Creating a pathway to innovation
Hello to everyone. Good afternoon. I'm so excited to be here today to have this discussion with our distinguished panel. My name is Sean mentioned is Valencia Martin Wallace. My my job here at the USPTO is the Deputy Commissioner for patents. I oversee the areas of
international patent cooperation as well as oversight over technology centers examining applications. Or mechanical technologies telecommunications And our design applications as well. I also have the privilege of being the executive lead supporting the director of USPTO on our implementation of the National Council for expanding American Innovation. A council made up of the.
A large group of of wonderful leaders in the field of innovation. And international I'm sorry, an intellectual property community. We've come together to help USPTO, support and assist in the development of national strategy for expanding innovation, which is a perfect segue to our our panels topic today, which is creating a pathway to innovation and we will hear from our panelists.
About the their insights. I'm creating a more inclusive innovation community hearing from their own experiences, as well as what they've done to help support others. So with that I will not. I will not waste anytime because I'm very excited to hear from all three of these panels I've I have heard from them before. I've had conversations with them, and I've heard from them on this topic and many others and and they are very, very impressive group of leaders in the IP and innovation communities. So I will just start by asking a Dara Kendall, Vice president and associate general counsel of Global Fabric and Home Care for the Procter and Gamble Company to please give us a little bit more information about about you and introduce yourself to our our group today.
Yeah, it's my pleasure to be here, so greetings everyone. I have been practicing in the area of patent law for I think 24 years. I don't know how this happened. I actually I came out of law school back then and and actually was trained as a chemical engineer. So I went to law school to study patent law and I came to PNG straight out of law school. So as you can see
from the Gray hairs, it's been a minute and The funny thing is it's like I remember diversity being talked. Very strongly when I first entered the walls of Procter and Gamble, and I was thinking, Oh well, you know that's a problem that will go away. What will figure that out? And here we are like, 24 years later, we're still having the same conversation. So clearly there is still work to be done. But um, I'm really looking forward to the conversation on how we can expedite us getting to a more diverse and inclusive environment for us all. And so I
think the key there is for us all to be uncomfortable. Always talk about that, just get out of your comfort zone. And as soon as you do that, you'll grow. So let let's let's be diverse and inclusive. Absolutely thank you.
Next, I'd like to introduce our next panelist, Suzanne Harrison, the founder of The Gathering. And if Suzanne, if you could share with us and and our participants today on your background. Sure, I'm. I'm actually not a lawyer. I have an economics degree an I came at this through the finance world. Originally helping companies calculate damages for litigation cases. Patent infringement as an example, and I found myself
really liking the inventors and realizing that I didn't want to work on the outcome of what happened. I wanted to help fix it before it started and so I changed the consulting to become to work with companies around what we now know as intellectual property management and I've helped. I think established that you can use intellectual property is both illegal asset.
And a business asset and that companies can make better informed decisions about intellectual property and how they can get value out of that. And so if I created a group called The Gathering, which is a group of about 20 companies at a time that meet and create best practices for how to do that routinely, and it's been, I think, 27 years that Group's been going now. And as you said, and your background may not be in a typical of of IP, but in innovation it's pivotal, an vital as as we grow our innovation ecosystem. So I would our last panelists. I'm very pleased to introduce Holly Fechner partner at the law firm of Covington and Burling. If you could please give us some more information about yourself.
Such a pleasure to be here with you and Dara and Suzanne for this important conversation and just at top I want to thank you for your leadership at the NCEAI. It's been a tremendous process. I'm sure we'll talk more about that today, but you've really been a star in leading that effort, so I am a partner at Covington and Burling law firm in Washington DC. I'm Co chair of our technology industry group but I also serve as executive director of a group called Invent Together and would very much encourage the people participating in our event today to go to inventtogether.org to learn more about the organization. But what we found is that there are large and disturbing patent path.
Where women, people of color and lower income people don't invent and patent as much as their share of the population, or certainly as much as we all think they should an want them to. So the organization has been doing extensive research on the patent gaps, but also leading up efforts both in the public policy and the private sector to try to close those gaps so very much. Looking forward to sharing more details about what we're up to as part of our conversation today. And I I come with these issues from very long history of.
Working on gender and race justice issues before coming to the law firm, I worked for Senator Kennedy And worked on very similar issues in a different context. Thanks for having me. Thank you thank all three of you for being here with this, just with your intro. Just that's just the tip of the iceberg with the three of you, but it's it's it's amazing. The work that
you've done not only as professionals in this career and leaders in as I mentioned in IP communities and innovation communities, but but how you're bringing people with you. This is not in an individuals. Challenger fight it has to be all of us together working on this and and all three of you have an amazing way brought others with you to help to champion what's going on here. And I I use that word specifically champion. There's always something in on the personal side as well as professional side of doing work like this and being a champion to provide more diversity, bringing more women, more people color into a community into into a business that has not been the most welcoming in its history. It takes more than just the professional takes a passion for doing the work.
So if you could each share with us and maybe we start with Holly on what drives you to be a champion to create a more diverse and inclusive IP and innovation community. Oh absolutely, I mean. For me it's a. It's a moral imperative. Our country is certainly not perfect. I think we've been striving to to perfect our union for over 200 years. We still have a long way to go. I think the particularly the events of the last year have shown us some cracks.
in how we include people based on race based on gender based on other factors that are out of peoples control. So to me it really is a moral imperative to work on this issue. But in addition to that, there's no doubt that we would all benefit in so many other ways by doing this too. I don't think anybody. Knows more about. How important intellectual property is to our economy than those of the USPTO.
But one of the things that we know is that if we did include. Every all women, people of color and lower income. Individuals who want to invent and patent in the innovation ecosystem that we would have four times as many inventors and we would have up to a trillion more dollars in our gross domestic product. As we think about the future, both of individuals, their families, and our our nation. Just a no brainer there. There is no doubt that we need to be committed to trying to expand who participates in our innovation ecosystem.
Absolutely, you bring about some really great points there. That this is. This is for the individual, but it's for the nation as well As for the betterment of our society and growth. Dera can you please also share with us? I think Holly pointed out some great points around why it's important. You know, I think this is a really easy one for me, especially as a corporate attorney. You know, I see what
happens when our workforce does not mimic our consumer based. So like the big or the easy example for me is in the area of black hair care. Black women spend thousands of dollars a year on their hair.
Whether it's natural like mine or whether they wear it straightened. And even though I don't have that material, I still spend a lot of money. So it seems like a no brainer to me to have people who are on our research and development teams that understand the culture of hair, the challenges and what are the delights that the consumer is looking for. So our company has been on a journey to build R&D teams, IP teams that.
Basically, get it so we're starting to make headways in black hair care, and we've seen a bunch of launches over the last few years just trying to get to what is it that consumers want in another area that I think of most prominently as skin care. That's an area where. You know you've just got so many different types of skin. It helps to have people with different skins, different perspectives, different experiences. So if we can have an R&D team legal team that includes men, women, Asians, latins, black, white, you've got the reference representation that gives you an understanding of what that consumer is dealing with. So for me, diversity makes each of us an integral piece of the puzzle, and we need all of those pieces to make that complete picture. So for me, I just want to make sure that I'm
doing my part to make sure that my legal team represents the consumer base and that that keeps me fired up. Oh, I absolutely understand exactly what you're saying. It really is. Is diversity of opinion? That's going to help us grow and and we all have to be included and we all have to be conscious of making sure that we are all included. Suzanne, if you don't mind also sharing of what is made you a champion in this in this arena. Yeah, I think a lot of it just has to be my experience being the only women in the room for most of Mycareer and realizing that's horrible. I mean, I don't want to go to the bathroom and
talk to myself when everyone else is having a whole party in the Mens bathroom. It just makes you. It's only lonely and and also you don't really get that networking. You don't get that growth experienced and so I too like Dara Thought well, you know this will be solved in a few years. It'll be done, you know. I've been doing this for 30 years and you know, I I finally just reached my point where I was like. OK, if I can't
help companies figure out how to solve this, that it's useless right? And so for the last year and a half I've been working with the gathering to get them to think about what are best practices that we can implement today to get more diversity in inventorship. And the first thing again follows on some pretty obvious. Let's tie it to a business goal. Co. solve problems. All the time when they feel it's in their best interest. Maybe it says Dara said, maybe it's getting close to your customer base. Maybe it's going to help you in PR and marketing. Maybe it's going to help you in a different way, but
let's figure out what those are and tie this issue to that. 'cause. That way companies will solve it and also find other things that we can do and and I will say that we are not done. This is a complex problem, you know, but we are almost there and we're getting to the point where. Looking to begin to share those with the world. I'm a board member with a group called the US intellectual property alliance usip.org an I'm the Co chair of the Diversity and
Inclusion Committee and so we are working with invent together USPTO. All these organizations have desperately been doing really good work in a piece of the puzzle and trying to bring all those together in a cohesive framework so that people can learn and implement immediately. All these things they need to know with how to solve this problem. Absolutely thank you and and let me stop and just
tell our audience right now that you've already heard of some really great organizations that are working on this, this this issue. This challenge with invent together with US IPA with gathering. We would love to share the links and we will share the links with you after our panel so that you can get more information on how what they have to offer, as well as how you can get involved so.
No, that that will be coming for you soon and I just want to just go back to what you said Suzanne about we're, you know, we're almost there. We've made great strides and we're almost there. An I. I agree with you, we've made great strides for women in two fields in technical areas, as well as a law that are not. We're not, you know, created for us, or we were very inclusive of. But we've made great strides in it. But you know what? We still have a lot of challenges.
Ahead of us, where do you see if each of you could answer and maybe start with our this time? Where do you see the the biggest challenges for women as we are advancing in innovation ecosystem today? OK, I'm gonna do that equal in my mute somebody. But you know, I honestly think a lot of times women struggle with not being a natural part of the boys Club. And I think that's where a lot of the magic happens on a daily basis. I mean, it could be in the area of tech, business, finance, law, so it doesn't matter what the arena is. Those Nuggets are being passed around in those circles, and sometimes you know that sharing of information is intentional, but oftentimes it just happens as a matter of course, because. They're all together talking, so I feel like
we, as women have to be a bit more proactive and making sure that we're connected with those that are that have that experience in the field of our interest, or even those tangential fields that might be useful for the field that we're in. So, like in the old days, you know folks would head to the bar, play tennis, or maybe head to the links or something like that. But like today, you know we're focusing on OK, how do we connect virtually right And We figured out that we can do it.
And we can do it very well. So I think that is something that is going to have to continue in the future even if we get back to you know a real world where we can meet in person like we we have to continue to be intentional about our connects and we have to get out of our own way. I think some of the speakers in the earlier hour we're talking about. We just have to get out of our own way and believe that we can and speak up and ask for just a few minutes of their time to have a conversation because people are more than willing to just talk and pour into. You know their counterpart parts, or the next generation, and I can say that I've done this way more in the last year than I ever have, and I'm connecting with people in the areas of finance 'cause I've been clueless about finance for the last 20 years as a patent attorney, logistics engineering, regulatory advertising. Who would have thought and then IP, of course. So I think we just have to know that we're capable
and give that air of confidence off that our counterparts. Do and make sure that people are hearing what we have to say. So and then I think the final thing that I would mention is that I think another challenge that we have to overcome is maybe it's as a society. It's the mindset of certain men so
that they can start seeing us as their equal. So a lot of times if you think of women in the room as a sister, a mother, a daughter, you're not going to want your relative to be treated as less than. So if men can keep that in mind, then it becomes very easy to see. All that we bring to the table. So absolutely thank you. This is an do you have anything to add? I mean I, I think all those things are true and I also think that if you know fundamental if you want to be an innovator, you have to go kick down some doors, right? I mean, unfortunately people just don't open them to us automatically. You know, back
in 2007 and 2008 I. Was starting a company I started a company to create a patent marketplace and I was fortunate enough to hook up with one of the first women BCS who decided to mentor me and you know, she told me a couple of things that were really interesting. The first is that you know The Dirty secret for venture capitalists is that first time inventors have the biggest ideas and will make them the most money in. Largely they have those ideas because they don't know how hard it is to do this, and so they think really big and so they. are in searching for those people who don't. Yet I haven't been beaten down by the system or don't know how hard it is because those are the ones that are going to make money into.
What I found is, yeah, sexism is rampant in Silicon Valley, right? That's where I am. I had to have people curate who I could go speak with. I had people tell me to my face. We will never find a woman. You know all of those things. And yet, in spite of all that, I had more people who came out to help me than I ever thought possible. And you have heard. In the course of this morning, I don't know, maybe 50 times that advised to ask for help. I can only say that do it because it will happen without with little with little effort. Even people
want to be helpful. Men really want to be helpful and so they would like to know if you want help. They don't want to come up to you to see if that you know. Do you need help something? Sometimes that happens, but not very often. And so I would just encourage women to do that. It was. It was helpful for me and I would think it would be helpful
for you. As another note, when I I give free. Sorry, I give frequent talks. I am almost never had a woman come up to me afterwards, and I get asked for help by men all the time. So again, just my own experiences that no ones even asking me or offering for me to help. And again, these are virtual so it's hard for me to know who I'm impacting or not. I mean, you know we can't even see the audience at this point, so you know, again, you don't know what resonates and what doesn't. So I
think just reaching out and asking for help is is always a good idea. Excellent advice. And Holly, you have anything to share. Absolutely one associate myself with the remarks of Dara Suzanne. Entirely agree. I would love to add a few other thoughts. This is just one measurement, but according to some terrific work that the USPTO has done only 13% of all women on AUS patent in 29 on a US patent in 2019. So I we absolutely have to celebrate
those women and people of color who have made it in. Gonna be innovation ecosystem, but I do think we have to acknowledge that we have a tremendous amount of work to do to get to where we want to be. One thing that I think is really useful is is to think about in terms of buckets. There are things that individuals can do themselves. There are institutions that need to be changed, and then there are public policies that need to be changed, and I think if we work on all those different front we will make progress and and we are making progress. I think one
of the developments. Over the last five years is that people are looking more closely all the different phases of the innovation ecosystem to try to dig into more. What we can do because many people had this sense that it was just a quote pipeline prog problem. If we had enough women and people of color who got certain kinds of STEM degrees that this. Problem would solve itself. And that's certainly as we've seen it. It's not the case
because there there are just so many points along the way as somebody is trying to succeed in this field that they could advance or be set back. And so I think it's up to all of us to think about. The complexity of the situation and try to figure out how we can make change one really interesting piece of research that that we have come across is work by Doctor Alex Bell about the exposure effect the idea that somebody is much more likely to become an inventor if they are exposed as a child. To other inventors even get down to the level of if there you know if maybe one of their friends parents or their scout leader or somebody invents in a certain field. It's more likely later in life that they will invent in that field. So focus on invention education at early ages.
Clearly more investment in STEM education. We also want to ensure that our universities and employers have fair employment Policy is because we we know that there there still is discrimination. An I think the pandemic has really laid bare some of the work, family and work life challenges that that people face with schools have closed in child care centers have been closed. I mean sadly we are at the lowest level we have been in years in terms of work. Forced partition participation by women, but we can think of entrepreneurial activity and other types of innovation. Innovative careers as opportunities for women to
have more control of their time in their lives. So I I do think it's important to sort of focus on all these areas. We've talked a lot about networking and mentoring. Absolutely, no doubt that that's an important piece of the equation, as is access to capital. So I've got this great business idea, but you need to convince something to to give you the capital to to get that business going. So there is no one size fits all solution, but I think we're in a much better place of understanding all of the different level. Levers that that we need to to try to
improve the situation. Absolutly. So we we've had a couple of questions already come in. Based on the comments you've already given us, so I'm going to take one now because I think it says fits perfectly with what we've been discussing. And just as a preface to the
question, you know, one of the things that I found throughout Mycareer and. And even now, sometimes I think maybe more so where I do have a voice. I use that voice, yet somehow, and I've I've known other women who've gone through this as well. It wasn't really addressed my what I've said until.
My counterpart Male in the room, set it as if it was the first time it had been heard, you know, and that's a challenge that that I face now that I must overcome now as a as a woman as a leader in OPQA I know there are big challenge challenges for each of you as leaders you know you have your all three an I'm proud to say. You know I've I've witnessed hearing you speak and speaking to you very strong women. Who have forged your way in in this career and you've made something created something beyond what you found in it. But that doesn't mean you don't have challenges. Still, as leaders in your fields, if you can each maybe share some of the challenges that you're still meeting as a leader in your field. And if we could start
with Suzanne. Sure, so I have less challenges about being a woman for me in the legal since I work in intellectual property for me, I still get challenged alot about not being attorney. Um, and you know, I will say.
Yeah, that the legal profession is not very open to hearing other opinions right? And so you know, my perspective has been that business people need to understand intellectual property in order to help make better informed decisions and so really when I start to question things or I start talking with business folks. And if that's in House counselor outside counsel, I cannot. I can often say that many attorneys don't appreciate being questioned. About what they are doing, particularly
since I've spent. 30 years creating best practices, but I think we need to be more open to different types of thought that no one function or no one type of person has the all the answers and anything and it's that diversity of thought. I would like to really push for in organizations. Thank you, that's a very unique perspective. the IP field in innovation feels so. Thank you very much. Holly. Can you also share some of the challenges in your position now? Absolutely. I
remember Suzanne earlier in this event said something about being the only woman in the room, and I'm sure all of us have had that experience more times than we possibly can count or remember. And it it is a challenge. It continues to be a challenge. I think some of the research shows that institutions don't really change until about a third of the people are from, you know, whatever the minority group is an. I think we probably all experienced that and I think it's a matter of getting up every day and trying your best and doing it again and having your support system. People that you can always go to have your back. You know you
invest in other people and you're that person for them. And and then there are people who are that for you and you know it's a. It's not always exactly the same people and and sometimes you feel like you know you know you don't have everything you need in the way of support but but I I highly recommend that. Thank you, thank you very much and Dara. Question I've gotta say. Honestly, the challenge that I face.
Daily is public speaking. I can't stand it. And that's one of the reasons why I became a patent attorney. I was like, well, I'll just go do my job. Well, you know, review is your here on this panel, right? But this is the reason I do this is because even though I think I don't know much, I evidently know something because I've done OK in this career mind. But I think it's incumbent upon me and other
people like me to share our experiences right? So with that comes public speaking, and it's about forcing yourself into that uncomfortable place. And so the more you do it, the better you get at it, but. I don't like it until it's over, but so that's why I would say, you know, you know I would challenge anybody to lean into their discomfort, right? Because once you do that, you're not only benefiting yourself, but you're benefiting others because you know, I think the benefit that I bring is not the public speaking, but it's just the sharing of the journey. And you know what? Have I experienced that help somebody else? So there's that challenge. And then you know, on a daily basis I run into. Stuff that I'm like. How do I deal with that? So it's a
challenge. Every day I say I saw one problem and then two more show up. Like really? But yeah, that's that's it. Thank you, thank you. I I want to move on a little bit to another topic. I wanted to share with you and we've actually had a couple of questions that have come in that that really fit into it. It's about resources that are out there to
support and to help along the way of this pathway of innovation. So the first question along this way from our our audiences are, are there online networking groups That you know of that week that we can connect and find like minded peers. So any type of networking Organizations that can support. So actually I was going to talk about some of the resources and some of them have pivoted to be on line so I can kind of talk about those. And honestly a lot of the work that I do, all of the work that I do is internal right? So all of my clients are at P&G, so I don't have to go too far to get help. But I do
try to reach externally. So for my own benefit, like I might reach out to AIPLA and IPO so American Intellectual Property Law Association or intellectual Property Owners Association for consult with my legal counterparts, but they also have mentoring programs for inventors, an members that are attorney. So I would say look into those organizations because they will partner you with people who are maybe in the same geographic location. So from a
time zone standpoint, it's easier. You guys can talk about intellectual property, whatever. It's whether it's patent or trademark or Copyright related. And then maybe you have a commonality in the area of technology. The other thing that I would recommend is the small
Business development Center. Now this is something that is present here in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, and they have partnered with Northern Kentucky University And in Northern Kentucky, but also at the Urban League in Cincinnati, so I would. You know, ask people to check out their Urban League in their respective region because they may very well have an SBDC that is offering services virtually so they've got one to one consultations and they offer comprehensive business management in an inclusion services. And they do this at no cost to entrepreneurs. And then I think piggybacking on, I think Kimberly mentioned it score. You know they are the nation's
largest network of volunteers and they've got some. Expert business mentors that are here to talk to small businesses to help them get off the ground and provide a lot of resources. I mean, I was taken aback by, you know, the vast amount of resources that they've got. They've got like over 10,000
volunteers that are focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed and they offer you know when we're in the normal world they have in person events, but they've also got live and recorded webinars and courses on demand. And they've also got, I think. And I checked into this is their online resource library. I mean, they've got all kinds of tools that startups can use and then also here in Ohio we have a women's business center and they actually offer various office services like coworking, office space and they help with loan package preparation and mentoring. So that's just in this area, so I'm certain that there are counterparts around the nation. So if you just look into mentoring. And then finally, I would probably just say
podcasts. I mean, I never would have thought you could learn so much from podcasts, but for me, listening to other peoples stories of success has been pretty insightful. So there's this one podcast called How I built this with, uh, with Inez and it's I mean Guy Raz and It's RAZ. And it's an NPR podcast, so there he talks to folks at Strava Chipotle. There's a act one group in that that organization was founded by a lady that went to my alma mater, North Carolina A&T. So she was like one of the first.
Black billionaires in the US. And that's just a talent management organization that she's developed. And then you've got like the lip bar cosmetic company, Lyft, Yelp, and then, of course, Bumble. So I mean, it's just great to hear about
how you know these other companies have started up until needed. Yeah, absolutely thank you. That's a wealth of information. Thank you so much Holly. And anything that you would like to share. That was really impressive. And I wholly endorse the idea of getting involved with professional associations. I mean, I know how important that
has been in for me in Mycareer, the Women's Bar Association, in particular, when I was more junior attorney was both a professional home, but also a place where I found friends and people that I continue to talk to today. So I think for every different person. It's it's maybe some different professional Association. There's associations for women, engineers for black engineers. Really, honestly, like whatever area you're in. Dara mentioned the intellectual property associations which have women and diversity subsets of them.
I think universities can be great places if you're at that stage in your life. the Institute for Women's Health Research did a paper where they covered the the best practices programs. So a number of different universities and this of course, is is more in person. But I think many of them have online components now. But women's entrepreneurship
program. So University Florida. University of Illinois. The Association for Women in Science has a great entrepreneurship program, so their local inventor club, if that, if that's your thing, I I think, you know, just think of like what what kind of people would you like to hang out? 'cause there there's likely organization for that. Thank you very much. Thank you once again a wealth of information and Suzanne. I'll ask you to also share.
Yeah, I so I don't know how much more I can add to that, but I would say that I would look at places like the national Venture Capital Association where they have a lot of draft contracts. An investor, things you can learn how to do a pitch. I mean, again, I find here in Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank both offer introductions to investors. If
your client and also they can hook you up with some resources. About what loans are available, all of those types of things. So try to be also a little bit unconventional and who you're going to and asking for help. I also know that a lot of alumni
associations at universities, whether undergrad or grad, offer again a lot of networking groups and places to showcase what you've learned or even hear about what other people are doing. So try to think a little bit out of the box. Absolutely, absolutely great advice and I'll just say from the from the side of the USPTO, we have events such as this, the Women's Symposium, where normally is on our headquarter campus. But also, you know, even in this virtual environment, sharing into chat, giving information to each other a lot comes out of coming to events like this or the USPTO. Also, yearly puts an invention con where we bring entrepreneurs.
VC's attorneys in to discuss innovation. And growing your invention and growing your ideas and from each other. It's absolutely amazing. The ideas that come out from the people who come to get more information and they they are so willing to share. So attending events like this I think is as a huge step also. So we do have another question along the line of resources and the question is as a finance professional. Alot of my clients
are women and minority owned businesses for the one set express ideas around launching an invention or solution. Do you have suggestions as to next best steps to take for them? And maybe Suzanne if you don't mind starting. Yeah, so I think the first thing you have to decide is whether or not you can have intellectual property protection. That's first and foremost. You know whether you get a patent or trademark or have a trade secret. These are all forms of competitive advantage and you need to understand whether that's something that will work with your invention or not. The
second thing I would try to do is figure out. You know, is this a? A little idea? Or is this a big idea? Is it worth a dollar? Is it worth $1,000,000? I mean if I were to go to dinner with an invention, the first thing she's wanting to want to know it is like, how important is it right? Is it is this something that's going to work for all people? There isn't going to work for like 5 people, right? So we need some sort of scale option or scaling or scope or an understanding of what is this gonna do? And is it enough to make whole business around it or is it just one incremental idea that maybe is? Interesting, but you couldn't start a whole business around, so you know there's just a few quick and dirty ideas. No, thank you. Thank you, Holly. Well, I think Suzanne is the real expert on this and appreciate her thoughts. I would encourage people to recognize that even though legal help for protecting your intellectual property can be very expensive, there are pro bono resources available for that Valentia. I know the USPTO has a strong program, many law school, actually. Help uh clinics that can help with this, but but I can't reiterate enough how important that East of it is because we we know how key that intellectual property can be for the later success of the business in terms of garnering venture capital in terms of there, there's a reason that's been done that shows that.
Five years later, a start of the had a patent or patents on average, has 16 more employees than startups that didn't have a patent, so would very much encouraged people to to protect that intellectual property. Thank you and Eric from from the point of view, from the corporate side, do you have any advice? This is going to say because I don't have much experience from the entrepreneurial aspect of it, but as a corporate attorney I know we are approached with requests for consideration of ideas all the time. But what is critical for us is that that person has protected their idea because, you know, we we as a larger entity do not want to be accused of having stolen idea.
So it really helps if it's already memorialized in some type of intellectual property. And then we can evaluate. Is that something that to Suzanne's point is worth? You know our time is it? Is it something that we've seen a consumer indicate interest in and we haven't necessarily put the work 4th but you have as the inventor? So having that IP base is a gives us a really good running start to have a conversation, because maybe your I mean, maybe you are an entrepreneur that invents, maybe you don't produce. Maybe you just license and get rich. That way.
Absolutely thank you. So we did have another question that came in. The question is do you know about University programs that have programs to support women with a startup program or as business accelerators? And and maybe you know beyond 'cause University programs do have it. But if you know of any other programs as well, it's it's. It's beyond universities, we have federal government programs. We have a we have corporations that have them private owners. So if you have.
Any information and start with Holly on on these types of programs will Blench if we should definitely put in the resources. This report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research because they do cover, I think it's about 8:00 or so. Best practice program, and I think these are just the kinds of programs that the person asking the question is looking for. I am not aware. One resource that has all these programs together, but I do think I am aware of these programs at Florida, University of Illinois and the Association for Women in Science as as at least a starting point.
Absolutely. And Suzanne anything to share on this point? Yeah, actually corporations are doing more and more and more, so Comcast is a great example of that. They have actually an accelerator where you can apply to be apart of it. It's like a
three month program. You come in and you. They provide you some resources and look about what to do with your invention. You don't have to do it can have nothing to do with Comcast business business, but they're just all good ideas.
They will actually have Comcast executives come in mentor. Many of the people in the program. Some of the technologies do apply to Comcast business and that might pick that up. Maybe they don't, I'm not sure, so I think more and more companies are beginning to realize the value of helping to build that entrepreneurial community in their locations. And there also
networking together so Comcast can also point you too. 10 or 12 other places in other locations of companies who are doing similar types of things. And also on the plug for the military, Naval X is an example. A lot of the military or now creating innovation funds to help find technologies that can be utilized within the military to scale up faster. So those are other sources that may not be on
peoples radars. Thank you, thank you and Eric sure. So I did mention the small Business development center that's based in KU here in the Urban League, and I'm pretty sure that's not limited to that University, so I would probably give that at Google to see where else it exists. But here in Cincinnati too.
Holly's point, you know we have a organization called Centrafuse and it's a 501C3 partnership that has been established to help build sustainable tech based economies here in the area. So you've got folks there serving as advocates for entrepreneurs in the high growth tech space and those startups an like. Suzanne mentioned, we've got a number of big companies and P&G is one of them. Partnering with universities and
private investors and other startups. Trying to make Cincinnati like a technology hub, so I would probably, you know, check out Sentra fuse to see if there is a similar model in your area, because even though we'd like since Eddie to be the hub in the Midwest for a technology, I'm sure there are other areas. Yeah, thank you so some that I have heard of. I know NYU has a
program for startups so they have a great program that is open actually to to anyone. There's some universities like Virginia Tech and there's others where it's it's more surrounded around their students and but their programs that you can certainly go onto their web pages and take a look at to help get ideas from also government. Agencies like NSF has an amazing program for startups and getting getting the right, the right start and moving on to grants. And of course there's the Small Business Administration that has grant programs as well as the minority business administration that can help gear you in the right direction. So there are actually many out there that can help, but you, all of you have given a great.
Great information for our participants, so I had a series we have about 6 minutes left. I had a series of questions that I wanted to ask, but the questions that have been coming in are just so fantastic I think I'll I'll. I'll ask another of those of the entire panel. It's what is the one thing that helped you achieve your leadership role that you would suggest to others to follow an for young women just starting in the corporate world. And if we could start with Suzanne. Wow, that's actually kind of difficult.
Like there is this your nightmare, right? Honestly, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that your ideas are valuable in your idea should be heard and. I can say that while I don't always understand, or you know. I see when it when someone doesn't have that quality right? I went to Graduate School and when we were all interviewing for jobs, how I was treated versus some of my other women. Colleagues were wildly different, right? They got all sorts of questions that they shouldn't have gotten. You know
things that were not at all HR appropriate Ann. I didn't have any of that and I think it's just that I came in with the I'm going to do this. I'm going to be successful and I know that. Sounds silly, but it makes a big difference for you to project that face to the world, and it's important to believe it. And even if you don't believe it then fake it till you make it but. Have to you have to project that error becomes really important. Absolutely agree completely Allie. Do you have anything
to add well? Second dad, but also I think some concepts related to perseverance and grit Grid is sort of in Word these days, but just just the idea that you're going to get up every day and you're gonna keep trying an part of that does involve trying to tune out all of the negative messages that one might get. Wendy, of course. You have to listen to 'cause you could learn something valuable from feedback, but unfortunately a lot of feedback, particularly for women. People of color, younger people, you know people who maybe didn't come from the elite parts of society or our education system. There there are things you want to do in and out, and you need to believe in your. Self and persevere and keep trying. Even though
things are hard, it's it's the long game. This is absolutely the long game. Derek sure honestly. I have to piggyback on what Holly said. I for me. I think it's been my ability to take constructive feedback in process it and improve upon it. I've seen a number of people in my field that are not receptive to feedback and they don't go far, or if they yeah, they don't go far. They may stay around, but they don't go far. So I think
being open and I think pairing that with humility, like being able to hear that and say, OK, I need to pivot and do something different to achieve. You know what the client wants or what the business needs that has gone along way for me. And then I think it also helps that people see that in you. And when I say people, not necessarily the people above you, but the people below you because then that makes it OK for them to accept the feedback that you're giving them, because again, you're investing in them. It's a gift and they should take that with
all the seriousness that you're delivering it so. That's cool, thank you. I would just a share from my own side of one of the things that we've already talked about that was really crucial for me in Mycareer was mentor ship and and really putting yourself out there to others. You know it's not always had to be someone's going to come to you and want to cradle you and tell you what to do. You have to put yourself out. You have to build your network an for me there are two. Tune strong mentors in Mycareer won an African American woman who mentored me that I could completely relate to and she can relate to what I was going through. An I found that just
the advice she gave me amazing, but the other is a man about 30 years older than me that I had absolutely nothing in common with. But hearing his perspective on things. An understanding a different point of view I found to be, you know, also very crucial as part of Mycareer. So you know, just as as this panel has said. Really look to the people around you and and and absorb it all and put yourself out there. You know just you.
Mic is not going to get you there. And be it, it's OK to make mistakes at times, as long as you're learning from those mistakes and growing. So I am going to. I know we're at the very end, but I'm going to ask
of each of our panelists. Might just have one thing to leave our participants with on this topic about. The careers in the time and working and what have you seen the progress that's really stuck to you? And, really. He felt strongly about in your career over the last few years about women in this field where we're going, what's what's really resonated with you, and if we can start with Suzanne.
You know, I think the most important thing is don't be afraid of failure. I mean, if you haven't failed, you haven't tried hard enough honestly, and you know, I'm in Silicon Valley and investors won't fund someone who hasn't failed. Because then you don't know what to do. Alright, if that's your biggest fear, then you're
never going to push it hard enough to actually fail. And frankly, as an inventor, you're going to fail. You'll probably fail multiple times half the time. It won't even be your fault, so you just need to learn how to adapt and keep moving. And you know 'cause it's going to happen, so don't be afraid of that. Wear it as a badge of honor.
Thank you Ann Holly. Well, thanks so much Valentia for for having me. I do want to say that this has really been. I'm in the history of our country where there's a bunch more focus on race and gender, and I think we have to take that as an opportunity. One
thing I am heartened about is that even though we feel like maybe there are many partisan battles that are being fought in our country, this is an issue that I've seen members of Congress from all parts. Come together and say that this is an important problem to solve, so the Congress passed the Success Act. The USPTO did tremendous research on these issues that led to the creation of the National Council for expanding American Innovation, which is going to be putting out national strategy. An report in June. the Congress is working on new legislation. Called the Idea Act and I would encourage
everybody to take a look. We've got that on our website at inventtogether.org. Learn about that support that legislation that will drive even more attention and knowledge to both understanding the patent gaps than what the problems are, but also the solution. And so I mean, I am excited because there's a focus on these Issues, and I think there's real interest in trying to make progress. Thank you and Dara. I will give you the last word.
I honestly I would say women still need to keep entering the stem field for some reason. There's scarcity. I don't know how that is after 20 years ago, when I thought we were making headway, but I think we need to just keep on pressing and I think offering up practical but bold solutions on the various problems that we're encountering because we're always skilled at wearing multiple hats. So let's let's wear those bold practical solution hats, and then just reiterating what Suzanne said. Just don't be afraid to try. Anan fail get out of your own head. Yes, thank you to
our Panelists. You've done just what yet. Again, I've had such an amazing conversation with you all and learn so much so thank you so much for giving us your time and I will give it back to Sean.