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This year we kicked off a new initiative – Startup Women – in an effort to support more female founders and entrepreneurs across all of UP Global’s programs (Startup Weekend, Startup Next, and Startup Digest). By the end of 2014, we aim to have inspired more than 1,500 female-led startup teams, hosted over 15 Startup Weekend Women’s Edition events in the US alone, and captured numerous female founder stories from across the globe.

As part of this initiative, we are putting together a small advisory board of influential leaders and advocates – both women and men. Our vision for the advisory board is to align our initiative efforts with the input and feedback we receive from the board, as well as seek new opportunities throughout the year for advisors to get involved with our programs, events, and storytelling.

Please join us in welcoming these passionate leaders who have signed on to help us bring more women into the entrepreneurial journey.

Amy Stursburg, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation


Amy Stursberg has served as Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, where she has overseen and led a five-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative, bringing four innovative programs to twenty states across the county. Prior to joining Blackstone in 2008, Ms. Stursberg served on the transition team for Governor Eliot Spitzer. She also managed the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s award of $35 million in cultural enhancement grants and $30 million in community grants in Lower Manhattan. Previously, Ms. Stursberg served as the last director of the September 11th Fund and held various positions at the Office of Management and Budget at the Office of the Mayor in the City of New York, as well as at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She has also served as a university administrator and foundation officer. Ms. Stursberg received her B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Daymond John, Shark Tank


The Startup Women initiative’s commitment to bringing more women into the entrepreneurial space and inspiring real startups that are led by women aligns with my own belief that diverse startups are stronger startups. I’m excited to be a part of a mission that is poised to make a real impact.

An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Daymond John has come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house and moving his operation into the basement. John is CEO and Founder of FUBU, a much-celebrated global lifestyle brand, and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, and he has received over 35 awards including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

His marketing strategies and ability to build successful brands has made him a highly influential consultant and motivational speaker today. In 2009, he joined the cast of ABC entrepreneurial business show the Shark Tank by acclaimed producer Mark Burnett. Millions of weekly viewers tune into the show as John demonstrates his marketing prowess and entrepreneurial insights.

Angela Benton, NewME Accelerator


My passion for inclusive communities is what first inspired me to found NewME, and I’m thrilled to join an initiative that I believe will truly change the typical demographics of common startup events and communities. As an advisor for the Startup Women initiative, I’m excited to share my experiences in a way that will hopefully inspire more women to become entrepreneurs, which will be a benefit to all of us.

Technology expert and entrepreneur, Angela Benton, is the founder and CEO of NewME, a platform whose mission is to accelerate minority and women entrepreneurs in building thriving businesses. Since launching in 2011, NewME has accelerated over 300 startups and helped them raise over $10 million in venture capital funding. Starting out as a 12-week residential mentorship program for eight in San Francisco, NewME has evolved into a customizable platform for entrepreneurs to plug into the expertise, people, and resources when they need it most.

Mary Grove, Google for Entrepreneurs 


Mary Grove is director of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach where she leads Google for Entrepreneurs, the company’s programs and partnerships to support startups and entrepreneurs in over 100 countries around the world. Mary joined Google in 2004 as part of the legal team working on the company’s IPO then moved to New Business Development where she spent 6 years focused on a range of early stage product incubation and partnerships. Mary has led dozens of strategic technology partnerships across products including Gmail, Google Docs, Search, Chrome, and Social. She is an active leader in entrepreneur and developer outreach efforts both in the US and internationally, spanning initiatives in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. She has led exploratory trips and efforts for Google in Pakistan, Afganistan, Iraq, Gaza, and the West Bank. Mary earned her B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and sits on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian