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Women hold a pitiful 14 percent of executive officer positions.
Levo League has closed $7 million — entirely in angel funding — to get more women into such roles.
This is a professional network that aims to elevate women in the workforce by providing a range of career resources and support services. Cofounder and CEO Caroline Ghosn said that her own experience as a Generation Y woman inspired her to found the company.
“It’s one thing to see numbers on a piece of paper: about retention, the wage gap, women asking for fewer promotions at work. It’s another completely to join the workforce and experience them,” she told VentureBeat. “As a country, we are letting tremendous energy and potential go to waste or be lost in translation.”
Ghosn said that a fundamental disconnect exists between performance and potential for women in the workforce. Levo’s goal is to bridge that gap by connecting young women with peers and mentors, skills, and job opportunities. Levo also works with companies looking to hire young women to help them recruit and create a positive work environment.
The cofounders describe it as a “career cockpit” where women can figure out their goals, what they want to do, and how to get there.
“Levo has the opportunity and the responsibility — to bridge the disconnect that exists in today’s workforce,” Ghosn said. “As President Obama so perfectly put it, ‘When women succeed, America succeeds.’ To begin closing the gap, we are providing the best career destination for women in the first ten years of their careers.”
Levo started in 2012 and has since amassed 8 million members and set up 22 local chapters in the U.S., Canada, and London. It plans to launch more international chapters soon.
Women make up approximately half of the workforce, but their representation in Fortune 500 leadership positions has stagnated — and it was low to start with. Research firm McKinsey recently surveyed 60 major corporations and found that the number and percentage of women falls off dramatically in the higher ranks of organizations.
This is a major national issue that came to the forefront when Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, hit the shelves. Lean In examines the reasons why women hold a minority of leadership positions in the U.S. and offers solutions.
Levo League pursues the same mission. Members can get an inside look into what it’s like to work at different companies, build a professional network and establish relationships, and access weekly live Q&A sessions online with successful women leaders.
Sandberg was an early investor in Levo League. This hefty $7 million round comes entirely from angel investors aligned with Levo’s mission, including Gina Bianchini, Fran Hauser, Lubna Olayan, and Veronique Morali. The money will go toward building of Levo’s next version as well as international expansion and further development of its employee recruiting and retention solutions for companies, including Disney, the New York Times, AOL, Bonobos, and Southwest Airlines.
Levo League is based in New York City.