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Fear of Failure: Startups, Social Impact and Women


This Jam Session discusses how working for a nonprofit can help you adjust to the possibility of startup failure.

Tue, May 14, 2013 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Startup founders have long known that most will fail. Catalyst and others provide fascinating studies on gender differences in risk, and the intense pressure women put on themselves to be smart, competent and infallible. Yet, ironically, social impact is every bit as messy – and failure ridden – as a successful startup. Hear how involvement in nonprofits – as a donor or board member – can be a great training ground for comfort with failure. The nonprofit sector offers tremendous hands-on leadership development and, with over 1.5M nonprofit organizations, offers no end to the issues and geographies where we can engage. Women have tremendous skills in collaboration, communication and problem-solving that can be used to benefit others, tackle complex issues and seek the most promising solutions.

Melanie Hamburger founded Catalytic Women to realize her vision of mobilizing smart, busy women to help fund solutions to major social and environmental issues. Catalytic Women is a nationwide network for women funding social impact, at all levels and covering all issues. Melanie brings expertise in finance, fundraising, and startups to provide content and connection for women in this unique peer learning community. More information can be found at

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Kristy Wallace
Kristy Wallace

New York, NY

CEO at Ellevate Network

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Maricella Herrera Avila

VP Operations & Strategy at Ellevate Network

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