About FWD | For Women and Diversity | Collective

About FWD (For Women & Diversity)

Our professional environments are not a true reflection of the world around us. Too often, women and under-represented individuals are left out of the conversation or brought in as an afterthought to “check the box”.

In a world where businesses are starving for innovation, fresh ideas, untapped markets, and new revenue opportunities - the real deal is right in front of us - diversity is innovation.

At FWD (For Women & Diversity) Collective, we are committed to featuring people for the experts that we are rather than the boxes that we check, and, providing a roadmap to do the same for those who join us.

We don’t just talk about diversity and inclusion, we live it. We do this by focusing on the individual as a whole human, connecting our professional experience to who we are as people, bringing together the heart, mind, and bottom line.

FWD: A Letter from our founder

For Women & Diversity (FWD) Collective was founded in 2016. We started as VentureFWD with the goal of breaking down barriers in seeking investment capital for women, people of color, and underrepresented communities.  As we turned the corner into 2017 we expanded nationally to San Francisco and connected our mission of professional inclusion across state lines and began to see the bigger picture.

A few incredible things that happened at our first two events:
Desmond Clark (Former Chicago Bear & keynote speaker) shared with us his '6 Principles of Winning' and won himself by connecting with Manuel Amezcua (attendee that later became a sponsor) at FWD. From there they began their journey of creating One Life Advisory.

Genevieve Thiers (keynote speaker) met Ellie Bahrmasel (attendee) and partnered to build a political movement.

Jotaka Eaddy of LendUp dove into the intersection of Tech & Politics on stage in SF. She resonated with our mission so much so that she partnered with us to expand the event, community, and mission in 2018.

We connected with over 1/2 million people digitally through our live broadcasts, interviews, and media partnership with Entrepreneur.

Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon preached about the most underrated secret to success, EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION and left us with our most tweeted quote while #FWDSF17 was trending #3 in all of San Francisco, "It's ok to have a knock-off bag, but don't be a knock-off person."

AND Shaherose Charania took us to school sharing that within the company's seeking capital on Republic's platform "80% of successfully funded founders are female."

The bigger picture became more clear:

With those amazing nuggets and a few staggering statistics in mind:

     - There are fewer Fortune 500 CEOs who are women (4.1%) than who are named David (4.5%) or John (5.3%)

     - 41% of managers say they are "too busy" to implement diversity initiatives

     - 83% of venture-backed founders have a racial composition that is entirely Caucasian

     - Only 5% of all Fortune 500 companies have African American CEOs

We worked our way through 2017 and realized that although diversity and inclusion in the investment space are critical, we have a lot of work to do to in terms of overall professional inclusion first, and with that we expanded to the FWD Collective. FWD Collective is a community and platform dedicated to professional inclusion hosting summits internationally created by and for the ever-growing populations of diverse entrepreneurs. Our summits will continue to feature women, P.O.C., and underrepresented communities focusing on connecting emerging entrepreneurs with established executives and vice versa.  Our discussions have expanded from a focus solely on venture capital to include business development, sharing your story, building teams, and beyond.

We know this is important for many reasons, but here are a few that continue to stand out:

     - Ethnically diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%
     - Teams where men and women are equal earn 41% more revenue
     - Companies reporting highest levels of racial diversity bring in nearly 15x more revenue 

We'd love for you to join us and be part of our community, conversation, and collective.

With gratitude,






See a few of our past event sessions here

  • Shaherose Charania 

    Advisor Republic.co | Board Member Women2.0 |Product & Brand 23 - Design Services

    Facebook LIVE -

    Tools for a values-driven startup: Human-centric tools for building your product and getting funding at VentureFWD San Francisco 2017

  • Jotaka Eaddy

    Head of Government Affairs at LendUp

    Facebook LIVE - 

    The Intersection of Tech & Politics at VentureFWD San Francisco 2017


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