Jennifer Wilson turns the world of venture capital into art with San Francisco premiere of new play ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ Oct 19 - Nov 4, 2012

Share Article

In 1989, businesswoman Jennifer Wilson started Sky Venture Capital to fund entrepreneurial ventures by Baby Boom-generation women. Frustrated in her efforts, she turned to art to ask: “How much would you invest to shatter a glass ceiling?” Wilson’s play, ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ is an insider's view of her foray into the exclusive male world of 1980s venture capital.

Jennifer Wilson's play 'And That's What Little Girls Are Made Of' an insider's view of the exclusive male world of 1980s venture capital.

“I wrote this play as a celebration of American innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Jennifer Wilson, “and as an attempt to influence the way people perceive workplace and funding issues for women."

In 1989, businesswoman Jennifer Wilson started Sky Venture Capital to fund entrepreneurial ventures by Baby Boom-generation women. Frustrated in her efforts, she turned to art to ask the question: “How much would you invest to shatter a glass ceiling?” Wilson’s play, ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of,’ premiering in San Francisco this October, is an insider's view of her foray into the exclusive male world of 1980s venture capital. Wilson met a firewall of resistance from the male-dominated financial industry, portrayed in scenes that range from hilarious to horrific.

“I wrote this play as a celebration of American innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Jennifer Wilson, “and as an attempt to influence the way people perceive workplace and funding issues for women. Still, twenty years later, these issues continue to be relevant.”

Written with the assistance of dramaturge Suze Allen, and directed by Jennifer Welch, ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ shifts rapidly through characters and settings, pulling no punches as Wilson shares the impediments placed along the female path to success. ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ is presented as a combination of comedic vignettes and monologues delivered by three actresses—Chloe Bronzan*, Amber Crane and Sally Dana*—all portraying Jennifer Wilson and the power players she encountered in her mission to start Sky Venture Capital.

Whether she's scaling the Himalayas or the cold heights of corporate skyscrapers, Wilson learns harsh lessons from the top of the economic food chain, a world in which men fiercely guard their privileged domain and women claw their way to the middle. ‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ is a comedy that needs few punch lines because the truth is more comical than fiction. The blunt lines Wilson smuggles out of her meetings and brings to the stage reveal the modern-day farce of sexual equality.

"This story confronts the truth like Anna Deavere Smith, with the humor of Lily Tomlin," says director Jennifer Welch. Welch has enlisted sound designer Jon Bernson and set/lighting designer Alicia Griffiths and Claire Kendrick to integrate music, props and visual projections into the storytelling process to underscore the rapid-fire shifts in emotional tone and physical setting.

The daughter of a former Iowa governor, Jennifer Wilson began her career in the world of Chicago advertising, and earned an MBA in International Marketing from Loyola University in 1986. Through her subsequent work in economic development for the State of Iowa, she came to realize the dearth of women-owned businesses, and was determined to make a change. Convinced that funding entrepreneurial women would yield high returns, she pounded the pavement and knocked on doors to attract investors, who gave vocal support but little else, and Sky Venture Capital fell far short of achieving its financial goal of $20 million, a figure modest by today's standards.

The exclusive male culture of high finance and the restrictions placed on women in that world were hard lessons that made Wilson acutely aware of the obstacles that keep women from fulfilling their potential. This commitment to unrealized value also inspired her late husband, Silicon Valley pioneer Jean Hoerni, who founded the Central Asia Institute to enable Greg Mortenson to continue building schools in northern Pakistan. This story reached a mass audience through Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea. Wilson is quoted in both Mortenson’s book and in Jon Krakauer’s expose of Mortenson, Three Cups of Deceit.

‘And That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of’ runs Friday, October 19 through Sunday, November 4, 2012, at the Tides Theatre at 533 Sutter Street (formerly SF PLAYHOUSE) between Mason and Powell Streets, near Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm. The performance is 70 minutes without intermission. Tickets are $30 general; $20 student/senior; tickets for a preview performance on Thursday, October 18, are $20 general. Tickets and information are available by calling (415) 336-3522 or at http://www.whatgirlsaremadeof.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Theater box office, which opens 30 minutes before each performance.

  • actors appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Diane Roby
Follow us on
Visit website