CIO Monica Eaton-Cardone: Entrepreneurship Can Open Doors for Women in STEM

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Though women represent only 22% of participants in business school venture competitions, 51% of winning teams have female founders. CIO Monica Eaton-Cardone says findings show entrepreneurial spirit is a key indicator of success.

Monica Eaton-Cardone | An Entrepreneur and IT Executive Specializing in Risk Management and Fraud Prevention

Monica Eaton-Cardone, an entrepreneur and IT executive, advocates for women to participate in entrepreneurial activities to open their own doors in proving what they can do.

“Instead of waiting for employers to recognize their worth or for equal-opportunity programs to help them get ahead, women can open their own doors by taking entrepreneurial initiative and proving what they can do.”

A recent study of business-school venture competitions found only about 1 in 5 participants were women; yet among the winning teams, over half had a female founder and 1 in 3 had a female CEO.(1) Monica Eaton-Cardone—an entrepreneur and IT executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention—says the results prove that women with the drive and confidence to compete have greater potential for success. She maintains that entrepreneurship can be more effective than corporate initiatives in promoting the advancement of women in business, STEM and other traditionally male fields.

According to AACSB International, women account for at least 40% of business school enrollment: 44.3% in undergraduate programs, 40.5% MBA, 48.2% specialized master’s, and 41.3% doctoral.(2) Yet a study by Girls With Impact found that only 22% of participants in college venture competitions were female.(1) Though women were outnumbered nearly 4 to 1, they were well represented among the winners: 51% of the top-ranking teams had a female founder and 32% had a female CEO.(1)

“These findings show that when women are willing to take on the risks and challenges of entrepreneurship, they’re capable of outperforming their male peers and creating their own path to success,” said Eaton-Cardone, who serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “Instead of waiting for employers to recognize their worth or for equal-opportunity programs to help them get ahead, women can open their own doors by taking entrepreneurial initiative and proving what they can do.”

Eaton-Cardone believes it’s important to encourage girls’ participation in these types of entrepreneurial activities and competitions at an early age, so they’ll have the confidence to take their place alongside men when they get older. The Girls With Impact study found that female participation in college-level entrepreneurship classes was only about 18%; and for classes with more of a “real-world” focus than a theory-based one, their enrollment dropped as low as 5%.(1)

To help boost girls’ interest and enthusiasm in this area, Eaton-Cardone sees great promise in programs like one recently hosted by the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Institute at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). On February 2, the Institute invited teams of middle school girls to compete in a STEM Innovation Challenge, in which they had three hours to develop a prototype to support United Nations sustainable development goals. The girls were paired with female mentors studying in STEM fields at CSUCI, and their final creations were judged by women professionals in STEM careers.(3)

Eaton-Cardone notes that this type of initiative has many positive takeaways. In addition to stimulating creativity, encouraging interest in entrepreneurship and STEM, and connecting girls to female mentors and role models, it also allows them to earn public recognition based on their own ideas and merits.

In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, she urges employers and educators to work together to establish programs that will nurture girls’ interest and confidence in STEM and entrepreneurial ventures. “By promoting innovation and risk-taking, programs like this can help create a whole new generation of female entrepreneurs and STEM specialists—which will bring tremendous benefits to businesses, the economy and society as a whole,” she concluded.

Monica Eaton-Cardone frequently discusses entrepreneurship and opportunities for women in STEM at industry conferences and events. She has been a featured panelist at TRUSTECH, the IATA World Financial Symposium and TRANSACT, and is also available for interviews, panelist opportunities and future speaking engagements. For more information, visit http://monicaec.com.

About Monica Eaton-Cardone:
An acclaimed entrepreneur, speaker and author, Monica Eaton-Cardone is widely recognized as a thought leader in the FinTech industry and a champion of women in technology. She established her entrepreneurial credentials upon selling her first business at the age of 19. When a subsequent eCommerce venture was plagued by revenue-leeching chargebacks and fraud, Eaton-Cardone rose to the challenge by developing a robust solution that combined human insight and agile technology. Today, her innovations are used by thousands of companies worldwide, cementing her reputation as one of the payment industry’s foremost experts in risk management, chargeback mitigation and fraud prevention. As CIO of Global Risk Technologies and COO of Chargebacks911, Eaton-Cardone leverages her global platform to educate merchants on best practices in fraud prevention and to spotlight the competitive and economic advantages women can bring to the technology workforce. Her nonprofit organization, Get Paid for Grades, invests in students to inspire a new generation of innovators. Get to know Eaton-Cardone at http://monicaec.com.

1.    Girls With Impact. The Power of Next Generation Women; November 26, 2018.

2.    AACSB International. 2018 Business School Data Guide; October 26, 2018.

3.    Staff Reporter. “CSUCI Entrepreneurship Institute Gets New Chief”; VC Star (USA Today); January 10, 2019.

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