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Beyond Corporate Boards: Women Building Impact & Influence

Opportunities to build influence, grow wealth, and effect change

This one-day seminar focuses on demystifying the investment, start-up, and philanthropic ecosystems and the roles you can play as investor, advisor, and board member to growing companies. The seminar is open to all genders, but discussion will address how women do not invest at the same rate as men, and therefore will provide pathways on how to close that gap.

Women now control more wealth in the U.S. than ever before. In fact, according to research by McKinsey, it is predicted that by 2030 they will control more wealth than men for the first time. However, women are not creating wealth at the pace of their male counterparts. Women are also increasing their representation in the upper levels of management at companies, but they are not taking full advantage of the effect that investing has in determining the fate of growing businesses. This course will shed light on the possibilities for investing and building influence.

Upcoming Program Dates

May 9, 2023 – In Person

You will walk away with both a short- and long-term plan for how to generate more opportunities for yourself and make an impact in the community. Sessions will explore investing and philanthropy with a focus on growing companies in the Seattle region and the west coast. We will look at the opportunities for building your wealth and influence by advising and consulting with early-stage organizations.  We will also discuss how non-profit board service can be parlayed into strategic philanthropy and greater influence in the community.


  • Angel Funding. What are the various ways to invest in very early stage and growing companies?  How do investment funds differ?  How can you support women-owned start-ups?  What is the minimum investment?  What are the possible returns?
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity. What is the difference between VCs and PE?  What are the options for involvement?
  • What are Special Interest Acquisition Corporations and how have they changed the landscape of the sales of early-stage companies?  How are SPACs evolving and what are the opportunities?
  • Early-stage Company Leadership. Many women are leaving safe roles or coming out of retirement to invest sweat equity in promising start-ups.  The risk can be high– but it may be a pathway to influence and wealth.

Advising and Consulting 

Investing brings opportunities for board and advisory work, and board and advisory work can be an entry point into investing. Seattle and the west coast feature a thriving start-up and early-stage company scene.  Where are the ways you can get involved?  How does this lead to board and advisory board work?  What remuneration can result?

Strategic Philanthropy 

Another route to making an impact is investing in community initiatives and organizations.  This can also lead to significant board work, for both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.  How does the philanthropic ecosystem work?  What are the ways that you can make an impact?  What is the connection to for-profit boards?

Academic Director

Cate Goethals

  • Adjunct Professor, Leadership Development Consultant, and Executive Coach
  • Author of a groundbreaking study exploring the impact of gender and racial diversity on boards of directors
  • Co-founder of the Better Boards Initiative, a nonprofit consulting and coaching organization based around her research

Cate has developed dozens of programs and courses focused on female leadership in business, including the Women Board Directors Development Program at UW. Her “Women at the Top” class was recognized by Forbes as one of the 10 “Most Innovative” MBA classes in the nation. A much sought-after speaker on issues related to women in leadership, Cate also serves as Chief Journey Advisor for the Athena Alliance

Lisa Nelson

Independent Board Director and Advisor

Previously the co-founder and managing director of M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund)

Currently serves on the Board of Directors for Asta, Seattle Bank, Brooks Running, DNA Seattle

Jane Park

Founder of Julep Beauty & Tokki

CEO & Co-Founder of Athena SPAC

Currently serves on the Board of Directors for Washington State Opportunity Scholarship and Glo Skin Beauty

Heather Redman

Venture Investor and Independent Board Member

Co-founder and Managing Partner at Flying Fish Partners

Currently serves on the Board of Directors for PPL Corporation, Technology Alliance, Institute for Systems Biology, Coldstream Wealth Management

Stephanie Ellis-Smith

Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy

Principal Advisor/Owner of Phila Engaged Giving, Senior Advisor of The Giving Practice, Co-Founder of Give Blck

Laurel Buckner

Managing Director, Riverstone Holdings

Board Member, Compensation Committee Chair, and Audit Committee Member at TeraGo

Dates and fees Registration
May 9, 2023 – In Person
Register now
Deadline: April 25, 2023

It is strongly encouraged that you register early as space is limited. See discount and cancellation policies.

Bank of America Executive Center (BAEC)
University of Washington Main Campus
4275 NE Stevens Way
Seattle, WA 98195
View map

Prior to the start of the class, the program manager will email you a parking code and information about where to park on campus.

Commuter info
Please see these resources for information about commuting by bike, bus, or train:

Disability accommodation
The University is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. Please see this reference about submitting accommodation requests.

Class materials and homework
You will be contacted by the program manager via email and provided with materials to read prior to class.

Continuing Education Credits
Participants are eligible to receive .6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this seminar. You must request tracking of your CEU credits when you register. More information about CEUs.

8:30am – 9:00am Check-in and light breakfast
9:00am – 12:30pm Class
12:30pm – 1:30pm Lunch provided
1:30pm – 5pm Class

Risk is inherent in the investment process. The intent of this course is to provide information about the kinds of investment options that exist, not to provide investment advice or recommendations. Any information shared during the program on past performance of companies or other investments is not necessarily indicative of future performance or return on investment.