About Martha

My career path has been untraditional, to say the least.  But it’s far from unfocused.  Throughout my career, I've been in a long-term quest to learn as much as possible about the inequities that exist in this world, and how we can reduce them. 

What I’ve found is that the most effective way to create a more equitable world is to improve the systems that we use to run it.  In other words, evolving the ways we organize ourselves as people: our governments, businesses, organizations, schools, and so on.  I'm inspired by how small changes to these systems have big impacts on people's lives, and my work lies specifically in helping startups, businesses and nonprofits make their workplaces more fair for all -- especially when it comes to intersectional* gender equity. 

Working with startups has been a consistent theme throughout my career. Startups hold incredible potential to create positive change by building inclusive systems from the beginning. The good news is that data shows diversity in the founding team is linked to successful business performance. 

Though many people have great intentions, they often don't know how to get started. That's where I come in--and why I always go beyond theory to crafting tangible, actionable solutions. I've hosted community conversations and trainings, such as through Seattle Startup Week and General Assembly, consulted with small businesses, and worked one-on-one with entrepreneurs. 

 

I’ve gathered my knowledge in three main ways:

Training: A degree in political science, supplemented by entrepreneurship and women’s and gender studies, gave me a strong foundation of understanding how business and political systems function. I strongly believe that formal education is only one path of many to gain knowledge and experience, and my degree has been complemented by a significant amount of ongoing, self-guided education. 

Travel: Studying, working, and volunteering long-term in multiple countries further unveiled the complex and often hidden layers in our systems that inadvertently perpetuate inequities.  There is no better teacher than experiencing first-hand how the meaning and treatment of gender varies greatly in different cultures.  When I returned home, those lessons have allowed me the ability to critically analyze my own (American) culture, seeing more clearly the deeply-held and highly complex ways that we define and enforce gender norms.  I’m currently based in Seattle, but have also lived in The Netherlands, Guatemala, and New Zealand, and traveled to over 30 countries.

Work Experience: Finally, I took those learnings and applied them in a way that creates practical, measurable change.  Working as a Global Operations Director for an international nonprofit and consulting for entrepreneurs and small businesses gave me the ability to implement small changes in the way an organization is run, creating large impacts on diversity and inclusion.  For example, I helped increase the inclusiveness at one nonprofit by making small operational changes that, over time, increased international team participation threefold.

 Follow me on Twitter @EqualiSea or read my thoughts on gender at www.EqualiSea.org "The pulse on gender equity in Seattle & beyond"

Currently accepting projects.


*“Intersectional” is an important word, because it means that I don’t think of gender as an isolated part of our identities.  In fact, gender overlaps significantly with other traits such as race, age, class, and sexual orientation.  When examining how to improve gender equity, therefore, we often also need to take these aspects into account. 


Seattle Startup Week panel I organized and moderated to engage the entrepreneurship community in a solutions-based discussion on diversity and inclusion.