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International Women's Day


Meet the Women of 43North

March is Women’s History Month, and each day, we cheers to the incredible women who are making history. But, DYK that only 1.9% of all venture capital dollars go to female founders? Yikes. From day one, 43N has committed to changing that statistic, and today, 26% 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 64% 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 in leadership positions- 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! 

In case you haven’t been formally introduced yet – we’d like to introduce you to the women at 43North! Plus, each has given a snit bit of advice for women who are navigating their way through their careers.

Colleen E. Heidinger, President

I’m energized and proud of the opportunity to be a female in this industry surrounded by a largely female team! We 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 daily! 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. 

Maura Devlin, SVP, Marketing & PR 

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: 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 skill set, 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.

Cindy Sideris, Senior Platform Manager

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: 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 founders’ fundraising journey!

Ca-rin Miles, Incubator Manager

Every day, I am blessed and grateful to work with such inspiring women!

Advice: A smile can go a long way.

Justine Palkowski, Senior Marketing Manager

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 they 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.

Carly Ortiz, Senior Talent Manager

Every day I help women make a name for themselves as they find their role in tech. It’s a dream come true. In the past few years, women have come a long way in an industry that’s, until now, been dominated by men. I think about the future and where we’ll be in 10 years, 30 years, or 100 years! Just picture it. Women are trailblazing this path.

Advice: Regardless of where you are in your career, your voice matters. Advocate for yourself and never let anyone else define your worth.

Tiffani Dickinson, Art Director

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

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 number of people who see just as much value in getting to know you as you do them.

Meaghan Phelps, Director of Finance

I believe in empowering others to be their very best no matter their 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!”


If you’re reading this and wondering how you can find your role, start by joining us for a women in tech event on March 29, 2023! This event is designed for students and professionals with an interest in the tech and innovation space. Whether you’re new to tech, an experienced engineer/developer/designer/technologist/scientist, in a tech adjacent role, or a passionate Buffalonian with an interest in getting connected to WNY’s tech scene, you won’t want to miss this! REGISTER HERE


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

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