Celebrating PAX Women CEOs

Elizabeth Jafek
March 29, 2023

As we wrap up Women's History Month, I don’t want to miss the chance to brag about the inspirational female founders that PAX has invested in. Working closely with these trailblazing CEOs is one of the highlights of my job. But what makes these women truly remarkable? Instead of relying on my own admiration, I went straight to the source - their co-founders. The people you are betting everything on the passion, drive, and vision of these women.  The result? A celebration of some truly awe-inspiring women. Let's dive into a few of them.

Lauren was incredible to have at PAX – she’s one of the most experienced founders I’ve ever worked with and she was always generous about sharing her wisdom. When she came into the PAX program, she laid out a channel partnership strategy for sales that the PAX team was skeptical she’d be able to pull off. She proved us wrong and has signed astoundingly large contracts with major resellers for her solar-powered nanogrids. 

Her cofounder Namit Jhanwar said that “Lauren has one of the best strategic minds I have ever come across, her vision and envisioning a complete solution to a problem is one of her key strengths. She’s also incredible at managing people and motivating them to push the envelope to achieve success.” Namit admires Lauren’s “confidence and willingness to impart knowledge. She has been a great mentor to me and helped me grow as a leader by always sharing constructive feedback on decisions.” Lauren is an amazing leader, not just because of her intelligence and drive, but because of her willingness to give back.

Pava is one of those young, charismatic founders that people can’t get enough of. When we were conducting due diligence on the company, I ended up feeling suspicious because everyone who knew Pava was such a fervent fan. Turns out she really is that good – she’s built an amazing team and has had some of the fastest progress we’ve ever seen from a PAX graduate.

Pava’s cofounder Sherrod Davis said that “Pava is extremely dedicated and determined. She tackles challenges head on and always puts the company first. She has a natural ability to see where markets are headed and has a knack for teaching and training. I've learned so much from her while working together. I think one of the things I admire most about Pava is that she stays true to her values no matter what and she's not afraid to tell you what she believes either. She's an inspirational leader who does so by example. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be on this ride with her everyday.” Pava is someone who not only has a vision, but is able to effectively communicate that vision and inspire others with it.

Fonta has one of the most fascinating careers I’ve ever encountered for a CEO. She was a diplomat under the Obama administration and was inspired to start her fintech company by the social banking practices she saw in Africa. Fonta commands a room everytime she walks in and there’s no doubt in my mind she is building something incredible.  I also got to see her go ziplining for the first time at Paxapalooza so I was impressed with her bravery as well!

Fonta’s cofounder Dalia Alsaid said that “Fonta is a curious and creative CEO; she possesses excellent innovative problem-solving skills and decisiveness. She is an excellent listener, understanding, and an open-minded CEO who can collect and maintain a team from different nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures in Wellthi.” Dalia also talked about their personal relationship. Dalia said “I honestly like Fonta a lot as a person. I truly appreciate her passion and how she believes in Wellthi's mission of impacting people's lives; she believes in developing others around her and is possibly the most honest and integral CEO I have worked with which - in my opinion - is a great asset to help build quality teams and retain high integrity calibers. She is resilient and relentless.” Fonta is a mover and shaker – one of those people I think would be successful at whatever they turn their hand to.

Erin was in the very first PAX cohort so I’ve gotten to follow her for the longest – and see her incredible work ethic. When orders picked up for her sustainable and responsible eCommerce platform, Erin was doing everything humanly possible to get orders out the door – all the way to boxing up and shipping things herself!

Her cofounder Emily said that “Erin is a natural communicator. Connecting with people and making meaningful connections between the people she knows is one of her key strengths. Her thoughtfulness in how she communicates is genuine and a major asset when it comes to building a team and securing partnerships that are key to our company's growth.” Emily and Erin have worked together for a long time, and Emily “admires Erin's ability to transform a new idea into something real. She's energized by learning something new and is skilled at distilling a big idea into its core components. She tackles new challenges with a work ethic that is persistent and driven. She's my favorite person to work with and am always grateful to have such an incredible co-founder and friend!” Erin hit on what I think is Emily’s greatest strength – her ability as a communicator. I loved getting to see her express her vision.

I am truly inspired by these women. They have each impressed me individually with their drive, focus, and ambition. Women’s History Month is wrapping up, but these women are working hard 12 months per year – so let's raise a glass to these groundbreaking women and their unwavering commitment to innovation and progress!