WCDFW Joins Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA)
Human and climate health are deemed the great equalizers, but Ita Ekpoudom and Davida Herzl highlight the racial disparities in both.
After the devastating murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, Ita Ekpoudom, #WhartonWoman and Partner at GingerBread Capital, wrote a deeply personal and moving essay about what happens when systematic racial inequalities in justice and healthcare collide. On Wednesday, September 23, join us for a conversation on how she channels this frustration into her work at GingerBread, a firm that invests exclusively in unstoppable female founders.
One of these founders is Davida Herzl, CEO of Aclima, a company that maps global air quality by measuring and analyzing air pollution and greenhouse gases, block by block. Human health and climate health are undeniably intertwined, and right now 92% of the population breathes unhealthy air. In this conversation, we will dig into the economic and health inequities caused by air pollution in communities of color—inequities that make the coronavirus so much deadlier, especially for Black, Latinx and Indigenous people, as health statistics clearly show. Public health is an essential foundation of a functioning economy and balanced existence, but pollution exposure and access to healthcare are not uniform—who you are and where you live matters.
We recommend reading Ita’s essay and taking 10 minutes to watch Davida’s address from Collision earlier this year.
Ita Ekpoudom, Partner, GingerBread Capital
Ita is a Partner at venture capital firm GingerBread Capital, which backs high growth female-founded companies. Her mission is to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of successful women business leaders and investors. In 2014, Ita founded Tigress Ventures, an advisory and consulting firm that tapped her considerable network to bring together visionary entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals to help women scale their businesses and hone their leadership skills.
Ita also served as Venture Partner at Plum Alley Investments, where she oversaw investment opportunities and pipeline for high-growth female-founded and gender-diverse startups. Previously, Ita held product management roles at TravelClick and American Express. She began her career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst in Credit Capital Markets and an institutional trader of preferred stock.
Ita holds an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and earned a Bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in Psychology, with a certificate in Finance, from Princeton University.
Davida Herzl, Co-Founder and CEO, Aclima
Davida Herzl is co-founder and CEO of Aclima. Herzl leads a diverse team meeting the urgent need for a new class of tools to accelerate bold climate action. Aclima’s platform translates its block-by-block scientific measurements of air pollution and greenhouse gases into climate intelligence that helps governments, communities, and industry reduce emissions and protect public health. Herzl holds a Juris Doctorate, as well as a BA in Economics, Political Science, and Communications. She was named one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company (2019), one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2018 by Goldman Sachs, and a Grist 50 Fixer (2017).
The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is a non-profit alumni club on a mission to accelerate the success of Penn female founders and investors, and the men who support them. We were founded after we learned that only 13% of Penn founders are women, and they raise just 6% of venture dollars. We think that we can do better as an alumni community and within the ecosystem at large, and that’s the mission of our organization—to help female founders and emerging fund managers raise capital and give them a platform to tell their stories. We launched in March 2018 and have over 2,000 members worldwide. Our speakers have ranged from Tina Sharkey (Brandless), Andy Rachleff (Wealthfront & Benchmark Capital), Phin Barnes (First Round Capital), Robyn Sue Fisher (Smitten Ice Cream), Bjorn Oste (Oatly), and Iris Choi (Floodgate) to name a few.