Happy International Women’s Day from Link Ventures

International Women’s Day presents an opportunity for us to celebrate some of the many accomplished women in and around Link Ventures, who have helped to shape the tech industry here in greater Boston.

Among the various influencers who make up the Link Ventures network of partners and portfolio companies are a number of women who play integral roles in their respective businesses: from the executive office of Link Ventures, to a cadre of senior leaders at Jobcase, to a deep bench of data analysts across the portfolio, to teams of engineers and recruiters at Cogo Labs.

Over the years, women have remained the “unsung heroes” of the technology industry. The “first tech visionary”, Ada Lovelace, the creator of coding, Grace Hopper, the former U.S. CTO Megan Smith, and countless other intelligent, driven women have contributed invaluable ideas and innovations to their fields and society at large.

We took a moment to connect with a few of the women in Link Ventures’ network, asking them to share their experiences as they’ve built their careers in the tech business community. Please join us in celebrating these women, as well as those in your lives on this International Women’s Day, and every day!


Anne Beckett, CEO of Hopjump

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: There are a number of important qualities that make a great leader: decision-making, communication, inspiring others, etc.. Two that I value most are integrity and empowerment. Integrity inspires confidence and trust in a leader, and fosters a culture of openness and truth-seeking within that leader’s group. The best companies are intellectually honest and promote open communication, allowing them to make fact-based decisions and to move quickly in selecting and pursuing the most valuable opportunities.

Empowerment allows the team to do their best work and to grow, making the leader more effective at accomplishing more. If a leader has integrity, is honest, and provides her team with all necessary information, anything that leader delegates to the team will be of higher quality. Honest information coupled with empowerment allows the best employees to outperform, to push themselves, and to take ownership.

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A: International Women’s Day is a great day to recognize women, and that is important in and of itself. At Hopjump, I feel respected and appreciated every single day, whether or not it is International Women’s Day.

As leader, it is critical to recognize and value all of the people on your team for who they are. I prefer to get to know and appreciate the contributions, personalities, and strengths of everyone I work closely with on an individual level.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for female leaders?

A: Take on roles that have the biggest impact you can find, even if they are not the coolest, most cutting-edge, most fun roles. Roles that grow the business are the ones that accelerate careers, whereas the “cool” stuff that doesn’t deliver significant business value can be a career distraction.

Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

A: I would like to be able to ice skate. I love both physical activity and going fast, and someone skilled at ice skating can really move!

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: My mother was a huge inspiration to me. She was a senior executive at Nationwide Insurance, and a very savvy businesswoman. I grew up thinking that all women were like my mom — career-focused, competitive, and successful. She taught me to work hard, be disciplined, and stick up for myself. I wish every girl could be so lucky as to have a role model like my mom.


Kelly McDonald, Senior HR Business Partner at Cogo Labs

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: Listening. You have to understand what each person needs to be happy, productive, and successful in her or his career, and that’s only going to come from listening to what’s on their minds. It’s also so important to be supportive and advocate for your team. As a leader, your team needs to know they can count on you to have their backs. A leader also needs to be inspiring and create a sense of purpose. No matter what you’re doing, you need to understand why you’re doing it and why it’s important. Having a clear vision and rallying everyone around it really makes for a great leader.

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A: International Women’s Day is a chance to take a step back and reflect on how far we’ve come — and plan for the work still left to do. At Cogo, we’re committed to gender equality and we’re very lucky to have the support of the entire company in getting there. We’ll look at our progress since last IWD and set goals for the next year!

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for female leaders?

A: Find your allies and help grow the next generation of female leaders. I am very lucky to have a great support system at work outside of my own team and manager. They help me to create strong relationships across departments, work through problems, and give amazing advice when I need it. Their support has made me confident in my own abilities and I feel prepared to tackle whatever comes my way.

It’s also so important to reach out to younger women and make connections. It’s one thing to set an example, but showing rising leaders that you believe in them is so powerful and makes all the difference. Suggest them for projects, invite them to meetings, or just grab lunch together and talk about what they’re interested in.

Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

A: Sail! I love being on the water and would love to learn how to sail. Plus the terminology is amazing and I’d really like to work words like “baggywrinkle” and “daggerboard” into my everyday vocabulary.

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: I am so inspired by Mira Wilczek, our amazing CEO. Working with her is a master class in how to lead with focus, empathy, and incredible intellect. Plus, she has an impressive store of science jokes that are really great.

Also, the wonderful team at She+ Geeks Out is an absolute joy to work with and their community is so welcoming and supportive. I love going to their events and spending time with Felicia and Rachel!


Hilary Dionne, SVP Operations, Jobcase

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: Empathy, decisiveness, and seeing past perceived limitations. Transparency with your team, making time to explain the motivations behind your requests and decisions.

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A: International Women’s Day is an acknowledgement that there is an imbalance that needs to be addressed — a first step towards closing that gap while also celebrating the accomplishments of so many strong women around the world.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for female leaders?

A: Find the place that you can lead from with strength — whether that be leading by example, with compassion, through humor, etc. Don’t feel pressured to adopt to the styles of male peers.

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: At Jobcase, I’m incredibly grateful to be working with two other female executives (and now good friends): Ashley Wall, ourSVP of Finance, and Lauren Herman, our SVP of Product.


Margaux Bolte, Manager of Branding and Culture at Link Ventures

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: A great leader acts with courage, empathy, depth, balance and vision. Leadership is a behavior, not a title.

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A: It’s a collective nod to womankind; a day where we can all (men too!) celebrate women for their accomplishments and experiences as well as encourage and acknowledge personal and professional growth in each other.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for female leaders?

A: I love Mario Andretti’s quote: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” Don’t worry too much about how it looks or feels; just operate with integrity and keep punching above your weight class.

Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

A: I’d love to be fluent in American Sign Language. I took a course on it (so technically already “learning”), but my mind and hands definitely can’t keep up with my heart on it yet.

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: I’m lucky to have had a number of exceptional mentors — from coaches to captains to bosses — who have provided counsel, perspective and inspiration on many levels over my career thus far. It’s also been pretty incredible to think that in 5, 10, 20 years, these peers are the teammates we’ll be changing the world with… get ready!


Lauren Herman, SVP Product Management at Jobcase

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: Empathy, grit, empowering others, passion.

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A: International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the achievements of women across the globe.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for female leaders?

A: My best piece of advice one I received which constantly gives me perspective: “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”

This gives me perspective because it makes me understand life is made up of many different periods - ones where I lean into my career and ones where I lean into family.

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: We’re lucky enough to live in a time and a place where it is common to have female peers who are doing amazing things. Whether I look within the Boston technology scene as a whole, within my MIT Sloan alumni network or even just within Jobcase employees, there are countless examples of women who serve as inspiration to me. This was not the case for my grandmother. While there is still work to do, I’m thankful for those who have paved the way before me.


Mira Wilczek, President & CEO, Cogo Labs; Managing Director at Link Ventures

Q: What qualities make for a great leader?

A: A great leader is generally fair, hardworking, right a lot, and biased for action. Advice I give to leaders of all kinds is to:

  • Get your hands dirty.
  • Do whatever you’re doing really well.
  • Reinvest in success.
  • Create more options.
  • Put your team first.

Q: Name a few of your female peers who are doing amazing things or reflect on a woman who served as an inspiration/mentor to you at some point during your career.

A: Working with Anne Beckett for the past five years, as she’s taken on greater challenges and growing responsibility, has been enormously inspiring. Anne, like many of the entrepreneurs I most admire, comes from a technical background. That quantitative grounding informs her ability to build the scalable systems that have made her so successful in building her business as CEO of Hopjump. Her pragmatic, thoughtful, hands-on leadership style makes her a great role model for other developing leaders.