Skip to content

43North's Inspiring Messages for Women


Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and each and every day, we cheers to the incredible women who are making history. But, DYK that only 2.2% of all venture capital dollars go to female founders? Yikes. From day one, 43N has committed to changing that statistic, and today, 22% of our portfolio companies are female-founded (better, but still a lot of work to do).  

And as we celebrate the inspiring, trailblazing female founders in our portfolio, our internal team also rejoices in that 69% of our staff is female. Whoa.

In the venture capital world, it’s not common that you’re sitting in a room full of women – unless you’re working with 43North that is! We are incredibly grateful to be surrounded by the women on our team who are making an impact in our community and who have a lot of fun while doing it! #WorkWives

So, we have asked the ladies of 43North: what inspires you about working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and what advice do you have for other women working towards their careers? 

Colleen E. Heidinger, President

What it means: I’m energized and proud of the opportunity to be a female in this industry surrounded by a largely female team! Us gals must pave the way for the next generation of female leaders and invite them to join us and support them in these industries until things are balanced. 

Advice: Find something that makes you want to jump out of bed every day! We work a lot, and to make a difference in this world, we must work from our hearts. Find your passion and make a difference. You’ll be a better human as a result. 

Shannon McCabe, Portfolio Recruitment & Investor Relations

What it means: Working at 43N is empowering! I love nothing more than making connections with other like-minded women in this industry – whether they are founders, investors, or industry leaders, we all bring something unique to the table. 

Advice: Find a mentor and be a mentor. When you start “climbing the corporate ladder,” be sure to turn around and help lift up who is behind you. Don’t be afraid to create opportunities and initiative for yourself – you will always be your biggest advocate.  

Cindy Sederis, Senior Platform Manager

What it means: It means a lot to me to be working in this industry. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, and am trying to be more vocal and cognizant of the discrepancies in racial and gender diversity within current systems so I can work to move the needle forward towards change. 

Advice: As far as advice, you may always feel like an imposter or outsider, but most other people do as well! It’s important to have confidence in your ideas and opinions and share them. Don’t be afraid to take big swings and risks; I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have a big failure and learning experience that led me to 43North with greater empathy and understanding for the founder fundraising journey!

Maura Devlin, Vice President, Marketing & PR 

What it means: Working at 43North makes me optimistic about our future and the opportunities that are being created for the next generation. I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that empowers women to lead, and to such an extent, that it seems to be the status quo. As we find ourselves in positions of power and leadership, we have a responsibility to open doors for one another and those rising behind us – and if we continue to do that, we’ll inevitably have more women with seats at the table.

Advice: Own it. This can apply to so many different aspects of your life and career but since we don’t have time for a novel, it essentially comes down to having confidence in your expertise and skillset, and letting that shine through all that you do. For example, when you have something to say, don’t second guess yourself or listen to the voice in your head that questions whether or not you should speak up during that meeting to share an idea or ask a question. If you believe you have value to add, contribute.

Justine Palkowski, Content Marketing Manager

What it means: Every day, I am grateful to work on a team with women in leadership positions. These women are forging the path and giving me the confidence to know that someday I can be in those positions, too. And one day, we’ll no longer be talking about “male-dominated” industries! 

Advice: Pursue your dreams, regardless of how long it will take. The time is going to pass anyway. Get creative, send messages to people you want to work with, be vocal about what you want, visualize it as if it’s already yours, and if you’re passionate and persistent, it will be.

Tiffani Dickinson, Art Director

What it means: I am inspired and encouraged every day by the powerful women around me to be confident and to always strive to better myself. As someone who was only recently introduced to the VC/Startup world, it can be intimidating, especially given what a male-dominant space it is. I feel incredibly fortunate to have strong female leadership all around me and am excited for what that means for future women in tech!

Advice: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be vulnerable. There are so many people out there working towards the same goal of empowering women that want to help you. So ask, learn, and pass it on to the next “you”.

Sophia Marshall, Events & Community Manager

What it means: Representation is so important. Thinking about my 101-year-old grandma who grew up in North Carolina during the Jim Crow era, a role like this would have never been an option. It means a lot knowing I am a product of the hard work she put in being on the team at 43North. It’s also important for both men and women to know they can rely on women/girls in leadership roles and feel that women can be looked to as decision-makers.

Advice: Avoid complacency. If there is a role or salary you’re after, don’t settle for less and don’t be afraid to ask for an opportunity. Also, never assume that you’re not important enough to reach out to someone for their time or advice. You will be surprised by the amount of people who see just as much value in getting to know you as you do them.

Meaghan Phelps

What it means: I believe in empowering others to be their very best no matter the gender, but working in a mostly male-dominated industry makes me want to encourage all the women founders and leaders in this space to shoot for the stars and know that you have what it takes. Being a great leader involves working hard and supporting and building each other up.

Advice: As both a mom and a CPA, I strive to be the best at both jobs, but sometimes it is HARD! Being able to relate to many other successful women gives me the confidence to have what it takes to succeed in business and life. To all the other women (and moms) out there chasing your dreams – never give up, keep on fighting, you got this!”

Kiarra Beshaw, Marketing Intern

What it means: To me, it motivates me to continue to blaze the trail for other women inspired to enter a male-dominated industry. I believe we all have a role and our different life experiences allow us to contribute to reach a common end goal.

Advice: My strongest token of advice is “The sky is the limit”!

Tags: 43North, team, women's history month

More blog posts

Upstate New York Tech Hub Wins $40 Million Federal Investment

Original Article by the Buffalo News The upstate New York “tech hub” between Buffalo and Syracuse will receive $40 million in federal funding in an attempt to make the region home to a reborn American microchip industry. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who authored the legislation creating the federal tech hubs and who pushed hard

essential soft skills for startups
Navigating Startup Success: Essential soft skills Startups

Technical expertise and hard skills go a long way toward success, but you need a little something extra in a dynamic and fast-paced startup environment. A unique set of soft skills, or as we like to call them (super) human skills, comes in handy. These intangible qualities can make all the difference between surviving and

Top Seedz featured in CNBC Make It

Check out Top Seedz (Y7) featured in CNBC Make It written by Tom Huddleston, Jr. Founder Rebecca Brady’s journey from making homemade snacks to building a business projected to bring in $10M this year showcases true innovation and resilience. Top Seedz is experiencing rapid national growth and is expanding its new facility in Buffalo.