Five Women to Watch in Venture

November 28, 2022

Author

Jessica Schultz

Venture capital has historically been a boys club with only 12% of decision-makers at venture capital firms being women and 65% of firms still do not have a single female partner, according to Forbes. 

While the pace of change is slower than we’d hope, it is happening. We've rounded up five women who are paving their own way in the industry, breaking the mold, and creating more space for successful female investors and entrepreneurs. 

The next generation of female decision makers, partners, and fund managers is here. Five women to watch in Venture Capital:

Rachel Kern 

Rachel Kern

Rachel Kern is a Vice President at First Trust Capital Partners, an early and growth stage firm that invests primarily in financial services and healthcare technology. Rachel leads their healthcare strategy covering both new investments and portfolio management. Prior to joining First Trust, she spent five years in investment banking focused on healthcare transactions. Rachel has become known as the go-to expert and thought leader in healthcare investing among her peers. She is an active Board Member for MidAmerica Healthcare Investors Network, Sonara Health, ReferralPoint, SendaRide, and Conversio Health.

Rachel is extremely passionate about advancing the healthcare industry and supporting the founders paving the way. She’s down to earth, practical and brings unique creativity to growth strategy and problem solving. 

Rachel Mackey

Rachel Mackey

Rachel Mackey is the Head of Platform at OCA Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on fintech, enterprise software, consumer software, and digital health investments. Rachel originally joined OCA as an Executive Assistant. She quickly impressed the team and their network, and was promoted to lead the development of their Platform team. 

As the Head of Platform she is responsible for supporting OCA’s portfolio companies with hiring, vendor recommendations, business development initiatives, and identifying resources that will help them scale. 

Rachel’s energy is infectious and we are so excited to see how OCA’s platform team evolves under her leadership. 

Sonia El-Sherif

Sonia EL-Sherif

Sonia El-Sherif is the Chief of Staff for JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of JLL, focused on founders who are pioneering the future of commercial real estate. 

Prior to joining Spark, Sonia was a top sales leader and broker on JLL’s commercial real estate team. She’s an experienced business development professional who has incredible drive, curiosity, and charisma. Sonia is a power house who is known for making it happen - whatever the task is - she is resourceful and relentless and will succeed. 

Sonia has quickly made a name for herself in the venture industry and it will be fun to watch her dominate. 

Carolyn Kwon

Carolyn Kwon

Carolyn Kwon is the Program Director at Moderne Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on technology companies that can innovate in or around real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance, hospitality and home services. Carolyn is responsible for leading Moderne’s Passport program—a highly immersive six-month-long customer growth program. The Passport program provides startup participants with the education, exposure, insight, and relationships that drive customer growth.

Prior to Moderne Ventures, Carolyn was in business development at LinkedIn, helping organizations transform and accelerate their hiring processes. 

Carolyn’s positive energy helps her excel at community and team building. She is incredibly organized and dedicated to performing at the highest level. A true asset to every company she works with! 

Cristin Pacifico 

Cristin Pacifico

Cristin Pacifico is Director of Strategy and Venture Investing at TechNexus, a first-of-its-kind venture collaborative. TechNexus invests capital, resources, and expertise to help their enterprise partners create new products, services, and business models. Cristin leads investments in various sectors with emphasis on mobility, ACES technology, and outdoor recreation. An advocate for increasing equity and diversity in venture and tech, Cristin serves on the advisory board of Chicago:Blend and Tech Equity Working group with GET Cities.


Cristin’s quick rise in venture capital can be attributed to her combined experience as an investor and operator. She started her career in investment banking and then transitioned to HomeChef to get hands-on operating experience before entering the VC scene. Cristin is well known for her analytical skills, team oriented approach and tireless work ethic. 

Cristin is on a mission and you want her on your team.

I am grateful to have each and every one of these women in my life as business partners, mentors, and friends. Their stories and passion are truly inspirational. Founders, if you can get them on your captable, consider yourself lucky! - Jess Schultz, CEO, Amplify Group

Grab your popcorn, these ladies are going to run the world.