Bronze Valley recently added a new member to its board of directors. April Benetollo, CEO of Momentum, a program for developing leadership capabilities in executive and early-career women, was elected to the board at the end of September.
“April is an outstanding addition to our board,” said Bronze Valley President Neill S. Wright. “Her background as a leader in supporting entrepreneurship, encouraging innovation and working to expand opportunities for women translates well to helping us achieve the mission and objectives of Bronze Valley.”
Benetollo sees her role on the Bronze Valley board as a dual opportunity. First, she cites several statistics that bear out what she terms the “major biases against women founders” that Bronze Valley exists to help erase — for example, in 2017, only 2.2 percent of all U.S. venture capital money went to women-owned companies — as well as the opportunity to further develop the organization’s investment tracks around minority founders and innovation. Second, she’s pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of Birmingham’s ongoing emergence as a technology and entrepreneurial hub.
“More and more,” Benetollo says, “people are figuring out that, if you’re looking at the South, you don’t have to go to Atlanta or Austin or Nashville to work for a growing technology company. That’s exciting, and so is the future of Bronze Valley. It’s surely something that is needed, and I’m happy to have a role in the investments they make and the coaching and expertise they provide to startups and growing companies. Hopefully, Bronze Valley will inspire other entities and individuals to that level of involvement.”
A native of Birmingham and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama, Benetollo spent several years working in Paris before returning to Birmingham with her husband, Emmanuel, in 1998. A frequent speaker on leadership development, employee engagement, healthy teams, inclusive culture and emotional intelligence, Benetollo is a founding board member of TechAlabama, a nonprofit organization affiliated with TechBirmingham that is dedicated to developing STEM skills and increasing the number of Alabamians who pursue STEM-based careers. She also serves on the Marketing and Sales Advisory Board for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business and is on the advisory board of Bronze Valley portfolio company Mixtroz.
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