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Patricia Handschiegel

Patricia Handschiegel

Posted: February 26, 2010 12:56 PM

The New Power Girls: Women Entrepreneurs Are Diverse and Driving Diversity More Than Ever

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The women entrepreneurs that make up the startup population in Los Angeles and beyond are incredibly diverse, an intersection of a variety of cultures, races, religious beliefs, origins, ages and types. There are Indian women, African Americans, Persians, Asians, Russians, Italians. It criss-crosses with a variety of faiths from Christian to Muslim to Jewish, and all ages. The youngest founder I know is in her early 20s, the oldest well into her 60s. It's a real world slice of something incredible and dynamic that's happening in America. Women entrepreneurship is on the rise. More than half the workforce today is now female. But most of all, women entrepreneurship today includes incredible diversity.

Today's new modern women entrepreneurs and executives aren't just a snapshot of a bonafide movement among women in America but a real life look into the rising diversification among women in power.

It's very exciting. When it comes to the topic, there is no better woman in power to speak with than Malaak Compton-Rock. She's the Founder and Director of the Angelrock Project, an organization that empowers service and social change, and is currently working with Target on its national "Dare.Dream.Do." campaign in honor of Black History month. The campaign encourages the celebration of diversity and tolerance. As part, Malaack is one of four African Americans highlighted for their work. When it comes to inspiring women and diversity, Malaack is about as Power Girl as it gets.

"It's exciting to be part of a national campaign such as this as it helps bring a positive message of inclusion to a larger audience," she said as we caught up via email this past week. In addition to the Target project, Malaack lectures and coordinates Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and projects for orphaned children in South Africa. Her responses shared details about everything she's working on, what inspires her, and most of all, great women in diversity including Laysha Ward, President of the Target Foundation, CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Michelle Obama, among many others.

"I think it has been interesting and inspiring to watch women succeed in politics lately regardless of your party affiliation," she also shared. "We have watched Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice on the national and international stage."

Power Girls aren't just running business in America today. We're also playing a part in running the country, and even further, the world - and we're more diverse than ever.

It's a spirit that can be seen among the women entrepreneurs and executives I've met and know, one that can be witnessed across multiple platforms, cities, states, boundaries and barriers. It's not just a man's world, or a woman's world, but a growing people's world, one that accepts and celebrates everybody regardless of age, color, shape or size. It's a message that we all must continue to move forward for the benefit of people everywhere. For women entrepreneurs, it means a great opportunity to be involved and most of all, make an impact.

"Women need to be the driving forces in their companies, holding the leadership accountable and ensuring that the entire talent pool is nurtured, irrespective of color or gender," she added. "And mentoring within the workplace continues to be a fundamentally important concept to embrace."