SpeakHer Mind Presents

 Dissolving Diversity Barriers in

Venture Capital


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 About The Event

Access is the key to success in venture capital. However, currently less than 11% of venture-backed startups have a female founder, and only 1% have a Black founder. Without intentionality in creating access to knowledge, networks, and opportunity, the venture capital space will remain inequitable. So, how do we dissolve the invisible barriers that exist within the venture capital industry?

Join #SpeakHerMind for a candid conversation with Mallun Yen and Leyla Seka from Operator Collective, a new venture model that’s inclusive of operators from diverse backgrounds. They are reshaping the future of the venture ecosystem, with partners who are 90% female and 40% people of color.

Moderated by Namely’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Elisa Steele, the conversation will explore:

  • The current barriers that exist in the VC space 

  • How to take actionable steps to cultivate equity, education, and accessibility

  • How to engage allies to enact change and take accountability 

Our Speakers 

Elisa Steele – Moderator

A business leader in the tech sector for 30 years, Elisa is an experienced executive in Silicon Valley.

Elisa currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) and Namely, where she was previously CEO. She also serves on the boards of Splunk (SPLK), Bumble, Procore Technologies and JFrog (FROG). Elisa is an advisor to Tile and Prior to CEO at Namely, she served as CEO at Jive (JIVE). Prior to Jive, Elisa was Corporate Vice President & CMO of consumer apps and services at Microsoft, including brands such as Bing, Internet Explorer, Lync, MSN, and Skype, among others.

Elisa hosts the speaker series, SpeakHer Mind that seeks to amplify voices and share practical, positive steps that can deliberately build workplace environments that empower women to achieve their potential.

Mallun Yen  – Speaker 

Mallun Yen is Founder and Partner of Operator Collective, a new VC fund and community created to open the venture ecosystem to the people it needs most: tech leaders from diverse backgrounds with deep, present-day operating experience.

As a repeat founder, operator, public company officer, and tech executive, Mallun is known for launching and growing enterprise businesses using a data-driven approach to disrupt industry conventions and fundamentally altering behaviors using aligned incentives. She previously built up three other category-creating companies, each with vibrant communities, including venture-backed RPX Corp ($0 to $100M & IPO in 3 years), SaaStr (world’s largest b2b software community), and (4,000 members and 17 chapters worldwide). She is a board director of KQED, Northern California’s public media organization.


Leyla Seka – Speaker 

Leyla Seka is Partner at Operator Collective, a VC fund whose limited partners include 130+ ultra-talented operators who have decades of experience building, growing, and running the world’s most admired companies — from Zoom, Stripe, and PagerDuty to Salesforce, Slack, and beyond. Operator Collective launched its debut $50M+ fund on December 11, 2019.

Leyla is a veteran enterprise SaaS executive and nationally recognized advocate for gender and racial equality. For more than 11 years, Leyla worked at Salesforce and helped define an industry. In multiple Executive Vice President roles, she built and scaled iconic products including the AppExchange,, and Salesforce Mobile. Leyla also pioneered Salesforce’s equal pay initiative, which led to raises for more than 10% of the women at the company. She currently serves as a board director of Girls Who Code and Proofpoint.

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