Joanne Wilson — Empowering women entrepreneurs
Joanne Wilson – investor in brilliant women with ambitious startups, co-founder of NYC’s Women Entrepreneurs Festival, promoter of great women in her weekly Gotham Gal column, dispenser of smart, hard-headed advice and a coolness icon.
Wife of Fred Wilson — the NY venture capitalist and blogger, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm with investments in Web 2.0 companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga, Kickstarter, and 10gen. Union The two met at Fred’s fraternity house at MIT and have since enjoyed more than 30years of marital bliss and have 3 children.
After college Joanne took a job in the world of retail. Overtime she moved into wholesale and then eventually found herself in the technology community. She has had many careers which she says has been really helpful as an investor in early stage businesses. All those dots connected into one path over the past 8 years which has been investing.
High point in career
“Since I have not finished my career I am not sure what the high point has been. In my earlier years I really loved managing a store. I am a people person and I enjoyed building a business and also helping people move forward in their careers. In many ways I am doing the same thing but it is with start-ups that I fund. A different role but in many ways the same.
I am in the midst of building WeFestival which will be held in NYC on April 13-14, 2016. The plan is to build this business so that there are 3 of these events around the globe every year. It is really exciting to be growing something that I can call mine.”
Most challenging assignment so far
“It is always challenging when businesses fail. Working with entrepreneurs through that is painful.”
“My greatest inspiration are my children. They are young adults who are finding themselves in the world and it is a joy to see. I find them inspiring.”
Most important milestone in life
“I met my husband when I was 20. We have been together almost 34 years. We have built a great life together. We have fun, work hard and that always makes me happy. We are lucky to have found each other.”
Women are the better halves. What does it mean?
“Women are not singularly focused. They are able to do many things from running a company, raising a family, taking care of the day to day activities of life, and at the same time being a support system for their partners. Every person needs a great woman behind them. I am quite positive that many of the successful men would not have their success without someone picking up the pieces or giving positive reinforcement in the back end. It is the same for successful women. There must be someone who is a killer better half at home. Some have nobody in the back end but it is easier to do it all when there is someone behind the door.”