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Shari YocumAn Interview with M&A Expert Shari Yocum, on the question whether entrepreneurship Is possible at any stage of life.

Marianne Abib-Pech started her career in Arthur Andersen, before joining General Electric Europe and then becoming global CFO of one of the business units of Shell International Petroleum at the age of 35. 

About two years ago, Marianne decided to start a more entrepreneurial and impactful chapter in her career. She moved to Hong-Kong, wrote 'The Financial Times Guide to Leadership' and created Lead the Future (LTF), an umbrella brand that includes a leadership consulting firm, a financial advising platform and a thought leadership platform. 

Her objective is to act as a catalyst of ideas (via the writing), businesses (via the advising) and of people (via the leadership consulting) to contribute to the emerging of a new and better world. 

We spoke to Marianne about her passion for writing and business; the benefits of being both entrepreneur and investor; and her top tips for successful leadership - particularly for women striving to succeed in a male-dominated business environment.

Lauren Maillian Bias is a serial entrepreneur; she is the Founder and CEO of Luxury Market Branding, a strategic marketing company, and is a Founding Partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer facing technology enabled companies.

At age 19, Lauren founded a boutique winery that quickly became an internationally recognized award-winning wine brand, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She served as the Chief Operating Officer of the company from inception through the brand’s acquisition in 2011.

Lauren often speaks about entrepreneurship, female leadership, marketing, branding, business development and early stage venture at various conferences. She has spoken at prestigious institutions including Harvard, Columbia University, Cornell and the University of Virginia. She is a large supporter of entrepreneurship and judges the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) business plan competition and the incoming classes of Start Up Chile, an incubator program in support of entrepreneurship sponsored by the Chilean Government. Lauren is an active advisor to several startups and is a mentor to the Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator.

After earning her Stanford MBA in 1983, Heidi Roizen co-founded T/Maker, a personal computer company, on a leap of faith.  She was one of only a handful of women tech entrepreneurs at the time.

Following a successful exit, she served as VP of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple, and then entered the venture world as Managing Director of Mobius Venture Capital in 1999.

She was elected to the Board of Directors at London-based global media company, DMGT, in 2012, making her the first female director in the company's 116-year history.

She is now a venture partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

The NextWomen LATAM Theme.

Marta Cruz is the Co-Founder & Director of NXTP Labs, an Latinamerica-based acceleration program with an early-stage fund, focusing on Spanish-speaking technology startups that are pursuing global or regional opportunities. NXTP provides seed funding, consulting services, hands-on advice, training and, access to a network of mentors across Latin America, the US and Europe.

Marta is also Co-Founder of digital agency Nextperience, where she currently serves as a Director.

Prior to these two ventures, Marta worked for more than 8 years at MRM Worldwide, the McCann Worldgroup digital agency, as Latam Regional Director, managing accounts likes of HP, Intel, Coca-Cola, GM, Hilton Hotel, Nortel and MasterCard

Marta’s introduction to entrepreneurialism began in 1979, when she founded with her husband, Ponchiarello, a men's clothing factory, focusing on the wholesale and retail business. Their decision to start manufacturing and selling uniforms for companies led them to develop their business on a large scale.

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo to democratize fundraising. Passionate about helping artists and entrepreneurs embrace crowdfunding, Danae speaks often at conferences. Recent speaking engagements include SXSW, MAD Hong Kong, TED, Big Omaha. Fast Company Magazine recently named Danae one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Technology.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a Securities Analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney, and Electronic Arts.  Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan's Investment Bank and Private Bank.  In the wake of 9/11, Danae co-produced a concert reading of Incident at Vichy, an Arthur Miller play addressing the politically charged topic of racial profiling.

The NextWomen Africa Theme.

Saskia Reus-Makkink is Head of Investor Relations and Mentoring at VC4Africa.biz, the largest online platform for investors and entrepreneurs in Africa. Before joining VC4Africa Saskia worked for The Boston Consulting Group and Canon in various strategic and marketing roles. She set up her own company to support entrepreneurs in Africa and got involved in VC4Africa from the start. She is now also part of the Advisory Board for the Dutch government and NGOs with regard to doing business in developing countries.

We spoke to Saskia about her interest in African entrepreneurship; about the switch from a corporate career; and the success stories VC4Africa has helped to facilitate.

Research shows that both public and private companies with female executives outperform companies with all male executives.  Yet women entrepreneurs receive a small portion of angel and venture capital investment.  Astia Angel aims to generate above-market returns by investing in women-led, high-growth ventures.

"The fact that women entrepreneurs receive limited investment is both a problem and an opportunity," remarked Amy Gips, Founding Managing Partner, Astia Angel. "Astia Angel is uniquely positioned to help women entrepreneurs succeed while targeting an attractive return."

Astia Angel, an angel investor network that includes both female and male angel investors located globally, invests in women-led, high-growth ventures in technology, life science and consumer industries.  Astia Angel is a strategic partner of Astia, a fourteen year-old organization dedicated to the success of women-led, high-growth startups.

Canada's history of investment began as early as 1907 when the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) invested in Canada to help fuel economic growth.  

Fast forward to 2012 –  women entrepreneurs are now fuelling economic growth in Canada, the UK and the United States. 

In Canada, the number of women owned businesses is growing 60 percent faster than those run by men.  In the US, female owned businesses make up 16% of the total of US employment.  It's predicted that women starting businesses in the US will generate approximately 33 % of 5.5 million new jobs by Bureau of Labour Statistics by 2018 according to The Guardian Life Research Institute report.  In the UK, the number of women starting businesses increased by 16 % between 2008-2012 compared to 2% for men. (ONS statistics to April 2012). 

The NextWomen Finance Theme.

Priyanka Gill is an angel investor, lifestyle blogger and journalist based in London.