Silicon Valley isn’t the only hub for tech start-ups these days. The Washington D.C. area is quickly becoming a solid alternative for attracting highly-educated, ambitious and talented people in the technology sector. DCA Live has highlighted a key list of thought-leaders, innovators, and drivers of change in various industries, since 2014. One key group of individuals making an impact on the business community of DC are women, and today, DCA Live is putting out its list of the 40 women under 40 who are driving change.
The Trending 40 Women in Tech includes founders, CEOs, investors, engineers, financial experts, marketing gurus, and others who contribute to the local ecosystem. The New Power Women of Tech includes our very own Maria Canfora, Chief Financial Officer, Network for Good.
In a hi-tech culture that has gained a reputation for being unwelcoming to and biased against women, Maria has made a name for herself. “I absolutely love what I do,” said Maria. “Being a part of a start-up’s culture, the growth, the fast pace is invigorating. The energy is what attracts me to start-ups. And the special culture at Network for Good is unlike any I have experienced. Being a B Corp, it is one that is not only driven by their financial performance, but also the desire to develop a product that allows customers to do good.”
She continued, “We are in a small and well-known group of about 2,000 companies—such as Warby Parker glasses, Dansko footwear, Patagonia outdoor clothier, and others—that are committed to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
In this leadership role, Maria is well equipped to help drive the year-over-year 40 percent+ growth that Network for Good is experiencing. She has more than 20 years of experience guiding start-ups and other tech companies to IPO; three to be exact. She was also the winner of the Women in Technology Leadership Award for Corporate Public Sector Small Business in 2014.
Given Maria’s wealth of experience in helping start-ups build from the ground up to successful IPOs she wanted to offer these tips:
- Managing the Growth. Way too often start-ups hire like mad. This approach locks in overhead expenses. Sadly, most are not able to support that growth by sales.
- Refining Your Brand. It is easy to want to be something for everyone, especially in a high-growth space. No one wants to turn down business. But the sooner a company can identify the niche they play in and refine their brand to reflect that, the better suited they will be to take on that market share.
- Hiring Isn’t Just for HR. Every person in the organization should have a hand in ensuring that each new hire is a good one. When you are growing so fast, it is easy to overlook the hiring process when if anything it should be the most rigorous.