Friday, August 24, 2001

The Cyber Scene in San Diego ~ by Lilia Phleger Benjamin

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Silver Gate Yacht Club, sipping wine and watching the sunset with the members of Techniquelle and the San Diego Chapter of WITI

The occasion was an evening with Elizabeth Carlassare, author of "DotCom Divas: E-Business Insights from the Visionary Women Founders of 20 Net Ventures" (McGraw Hill) and founder of Dotcom Divas.

Around sixty women (and one man!) showed up for the hour-long presentation entitled Success Strategies for Women in Business. Elizabeth is an internet strategist, author, and coach for women in technology and women entrepreneurs, helping them reach their goals and craft the lives they want. She was named one of the "Net's 25 Movers and Shakers" in February 2001 by Interactive Week magazine.

As much as things have changed in the technology sector, Elizabeth says that becoming a technology entrepreneur can still be a viable choice…especially now that more women are infiltrating the informal VC referral network. According to Elizabeth, when she first starting looking for books on the shelf about technology entrepreneurs, they did not reflect what she was seeing in the industry. Long associated with Adobe Systems, as well as other companies such as Intuit, SGI, and MyWebtivity, Elizabeth said that in her experience, women left their jobs not to move into a new job, but to start their own internet initiatives.

She also talked about the twenty case studies that are included in her book, and the necessity for collaboration, strategic business partnerships, and a strong support system. An active member of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, Elizabeth said that finding a good support network could make or break your success.

Next on the list for Elizabeth? A book on work/life/family balance, as well as a possible collaboration with Aliza Sherman, author of the Cybergrrl series of books.

Speaking of internet entrepreneurs, a few days ago I was invited to speak to a group of teenagers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). They were part of the Millennium Entrepreneurs Summer Camp run by Tonja McKoy, who has presented her work to former First Lady Hilary Clinton at the White House Convening on Hispanic Children and Youth (August 1999) and been written up in Business Week for her efforts. The program's mission is to provide inner-city youth with the business skills and practical knowledge to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as motivate them to attend college.

The first speaker of the evening was Nepi Ilgaz, director of entrepreneurial services at the San Diego Regional Technology Alliance Nepi spoke about the many resources that are available for people interested in starting their own technology related business, as well as the importance of a good business plan. Then it was my turn.

It was a bit daunting to talk to kids who were born about the same time I first got on a computer (1983), but I enjoyed sharing my story and telling them how fun it was to create my own job description in a field that was brand new and changing every day. These young people are light years ahead of me in terms of their potential, and it is exciting to see programs such as Tonja's, which allow them to glimpse their possibilities. If you are interested in learning more about her Millennium Entrepreneurs camp, you may call their offices at 619-476-7655.

And finally, the buzz right now is the Big eSchmooze, taking place on August 23rd at the Torrey Pines Glider Port on the cliffs of La Jolla. Definitely a dramatic and scenic location! The SDRTA is looking forward to another great event, which currently has registrations for almost 1500 people. I'll be there, and will let you know who I saw and what I heard!

Until next time!