting room), I feel I should introduce myself. I’m [name] from [company].” – @ainegreaney
  • 18. I like to compliment people on their clothes and accessories. I find this approach to be more friendly and less about professionally connecting, especially if you’re at a networking event. I believe both men and women can compliment each other on their choice of attire and use it as a conversation starter! – @MsMeganGrace
  • 19. “Excuse me. Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice! Hi, I’m Andi. Nice to meet you.” – Andrea M.
  • 20. “Man, I hate networking.” If you sense a fellow party-goer has similar misanthropic tendencies, walk up and start a conversation about your mutual distaste. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

    JP Morgan Chase for LGBT inclusion

    LinkedIn

    Bill Kapfer Recognized for Going the Extra Mile

    The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) presented Bill Kapfer, Global Head of Supplier Diversity with a special recognition—The Champion of Enterprise Award. The organization wanted to recognize Bill for his tireless efforts in fostering success for LGBT business owners and executives.

    The Champion of Enterprise is among the highest honors presented by the NGLCC and recognizes an LGBT or allied person that has gone the extra mile to support LGBT equality & business opportunity.

    As Bill has stated before, “True inclusion goes beyond being an equal opportunity employer — it requires everyday actions to encourage and foster authenticity, building a culture that includes all people.”

    This continues to reign try as JPMorgan Chase Receives the HRC/NGLCC Apex Award

    At the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Conference in Philadelphia, JPMorgan Chase was recognized with the 2018 Apex award.

    This award recognizes companies that are living the values embodied by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

    How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

    LinkedIn

    Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

    Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

    Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

    Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

    “We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

    The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

    Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

    Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.