Fearless Founders: Meet Caroline Ghosn of Levo League
June 27, 2014
It’s time to inspire her mind! In our constantly connected world, women are inundated with information and opportunity. Especially inspiring are the true innovators that push through barriers and prove that women are equipped to excel in any industry. Many of them are changing our world one startup at a time. At Glam, we love women who encourage other women to push forward in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based education and professions. In this series, Jesse Draper sits down with fearless founders to talk about their career paths, educational backgrounds and why STEM matters:
Caroline Ghosn began her career just after Stanford undergrad at McKinsey & Co in consulting and soon realized that she was meant to do something else, so, she started a company to encourage and further the careers of women. This was the beginning of Levo League, which she co-founded with Amanda Pouchot, a colleague at McKinsey.
I met Caroline a couple of years ago at a women’s networking event and have been a fan ever since. Not only does every bone in her body represent supporting women, she was someone I thought exemplified the STEM Initiative truly and fully. As it is not traditional for women to enter the Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics oriented careers, women like Ghosn are unique trailblazers and leaders in the space exemplifying and encouraging more females to enter these professions. Ghosn loves math, occasionally converses with Warren Buffet, closed a $7 million round of funding earlier this year, and is bicoastal. Here are 12 things I learned from Levo League’s Caroline Ghosn….
What is Levo League?
Levo is the largest and fastest growing network of women in the first ten years of our careers. It provides our 9MM+ women with access to mentors, peers both online and locally, content on how to succeed professionally, and job opportunities – all free of charge and updated 24/7. We fundamentally believe that technology can be used for good: to democratize success, and we’re building a business that way, for Gen Y women by Gen Y women.
How do you personally use it?
I am (extremely happily!) employed, so I focus my Levo use on meeting peers and mentors both online and offline through Local Levo in NYC and SF (as I go back and forth between the two), as well as in sharpening my career skills and perspective through our inspirational stories and skill-building. I also used it to calculate the salary I should be earning with this tool.
Why did you decided to start it?
I entered the workforce for the first time after graduating from college and realized how scary of a transition that is. Nobody gives you context on all of the unwritten rules that now come into play in order for you to be successful. We are lucky to live in a day and age where technology can change that by giving millions of people access to impossible-to-otherwise-reach mentors like Warren Buffett, each other or to the same success tips and tricks.
What was your favorite subject in high school?
I love learning. Economics and Math particularly fascinated me as I love understanding the systems that connect everything. All economics is is an understanding of the behavior of humans in the aggregate, and all math is is an understanding of a universal language that connects us all, and seems to govern the way that our universe operates (fractal geometry is mind-blowing; the fact that you can replicate nature’s “random” patterns with equations says a lot to me about our universe).
Is there anything from that class that you have applied to what you do now?
Yes – staying curious and stepping back to understand the system that underlies something. That is an essential skill in building a company, because you are going from zero to creating a self-directed system that becomes bigger than you. There is nothing more satisfying.
What do you like about being a woman in technology?
I feel like we are frontier women – we operate in a land where we are creating rules and pushing boundaries, and learning how to support each other and nurture the next wave of us. I have so much respect for female founders and would do anything to support my fellow ones.
What women do you look up to and why?
I look up to any woman who is self-realized and has found her center – it is a tough thing to do but an energy emanates from her once she’s done it and I aspire to that each and every day.
What is your daily routine?
I sleep until I absolutely must get up, get dressed in 15 minutes or less, and walk to the office with my dog Bauer. I get a green juice or a smoothie on the way, and use that time to think ahead about that day in my mind. I work until about 7 PM, take a break to work out and cook, and then work again until I have finished what I need to accomplish. At every opportunity, I get outside, I watch the sunset, I go to farmer’s markets, and I do things that reconnect me with our community or with the quickly fading art of working with your hands.
How do you prioritize?
There are must-do’s and nice-to-do’s to accomplish the goals you set for yourself and for your business as a whole. I ruthlessly eliminate everything that isn’t necessary, and focus on 2-3 meaty tasks a day. I am not a multitasker – focus is my friend and my relentless discipline. You can’t do everything.
If you could offer the working woman one style tip, what would it be?
Determine what makes you feel confident, and do that, whatever it is. Whether it’s something you wear or a beauty ritual you indulge in for yourself – find it and be kind to yourself.
If you could tell your 16 year old self something right now, what would it be?
It will all be ok – it won’t be perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist, but it will be ok and intense happiness and passion will come from that once you let go of unkind and unreasonable expectations.
What was the last math problem you did?
About 20 minutes ago I worked through prospective budgets for our new SF office and cultural initiatives as a team. Numbers have a comfort to them – they give you specificity and pointiness in a world with rounded edges.
UCLA grad, Jesse Draper is a technology expert and creator and host of The Valley Girl Show through which she has become a spokesperson for startups and has helped to pioneer the way of new media content distribution. She oversees everything from pre-production to distribution of the show. Draper started the show because she realized there was no FUN business talk show, only grilling teeth clenching interviews, and she believes the most interesting and inspiring people in the world are the ones who’ve started a business. In her former life, she was on a Nickelodeon show called “The Naked Brother’s Band”. Draper also writes columns for Mashable, Forbes.com and San Francisco Magazine and speaks at business conferences around the world including SXSW, DLD, TEDx, TechVentures and STREAM.