The Gem That is Ashley Lightspeed

Ashley Lightspeed made her name for herself by breaking barriers and going against the norms. Ashley is a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a US venture capital firm whose aim is early stage investments. Lightspeed’s architecture father has been a huge inspiration for her as she was growing up. Her interest in developing new products, services, and business models started at a young age as she observed her father. Ashley’s contribution to Lightspeed has enabled the company to expand its operations further, offering intense insights into the consumer retail market which is dominated by women. Read more about  Ashley Lightspeed at lsvp.com

The Stanford Business School graduate has worked for major companies before landing her current role. Her first job after leaving Duke University was at Bain & Company as a consultant. She later worked with Thumbtack and helped elevate the company to be one of the most sought after online companies that offer events related services. Ashley Lightspeed is still passionate about working with non established startups as her goal is to guide and lead anyone who wishes to join entrepreneurship. Ashley does not do much consultancy today as she shifted her focus to Lightspeed and other strategy projects.

To be a successful entrepreneur, Ashley Lightspeed advises that one should value the customer. It is important that you keep your customer close, learn the things they like, have a conversation with them and be their friend. By doing this you get to understand what product suits them and get honest feedback from them. On giving advice to her younger self, the Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners stated that she would have encouraged the young Ashley to be more outspoken and be vocal about things surrounding her. It is important that children learn how to use their voices and stand up to what they believe in from a young age.

Connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleybrasier/

Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s Richest Woman

The former head of Sonangol, often called “the Princess” in her home country, Angola, since she is the oldest daughter of the second longest serving president in Africa, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She describes herself in many instances as a private investor and independent businesswoman distancing herself from claims that her wealth originates from her family. Isabel dos Santos is ranked as the 8th richest person in Africa according to the Forbes list of 2019 Billionaires, even though her wealth decreased to an estimated $2.3 billion, down from $2.7 billion one year ago.

Isabel dos Santos is an Electrical engineer graduate from the Kings College in London. This academic background offered her the necessary skillset she needed to layout her success pathway in the field of communication and technology. She has been able to use her expertise and savvy in the business world over the years to create the most successful companies in Africa and the world at large. The 46-year-old has accumulated her wealth from numerous investments. She has stock holdings in the oil firm Galp, a telecommunication and cable Television firm by the name Nos both firms situated in Portugal and she also owns 25% of mobile telecom firm Unitel which is in Angola. Read more about Isabel Dos Santos at about.me


Isabel dos Santos was named as Africa’s most powerful woman by making it to the 2018 Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. She was the only woman from an African country to make it to that list peaking at position 74.

It’s worth noting that her continued entrepreneurial endeavors have made Isabel dos Santos, stand out in a male-dominated world of business with high net-worth individuals. As a result, she’s the only black billionaire woman in the world alongside Oprah Winfrey. Isabel dos Santo s has often attributed her success to hard work, her ability to overcome disappointments, surpass expectations, accomplish set goals and her unique business skillset. Isabel dos Santos is a keen public speaker and has often stood in the global stage to give outstanding speeches about African growth and infrastructure investment in the whole continent.

Visit: https://www.forbes.com/profile/isabel-dos-santos/#2e19b657523f

Elected to board but steps down as Unitel chairperson – Isabel dos Santos

Isabel dos Santos has lost power in the administration of Unitel SA, Angola’s biggest telecommunications provider. Previously she held the position of chairwoman of the board at Unitel, and has now secured mandate as board member, but has stepped down as chairwoman.

Unitel SA has four major shareholders, each with 25% of the capital. Two of them are Brazilian telecommunications company Oi SA, and the Angola state-owned oil company Sonangol. The other two stakeholders are Vitadel (Society of Isabel dos Santos) and local firms like Geni. Visit her facebook to learn more about her platforms.
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv7Fo02lVx3/
Unitel has been recently subject to legal action by Oi, and an arbitration tribunal in Paris has determined that other shareholders of Unitel must pay 600 million euros of compensation to Oi because of previously blocked dividend payments. During the general meeting of Unitel SA shareholders held in the wake of this legal action, it was determined that Isabel dos Santos will remain in the administration but will no longer lead the company.

The eldest child of the former President of Angola, Isabel dos Santos has amassed a massive personal fortune during her father’s 4 decades of power. She is Africa’s richest woman, with an estimated net worth of 2 billion euros.

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, she attended boarding school in Kent and later studied electrical engineering at King’s College in London. She started her first business in 1997 – Miami Beach Club – one of the first nightclubs and beach restaurants in Luanda Island. Over the next 20 years, she expanded and diversified her interests, holding high-level management positions in a number of companies. Besides Unitel SA, she owns massive interests in both Angola and Portugal in diverse fields like retail, finance, energy and media. She is a founding member and member of the board of an Angolan bank in Lisbon, Banco BIC Portugues and is the main shareholder of ZON Multimedia. She also has a commercial interest in oil and diamonds.

Website: https://www.isabeldossantos.com/

Success Story of Susan McGalla and Women in Leadership

Susan McGalla is a renowned entrepreneur, a consultant, leader, and a business executive. She has over three-decade experience in corporate leadership and executive management. Hailing from East Liverpool Ohio, Susan McGalla graduated with Bachelors of Arts degree in Business and Marketing from Mount Union College. In 1994, she Joined American Eagle Outfitters and worked her way up the corporate ladder to become the President and Chief Merchandising Officer.

For over two decades at America Eagle, Susan McGalla assisted the company to lead the industry regarding growth and revenue. By 2008, the company had over 1,000 stores, with four brands, revenue of $3 billion, and 28,000 staffs. From 2009 to 2011, McGalla worked as an independent retail industry consultant. In 2011, she became the CEO, Weal Seal Inc., California before founding P3 Executive Consulting firm in 2013. Susan McGalla Joined Pittsburgh Steelers in February 2011. Currently, she serves at Pittsburgh as the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development.

Women and Leadership

The success of Susan McGalla in leadership is an excellent example of how women can excel in management. Though there are more women initiatives and networks, the barriers for them to succeed are always there. These systems have assisted in creating platforms for women to make connections, strategize, and share ideas as well as planning for their business. Women have used these initiatives to make changes in their lives and society as well. However, these efforts have not solved the issue of gender discrimination in business leadership and management.

Studies have shown that businesses that embrace gender diversity have 15% more chance of succeeding than those that do not. However, only handful companies have women in senior positions. One way to break this discrimination is for executive women to sponsor others to succeed as well. This sponsorship will work if executive women recommend and advocate for other women in project executions. It would work as a motivation for both men and women to invest more in women. The executive sponsorship and mentorship would go a long way in embracing gender diversity in corporate leadership. Therefore, women leaders should motivate and mentor other women to be like them.