20 Women

This International Women’s Day 2020, I’d like to celebrate 20 women – some of whom are close friends and some of whom I admire from afar. These women have supported me through a particularly challenging time in my life and career or they inspired me through their words and their leadership. Take a fleeting moment to hear their stories. Or follow them and their work and be uplifted, just as I have. In alphabetical order:

  1. Alli Riese. Alli and I have spent more time apart in different cities, than living in the same city, yet that hasn’t impaired our friendship. She introduced me to the book Tempered Radicals last summer and I feel she truly understands the challenges we navigate as working parents, aspiring changemakers, and persistent leaders at this stage of our careers.
  2. Aubrey Blanche. Aubrey is a leading voice and champion of diversity and inclusion. @adblanche
  3. Autumn Peltier. Everyone should stop in their tracks and listen to Autumn Peltier, who has demonstrated so much leadership and courage. She advocates for universal water rights, especially for indigenous communities. @StephaniePelti3
  4. Carolyn Van. Carolyn is a cherished voice in tech in Canada. She recognizes that women of colour, including women of Asian descent, are underrepresented in tech in Canada and speaks up about it. @CarolynVan
  5. Carrianne Leung. Growing up I didn’t have a lot of exposure to Chinese Canadian authors, let alone authors that are women. Carrianne is the author of That Time I Loved You, a collection of short stories including one about two Chinese middle-schoolers who come of age in Scarborough, a neighbourhood of Toronto, Canada. @kayee13
  6. Crystal Lo. I loved working with Crystal. She is a wonderful real estate financier and impact investment professional.
  7. Danielle Fergusson. Danielle is a strong voice and advocate for livable cities. @dfergusson
  8. Danielle Graham. Danielle is amazing at organizing communities and creating partnerships. She’s a champion of diversity in tech. @daniellebgraham
  9. Jay Pitter. Jay is a welcomed voice in urbanism and placemaking. @Jay_Pitter
  10. Jennifer Li Chiang. Jennifer is a determined tech CEO and new parent. I love her creative persistence.
  11. Jessica Regan. Jessica perseveres while building an impact-focused technology venture that is helping to reduce CO2e and food waste.
  12. Karlyn Percil. Karlyn says emotions are data and I couldn’t agree more! @KarlynPercil
  13. Kieran Snyder. Thank goodness for Kieran and her venture, Textio. She knows words and language matter and has the data and augmented writing technology to prove it. @KieranSnyder
  14. Laurel Douglas. I admired Laurel’s leadership as CEO and have learned so much from working with her. @WECldouglas
  15. Lally Rementilla. Lally’s entrepreneurial leadership and career path from finance executive within technology companies to financier of IP-backed technology companies inspire me. Such a smart move! @lallyrementilla
  16. Ruchika Tulshyan. Ruchika is a diversity and inclusion expert and champion of women of colour. @rtulshyan
  17. Soraya Chemaly. I am reading pages from Soraya’s book, Rage Becomes Her. I feel so seen. I love her writing. @schemaly
  18. Susan Washington. Susan is a trusted friend and coach. I’m so lucky to have met her and benefited from her sage advice. @WashingtonGrp1
  19. Tania Lo. Tania filled a gap in the startup ecosystem, creating a network of contract CFOs and other C-Suite leaders to help companies achieve their goals without breaking the bank. Tania was also my biggest confidante during one of the hardest years of my life. @tania_lo
  20. Vanessa Lebourdais. Vanessa is entertaining school children into being Planet Protectors. As a CEO, she brings creativity to tackling climate change.

And a bonus: My mom is understated, but when she speaks up it’s with words of support, trust, and encouragement. I have never heard her boast nor draw attention to herself. She took risks. She took care of her daughters. She is strong. She is courageous. I don’t think she lived to her full potential. I can only hope that I make her proud.

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday and today I’m relaunching my personal website and blog.

I can think of at least two occasions when I’ve written with conviction – once was starting in 2012, when I took the first steps towards writing my first book, Integrated Investing.

The second time was at the start of 2016. I had a one-year-old child and a 57,000-word draft manuscript. Pulling myself out of the lulls of that postpartum period of child-rearing and with no more writing to do in connection with the book, I felt compelled to keep up my writing habit somehow. I committed to writing at least one answer a day on the question-and-answer site, Quora. After about 3 months of writing and perhaps close to 100 answers, I was selected as a Quora Top Writer. About 3 months after that, I had my first answer syndicated in Inc. I was hooked on writing.

On both occasions, I was recovering and reflecting after a significant change in my life.

In 2012 I was recovering from a trans-Atlantic relocation, a new marriage, and the commencement and abrupt ending of a job. I wrote to bring some order to the ideas swirling in my head. Writing was anchoring. I wasn’t sure who I was in 2012. Just as quickly as I had vacated the office of the job for which I moved to Vancouver, I had a name for the business I launched – Pique Ventures. If Pique Ventures was the container for my business ideas, my writing – and at the time, Integrated Investing – was the vessel for the broad and varied ideas I had about investing, startups, and impact.

In 2016 I was recovering from having my first child, launching Pique Fund (25 days before giving birth), and the commencement and abrupt ending of my part in launching an impact-oriented accelerator. Writing on Quora connected me to the Bay Area somehow. My perspectives on venture capital were valued and for a while, I probably believed I was a venture capitalist.

In 2020, I’m recovering from having my second child, a cross-country relocation, and the commencement and abrupt ending to my attempt to raise a second fund. I am working on a second book and admittedly part of me is scared about writing it. I have lots of ideas in my mind – about career paths, job searches, and starting over. About impact investing, gender-lens investing, and alternative investments. About power, negotiating, and decision-making.

Since I started writing with conviction in 2012, I published Integrated Investing, had several more Quora answers syndicated, and had three op-eds published last year in Business Insider, Next Billion, and Toronto Star with my own byline. They won’t be my last.