Why do women stand in the shadows?!

Women in leadership

By the time I started MENTOR dna, I’d already produced 62 episodes of an all-women podcast for the University of Pennsylvania‘s Momentum Conference. My co-hosts and I featured Penn and Wharton alumnae from around the world. It was an incredible conference bringing thousands of women from our community together!

The stories shared in those episodes really highlighted why we all loved attending school in an urban Philly setting. There’s something really special about Penn.

Those conversations were rich, which inspired me to also speak to people outside my Penn and Wharton women circles. And here we are!

Most listeners don’t know that I’ve already spoken to so many women leaders, but as I continue on this journey, I’ve found a very common and unsettling thread… when I ask a woman to be a guest on my show, their first instinct is “What?! Why me!? I’m not talented/smart/special enough to be on your show! People don’t want to hear from me.”

And I’m not saying that I sometimes have to twist men’s arms to be on the show…but let’s just say there’s a LOT less twisting involved!

So what gives?! After so many years climbing the ladders across a multitude of industries, my girlfriends still have imposter syndrome?! 

I don’t necessarily have an answer, but will let this post serve as a reminder that we all have something to share. No matter the industry, the job, the educational background. I don’t care. We all have something to teach…and learn!

While you ponder that, here are some FANTASTIC episodes from incredible women leaders who said yes! 

Barbara Jones, Liz Leung, Whitney Gomez, Jane Mosbacher Morris, Courtney Reed, Susan Natland, Coco Brown, Alli Warner, and Deanna Lyn. 

Dave Liu – Tech Investment Banker, CEO Advisor

Dave Liu Wall St. tech veteran

David Liu is a retired tech investment banker who now advises CEOs and makes strategic investments to support Asian content creators. A mutual friend introduced us and I was surprised to have met someone else with so many shared interests and passions, while never crossing paths!

His personal journey includes moving from China to the US and having to pay for everything on his own, including a college degree from an Ivy League university.

After seeing the long list of job openings for investment banks, he applied and made it through the rigorous hiring process to land his first Wall St. internship.

Dave learned a LOT about cultural differences and became an astute observer of people, learning what nuanced behaviors made for great success in high-powered environments.

And he continued to study and learn… 

At the pinnacle of his career as the youngest person to have made Managing Director, Dave made a seemingly crazy decision; he left after 25 years and decided to write his observations and notes as a way to share his learnings with his sons. Anyone interested in working on Wall Street will find tremendous value reading The Way of the Wall Street Warrior

About Dave Liu

Dave Liu started his investment banking career working for Goldman Sachs and then joined the fledgling investment bank, Jefferies, when it had fewer than 200 employees and an equity market capitalization of under $200 million. Jefferies was a scrappy, entrepreneurial California-based bank that was started by an ex-cattle rancher in a phone booth and dared to challenge the incumbent giants of Wall Street. Today, Jefferies is a multi-billion dollar diversified public company (NYSE:JEF).

Over almost 25 years at Jefferies, Dave progressed from the proverbial janitorial suite to Managing Director co-running all Digital Media and Internet investment banking activities. He’s  worked with hundreds of companies, including IBM, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Yahoo!, and Yelp. He’s managed all aspects of capital markets, venture capital and advisory for high growth Internet and technology companies and completed over 100 transactions for a broad range of companies in the USA, Asia and Europe. Dave’s worked on almost every conceivable type of corporate finance transaction including IPOs, follow-on offerings, convertibles, securitizations, and private company sales. Dave has seen it all.

Group 67

After retiring from investment banking, Dave entered the world of start-ups and co-founded several companies in asset management, technology, media, and entertainment. His current and past activities include:

  • CEO of Liucrative Endeavors, a merchant banking firm
  • President of La Mesa Capital, an investment firm
  • Vice Chairman of MobilityWare, one of the largest mobile, casual gaming companies in the world
  • Chairman of Reel8, a NFT marketplace
  • Board Member of Francesca’s, a leading boutique retailer
  • Board Member of TEG Live, a GRAMMY and Tony Awards winning live production company 
  • CEO Advisor to Capacity, an artificial intelligence platform
  • CEO Advisor to data.world, a leading cloud-native data catalog platform
  • CEO Advisor to Internet Brands/WebMD, a multi-billion dollar technology company
  • CEO Advisor to ProSiebenSat.1 Media, a multi-billion dollar company and one of the largest media companies in Europe
  • CEO Advisor to Vobile, a multi-billion dollar video software company
  • Investor in FIGS, a multi-billion dollar medical apparel retailer
  • Investor in Philz Coffee, an iconic coffee retailer based in Silicon Valley
  • Investor in Stampede, a movie and TV production company

Dave is also a perspiring artist and writer who is learning how to draw and write funny. He studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, Sundance Institute, and The Second City. He publishes a career advice column called “Breaking Bamboo,” and a cartoon series called “The ABC Life.”

Dave is active in philanthropy and non-profit organizations. Net proceeds from his books will go towards charities helping children born with clefts, Asian Americans, and other underrepresented groups.