Christy Turlington Burns will join us at Southland to talk about Every Mother Counts


christy-turlingtonI’m thrilled to announce the latest addition to our growing Southland lineup: Former supermodel and founder of Every Mother Counts, Christy Turlington Burns.

I got the idea to invite Christy when I read a blog post about how social media and the tech press generally don’t talk about the right women. It struck a chord with me. There are more smart women starting companies and venture funds than I’ve seen before in the Valley. And yet, because many of them don’t crave attention “as a woman,” it’s a challenging narrative to tell. As this post pointed out, that’s made worse by the fact that memes like Justine Sacco’s Tweets or obsessions over Marissa Mayer’s mothering tactics or horrible link bait about women not having it all seem to suck all the oxygen out of the “women in tech” narrative.

Christy’s name was one of the ones mentioned in the post, reminding me of how she’s used her celebrity for good. She created Every Mother Counts, an advocacy group for global maternity health, after her own complications in pregnancy. They’ve done work throughout Haiti, India, Uganda, and Zambia. In her own words: “I became a maternal health advocate the day I became a mom.” That I could relate to. Having kids has made me look at every mother and every child on the planet in a different way.

I’d met Christy in Pando’s early days at a dinner party in San Francisco and was struck by her strong mission with the organization, her knack for problem solving, and her modest demeanor. The article was right– she is exactly the kind of female entrepreneurs we should be highlighting, whether they run “tech” companies or not.

I reached out to Christy to ask her to tell her story on stage at Southland and she enthusiastically agreed. She joins a group as varied as Al Gore, Phil Libin, Aaron Levie, Tristan Walker, and more. You should be there too.

As a reminder, we also have a killer startup competition with an all star judging panel investing their own cash in the winner and a music lineup organized by the co-producers of Bonnaroo. Again thanks to our partners LaunchTN who are co-producing Southland with us (read: Getting all that fried chicken, BBQ, and whiskey ready.)



Shift Taps Former AOL Europe CEO Kate Burns As Managing Director, U.K. And Europe


KateBurns650Former AOL Europe CEO Kate Burns joined social marketing platform Shift as managing director of U.K. and Europe operations.

Burns will be based out of Shift’s London office, and she will be tasked with expanding the company’s presence in Europe and driving market adoption of its Shift Open Marketing Cloud.

After AOL Europe, Burns established EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) operations for cross-device ad targeting startup Drawbridge, and prior to AOL Europe, she was the first international employee at Google, eventually becoming director of the U.K., Ireland, and Benelux.

Shift Co-Founder and CEO James Borow said in a release announcing Burns’ hire:

Expanding our international footprint and the solutions we provide marketers is one of our top priorities. Global advertisers are challenged with driving the right message to the right audience at a local, regional, and global level. We’re committed to delivering technology that allows marketers to leverage the data and advertising solutions they need to reach their customer, wherever they are and at any time. Kate is the ideal leader to drive our international growth and adoption of Shift’s Open Marketing Cloud. As a proven digital veteran with deep experience in building successful European operations from the ground up, Kate will be instrumental in enabling Shift to provide new revenue opportunities to marketers.

Burns added:

International advertisers are facing some of the same challenges as U.S. advertisers. Consumers are spread across devices and channels, making it extremely difficult for marketers to engage with customers at scale and achieve their business results. I’m thrilled with the opportunity to join the Shift team and help global advertisers adopt Shift’s Open Marketing Cloud. With over two decades of experience in this industry, I look forward to working with global advertisers to leverage Shift’s Open Marketing Cloud to make smart, real-time decisions that help maximize their ROI (return on investment) across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.