On May 22nd the collaborative spirit that is the soul of the FWA shined brightly to produce a magical evening. FWA’s Entrepreneurs and Directorships & Corporate Governance (‘DCG’) Committees had previously brainstormed about the benefits of a special type of ‘match-making’: connecting seasoned professionals looking for advisory board positions with start-ups needing advisors. During our due diligence prep prior to the 5/22 event, we had learned from former FWA President Barbara Roberts and Vice President and Pillar Alice Globus that this kind of idea sounds great, but frankly needs thoughtful consideration to be effective. Undaunted, Entrepreneurs Committee member and a long-time supporter of women entrepreneurs, David Leffler, Esq., reached out to Withum’s NYC office. As a nationally ranked public accounting firm providing advisory, tax and audit services to businesses and individuals on a local-to-global scale, Managing Partner Michael Stallone was proud to offer their very large midtown conference room for a perfect venue for the 5/22 discussion.
Alice Globus introduced the evening’s featured speaker to a packed room. Alicia Syrett, the founder and leader of Point 25 Initiative, which matches the most promising women-led companies with amazing C-level Advisors for their Advisory Boards, lead a lively presentation about advisory board structures, board responsibilities and ways to add value, equity compensation, and resources. Alicia is the Founder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital, an angel investment vehicle focused on seed and early stage investments. She is a recurring panelist on CNBC’s Power Pitch and MSNBC’s Your Business. She is a member of the Women’s Forum of NY, Women Corporate Directors, and several company and advisory boards. She currently serves on the Board of the NY Tech Alliance and has served on the Board of Directors of New York Angels and as a Managing Director of Golden Seeds.
In short, we could not have had a better expert to inspire everyone in the audience. Attendees obtained firsthand knowledge of how an advisory board functions and what it takes to get on one. Specific topics included such items as:
- Board vs. Advisory Board roles – they are not the same!
- Board structures
- Board responsibilities and ways to add value
- Equity amounts, vesting, and contract timing
- Suggested resources, e.g., www.crunchbase.com
After Alicia Syrett’s remarks, Alice Globus suggested the obvious first step of creating a technological solution on the FWA website wherein people could sign up to register their interest in being an advisor and alternatively, entrepreneurs could register their desire to obtain advisors. DCG Committee member Meghan Lamar, a talented technologist, volunteered to create the database and David Leffler gathered the first list of ‘volunteers’.
Enthusiasm infused the room and next steps are being planned for our next get-together, which would be the first “meeting of the matches”.
We are on our way!