On September 8, 2015 I attended an awesome, new kind of networking event hosted by Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL in partnership with CISCO, Swedbank, and PokerFace Sweden in New York City.
A flurry of entrepreneurs, executives and startup founders from Beverly Hills, San Diego, Austin, Portsmouth, Stockholm, and the NY Tri-state area landed at Cisco HQ to join in on an exciting entrepreneurial networking evening, which was the first PokerFace Sweden event in the United States produced by Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL. This Inaugural Powerhouse Networking Lounge (P&L) was focused on bringing together leading executives, entrepreneurs, and investors committed to connecting high-powered women with high-powered capital, and common industry connections delivered in a collaborative, effective and fun new-networking kind of way. Plans are now underway for Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL P&L’s in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, San Diego, Tijuana, and Scottsdale.
Anu Bhardwaj, CEO & Founder of Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL, shared how the seed for this dynamic event was planted during a PokerFace Gala Dinner conversation question in Stockholm, Sweden with PokerFace Sweden, Founder, Anna Omstedt Lindgren: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could bring this event to New York City?” The pair reconnected this summer, as they were both finalists selected from over 400 applicants in the True Global Ventures, a global women entrepreneurs competition hosted on CISCO WebEx. Voilà, less than two months later, here we all were enjoying the fruits of their labor to make this interactive event happen. Ms. Bhardwaj recently restructured Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL in order to grow and scale to the next level and to get men involved in the equation, which was clearly shown with more than 35% male guests.
It was an amazing night with a room filled with entrepreneurs and investors ready to put their cards on the table and back up their bets with their actions, words and unique, expressive personalities. You can learn a lot about people, even in one hand, no matter how many chips you are holding or the cards you were dealt! A multitude of conversations were happening in all corners of the room. The amount of business, collaborations, and connections made within a couple of hours was exceptional. Ms. Bhardwaj adds that these fun-infused evenings are a great way to encourage women to learn more about risk, reward, taking bets, and gaining confidence with new business partners, clients, and investment opportunities.
The synergy and kindred spirits between the attendees and partners was palpable. The room setup enabled parties to openly engage, converse and play with other poker newbies or experts. Those who won continued to move forward to the final table where the winners received prizes, since there was not any cash exchanged, and the relationships that were carved and formed were …priceless.
More information about the host and partners:
Women Investing in Women DIGITAL
Anu Bhardwaj is the CEO & Founder. Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL is an integrated media company formed in December 2014 that includes a social media presence on Facebook with over 500,000 followers in over 100 countries; the “Women INVESTING in Women and Girls Radio Show,” podcast series on Apple ITUNES, The State of Women Radio Network in partnership with Kidstar Radio Corporation, and the Women Investing in Women Global Summits & Women in Private Equity Roundtable Series, that have already taken place in New York City, Stockholm, Johannesburg, San Diego, Scottsdale, Muscat, Singapore, Phoenix, and Vienna.
CISCO Executive Host, Rima Alameddine, shared that a new group “Connected Women (CW)” was recently formed by Chuck Robbins, the newly-appointed CEO of CISCO, to back up his “connectivity and convergence” mission, along with the “Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) for The Americas” corporate initiative. This CW group is empowered to develop jobs for women and already has over 50% female involvement. CISCO is on a mission to shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for their customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.
Anna Omstedt Lindgren, Founder of PokerFace, was involved in a group of 8 women and 2 men who would meet periodically to exchange mutual challenges and collaborate on successful solutions and/or connections. Then one day, one of the males mentioned integrating poker into their meetings which challenged the group dynamic, but was saved by the women forming a poker school group for those newbies who didn’t know how to play. The group appropriately named it PokerFace, since it was during the time of the hit song by Lady Gaga. Slowly, but surely this “school” evolved into a viable business based on the incredible results they were seeing. PokerFace has been doing business and poker since 2009.
Camilla Robinson Seippel, Head of Marketing, shared how Swedbank was founded in 1820 from entrepreneurs … several farmers from Northern Europe who needed a loan to scale and expand their crops. Almost two centuries later, Swedbank remains true to their core belief of investing in those who invest in themselves. The Swedbank New York Branch was established in 1991 and has since then serviced corporate customers and financial institutions with professional and highly competitive products and services.
Photos by Ellen Wolff, Ellen Wolff Photography