Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek discusses her realisation that black women founders were being overlooked – and what her organisation is doing to address the issue.

At Future Human 2022, Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek dialled in to give a talk about the future of inclusive investment.

Astia is a network that is looking to level the investment playing field. But Vosmek spoke candidly about realising that Astia’s previous equality, diversity and inclusion tactics weren’t working for black women CEOs.

“I’m awfully critical of my industry and I’m the first to stand up and say where its failings exist and where we could improve.”

As soon as she realised what needed to be done, Vosmek and her colleagues set up Astia Edge, a programme designed to redress the funding imbalance.

“We noted that for our white female CEOs, we had asked questions about the potential of the business. Where was it going, what did its future look like, what was the promise of the future and the promise of the business through this team.

“Unfortunately, our questions with black women were not so generous. They tended to be questions about what had or had not been achieved. They were more critical of a history of the business than excitement about the future of the business.”


Words by Blathnaid O’Dea