Episode 138 – Featuring Rebecca Harris (Chatham University) and Silicon Valley Marketing Guru Regis McKenna

Examining the State of Women-Owned Business in Western Pennsylvania, Plus One Silicon Valley Icon With Pittsburgh Roots Remembers Another

As entrepreneurship continues to lead the way in revivifying the American economy, one significant subgroup driving this rise in entrepreneurship is that of the women-owned business.  In the past nine years, women-owned businesses have seen their ranks rise by 45% throughout the country, according to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express OPEN.

That same number is vastly different in Western Pennsylvania, and not necessarily for the better, as women-owned businesses in the region have increased about half as fast, at just under 24%, according to the same report.

While some may see the fact that Western Pennsylvania’s growth is a good sign…..it COULD be a decline, after all…..others are wondering why the rate of local growth pales in comparison to the national numbers.

We’ll answer some of these questions on this edition of The Raja Show”, as Raja talks with Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.  Rebecca breaks down what the numbers mean for the region, and assesses what the region’s business, economic, and political leaders can do to foster even further growth for women-owned businesses in Western Pennsylvania.

-Plus,regular listeners of “The Raja Show” have enjoyed the frequent contributions of Regis McKenna since our debut, and for good reason.   As a born-and-bred Pittsburgh native who embarked on a storied career en route to the Silicon Valley, Regis has evolved into a Silicon Valley icon whose innovation and eye for “outside the box” tech marketing strategy have been critical to the growth and development of such tech titans as Apple, Macintosh, HP, Electronic Arts, and many more.  His pedigree is second to none.

Well…maybe…second to ONE.  (And don’t worry, Regis will be the first one to agree!)

With Monday’s passing of Bill Campbell, Silicon Valley lost a giant, and, stop if you heard this before: a born-and-bred Pittsburgh native who embarked on a storied career en route to the Silicon Valley.   And while Regis made his made his mark on marketing strategy, Campbell’s bread-and-butter was leadership and mentorship.

He was, after all, “The Coach”.

Yes, the Homestead native literally WAS a head coach of Columbia University’s football team from 1974 to 1979.  And while his on-field record (12-41-1) wasn’t exactly a threat to Bear Bryant, it was his subsequent coaching record that was far more important.  Nicknamed “The Coach of Silicon Valley”, he had a knack for shaping entrepreneurs into leaders, by taking people who started with an idea and little else, and conveying the importance of connecting with your employees in a way that will enable them to follow you through thick and thin.

Some of “The Coach”‘s players in THIS game?  Apple founder Steve Jobs.  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.  Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.  Just to name a few.

His impact has been felt far and wide along Silicon Valley, and the way that many of its companies are run can be traced directly to Campbell’s influence.  On this show, Regis talks with Raja about impact that Bill Campbell had not only on Silicon Valley’s tech giants, but also on Regis himself.