Lindsey Taylor Wood, CEO
Lindsey brings 15 years of experience as a leader in the gender equality movement to The Helm.
An expert in the empowerment of girls and women, Lindsey is the Founder and President of LTW, an impact studio with an emphasis on contemporary feminism. Clients include actor Matt McGorry, MAKERS, The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, The Harnisch Foundation, Women Moving Millions, and filmmakers Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus and Rashida Jones, among others. In partnership with these clients, LTW designed and implemented a wide range of programs, products, and systems, including but not limited to funding mechanisms and mentorship programs for media makers, content strategies for films and television programming, philanthropic strategies for family foundations, and social impact campaigns. Her ability to use philanthropy and culture symbiotically, and with a gender lens, has made her a sought after strategist in the women’s rights movement.
Prior to consulting, Lindsey was on the founding team of Catapult, a crowdfunding platform for girls and women. Incubated as a project of Women Deliver, Catapult was designed to establish and maintain a sustained, long-term funding infrastructure capable of scaling to many thousands of projects and delivering millions of dollars in funds to benefit girls and women over the next decade. While there, she led the marketing, communications, and outreach initiatives.
Lindsey also worked for Women Deliver, a leading global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing — and among the first organizations to promote the investment case for girls and women. Cornerstone projects of her time there included the Women Deliver 50 Campaign which showcased the top 50 ideas and solutions for women and girls internationally, and the training of youth advocates from 11 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa as part of an invitation-only regional consultation in Kampala, Uganda with government officials and agencies, policymakers, researchers, experts, and advocates focused on achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 5.
Pre-NGOs, Lindsey worked with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, where she explained U.S. policy to Voice of America’s worldwide audience through editorials broadcast on television, radio, and the internet; acted as an off-air reporter and producer for the TODAY show; and as the External Relations Manager for The Lunchbox Fund. She has contributed to a variety of campaigns centered on conflicts in Central Africa, as well as “The Enough Moment,” a book by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle. She has been named one of the 20 Young Champions for Women by The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, currently serves on the Feminist.com Board of Directors, and advises the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
Julie Weber, COO
Julie has fifteen years of private and public sector experience in global media and advocacy, internal communications, and project management. She has spent much of her career advocating for the health and rights of women and girls, and her role at The Helm provides the perfect opportunity for her passion and expertise to intersect.
As COO of The Helm, Julie oversees day-to-day operations across all business lines. This includes coordinating HR, accounting, legal, and other operational activities. Her support of Fund I included fund administration and reporting, sourcing deals, investor relations, and platform and portfolio support. She works closely with the CEO on the strategic plan and vision for the company to ensure efficacy and cohesion between short and long-term goals.
Previously, Julie worked with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In her various roles in both internal and external communications, she executed large-scale, high-profile international initiatives, developed key partnerships, and connected diverse teams and stakeholders inside and outside of the organization.
During her tenure there, Julie worked closely with the Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative; a global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action to address the major health challenges facing women, children, and adolescents around the world. Additionally, in her role as Managing Editor of the internal organizational online news magazine for UNFPA, she reported on internal news and activities for the information of more than 2000 staff stationed in 165 offices around the world. She is especially proud of her early work with the Campaign to End Fistula, which brought a debilitating injury of childbirth to global attention through public awareness and advocacy campaigns, events, press briefings, and outreach. Julie also worked to support the launch of Catapult, a crowdfunding platform incubated by the globally-recognized maternal health organization Women Deliver.
Julie holds a Masters Degree in Gender, Development, and Globalisation from the London School of Economics, where she focused her studies on exploring the gendered intricacies of post-conflict societies and their implications on women, peace, and security.
Megan Ananian, Head of Membership and General Partner
Megan joins The Helm after 10 years in the private securities sector. As a General Partner, she will lead Membership as well as sourcing and diligencing investments for the fund. She brings with her a passion for reducing economic inequality by democratizing access to private equity and connecting underrepresented founders with capital.
Prior to joining the team, Megan invested in early-stage startups at Seedinvest, a New York City-based broker-dealer, $40 million fund, and the largest equity crowdfunding platform in the U.S. Seedinvest has invested over $250 million into 220 companies ranging from Pre-Seed to Series B across industries internationally and has an investor base of 300,000+. Notably, Megan and her team invested over $33 million in Q2 2020 during the COVID crisis. At Seedinvest, Megan learned the nuances of pricing and structuring debt and equity securities while also gaining operational experience leading the female founder initiative, partnerships, founder content, events, and investor relations as part of a less than 25 person startup team. She is qualified to solicit and sell private placement securities as part of a primary offering as licensed by FINRA (Series 63 and 82). Select investments include: Solace Cares, Limeloop, Leda Health, Frame Media, Pocketnest, Sense Neuro, Truckbux, Aromyx.
Previously, Megan structured over $1 billion in debt private placements over 6 years in investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities. She managed the P&L for the Northeast which included winning 25 new client relationships generating $3.4 million in annual revenue. Her work included sales to Fortune 500 CFOs and nonprofits, pricing and structuring interest rates and derivatives, negotiating term sheets, and managing three-month closings across 21 states. Megan has strategy consulting experience with clients across three continents including a learning management platform with over six million users in Kenya, a State Department of Education, and the premier angel investing network in Indonesia. Additionally, Megan implemented the white-labeled SaaS solution for online learning at 23 graduate schools as a Product Manager at 2U. There, she managed the Live Sessions feature, communicating with university stakeholders, conducting market research, and analyzing strategic vendor relationships.
Megan earned her MBA from Yale School of Management, where she led the Responsible Investing Club, served as Admissions Ambassador, captained the Ice Hockey team, and tutored over 70 undergraduates in Accounting and Valuation. In addition, Megan graduated Magna Cum Laude in Accounting from the University of South Carolina, where she received both the Caroliniana & Outstanding Senior awards in recognition of service and leadership to the community.
Olivia Fleming, Head of Content
Olivia brings more than a decade of digital editorial experience to The Helm. As Head of Content, she has built a robust content platform that capitalizes on gender-lens investing trends and conversations around women and wealth, launching several female founder and funder-focused franchises that offer exclusive insight into the trials and tribulations of building game-changing companies from the women founding and leading them. Through unrivaled financial advice, innovative investor coverage, and boundary-pushing features, Olivia ensures The Helm’s content platform not only facilitates deal flow—giving female funders access to easy and trusted funding opportunities—but also helps to propel the success of the women we invest in, cementing The Helm as a thought leader in the female founder space.
Prior to her role at The Helm, Olivia was the Features Director at Harper’s BAZAAR, where she led strategy and programming for large-scale digital projects—including long-form features, ambitious packages, video, and podcasts—that elevated BAZAAR’s content mix across platforms through female storytelling. Her commitment to comprehensive women-led storytelling in America’s oldest fashion magazine helped to grow the readership from 11 million to 25 million, with many of her stories sparking national conversations on everything from emotional labor to the realities of breast pumping. Utilizing her connections in the media, PR, and creative industries, Olivia also launched Hearst’s first podcast, Dare I Say, a politically-driven series hosted by Olivia Wilde featuring intimate conversations with heavyweights like Jane Fonda, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Laverne Cox, which drew in significant advertising sponsorship, as did her signature franchise, Women Who Dare.
Born in New Zealand, Olivia was raised with the basic belief that women are imperative to leading a successful, progressive country (two female prime ministers took office during her childhood). After moving to New York in 2008, she realized that her home country’s status quo was at odds with the rest of the world, so she set out to tell the untold, female-led stories that legitimize women’s duel interest in fashion and human rights, ultimately compelling company leaders, politicians, and organizations to tackle issues around gender equality. It is this commitment to female storytelling and brand-building that has distinguished The Helm as the premier platform to bring you the most compelling and innovative female-founded companies, tell you why they matter and connect you with ways to fund them directly.
Prior to BAZAAR, Olivia was the executive style editor at The Village Voice. With a Bachelor of Journalism from the Auckland University of Technology, Olivia has written for publications like T Magazine, Elle, Vogue, The New York Observer, Interview magazine, and more.
Penny Abeywardena, Pilar Guzman, Kathryn Minshew, Pat Mitchell, Arlie Sisson, Gail Tifford, Jamia Wilson