In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Julie Castro Abrams. Julie is a hard charging activist who very early on knew what she did not want to be– and that was a trophy wife. This is because when she was young, Julie saw her mother’s friends navigating divorces and ending up destitute as a result. Julie wanted to have a family and a career, and she also wanted to protect herself from the financial risk that her mom’s friends experienced. Julie successfully crafted the life she wanted, including finding a spouse who has had a strong enough ego to be an ally and support her role as the family’s breadwinner.
Julie is the founder and Managing Partner of How Women Invest, an early-stage venture firm focused on high growth, tech enabled women-founded enterprises. The firm is a culmination of her lifetime of work propelling women founders to launch and find success with training, capital and networks. Julie brings her extensive experience identifying and supporting early-stage entrepreneurs and twenty years as a CEO and board director. She is bringing her extensive networks, leadership and entrepreneurship experience to disruption of the venture landscape.
An active investor and advisor to start-ups, and as the leader of the nation’s largest microenterprise and microfinance organization for 11 years, Julie has helped launch over 6,000 women into successful businesses. In her role as CEO of Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, an SBA Certified Development Financial Institution, Julie drove innovation in the US microenterprise and finance space. Investing in extensive research about the indicators of long-term success for women entrepreneurs, Julie brings deep intellectual prowess, extensive networks and experience to this transformative venture firm.
Today she is advising the SBA, White House and Congress on national legislative initiatives to address economic opportunities for women. She serves on the California First Partners Project as an advisor regarding corporate board diversity. In her role as Founder and CEO of How Women Lead, she has been a driver of legislative initiatives and transformation in the US and California. Julie serves as an Advisor to financial services firms including the fin-tech start-up LENDonate and Nia Capital. She previously served as an advisor to Beneficial Bank and as the Governance Chair for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and the Women’s Funding Network.
As the CEO of How Women Lead, she is at the center of the movement to disrupt antiquated, unequal systems by propelling women into even greater leadership roles and increasing opportunities for all women. Julie has been an essential driver of the ecosystem for women on corporate boards in California. Julie has been a national leader in the movement and drove the successful passage of the groundbreaking Senate Bill 826, requiring public companies to have women on their boards.
The recipient of many accolades, she has been awarded the More Jobs Genius Award, the Morgan Stanley Innovation Award, Cisco’s Innovation in Technology Award, the League of Women Voters’ Women Who Could Be President Award, the Stevie Award for Best Non-Profit Executive, and the Commission on the Status of Women’s Human Rights Award. She has also been featured in six books, including “Scrappy Women in Business”, “Women of Courage”, and “The Missing Mentor”, and she has been featured in Fast Company’s video series “30 Second MBA.”
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