Impact Series

Madrona groups up with Advancing Ladies in Product to spice up feminine tech management

Nancy Wang, CEO of Advancing Women in Product, and Hope Cochran, managing director at Madrona Venture Group. (AWIP and Madrona Photos)

Advancing Women in Product (AWIP), a nonprofit organization with more than 16,000 members internationally, is partnering with Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group and Madrona Venture Labs in order to expand its opportunities for training, mentoring and networking.

Those involved say the collaboration could help AWIP participants launch startups, take on new leadership roles, join corporate boards and secure venture capital.

“We would love to create a bigger network effect with the Madrona community in reaching even more female founders who will have great ideas and who want connections to funding,” said Nancy Wang, CEO of AWIP.

On the flipside, the arrangement could help Madrona bolster the diversity and performance of the 80 companies in its portfolio, as well as create opportunities for the VC firm to discover new startups led by women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs.

“If we can create a healthy and talented workforce, we hopefully produce more healthy and talented companies,” said Hope Cochran, a managing director at Madrona. “But you have to be intentional about that, and that is where partnering with an organization like AWIP just helps further that objective.”

AWIP got its start as informal get-togethers of female product managers working at big tech companies in San Francisco. Wang recognized the need for a more formal organization and co-founded AWIP in 2017. In 2019, she moved to Seattle to work for Amazon and now has the role of general manager of AWS Backup at Amazon Web Services.

Over time, AWIP has grown and evolved, with chapters in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, London, Berlin, Boston, and Chennai, India. Membership includes women and men.

AWIP programming includes:

  • Executive round tables, with the first event featuring Cochran, who discussed OnBoarding Women, an initiative that she leads that helps women secure roles on public boards.
  • Annual executive summits.
  • A Coursera course on product management and an upcoming course on cloud fundamentals jointly created with AWS.

“I’m constantly impressed when we do an event together how amazingly well attended and the quality of folks,” Cochran said of AWIP. Wang has “clearly created an organization that was desired and needed.”

The Northwest is home to numerous programs supporting women in technology and tech leadership. The list includes Female Founders Alliance, FBomb Breakfast Club, Future For Us, Women in Cloud, Ada Developers Academy and many others.

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