DWEN Woman On The Rise

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Woman on the Rise

Find inspiration and make new connections among other DWEN members who scale

It’s your moment to own it.

Meet our women on the rise and discover connections that inspire

DWEN Woman On The Rise

Woman on the Rise is a program highlighting DWEN members and the impact they are making in their communities. Be sure to explore the women who have been featured to read about their entrepreneurial journeys and best advice for navigating the entrepreneurial life.

February 2024

Alli Briaris is Founder of Drinks Kitchen Non-Alcoholic Aperitif. Her mission is to drive the trend for drinking mindfully and consuming alcohol less often so that you can life live with more clarity and energy. With over 27 years of experience across the wine & drinks trade and the uncanny timing of a new Food & Drink Development Centre opening in her town (Foodworks SW), Alli felt destiny had sent her a message. So she set about creating non-alcoholic recipes with complex and interesting tastes. June 2021 saw the launch of her core recipes; Orange Cinchona (bitter & woody), Spiced Rhubarb (fruity & warming) and Herb Verde (Fresh and vibrant). Grapefruit Piqante (Zingy) followed in 2023. The UK non-alcoholic drinks market is set to grow +72% by 2028 and 1 in 4 younger people don’t drink, so the tide is definitely turning. Alli’s business has grown +36% YOY and online sales grew +215% during January 2024 and she’s only just begun!

Here's a little bit about Anna

Anna Jordan is Co-Founder & CEO at Alchera Technologies, an AI start-up building software and machine learning to power data-driven infrastructure. Focused on sustainable highways & smart cities, Alchera specialises in helping operators of transport networks to be more efficient and productive, using real-world data in real-time. Alchera is working to unlock a future where we can fine tune our mobility infrastructure to adapt and respond to our society's needs, connecting individuals, businesses and communities. Underpinned by years of expertise in working in the mobility sector, Alchera's software and advanced machine learning models save organisations millions of dollars annually in operational efficiencies. With blue chip customers including Europe's busiest highway and partners with major global engineering firms, Alchera's software unlocks data-driven decision making for the transport infrastructure sector in the UK and internationally. Anna has operational experience scaling applied machine learning & AI SMEs in complex industry from Bio & HealthTech to big infrastructure, delivering work with national & local institutions, innovators and local & international businesses. Anna has an MSc in Physics from Imperial College London, and spent time working as a graphene physics PhD researcher in France before co-founding Alchera to tackle global challenges in transport operations.

Here's a little bit about Amber

Amber Allen, CEO and Founder of Double A Labs, is revolutionizing business communications with her innovative video chat platform. This platform effectively bridges the gap between remote and in-office work environments, encouraging efficient and engaging virtual experiences. Double A Labs' clients include Dell, AT&T, IBM, Google, Whole Foods, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Amber's career began with roles in global marketing and sales at Disney, Warner Bros, and Riot Games, where she directed the first-ever esports arena event. Since founding Double A Labs,Amber created the popular Friends TV show app (over 1 million downloads), and orchestrated large-scale events, from "Ready Player One" to the groundbreaking launches of HTC Vive and Magic Leap. Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Amber actively contributes as a board member at the University of Texas's Game Development and Design Program, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the Raiden Science Foundation, and the Center for Child Protection. She is the Chair of the Technology Network for Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).

Here's a little bit about Maritza

Pisqueya is a first generation, woman-owned, Latinx-American Food Company. A premium line of sauces and seasonings that celebrates Latin culture and traditions. The name Pisqueya [pees-keh-yah] honors Maritza’s ancestors and their natural way of cooking. The flavors embody a taste of home, inspired by the gap in Hispanic Caribbean representation in the global food market. Our clean label brand is rooted in family, heritage, and a commitment to sharing the delicious flavors from a different part of Latin America - the Caribbean. In this way, through the universal language of food, we live out inclusion by expanding the rich flavor palette of America.

Here's a little bit about Jenny

Jenny is the founder and principal of the Los Angeles based architecture firm, Oyler Wu Collaborative.  The firm is recognized for its innovative designs that span multiple scales and project types, ranging from small scale urban activations to large scale infrastructural projects.  Jenny approaches architecture with a critical and rigorous intent that challenges the typical vision of the built environment. She was recently awarded the 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. In addition to her architectural practice, she also founded LACE by Jenny Wu, a line of 3D printed fine jewelry in 2014.  Since its launch in 2014, LACE has catapulted as a leader in the jewelry industry, producing statements pieces that are unique in its design, production, and material quality.  LACE transformed the business model of a jewelry brand, embracing high design, innovation, and sustainability.   By incorporating technology into every aspect of business, LACE has made highly intricate and precisely designer pieces accessible and affordable.  Her iconic design, the Catena Necklace, was recently acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in their permanent collection. Jenny was named one of the 4 design visionaries by Porsche and Dwell Magazine in their "Powered by Design" series, showcasing her pioneering work in 3D printing.

Here's a little bit about Maria

Maria Jose Palacio, a visionary fifth-generation Colombian coffee farmer with an unwavering passion for empowering her community. Born and raised in a celebrated coffee region of Colombia, Maria spent several years working in design in New York City before her heart led her back to her roots in 2016. Witnessing the struggles of her loved ones in Colombia to make a living through coffee farming, Maria knew she had to take action by co-founding Progeny Coffee. With a fierce commitment to uplifting others, Maria overcame numerous small business obstacles to co-create a thriving distribution platform that empowers coffee farmers and helps lift them out of poverty. At the heart of Maria's mission is the belief that education and entrepreneurship are vital to the success of these communities. Through her dedication to education and entrepreneurship, Maria has built a remarkable legacy that continues to inspire and uplift communities around the world. Follow Maria on Instagram and LinkedIn to stay connected with her work. 

Here's a little bit about Danielle

Danielle Boyer is a 22-year-old Indigenous (Ojibwe) robotics inventor and advocate for youth who has been teaching kids since she was ten. Driven by her family's own inability to afford science and technology education, she is passionate about making education accessible and representative for her community so that no child is left behind. Danielle creates equitable and innovative learning solutions for Indigenous youths with robots that she designs, manufactures, and gives away for free. In 2019, she created The STEAM Connection, a minority and youth-led charity that has reached 800k+ children with technical education with an emphasis on language revitalization. The STEAM Connection focuses on the future: ushering in a new age of education via personal and wearable robotics, artificial intelligence systems, and augmented reality. Danielle has been named one of PEOPLE Magazine's Girls Changing the World, a MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellow, a L'oreal Paris Woman of Worth, a Teen Vogue Indigenous Youth Changemaker, and a Verizon Forward for Good Winner. She is a two-time invitee of the White House with MTV and is a featured story in The Big Idea by MIT Solve x HP, an award-winning docu-series on three women innovators. "Indigenous Robotics" followed her life for a year and premiered at the MIT Museum. It is currently showing at film festivals. Danielle resides between both Southern California and Michigan.

Here's a little bit about Monica

Monica Sunny is the CEO and founder of The Chai Box, a small-batch tea company specializing in loose-leaf chai blends inspired by different regions in India and chai concentrate, using ethical and sustainable practices. Growing up in an Indian household, Chai has always been a part of Monica’s culture and heritage and her passion for chai only grew when she wanted to share her love for it with her three boys, leading to the creation of The Chai Box in 2016. What started as a passion project in her kitchen, has now grown into one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2021. The Chai Box's goal is to implement an ethical business process from start to finish. They source their spices from small-scale farmers in Kerala, India, who practice sustainable farming. These farmers, particularly women, play a significant role in their community's development. They also prioritize sustainability by composting leftover mulch from chai production and by using minimal and biodegradable packaging. The Chai Box's mission is to spread the love of authentic chai to everyone's home!

Here's a little bit about Amy

Amy Rowland is a leader who has devoted the last 31 years of her career to environmental consulting, focusing on energy and infrastructure projects for major utilities across the United States. As CEO and President of Pangea Biological, she drives the company to provide comprehensive services such as environmental compliance, constructability reviews, stormwater management, natural resources, cultural resources, training, planning, sustainability, GIS mapping and analysis, and permitting. Amy's passion for conservation was inspired by her grandmother's love of birding and under her innovative leadership, Pangea has been recognized as a Top 100 Supplier for San Diego Gas & Electric, Women's Business Enterprise Council-West’s WBE of the Year and Small Business Enterprise/Women-Owned Business Enterprise Contractor of the Year from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. With her strong construction background and expertise in regulatory strategy on challenging energy and infrastructure projects, she ensures successful project delivery while protecting environmental resources

Here's a little bit about Gayathri

Gayathri Thakoor is co-founder and CEO of the Learn Through Stories (LeTS) Foundation. A published author, manager, and entrepreneur over a career graph of 25 years, her role as a news journalist sharing stories formed the base of it all. She then co-founded a business enterprise to develop literature for children, and create animated characters that were copyrighted to feature in illustrated picture books and in digital media. She later led the Tata Centre for Technology and Design, at IIT Bombay, which brought her close to the Learn English Through Stories research project – the genesis that led to the incorporation of the not-for-profit enterprise that she now leads. Gayathri continues to keep in touch with readers through diary entries and letters in her blog – Affectionately G. With two postgraduate degrees – in Education and in Business Administration, and a graduate degree in Economics, Gayathri is also a certified Library Educator.

Here's a little bit about Catherine

Catherine grew up playing seven different sports, multiple positions at the collegiate level, and reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 as an All-American. This experience as a utility player influenced her career building and leading teams as well as operating as multi-dimensional strategist across Global Risk & Compliance, R&D Programs, B2B2C Sales, and Benefits Consulting. Her zone of genius is thinking cross-functionally, connecting people, process, and technology to deliver innovation. Right now Catherine is hyper-focused on solving the inequities in the health care system and unlocking the benefits of the human factor of care.

Here's a little bit about Rutuja

Rutuja has 17+ years of Data Science expertise with a track record of working with various cross-functional and technical teams to implement advanced data science projects.She started her career with TATA Motors, India in Automotive Warranty Data Analytics. Rutuja then moved on to projects in various domains with the vision of gaining experience to start her own venture. A disruptive innovator with a distinct clarity of mind, she chose to pursue her Masters in Applied Statistics in the USA and then worked with Ford Credit, USA in Marketing Analytics and Credit Risk Modelling. She has demonstrated strong leadership in driving transformational initiatives across multiple industries and delivering successful Analytics Projects, where she had end-to-end accountability.Under her leadership, Optimum Data Analytics (ODA), a new age technology start-up, is set to be at the forefront of technology innovation in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Industry 4.0 and Business Analytics. Bindu, flagship product of ODA, is wearable assistive device for visually impaired people is getting recognition at national as well as at global level. At ODA, Rutuja drives and oversees the continuous renewal of key innovations, processes and systems across the company in client relationship management, delivery excellence, quality, talent management, and leadership development. Zealous about next-generation technologies and harnessing them for competitive advantage and enterprise, Rutuja drives ODA's emerging technology agenda.

Here's a little bit about Michele

Michele Heyward is the founder of PositiveHire, a tech company which helps recruit and retain experienced Latina, Black and Indigenous women STEM professionals into management positions. Her software assists these women in finding the best fit employer for them to advance their careers. This in turn helps employers retain diverse STEM talent longer. With a BS degree in Civil Engineering and MS degree in Industrial Management from Clemson University, as well as experience as a construction project manager in the energy sector, Michele brings a wealth of technical knowledge and experience to her role as CEO of PositiveHire. Her passion for creating a more equitable and inclusive workforce is evident in everything she does, and she is dedicated to making a positive impact in the world of STEM.

Here's a little bit about Aishat

Aishat Adeniji is CEO/Co-Founder of HealthPort, a company disrupting medical oxygen distribution in Sub-saharan Africa. She is a Clinician with over 15 years of direct patient care in Fortune 100 companies and experience working with Early to Mid Stage US/Global Health Tech startups. In addition, Aisha is a 2022 MIT Solver who has consulted with multiple global health companies implementing solutions in Nigeria, including the UNICEF Innovation lab. Growing up in Nigeria and working as a clinician in the US and in Nigeria highlights a unique dynamic in implementing locally suited solutions informed by evidence and best practices.​ Being a part of the DWEN Female entrepreneurial ecosystem has been incredibly rewarding; it has allowed me to meet many passionate and inspiring women who are creating change all around. ​

Be featured as the DWEN Woman On The Rise.

Woman of the Week is a program highlighting DWEN members and the impact they are making in their communities. Be sure to explore the women who have been featured to read about their entrepreneurial journeys her best advice for navigating the entrepreneurial life.

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