2023 Women Who Fund Forum

Zell Lurie Institute
April 3, 2024

The Women Who Fund Forum, presented by the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan, uplifts and celebrates education, knowledge transfer, and networking while working to address gender disparities in the venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneurial communities.

The annual half-day conference provides exceptional opportunities to connect with attendees composed of private equity, investment banking, and venture capital industry peers, as well as leaders of second-stage companies from the greater Midwest.

This year’s Women Who Fund Forum hosted over 50 incredible women in the beautiful Tauber Colloquium at the Ross School of Business. The day began with a networking breakfast, followed by a keynote conversation, panel discussion, networking lunch, and mentorship activity. 

The keynote conversation was hosted by Edward J. Frey Dean of Business, Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business, Sharon F. Matusik and Amy Rosen Wildstein. Amy is the Founder and Managing Partner of Suttona Capital and has a deep expertise in tech-enabled consumer brands. Amongst a rich history of investment, Amy is a co-founder of Solera Capital which was launched by an investment team of all women in 2000. She serves on many advisory boards, including (but not limited to) the Ross School Advisory Board, Michigan Social Venture Fund, and the Springboard Enterprises National Advisory Board. During their keynote conversation, Amy discussed women-led ventures and how they differ in culture and Dean Matusik shared her encouraging stories of entrepreneurship from an academic perspective.

The panel discussion included a powerful and energetic group of women including Serial Entrepreneur Jen Baird, CEO & Co-Founder of CircNova, Inc. Crystal Brown, and Strategist, Investor & Consultant Monica Wheat. The panel was moderated by Ross School of Business Lecturer of Finance Lauren Bigelow. The conversation centered around mentorship, breaking barriers, and paving the way for women in highly competitive venture capital and startup ecosystems.

During the networking lunch, the room was abuzz with passionate individuals making connections and sharing encouragement with one another. In order to further facilitate long term connections, attendees also had the opportunity to post a question, opportunity, or request to one of three boards in the back of the room for others to read. After the event, the requests were collected and sent out to attendees. Since then, we have received several positive responses about how these connections have been beneficial both personally and professionally.

Thank you to the attendees, keynote speakers, panelists, and all those who supported us in making this event happen. The Women Who Fund Forum continues to be a success year after year and the Zell Lurie Institute is honored to host this impactful event.