Category Archives: Girls Rule!

Never Let Anyone Make You a Carrot

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”  –Paul Cezanne

A couple of years ago my sister told me a story about how she came home from work to find her husband and then 5-year-old daughter playing “house” with her dolls and dollhouse.  They were deep into the imaginary play and her daughter was visibly annoyed to be interrupted by my sister’s arrival on the scene.  My sister asked if she could play with them and the daughter looked at her skeptically.

“I could be the mommy,” offered my sister. “No, I’m the mommy,” said the kid.  “How about if I am the baby then?”  says my sister, wanting in on the action.  “No,” says the kid, “I’m also the baby. And Daddy is the daddy.”  Kid pauses, thinks for a minute, then says,  “OK mommy, you can be a carrot growing in the garden.”  

I love that story.  First of all, it’s damn funny (although my sister wasn’t amused at the time).  Second of all, it so reminds me of how I feel sometimes when I walk into the Board

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Posted in General Business Issues, Girls Rule!, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Venture Capital, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Breaking Research: Beer Makes Men Smarter, Women Make Men Stupider, World Achieves Equilibrium

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. –Benjamin Franklin A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her. –WC Fields If you are a man, then I’m about to rock your world in a good way.  A recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago has confirmed what men have claimed all along:  beer makes men smarter.  I know what you’re thinking:  “I didn’t know Homer Simpson was a researcher at University of Illinois!”  Homer, of course, has been credited with saying, “Alcohol, the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.” In order to provide happiness to men everywhere, the University of Illinois researchers devised a bar game in which 40 men were given three words (those three words were not “Come here often?”) and told to come up with a fourth that fits the pattern. For example, the word “cheese” could fit with words like “blue” or “cottage” or “Swiss.”  Half the players were given two pints of beer. The other half got nothing. The result was that those who had downed

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Health and Wellness, Innovation, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Woman’s Work

OK, I’ve had it.  I have laid off the feminista manifestos for a while, focusing my writing mainly on healthcare issues that are my stock in trade.  But, as the saying goes, I saw the straw that broke the camel’s back and it came in the form of Wisconsin Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman and his partner in crimes against women, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker.  Welcome to my rant.

Wisconsin: clearly not the arbiter of fashion

These two so-called representatives of the “people” have worked together to repeal Wisconsin’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which basically guaranteed women (and others) equal pay for equal work. But the political debate on this topic was squarely focused on the gender debate, despite the fact that women already earn on average only 75% of what men make in Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH).  In an interview reported in the Huffington Post about the Act’s demise, Senator Grothman said that the wage gap between men and women is due not to workplace discrimination, but that “You could argue that money is more important for men.” Women, he

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Posted in General Business Issues, Girls Rule!, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where The Boys Are…And Not The Girls: Tales from the 2012 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

JP Morgan by the bay

I set off for five straight days at the annual JP Morgan healthcare conference last Monday, but on the way drove the carpool to my daughter’s high school that morning in a last ditch attempt to act like a responsible and caring parent. My poor daughter gets completely abandoned during JP Morgan week every year and, as she so aptly put it, it is a mixed blessing. When I arrived home finally yesterday afternoon she said to me that she likes that I am not there to tell her what to do, but not that I am not there to act as her personal assistant and laugh at her jokes. I must admit, she is pretty funny. Especially that part about the personal assistant.

Anyway, during my last parental act of last week, my daughter’s friend, who also happens to be a JP Morgan orphan (her dad is also a healthcare venture capitalist), asked me from the back seat, “So, are there many women at this conference?”

What it looks like inside the conference

It was interesting to get that question from a 15 year

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Healthcare, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Venture Capital, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where in the World is Lisa Suennen?

Warning: shameless self-promotion today—will be back to more thematic ideas next week if my feet and I survive the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and Circus, which is occurring this entire week in San Francisco.  Pretty much the entire healthcare world shows up for this, which means you see old friends and new, as well as people you hoped you might not have to see again.  If you wanted to “Occupy Healthcare,” this is the place to do it.  In any event, It always an interesting experience full of insight, deal-making, cocktail therapy and blister treatments. So for now, with time somewhat limited for committing deep-ish thoughts to paper, I thought I’d put a plug out there for a few conferences at which I have been fortunate to be invited to speak.

The first is The Personalized Medicine World Conference (PMWC), which bills itself as the only fully integrated conference to examine the advances and challenges of Personalized Medicine through a practical lens. PMWC brings together the thought-leaders of business, government, healthcare-delivery, research and technology into one information-rich, two-day conference and offers a really interesting agenda looking at the ideas of

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Health and Wellness, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Newsflash: Grass is Green, Sky is Blue, VCs are White Men

 Yeah, I love being famous. It’s almost like being white, y’know?—Chris Rock

On Monday November 21 the National Venture Capital Association and Dow Jones VentureSource released the results of the 2011 Venture Census, which reported statistics about ethnicity, gender and other characteristics of the venture capital industry garnered from a poll that included 600 VC industry participants.  Not surprisingly, the Census reaffirmed what most of us already knew:  it’s good to be a white male.

Of the total 600 respondents, 87% were Caucasian, 9% were Asian, 2% were African American or Latino, and 2% were of mixed race.  This is pretty much exactly the same as when the survey was done in 2008, when 88% were white guys.

The only thing worse than being non-white when it comes to your chances of getting a VC job is being female.  While 79% of the survey respondents were male and 21% were female, it’s a misleading figure since so many of the women respondents were not in true investment roles. According to the NVCA, of those who identified themselves as investors, 89% were male and 11 percent were female. This is actually

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are You Dense?

Wanda Sykes talks with Ellen about her recent breast cancer experience

Sometimes comedy and healthcare collide. I caught an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres Show recently where her guest that day was one of my favorite comedians, Wanda Sykes. Sykes was there, in part, to discuss her recent battle with breast cancer, a disease she found out she had quite by accident. Apparently Sykes had gone in for a voluntary cosmetic breast reduction (this is the cue for men everywhere to gasp in horror) and after the procedure it was discovered that the tissue removed, which is routinely examined after such procedures, was cancerous.

If you have extra time, you can watch the actual 4 and a half minute Ellen-Wanda interview by clicking HERE.

In the interview, Sykes talked about how, given her personal risk factors for breast cancer and her unwillingness to live fearing it’s sudden return, she decided to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy in order to ensure she would not end up with breast cancer in the future.  It is an extreme decision, but one that is being taken more often by women willing to trade

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Posted in Diagnostics and Screening, Girls Rule!, Health and Wellness, Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Medical Devices, Preventive Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gravity is a Bitch

Hi everyone.  A few weeks ago I had the honor of receiving a very prestigious Corporate Director’s Forum award for Board Director of the Year.  The award is given each year to Board Directors who are nominated in 6 categories (corporate governance, enhancement of economic value, companies in transition, corporate citizenship, not for profit governance and lifetime achievement).  The awards are presented at a gala dinner; I received my award at a lovely event in San Diego on September 14th attended by more than 500 people.  I have been asked by multiple people to send them a copy of my speech as it seemed to be pretty popular. Thus, I decided to publish it below.

The Corporate Directors Forum event is quite a big production and it has a theme every year.  This year’s theme was The Right Stuff, the 1983 movie about the original US Mercury 7 astronauts.  It’s a great movie that covers the history of the U.S. Space program and the wild and crazy pilots that became the first astronauts.  The event had all sorts of movie and NASA footage and cool space gear in

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Posted in General Business Issues, Girls Rule!, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision

We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Xconomy (a great web publication of life science and technology news and analysis that targets the “innovation community”) asked me to serve as their roving correspondent to provide a view from the MedTechVision Conference, held September 15-16 at the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park, CA.  Here is my report:

Vance Vanier: man in a sea of women

“I hadn’t given any thought to the fact that it was theoretically a ‘women’s conference before I walked into the room. I’d just promised the organizer, a friend, that I would come,” said Vance Vanier, CEO of Navigenics. “But walking into the room full of women had quite an impact; I realized how much I stood out and it was worth noting. It made me realize what women experience when they go to events like this.”

Vanier was commenting on his experience as a male attendee at the conference, which was intended to provide a platform for the many women executives in the medical technology field to wield the microphone. Some 200 women and 3 intrepid

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Healthcare, Healthcare Information Technology, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Venture Capital, Medical Devices, Uncategorized, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Man! I Feel Like a Woman!

Today’s post was generated as a result of a request by PE Hub’s editor, Jon Marino, who asked me to author a piece for his publication about how male venture capital and private equity executives could “redeem themselves” in the eyes of women in the field.  As you can see if you read further, I took another tack with the story, as I am pretty confident that most of the men in my profession don’t view it as their job to redeem themselves for this purpose.

I have been fascinated by the feedback I get on the articles I write on the male/female interaction in my field, as nearly 100% of the emails and written comments I get are from men.  Women colleagues will sometimes mention they have read them, but male colleagues take action and write—very interesting.  The comments I get from my male fans and detractors range from telling me I am completely off-base and borderline insane (hard to argue with that one) to resounding apologies that men are, in fact, the root of all evil, at least when it comes to the gender-based tensions in the

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Healthcare private equity, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments