At StartUp Terminal, we believe our diversity is our strength. As International Woman’s Day grows near, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
To kick off our celebration, we’ve asked Los Angeles based Miki Reynolds, Co-founder and Executive Director, Grid110 (LA-based early-stage startup accelerator and community development non-profit), few questions on her experience achieving success in the field of entrepreneurship, and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.
ST: Please tell us briefly about you.
Miki: I am a co-founder and Executive Director of Grid110, an LA-based early-stage startup accelerator and community development non-profit. Our mission is to foster the most thriving, inviting & inclusive community for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Since 2014, my work has focused on activating the startup ecosystem in Los Angeles, fostering community, and connecting the dots for entrepreneurs through access to mentoring and critical resources. Prior to founding Grid110, I launched the Downtown LA location for tech education company General Assembly.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Miki: My mom is the person I look up to the most in the world and has been a constant source of inspiration my entire life. She grew up in Japan and left home as a teenager to create a life for herself. She’s reinvented herself multiple times and is one of the most fiercely independent and resourceful people I know. I appreciate how our relationship has grown into more of a friendship as I’ve grown older and how she has lent me her full support and trust to create my own life choices in order to pursue what makes me happy.
ST: How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Miki: I’m fortunate to be a member of a primarily women-led team, running a startup community of primarily women-led companies. That’s not something I ever saw earlier in my career and it’s one of the greatest honors to be building what’s truly possible when you’re intentional about creating meaningful change. This is not just about celebrating one day for me; it’s about celebrating and appreciating our team and community every day.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Miki: Friendly reminder that you are enough. More than enough. You’ve survived countless challenges and setbacks (sometimes daily) to be here today. You are so much stronger than you ever give yourself credit for.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Miki: The ability to inspire, uplift, encourage and support women to be their most authentic selves. A quote that sticks with me is to “be unabashedly aware of your fresh.” There is something special and unique about each person. You just have to be able to tap into it and let that natural, radiant light shine.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present globally?
Miki: Women are the inventors of fields and pioneers of industries that they currently lack representation in. Ada Lovelace is regarded by many to be the first computer programmer yet it’s a male dominated field at 90% of the industry. Women of Color account for 89% of new businesses being started, yet Black and Latinx women only receive 0.67% of venture capital funding. We can point largely to systemic issues for these inequities but we can also say that we need to do better. Support organizations like Black Girls Code that encourage girls/young women to explore careers in STEM. Build in mentorship/advancement opportunities within your company/organization to support career retention and growth. Support the education, advancement and inclusion of underrepresented investors and emerging fund managers through programs (HBCUvc, VCFamilia, BLCK VC, Diversity Rider), who will be more likely to invest in diverse entrepreneurs. Advocate for the grassroots organizations and networks providing direct support to underrepresented founder communities to create more equitable opportunities.
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