Category Archives: Dream Chasing


Women leaders improve profitability

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, Nasdaq had women leaders at Monday’s closing bell.

With only 10% of Fortune 500 companies led by women, the symbolism of having some of the most innovative women at the intersection of finance, funding, and founding at the ceremony was not lost on attendees.

“We all know that VCs are investing only 2% in female founders, and even less than that in women of color,” Shelley Zalis, CEO of the Female Quotient, said in a speech before ringing the closing bell. “But, we also know that women-led startups are outperforming their male counterparts, generating more than 63% more value and twice as much per dollar invested. Women drive wealth.”

Yahoo Finance interviewed three leaders at the event, asking their thoughts on women and women of color being called so-called “unicorns” as well as their thoughts on equality versus equity. Here’s what they said.

On being called unicorns

The unicorn moniker often bestowed on female leaders in the tech world is a disservice to women entrepreneurs and founders because it acts as an excuse to not hire or invest in women, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of, told Yahoo Finance.

“The unicorn narrative goes that ‘we can’t find them,’ ‘don’t really understand that particular demographic,’ or ‘it’s too risky to invest’ so come back when you’ve made your first 10 million,” Wilkerson said.

In 1985, women were 35% of tech and now it’s 12%, Wilkerson noted, but even at the height of women representation in tech, the narrative remained they were hard to find. Not only are women being overlooked for leadership roles, but also when it comes to funding companies to go public. Women-led startups receive only 2.3% of venture capital funds.

“If you Google how many female founders have taken their companies public you’ll see that the number is somewhere between 22-45 — it’s an alarming number,” Sehr Thadhani, chief digital officer at Nasdaq, told Yahoo Finance. “Female founders need more pathways to the public market — figuring that out will have a rippling impact on the entire business ecosystem because when women lead, they surround themselves with other powerful, innovative women who work collectively to increase opportunities for access to wealth building and more.”

Hitha Palepu, author and CEO of Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals, talked about the need to redefine what it means to have potential and to be successful, so those definitions are more inclusive of those who often get overlooked.

“I think we need to take a look at how we have evaluated and calculated what makes a high- potential or worthy candidate. Because in the past and to date, it has all been based on how we have viewed success, which is strong, fierce, determined, tactical. And when a woman has any of these qualities, she’s called bossy, assertive, shrill, angry,” Palepu said. “So we need to take a second to actually figure out some new terms in which we use to define success, in which we use to define potential, and to actively start going into the places we haven’t recruited from.”

Equality and equity aren’t the same

The theme for Nasdaq’s event was The Equity Objective: Women in Wealth.

Equality and equity are sometimes used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. We asked our leaders to explain what equity means and should look like in the workplace.

“Equity is about making sure that everyone who might be in a different situation has what they need in order to succeed,” Wilkerson said. “If I’m growing a garden with lettuce and tomatoes and give them the same water, they may not bloom equally. Do I say to the lettuce, you need too much water, because I equally poured? It may need different soil or sunlight.”

Equity doesn’t take away, but rather provides the necessary tools for everyone to succeed, Palepu said.

“It’s not pie, but a buffet and the food’s going to keep on coming. It’s more a matter of does everyone have what they need and what they want to eat at the time they need it,” Palepu said. “Equality is a benchmark that you can manipulate the numbers to make it look like you are equal, but equity requires an investment of time, resources, and money to actually say, ‘We are not content with how things are and we are investing in a better future.’”

Republished from Yahoo Finance


Transitions 2020

In the middle of a pandemic and a civil rights movement (Black Lives Matter), I experienced much pain but also in the midst of the pain, moments of joy. How and why this happens is beyond me. What I have learned is to live in moment – love, laugh, cry, release anger, work on healing yourself from wounds caused by others, and wounds you gave yourself from being your worst critic and not being as kind to yourself. I learned that you can’t pour from an empty cup and there is no shame in saying no when people want your time or resources. Guard your heart.

Every now and then I receive an email or comment about my journey. Most dreams and their journeys are fraught with pitfalls, detours, and snares along the way. It is like “off to see the wizard” only to find out he’s a fraud or poor Frodo not fully understanding what taking the ring meant until he hit the road. Not to deter you just that people always tend to focus on the “success” and not the trials and rejections that seem to be a constant companion while dream chasing.

I wrote an article about dream chasing after reading The Alchemist.

The Alchemist sums up the joy and pain of the dream chaser. “Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

Paulo Coehlo said it best. “We don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream. There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We are then faced by the second obstacle: love, afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. The third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: ‘Oh well, I didn’t really want it anyway.’ We warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how. The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.”

I am moving to a different stage of my journey. Dare I say that I am happy, better yet content. I am at peace with myself. I am still trying to be the best me that I can be, but I am learning to be kind and tenderhearted towards myself. Things might seem sparse or quiet on my websites, but I am taking some time to explore other opportunities. However, I am amazed how some of my old articles are still ripe and prescient for the times. Feel free to peruse

If I have anything pressing to say, it will probably be on my personal Instagram account: @RondaWrites

Thank you for sharing my journey, reading my writings, and your support.



A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Born and raised in Chicago, I followed sunshine to Los  Angeles after college. I spent my early 20s in Tinsel Town. Oh the stories! While there, a friend with contacts in the entertainment industry suggested that I start screenwriting. I shrugged her off saying, “I’m here to have fun before law school.” After a few years of fun, I returned to the Midwest for law school. In my spare time, I started writing a journal. However, when it came time to take the bar exam, all frivolous pursuits (i.e. anything not legally related) came to an end.

After practicing a few years and experiencing angst at my professional development, I had a longing to pick up my journal and start writing again. I started emailing friends my thoughts on politics, education, etc. One friend replied to my email, “Why are you still in Chicago? You need to be in NY, where it happens. Also, stop sending emails and start a blog so others can hear you.” I replied that I did not want to share my thoughts with the public. The friend was persistent about me moving to New York, especially when I started talking about needing a career change and feeling unfulfilled. Mentoring teens made me more fulfilled than the practice, reminding me of my teaching days. Plus, I started writing. One book turned into three and I wanted to be published. Always dreamed of being Lucy Maud Montgomery-esque.

Fate took matters in its own hands. Clearly, I was afraid to take the leap to NYC. A law school friend was getting married in NYC. I decided to take a week off before the wedding to play tourist. While there, I would visit my persistent “NYC is where you need to be friend.” Well she would have none of that. Why waste time hanging with her when there were people to meet! She arranged a few informational interviews for me with some strategic people. After a few days of informational interviews and taking in the city, the buzz hit me. There is something electric about this city. Things happen here. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

However, realist, practical me always comes through. I could not move to NYC to be a starving author waiting to be discovered without a means to support myself. That meant getting licensed in New York. All law students dread three things: (1) taking the bar – I vowed never to take another when I passed; (2) please don’t let the “rule against perpetuities” be on the bar exam – want to irk an attorney ask them about the rule; and (3) taking the New York bar – pass rate is the lowest in the country. I vowed never to take the bar exam again, so my only hope was reciprocity. There’s the rub. Easier to pass the New York bar exam than to get reciprocity. I challenged the universe and fate. If I get reciprocity from New York, then I have to move.

My friend’s wedding was the first week of October 2010. Immediately when I returned, I applied for reciprocity. November 2010, I started my blog “Ronda-isms.” Why “Ronda-isms?” I have plenty of sayings and ways of doing things. In law school, friends would say, “that’s a Ronda-thing or one of Ronda’s -isms.” So it seem befitting that the blog take that name. December 29, 2010, I was notified that I received reciprocity from the New York. New Year’s Eve, I announced my move to NYC in 2011 to my family and friends. The application process to complete my reciprocity took another three months. Once I completed the paperwork and sent fees, I had a swearing in date of June 2011. It was official. I moved to New York Memorial Day weekend 2011 bright eyed, ambitious, excited, and determined to prove naysayers wrong.

May 25th marks my three year anniversary in the concrete jungle. I blogged about my transitions on Ronda-isms – failures, disappointments, small successes. I started a separate website about a neighborhood I fell in love with. New Yorkers are borough-centric and neighbhorhood-centric. When I moved to NYC, my friend that got married said this, “you did not move to NYC to live on any island other than Manhattan.” I live in Manhattan in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen-Times Square-Theater District. It reminds me of Chicago’s South Loop with easy access to everything within a 15-minute walk (Hudson River Path, Central Park, Lincoln Center, Broadway, Bryant Park, and every subway line).

If you are in my neck of the woods, check out my favorites – All Things Midtown NYC.