In light of International Women’s Day 2022, we spoke with our Founder, James Brown, on how we value diversity at Storm4.
Our mission at Levin Group is to Connect Tech Talent within global changemaker sectors such as FinTech, HealthTech and GreenTech. Gender balance is key to the success of these sectors; yet still faces a mountain of challenges.
Numbers are not playing in favor of parity. Reports show that in 2020, only 12.4% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women, and 65% of Venture Firms still don’t have any female partners. Another research shows that only 37% of tech startups have at least one woman on the board of directors. In 2020, only 2.3% of vc funding went to Women-Led Startups according to Harvard Business Review. Yet, as quoted by Forbes, companies with at least three female board members see median productivity of 1.2% above competitors. Fortune 500 companies with at least three women in leading positions saw a 66% increase in ROI.
To help drive gender balance in GreenTech, we surely need to value it in our own business. This isn’t some noble mission to be ‘seen’ but to practice what we preach – it’s proven that companies with a balanced workforce are more innovative and successful than those that don’t have a balanced workforce. Likewise, to help solve a problem you can’t actively and knowingly play a role in perpetuating it. There are many angles to think about when it comes to gender and business, but these are my top three.
- Think about creating an awesome business, first and foremost. We are fortunate to have a balanced leadership team, but the point was to hire the best people who inspired me and were people I truly believed in; not to hire women or men specifically. By demonstrating how we wanted to grow the business, and discussing our culture, it attracted a large pool of incredible talent to our door – from there, we picked the best people on merit.
- Think about the link between role models and scalability. If you want to scale a company fast, you need as many people as possible to have identifiable role models to emulate and be inspired by. There is a common bottleneck in recruitment – it’s possible that female candidates will display character traits such as ambition more cautiously, or suffer a sense of imposter syndrome when considering going for promotions. These are things that require constant discussion but fostering talented role models, and openly encouraging upward mobility, is a core pillar.
- Think about innovation. A room full of men will look at problems from a man’s view, a room full of women will do so from a female point of view. So, without gender balance you miss out on a truly rounded set of opinions on how to scale a successful business and overcome challenges. The more diverse the room (indeed, in every sense of the word diverse) the quicker you will solve your problems and reach goals.
I make no promises around our business being perfect, or to prioritise pleasing the outside world. I do however promise that we will choose to challenge ourselves to build a company with strong values around diversity, open conversation, and a progressive attitude.