If you’re looking for a counterpoint to the recent flurry of news stories about sexual harassment and gender bias in the tech sector, the Kauffman Fellows program isn’t a bad place to start.
The Palo Alto, CA-based program, a spinoff of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has been a gateway into the venture capital industry for women and other under-represented groups for nearly two decades. It provides a two-year mentoring and education program, and then lifelong membership in a global network where members have been screened for integrity and other character traits. (A group of Kauffman Fellows is pictured above.)
The network aims to provide a safe place for members to talk about thorny problems in their business lives, including sexual harassment. Program alums are working on initiatives to reduce harassment and other barriers to diversity in the venture industry. And Class 22, the new group of fellows admitted in June, is 35 percent women.
“It’s still not good enough, but it’s well beyond the industry norm,” CEO and president of Kauffman Fellows Jeff Harbach (Class 16) says of the gender breakdown. Read the full story here.