At a time when so much is being said and written about the lack of women in tech, three Bay Area executives are breaking the stereotype. Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins realized the power women possessed online and harnessed it into BlogHer, one of the most popular websites in the country. Raj Mathai reports.
At a time when so much is being said and written about the lack of women in tech, three Bay Area executives are breaking stereotypes.
Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins realized the power women possessed online and harnessed it into BlogHer, one of the most popular websites in the country.
"It's amazing," said Stone, BlogHer's CEO. "We started out trying to answer the question, Where are the women who blog? And now in the past five years, we've paid out $25 million to 5,000 women, and some men, who write their own great stories, blog, and have their own following from social media."
BlogHer is not just a website. The three co-founders realized women need a place to be able to network, and now their annual BlogHer conference is a big part of their company. Last year, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg was the keynote speaker, and in 2012 President Obama addressed the conference via satellite.
"We covered the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2012, like we always do," Stone said. "And to have the president come and speak at our conference, at a time when we are very upfront that we are a very nonpartisan content organization because our bloggers are so partisan, is a validation of how important the woman's vote is."
As the three top executives at a successful tech company, these women credit their own hard work with helping them make it to the top.
"We bootstrapped for two years before we went out for funding, and that means we had revenue streams," said Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer's COO. "We had an operating plan that was based on reality, so we walked in the door with a lot more leverage, a lot more power for the conversation."
Just as rare as women leading big businesses is three women who have led it together for nearly a decade and still get along.
"It's like a marriage," said Jory Des Jardins, the company's President of Strategic Alliances.
They also never lose site of their company's mission.
"There is a shared desire to see women reach their potential online. We know that they're there and we all three believe in it, because that's what we were doing before we started the company," Des Jardins said. "We all are just as geeky as the rest of the community we serve."
And that community will be coming to San Jose this summer for the BlogHer '14 conference.
For Camahort Page, it's a fitting way to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary.
"We're super excited to come home and really celebrate what this community has accomplished in 10 years, and they've accomplished getting their words out there, creating a whole new livelihood, creating a whole new way of actually contributing to your income, and contributing to your family's income. It's a brave new world for individuals who want to not have to go through those gatekeepers to craft a life that works for them."