Since the first day I met Lauren Klein, she’s been investing in women. I walked into the Starbucks off of South Meadows a couple years ago and randomly spotted Lauren and Ashley Jennings working together quietly. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the sale of Girlmade was going down. Lauren and Ashley were in the final stages of reviewing a term sheet.
Girlmade, the business that Ashley founded, was sold to Lauren who now operates as the Chief Inspiration Officer (i.e., the CEO). With a mission to help women play big, Girlmade’s impact is recognized across the United States. Most recently, Atlantic Magazine wrote a piece on Girl Empire, the one day event that trains girls how to pitch ideas to investors and take the lead in solving community problems.
Lauren was raised by university professors who taught her to believe in constant learning and the challenge of reaching one’s fullest potential. This growth mindset is something that carried Lauren through multiple careers and in the work she does today. Lauren says the number one tip to maintain excellence is to suspend judgment and ask for feedback. She embodies learning in everything she does and accepts that everyday is an opportunity to be the best version of herself.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, with a focus in political science and international studies then headed to D.C. for her first job out of college. She worked for a U.S. Ambassador and a Michigan State Senator before she pivoted and found herself developing tech skills from a software company in Detroit. The tech industry continued to call her name and she moved to Silicon Valley in the 90’s.
Lauren dove head first into the Silicon Valley tech scene. She quickly landed an equity position in marketing and telesales at a startup that IPO’d. She lived in an apartment in Palo Alto, regularly networked in the Valley and attended every event she could to learn as much as possible. She volunteered, worked extra hours, read product material brochures and eventually found herself working at a consulting company as a functionality consultant.
She developed a niche for herself as a connector of people. She was even recognized at an award ceremony for being the “Knowledge Harvester of the Year”. For nine more years, she continued with Cambridge Technology Partners. She had equity in the company and became an expert in knowledge management. This skill was leveraged in the field and also as an internal company consultant.
In 2003, Lauren and her family moved to Reno. Her husband relocated with Microsoft and Lauren focused her time raising two brilliant young daughters, while continuing her work as a B2B social business and marketing consultant. For the past 13 years, most of Lauren’s clients have been based out of Silicon Valley ranging from small to large sized companies.
She’s donated her time and money to many nonprofits in the area and recently emerged as the the Tech Advocate of the Year in the recent NCET Tech Awards. Her work as the CEO of Girlmade has opened many doors, not only for Lauren but for hundreds of women in the Reno community. People are drawn to Lauren’s passion. She is an engaging force with a high degree of inspiration to help lead teams and drive outcomes.
Lauren lives with a purpose and rallies people around solving problems. As a way for people to show others their capabilities, her greatest piece of advice is to give generously. She listens to feedback and seeks to provide the same support so others can see their blindspots and understand their potential impact. As the CEO of Girlmade, Lauren is on a mission to help women play big with the vision to one day invest in female founders and leaders through her own angel fund.