The Youngest Billionaires on Forbes 400: 11 Under 40

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Forbes crunches the net worth of every American billionaire to see who will lake the Forbes 400 list. However, this year, 11 members of this exclusive list are luckier than the rest. They are in very good health, have full heads of hair, and many years to decide how to invest or spend their fortunes.

The youngest member of the Forbes 400 is 30 year old Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz. Dustin has been the youngest person on the Forbes 400 since making his debut in 2010. When Snapchat raised money valuing the photo sharing app at $10 billion, a new youngest American billionaire made a splash: Evan Spiegel, 24, holds the title now with a net worth of $1.5 billion. However, he just misses the cut to be on the Forbes 400.

Lori Cornmesser

Facebook Cofounder, Dustin Moskowitz

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is the official Forbes 400 list’s second youngest billionaire with an estimated net worth of $34 billion. Zuckerberg’s net worth has risen $19 billion in the last year, which makes him the biggest net worth gainer on the list. At just 30 years old, Zuckerberg is the 11th richest person in America.

The third richest person under 40 is newcomer Elizabeth Holmes. Elizabeth is also 30 years old and has her own blood testing company called Theranos. Elizabeth founded the Palo Alto based company with money she had saved for college. She has reportedly raised more than $400 million as her 10 year old company values at $9 billion. Two other newer additions to the Forbes 400 list include WhatsApp’s Jan Joum at age 38 with a net worth of $7.6 billion and Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, also 38, with a net worth of $3 billion.

It is unsurprising that Sillicon Valley kids dilate the billionaire list for richest under 40. The list includes billionaires such as Napster’s cofounder and former Facebook CEO Sean Parker, Twitter cofounder and Suare CEO Jack Dorsey, and Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera.

One of the most astounding young billionaires under 40 is GoPro camera maker’s Nick Woodman, with a net worth estimate of $3.9 billion, as the year’s biggest gained with a 200% increase in net worth. GoPro went public in June and the stock has been soaring ever since.

This year’s group of 11 youngest billionaires of America have a combined net worth of $75 billion, which make up just under the 4% of the $2.29 trillion aggregate net worth of the entirety of the Forbes 40 billionaires list.

from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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The Future of IT Sales

Lori Cornmesser’s Latest Blog Post

Lori Cornmesser, IT Sales, Corporate

At a recent Micro Cloud Summit conference, Gartner’s analyst Tiffani Boca discussed a special Gartner report titled, “The Future of IT Sales.” Based on multiple surveys of IT buyers at large organizations, several key features were pointed out about what it will take to close cloud services deals in the future.

Focusing on benefits is a key shift in selling as one moves the discussion away tom features. While this sounds cliche, or something from Sals 101, this advice is often pushed aside. Maybe the fact that service features are asker to come up with than benefits make it easier to discuss. Features are attributes f the produce and service, while benefits reflect the impacts of that produce or service, directly related to the customer. This does require a bit more thought. In the future, buyers will be much more focused on the benefits and successful cloud selling will mean talking up the benefits.

A second important aspect of cloud selling is building trust and communicating differentiation by using customer case studies. Unlike selling hardware, cloud services are not as commoditized and have real differences in quality of service, levels of serve, and features. Gartner found that by using customer case studies, communication differentiation and creating trust has been revolutionized as high effective way to sell the product. Make sure existing customers are delighted and then trumpet that success to your prospects and other customers.

Keep in mind the decision maker. Vars are used to selling to IT management, however the future of IT sales is not necessarily in the IT/IS department. While IT may be called in to vet solutions, it has shown that the decision is increasingly being driven by line management. In this case the implications are that you need to speak the language of the functional business lines. In the future, be prepared to speak the specific language of vertical markets and function business units.

Resellers need to move to cloud via evolutionary steps. Sales people need to become more consultative in their approach. Sales management needs to envelop knew compensation programs for their sales representatives. marketing needs to revamp materials for cloud serves as accounting needs to implement recurring billing models. Operations needs to develop first line support capabilities and finally, top management needs to fully support these essential shifts within each department. It is important to remember that these changes cannot happen overnight. There is one very important caveat: Much like the dinosaurs, failure to evolve to quickly adapt to a changing ecosystem will leave many resellers extinct. The time is now to start the move to the future of IT sales.

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Women’s Contributions in the Tech Industry

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It is commonly known that Silicon Valley lacks big percentages of female employees in general. However, the one division that women reign supreme is Marketing and PR for tech companies. Even though their jobs are not directly involved with the engineering or design of the product; they are seriously overlooked in terms of contribution.

Lori Cornmesser, Women, Tech Industry

Marketing and PR is a crucial part of a product’s development.

Nick Summer’s from Bloomberg Businessweek says of Tinder’s Vice President of Marketing, Whitney Wolfe,

“She went around the country visiting different sororities, promoted the app there at these different college campuses,” Summers says. The number of Tinder users nearly tripled at a crucial time in its development due to Wolfe. “She made some very important contributions in making women feel safe in signing up for the app.”

While Summers was writing his report of Tinder, co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen never mentioned Whitney Wolfe. Summer’s said, “They were very eager to make it seem as if they had done this all on their own.”

Wolfe proceeded to die the company for sexual harassment and discrimination. Wolfe had been dating Co-founder Justin Mateen, and after the break up, she claims that he harassed her. She was then fired for complaining about the harassment and had her title as co-founder taken away.

Nick Summers, after hearing about the lawsuit, re-visited his previous reporting and wrote a sub-sequential article. He stated,

“That was an opportunity to go back and revisit this idea of creation myths,” says Summers, “and the way that people, and in this case a woman … can be written out of the sort of stories that startups tell about themselves and the way they were born.”

The fact of the matter is that because Wolfe is a woman, this may be one reason she was easily written out of the story.

The pUblic Relations Society of America reports that 70 percent of professionals in the PR field are women. Today, women in PR are unflatteringly referred to as “PR chicks” and have made their way into pop culture as air headed women concerned with makeup, clothes, and parties.

The founder of Brew Media Relations, Brooke Hammerling, says she created her own firm because she was fed up with the mixture of dismissive tech males and sexism inside some major tech companies.

Hammerling says, “We were in the background very much where companies didn’t want to, certainly CEOs didn’t want to think that PR had anything to do with the success of the company and that their PR girls were sort of just there to write press releases.”

Now, Marketing and PR divisions are being built from the ground up in tech startups for a fighting chance in recognition within the crowded markets. It is a critical and important element of the company, just as relevant as the technology aspect of it. Many investors believe that both pieces are necessary to achieve success within the company.

Although many women would like to see more diversity within the tech roles of a tech company, there is also a strong pull for recognition and credit to be given to the women behind the scenes who are already contributing to the industry.

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The New Era of Digital Marketing

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Traditional marketing campaigning is coming to an end. Mckinsey’s David Edelman explains how companies are not efficiently performing when it comes to digital marketing and what changes need to be made in order to engage consumers in this new phase.

Due to the fact that most companies think in terms of campaigns, they periodically want to secure interest in the marketplace through promotions. What digital marketing allows a company to do is flip the model around and say, “There’s something about what we have to offer that should be connecting with them.”

Lori Cornmesser, Digital Marketing

A Difference in the Marketing Model

Digital Marketing allows you to have something for every market and use the data that you have about an individual. The search term that they used to access your brand, or how they have found your website, also the social engagement they have had with your brand all point to a completely revolutionized process of engagement with the customer.

The idea of having something for everyone is very different from the traditional marketing model of saying, “OK, what should our campaign be? What do we need to promote? Let’s work with the agency and come up with something creative as we target a group of customers. Let’s just get this thing out and push it to them.” The fact is, digital is faster.

What companies can get wrong in terms if digital marketing is that regales of stumbling blocks that are seen regularly, a company can actually get around. The important key to understand is that one should be thinking about what data a company will need for creating an integrated customer-data warehouse, and how they can create a lightweight way of bringing it together.

The second challenge roves around organizational impediments of getting people to work together. I tis important for a company to look at the customer journey in totality as they touch your mole site, talk to somebody over the phone, or go into a store. It is all one journey and the company has to be able to unite all it’s divisions and get people to work together.

Lastly, it is important to work through trial and error. Testing and learning is a crucial element of digital marketing, or any marketing for that matter. One of the best ways to practice is through small-scale pilots. This is when a company picks a small, specific segment of customers, a few products, and starts with a test to learn how to improve things within that small trial.

Overall, companies must be ruthless when it comes to prioritization of data, people working together, and creating a rapid-cycle test to learn if your efforts will have a successful outcome in the bigger picture.

Digital is always growing, so it is also crucial to apply this method to anything that digital is going to throw your way.

from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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Women in Corporate Sales Roles and Diversity in Leadership

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

There are certain challenges that women face in sales. There are many various concerns from women in sales all around the world.

The major problem seems to be the idea that men have a better opportunity to communicate with clients socially. The problem with this is work/life balance; Men can go to the bar after work with clients or for a game of golf, while most women have to go home to tend to their families. Women often feel like companies are “boys clubs” that make it quite difficult to advance to next level roles.

One of the most important ongoing challenge for most companies looking to diversify their leadership is getting past the “unconscious bias”. It’s quite common now that we see most high-performing companies moving beyond the times when discrimination was acceptable. We are seeing more and more that hiring and promotion is based on business performance. However, there is still the “invisible” challenge of male leaders who continue to hire in their own circles.

Successful companies are recently discovering that getting mreo women into sales leadership roles is very good for business and critical for creating a path for them to reach higher executive ranks. Although 62% of women in large corporations are in staff jobs, many of these women provide assistance services but are not directly involved in the generation of revenue, thus weakening their chances of landing top level jobs in senior management. Only 3% of CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

Lori Cornmesser, Corporate Sales

Strategies to support and grow that 3 percent include:

  • Eradicating unconscious bias.
  • Encouragement of external networks.
  • Client engagement is not just about golf.

Possibly, the core of this issue emanates from a place of insecurity. A common occurrence is the “imposter syndrome” which women feel that they are not as qualified as others (men) to be in higher positions. Truthfully, the imposter syndrome feeling is natural for everybody. It is a bump in the road that every one goes through and the key is to create positive results from this feeling of being “over your skis”. The real problem is a lack of confidence and working to improve personal confidence is the most important factor in sales.

from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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We Need More Women in Tech Roles

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Lori CornmesserScholars and policy makers have stated that women have been underrepresented in the important fields of study such as science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM fields. Scholars are trying to pinpoint the various reasons for this gender gap in STEM fields and they are also looking for ways to increase diversity and lessen the gap within STEM fields.

Experts say it could be from a lack of female interest, societal encouragement, biological or structural explanations, or social-psychological explanations.

Women make up 25-40% of the total workforce of most tech companies, however only half actually reform core tech functions. On June 25th, Facebook made its gender diversity numbers public for the first time. According to this, Facebook said that women make up 31% of its workforce. Google has also stated a 30% female workforce out of nearly 50,000 employees.

A non-profit called Sanbergs Lean In was launched in March last year that aims to help and encourage women to stay active within their careers – even as they start families.

Google is also making an effort to support and encourage women to pursue computer science degrees by donating more than $40 million to organizations with aims of recruiting women into science-related roles.

It is no surprise to anyone that a science career track is something that has been in demand for the past few decades, especially with the exponential growth of dot com and tech bubble companies. Historically women are less involved in engineering careers than men. This is the time to change this and to create environments for women to excel in leadership roles while performing in technical roles. As the industry changes, we need to be prepared to keep up.

There are many organizations and networks with the idea of advancing the female workforce, those who have exponential success in mind, especially for the rising tech industry. It is important to stay on top of rising industries and have technologically educated women trained for managerial and leadership roles for the future.

There are a many of factors that may have an effect on the low representation of women in STEM careers. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who is one of the first woman appointed as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, has recently stated a few ideas and strategies to improve the corporate and political environment. Slaughter aims to support women in fulfilling to the many roles and responsibilities that they undertake.The academic environment for women may prove to be beneficial by implementing some of the ideas she has come up with to help women exceed the gender gap, all while maintaining a work-life balance.


from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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4 Myths About Women And Corporate Leadership

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Lori Cornmesser

Women in the Workforce

Much is made about the lack of women in leadership positions in corporate world. Many have argued that women simply do not aspire to these positions or do things that inhibits their potential to grow. Fortune recently published a list that debunks these myths and others. Read a sampling below.

Raising children hurts career growth.

There is the perception in the business community that women in management positions are hindered from reaching the upper echelons by the raising of children. However, there is no statistical evidence that shows a significant difference in the number of promotions received by women with children and women without children. Still, the majority of promotions given go to men.

Women Lack Confidence

Because women understand the unique challenges that face them in the business world, they are are often more grounded than their male colleagues. This knowledge of their situation is often wrongly interpreted of being a lack of confidence. Research has shown that after being encouraged by a superior, there was no difference between the number men and women who were will to make a career jump.

Women do not aspire to leadership roles

Research shows that men and women both want to have positive working relationships and to do something intrinsically interesting. With these being the two primary goals of both genders in the workplace, it seems disingenuous to assert that men want to take positions of leadership and women do not. Yet still, research in the UK shows that men are 4.5 times more like than their female counterparts.

Women give up their careers before reaching the top

This myth has no backing in research whatsoever. There is not any statistical evidence to back up the claim that women are leaving their careers earlier than men. What has been shown is that women a level or two down from the executive level are two times less likely than their male counterparts to receive promotion.

Read more myths about women in leadership roles at Fortune.

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Julie Smolyansky: CEO Against All Odds

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Lori Cornmesser

Julie Smolyansky

Forbes recently spoke with Julie Smolyansky, the CEO of Lifeway, about being a woman on top of a business, and the challenges still facing women who want to pursue leadership roles. Smolyansky took over the business when her father, who started the company in 1986, abruptly died of a heart attack at the age of 55 years old. At 27, Julie had to step up and take her father’s place and there were many who doubted her ability, both for you relative in experience and for her gender.

“The day that he died, my dad’s best friend said, ‘oh, sell your stock—there’s no way this girl can run a company,” Smolyansky recalls. This criticism was emblematic of stockholder response to her taking the reigns, with many selling off their stock. Today, Lifeway stocks are up 785% from the day she took over, proving once and for all that ideas and the ability to lead are what matters in business, not gender.

Smolyansky believes that what happened to her when she came in as CEO is what is still happening in the culture today to women in leadership positions. She points to Matt Lauer’s interview with Mary Barra, CEO of GM, in which he asked about doing her job affecting her ability to be a good mother. “No one ever asks a man whether they can run a company and be a father,” says Smolyansky. For a reporter to ask a women in power a question like that underscores the attitudes that still exist concerning women in power today, Smolyansky believes.

She believes that there is much the school systems need to instill leadership skills in young people, especially young women. However, she thinks that there is much that girls can do to get themselves ready for the leadership challenges of tomorrow by taking on everyday organizational roles. Something as simple as organizing a school dance can give a young person a glimpse into what it takes to be a leader. Also, Smolyansky emphasis learning to speak in public.

“People are terrified of it and I think that’s one of the things that keep people from leading,” Smolyansky says.

Read the whole article at Forbes.

from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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Tips For Women Rejoining the Workforce

Update from Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Lori CornmesserJump starting a career after a gap of employment can be a difficult challenge. With roughly 40% of all women taking time off from working full time to care for their families, knowing how to pick up where you left off is crucial. A recent article on outlined some advice for women who are looking to reintroduce themselves into the workforce from Carol Fishman Cohen. Cohen is cofounder of iRelaunch, a firm that has been helping women get back to work since 2006.

1. What do you want to do?

Often after a time away from work, a person’s interests can change. A woman returning to work would do well to take time beforehand to determine where her interests lie. If an a particular field interests you that differs from your previous professional experience, Cohen suggests consulting your college alumni office who often offer career assessments to past graduates.

2. Reconnect.

If you are returning to the workplace, seek out people from your past. Do not be concerned about people not wanting to get back in touch. Networking is so important and chances are that you’re old acquaintances and co-workers would love to reconnect.

3. Research employers on social media.

Most companies these days have a substantial online presence and there is a plethora of free information out there for the woman looking to reinvigorate her career. Research companies on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other outlets. Also, let employers know that you used social media to seek them out to let them know you are savvy in those quarters.

4. Get up to speed.

Depending on your field, some re-engagement with nuts and bolts may be in order. Refresher courses or reading up on the latest techniques and technologies may be in order to make sure that your skills are up to date.

5. Propose a trial run.

Some employers may be hesitant to hire a person with such a long gap in employment. Cohen suggests that women in this position propose a trial run or “internship-like deal” so that an employer can see you in action before offering a permanent position. The employer receives an obligation-free deal, and you get a back into the swing of things.

6. Propose an internship-like contract.

Some companies may be reluctant to hire you with a major gap in your resume. You can propose an internship-like deal, where you work on a specific project or for a pre-determined period of time. This way, an employee gets a “test run” with you without committing, and you get back in the game.

from Lori Cornmesser: President of the Silicon Valley Diversity Council

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Lori Cornmesser Named among the CRN 2014 Power 100

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Lori Cornmesser Ruiz

Lori Cornmesser, Ixia Communications

CRN Magazine releases an annual list of Women in the Channel, as well as a list of the Power 100.  For the 2014 year, Lori Cornmesser’s hard work and dedication have paid off, and she was bestowed the honor of being named on both of these prestigious publicized lists.

The goal of the Women in the Channel list is to recognize and celebrate women who have capitalized on revolutionary ideas they have implemented within their field of work.  These women are hardworking, driven executives who have made a name for themselves in their career.  This year, 340 women were named on the Women of the Channel List.  Two of the women on this list were members of the Ixia Communications team, but only one was named among the Power 100 of the 2014 Women in the Channel honors: Lori Cornmesser.

Despite only having been with Ixi Communications for the past 6 months, Lori Cornmesser has exploded out of the gate, cultivating the Ixia partner network to grow to over 400 members.  Coming from 11 years working at Juniper Networks, and a total of 18 years worth of experience within the channel, Cornnmesser is a seasoned  veteran with a competitive and innovative edge.  Her perseverance and ability to turn her unique ideas into a reality that ultimately better the company is part of what has earned her a place on this prestigious list of channel executives.

As the Vice President of Global Channel Sales, Lori Cornmesser leads a team in heading the overall sales of the channel, as well as developing and strengthening key relations between Ixia and its partners.  In her success in creating new partner relations and fostering old ones, she has thus greatly contributed to Ixia’s overall goal of asserting its channel brand as,”the one to beat in the market.” She has put together an impressive team who is solely dedicated to fostering and improving relations with partners, as well as focused on implementing new strategies of technology and the use of such.  The tremendous success Lori Cornmesser has seen in this endeavor, and in such a short time, has rightfully earned her a place on the list of the 2014 Power 100: The Most Influential Women in the Channel.

To read the full story and press release on Cornmesser’s place on this list, check out this page.

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