Essteem’s challenge

Promoting careers through Inclusive reverse monitoring

Context: It is rare to find companies with equal representation of women among executives. Level after level, men are increasingly more promoted than women. This funneling effect is usually called “Glass ceiling” and is a long known issue for women in tech and in any industry or function. It has repercussions on salary equality since managers are better paid. As a result, women’s voices are less heard at a higher hierarchy level which may impact profitability according to several studies. The reason for this funneling effect is multifaceted, but a frequent explanation is that women get less managerial face-time than men, and have a harder time to find powerful career sponsors.

Requirement: Propose an app that enables women in tech to build and share their expertise internally or externally to a company through “inclusive reverse mentoring” with executives. The goal is to match an Executive to a junior or mid-level millennial that is tech savvy.

Prize: $1000 shared for the team, Mentioned by Essteem.


Sponsor challenges

1/ - Best use of artificial intelligence (AI) for investing in women-led companies.

Challenge: women-led companies suffer from lower investment by VC and PE firms than other companies. Is it also the case when they become publicly traded companies? This could result in loss of profit opportunity for investors. As a marketplace, there is of course significant amounts of data that the Exchange processes. These can be packaged accordingly and sold to various market participants. This would include trading prices, trading volumes, company announcements/filings etc.

Example: how to provide financial guidance, identify and reduce potential bias in 3rd party analysis reports, help determine the best investment strategies, or predict market outcomes (stock or non-stock price predictions) for women-led companies (define women-led)?

Prize: Presentation of Winners on Nasdaq’s screen on Times Square,
Mention on Social media.


2/ - Blockchain solution aimed at helping Fintech firms more effectively identify, attract and retain diverse workers.

Challenge: many people suffer from an imposter syndrome, especially employees from minority backgrounds. This syndrome prevents them from behaving in a way that enables them to come through as experts in the eyes of their colleagues. Additionally, the same groups of people can be subject to unconscious biases from peers and managers. One of the impacts of these biases is to make it harder for the minority-sourced employee to be recognized as an expert in their field. How can the various properties of the Blockchain support an HR tool or module that can source, track and secure information that is irrefutable proof of a person’s expertise based on education, factual achievements, peer feedback and references?

Example: Most creative use of Blockchain technology to ensure tech expertise / reputation management for new hires and for current employees.

Prize: Presentation of Winners on Nasdaq’s screen on Times Square,
Mention on Social media.

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Corporate Culture Compliance Project to Measure Equality in the workplace 

Challenge: Evaluate what steps corporations and smaller companies have and are taking to enhance work-life opportunities for employees and to ensure compliance with a variety of federal and state laws and internal policies that promote gender equity in their workplace. For example, measurements could include pay equity via pay transparency, equal representation of women in decision-making roles, flexible work hours and locations (helpful to women who still overwhelmingly provide primary childcare responsibilities), and paid family leave – provided and taken by employees, etc.

Prize: Presentation of Winners to Capital One Development Lab,
Mention on Social media.


Challenge developed with Gender Equality Law Center. Lauren Betters, attorney at GELC, will answer questions related to legal aspects.