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attendees at the Yale SOM event

Yale SOM Celebrates Women Entrepreneurs

A salute to women entrepreneurs at the Yale School of Management kicked off the school’s observance of Celebrate Women at Yale, a yearlong series of events commemorating the admission of the first women graduate and undergraduate students at the university.

By Karen Guzman

Yale School of Management Dean Kerwin K. Charles on September 12 kicked off the first in a series of Yale SOM events that will celebrate women this year, as part of the university-wide Celebrating Women at Yale initiative.

In 2019-20, Yale is commemorating the 50th anniversary of coeducation in Yale College and the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first women graduate students at the university. The campus-wide celebration includes a variety of lectures, exhibitions, and performances throughout the academic year. 

Charles delivered opening comments at a Yale SOM lunchtime gathering that featured presentations from women students and alumnae about their entrepreneurial ventures. The school’s Program on Entrepreneurship and WE@Yale co-hosted the event at Evans Hall.

“It is my happy task today to welcome you to this event,” Charles said. Charles added that he was “delighted” to begin his deanship at Yale SOM in the same year that Yale is honoring women, because so much of his research focuses on inequality.

The historical disenfranchisement of women in the workforce has hurt not only the individual woman, but also society as a whole, as it “did not benefit from her fresh ideas and new insights which would have made all our lives better,” Charles said. It was fitting, he added, to begin the celebration with an acknowledgement of women entrepreneurs.  

Jennifer McFadden, associate director of entrepreneurial programs and cofounder of WE@Yale, introduced a slate of seven women entrepreneurs and their ventures. “By bringing more women into entrepreneurship, our goal is to teach them a set of skills that will allow them to not only launch their own ventures, but also, and far more importantly, to become better leaders.” McFadden said. “For too long, women have been kept out of these founding leadership roles.”

Student and alumni entrepreneurs introduced the variety of ventures that they have launched, and they thanked Yale SOM for providing such a supportive community. The entrepreneurs and ventures included:

Hannah Beinecke ’20: Greater Good Solar, a startup that provides financing to enable low-to-medium income neighborhoods and regions to go solar

Meryl Breidbart ’20: Mortie, a platform that helps individuals plan major life, as well as end-of-life, decisions

Nitya Kanuri ’20: Mana Maali, an NGO aiming to reduce barriers to mental healthcare for students in Indian universities 

Helen Knight ’20: Representation 2.0, an incubator that develops diverse college students’ passion, abilities, and connections to encourage them to run for public office

Marina Marmolejo, a 2019 graduate of the Yale School of Public Health: DreamKit, a web-based app that creates partnerships among homeless youth and local stakeholders to combat youth homelessness in urban areas

Melissa Mazzeo ’20: Merry Go Rounds, a nonprofit venture that coordinates the sale and re-purchase of second-hand children’s clothing in stores and via an online platform

Daisy Rosales ’20: Brio, a nonprofit startup with a global focus that catalyzes mental-health care in vulnerable communities