Emily Yukich

Tell us your story.

I am involved in the digital space because it’s an area where my clients have the opportunity to make an impact on the world at large.

It was a long and winding road from being an English major in Ohio to being a corporate attorney in Los Angeles helping entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. And while at least in the beginning of my own career I wasn’t focused on digital media, I did start and run a business for many years (an inner-city Montessori school in Boston). Then when I was ready to move on, I decided on law school and came to California.

I’ve always been drawn to new ventures and new beginnings, and working with entrepreneurs is inspiring and meaningful. Many years ago, on the suggestion of a woman partner and mentor at my first law firm, I got involved with the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA), whose mission is to help entrepreneurs get funding. LAVA is heavily tech-oriented, and at the time, it had very few women members.

I loved the organization but knew I’d love it even more if it were more diverse, so I founded Women in LAVA (WinLAVA). This arm of the association has not only brought gender diversity to LAVA, but it has inspired a much more inclusive culture in the organization as a whole. WinLAVA educates and supports women entrepreneurs, with the goal of attracting more investors toward women-owned and managed businesses. Many of my clients in the digital space are women entrepreneurs, and while I hope I’ve taught them a lot, I know that I have learned even more from them.

What do you most want other women and young girls to know about being a woman in our digital culture?

Women and girls are the force of change today, and together we are reshaping the digital world. It can be uncomfortable at times, but when you bring more women along with you, you will be in awe at what you can accomplish. Never allow others’ expectations to define you or your work. Ask as many questions as you have, even when others around you are silent. And never never assume that men know more about the digital world than you do.

Pass it on!

The women of WinLAVA inspire me. They are strong, focused, true to themselves and their visions. They have the strength and courage and humility to learn, to ask questions, to challenge expectations, and to keep moving forward. When I am at one of our workshops, helping women founders to develop their pitches and ideas, that is when I feel most alive in my work. I hope to inspire my two daughters to pursue their passions, work hard, and live fully at every stage of their lives.

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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