Women's summit March 23 features THINX founder Miki Agrawal, STAR talk on sexual harassment in business



Miki Agrawal, the colorful founder and self-described "she-e-o" of THINX "period underwear" — you might remember a controversy in which the New York City subway system objected to her company's ads, which used creative visuals to allude to menstruation — will participate in a women's summit and fireside chat during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) next week.

Other speakers include Rebecca Marchiafava, vice president of Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response (STAR), who will discuss navigating "gray area" behavior in the workplace (such as inappropriate touching, or an invitation that seems a bit too friendly); Lisa Chow, who co-hosts the StartUp podcast; and local entrepreneur Lelia Gowland.

Startup and entrepreneurial culture is famously challenging for women. Just this week, Fortune reported that female founders received just $1.46 billion to men's $58.2 billion in venture capital investments in 2016, and Agrawal herself recently came under fire from former workers who have questions about the way her company treated its female employees. NOEW, however, seems to be doing its best to buck this trend. According to information provided by the festival, 50 percent of its participating startups were founded by women, which includes companies in tech, digital media, food and beverage and marketing.

The festival and women's summit are free, but participants must register to attend. The summit takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 23 in the library at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

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