Women currently hold less than 8 percent of CEO positions in fortune 500 companies and less than 3 percent are venture funded. Gaining a seat at the table takes more than hard work, it takes perseverance, resilience and the willingness to break barriers. This is why it is Diane Yoo, an accredited investor, Venture Capitalist and founder’s goal to create opportunities for women and share her knowledge on how to ‘gain a seat at the table’ especially in a male dominated industry.
Yoo is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with more than 15 years of experience. As an accredited investor, she has invested in more than 35 companies with a focus on diverse founders. Diane has founded angel networks, venture funds, and investment networks. She is Founding Partner for a Medtech and Healthtech venture capital firm in partnership with the largest medical center of the world. With VC and accelerator expertise, she works extensively with over 700 global companies and her firm has deployed significant capital into the startup ecosystem. She has launched numerous venture funds for over 15 universities across the US and has built a powerful co-investor US network with offices in Texas and New York.
Yoo did not have a straightforward career path. She had many doors closed on her, particularly by men who didn’t see a young Asian-American woman’s place or value as a venture capitalist. So she made herself a seat instead of waiting for one to be presented to her. Yoo made her presence known by taking internships, networking, and developing the business skills required to thrive as well as the soft skills required to be successful in raising funds.
The challenges Yoo faced being a minority and a woman Yoo and adversity throughout her career that propelled her to want to cultivate opportunities for other women and create effective change to help advance women and diverse investors and entrepreneurs. She does so by investing in women, mentoring young female entrepreneurs and using her personal experiences to advise those she’s investing in.
Creating opportunity shifts the cultural trajectory of those with these roles whether it be the CEO of a company or a VC. This is why she became a mentor and partner to “Global She Ventures” with high education affiliation. She can also be found serving as a judge on the Rice Business Plan Challenge, sitting on numerous boards, and advising other venture capital funds, and the largest women’s fund in Texas.
“I founded a national pitch competition that launched in 10-plus cities, which focused on women and diverse founders.” Explained Yoo to crunchbase, “Additionally, as the only female partner at Medingenii Capital Fund, I championed the addition of FemTech as a strategic investment pillar to catalyze medical innovation for women.”
“In order to level the playing field,” says Yoo, “there needs to be more diverse talent at the highest level. It is absolutely essential that we place more women in boardrooms, in powerful positions for investment decisions, and key executive roles.”
Claim Your Seat!
While Yoo has made it her goal to cultivate opportunities for other women, she knows the importance of teaching women that seats aren’t often given away. Power is harnessed not passed, so in order for women to gain a seat at the table they need to tap into the resources they have, grow their skill sets, and network. Knowing all the answers to the questions in a room, knowing the background of every person in a room and paying attention to small details. These are the things that set women apart. Often women fall into societal gender roles, how some women construct themselves in a business setting attest to this. Not taking credit for work, using “we” instead of “I”, not advocating for oneself, taking no for an answer. Breaking barriers consists of breaking through the wall of what women are “supposed to do and be”. Once women harness their power as a woman and break through the societal factors suppressing them, paired with the work ethic, they will create a seat at the table then use that power to share their knowledge just like Diane Yoo.
Diane Yoo Bio
Diane Yoo is a results-driven entrepreneur and venture capitalist with more than 15+ years of experience. As an accredited investor, she has invested in 35+ companies with a focus on diverse founders. Diane has founded angel networks, venture funds, and investment networks. She is Founding Partner for a Medtech and Healthtech venture capital firm in partnership with the largest medical center of the world. With VC and accelerator expertise, she works extensively with over 700+ global companies and her firm has deployed significant capital into the startup ecosystem. She has launched numerous venture funds for over 15 universities across the US and has built a powerful co-investor US network with offices in Texas and New York. Diane is Co-founder of Global She Ventures, an accelerator in partnership with Rice University to catalyze global women entrepreneurs. Diane is also Co-founder to a national media platform, Identity Unveiled highlights trailblazing Asian American women who have broken barriers and become firsts in their industry. She is also an investment partner to several Silicon Valley funds including the largest women’s fund and the first FemTech fund in the nation.
Diane is also mentor/partner to Global Venture Accelerator, a Rice University initiative. She serves as mentor/judge to Rice Business Plan Challenge, Rice University’s 48 Hr Accelerator, Gener8tor, Brandery, and Mass Challenge. She sits on numerous boards and advises other venture capital funds, diversity funds, and the largest women’s fund in Texas. Diane was awarded “Diane Yoo Day” on August 26th for her international achievements in diversity leadership. She received her MBA from Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Rice University.