The voices behind Voice & Influence

You are here

The voices behind Voice & Influence

Online institute interviewees share their inspiration to promote women’s leadership

by Jessica Asperger on Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:41am


Filiming of V&I“I have access to amazing resources,” explains Rosie Roca, a student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The list of what she is learning at business school is long: from financial management to negotiation to forming professional communities. Roca is grateful for her GSB education. She is also quick to acknowledge that business school classes are relatively small compared to the number of people who hunger for the education.

What excites Roca about the Clayman Institute for Gender Research’s Voice & Influence program — the online curriculum featured in the recently launched Lean — is the possibility of reaching professional women everywhere. 

Research-driven university lectures are not new to the online medium. The Voice & Influence twist: the 20-minute videos translate academic research into accessible terms and present clear actions so viewers can implement change that very day. Interviews with women sharing their professional experiences help build a bridge between research and practice. In this Gender News article, four women share their experiences contributing to the Voice & Influence videos.

The women profiled here come from varied professional backgrounds, but what draws them together is a deep commitment to women’s leadership. In their personal lives, many go to great lengths to support other women. For Voice & Influence, they braved the camera to contribute their ideas and experiences, with the hope of inspiring a wider community of women to share experiences and support each other’s successes.

Stacy Brown-Philpot, COO of TaskRabbit

Brown-PhilpotIn one of Stacy Brown-Philpot’s first meetings as an investment banker, a woman colleague approached her with this advice: “Stacy, if you learn nothing else in this business, never get the coffee.”

“I had no idea what she meant,” Brown-Philpot recalls. “She never explained that there were perceptions of gender roles that getting coffee played into and that I needed to get a seat at the table and participate in the discussion. All I knew was that I should never get coffee, so from that day forward, I never did.”

"The things I care about are equality and the ability of women to make empowered decisions.”  — Stacy Brown-Philpot, COO of TaskRabbit

As the current Chief Operating Officer of TaskRabbit, an online marketplace where people can go to outsource small jobs and tasks to people in their neighborhood, and the former Head of Online Sales and Operations for Google India, Brown-Philpot learned what it takes to be a woman leader. By sharing stories, leaders can help individuals and communities move forward. Doing so, she says, we can avoid old mistakes and debunk misconceptions. 

Brown-Philpot, who appears in the Voice & Influence modules on "Harnessing the Power of Story" and "Creating a Level Playing Field," joined the Lean launch team to build community and to share her story with women facing similar challenges. “I want them to learn from my mistakes,” she explains. “The things I care about are equality and the ability of women to make empowered decisions.”  She hopes that participating in this initiative will help people to achieve those goals.

Rosie Roca, 
MBA student and marketer

RocaAfter graduating from college, Rosmary "Rosie" Roca started working in sports marketing, and she noticed that very few women held leadership positions.  She researched other fields. The more she learned, the clearer it became: the dearth of women in senior roles spans all disciplines and careers.  The realization piqued her interest in women’s leadership, particularly as she hopes to enter the male-dominated fields of technology and software upon completing her MBA. 

Through her experiences and classes at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Roca is now ready to take the challenges of leadership head on. “So many accomplished women are involved with Lean In, and I feel like I could learn so much from them,” she says.

“By teaching leadership skills to more women in the workplace, they are really trying to empower an incredibly talented demographic.Rosie Roca, MBA Student and Marketer

Roca appears in the Voice & Influence video about "Negotiation." She was initially hesitant about how useful her youthful experience would be to the project, especially when compared to that of the more seasoned women. She was quickly assured that her genuine perspective was the perfect vehicle to encourage all women, and especially the younger ones, to see that negotiation is a learnable, and even creative, process.

Thinking about the online curriculum, Roca adds, “By teaching leadership skills to more women in the workplace, they [the creators of Voice & Influence] are really trying to empower an incredibly talented demographic.I’m very excited to see where the project goes and to be a part of it.”

Maxie McCoy
, Community Manager of Levo League

McCoyMaxie McCoy works with passionate young professionals every day at Levo League, a social good startup designed to elevate young women in the workforce. In her work, she is acutely aware of the value of community.  She explains that she and her Generation Y peers value learning from women who have already found success.  “I believe we can change things right now,” says McCoy,  “The best way [to do so] is by listening to these incredible women and learning from the amazing experiences they’ve had and changes they’ve already made.”

“At the end of the day, I want every woman to believe she can have the career she wants and stay in that career.” Maxie McCoy, Community Manager of Levo League

McCoy wants to be a part of this mentorship process on both sides. Her participation in the Voice & Influence video on "Power & Influence" reflects her goal of using her success to help other women. The support that the Clayman Institute and Lean provide women is setting the stage for fundamental changes in the workforce, she adds. 

“At the end of the day, I want every woman to believe she can have the career she wants and stay in that career,” McCoy says. “I want her to have the resources and support to navigate the challenges that arise.” For McCoy, working with communities like Levo League, Voice & Influence, and Lean is a step in the right direction. 

Sally Thornton, Entrepreneur, Founder and Chief Curator of Forshay

Thornton imageSally Thornton, who appears on the Voice & Influence module on "Negotiation," noticed that many talented women leaders in the Bay Area felt the need to choose between their careers and raising a family. “I wanted to see women leaders engage on their own terms, not to feel like it was an all-or-nothing path,” she says.

Thornton founded Forshay in 2011 to offer new work models designed to simultaneously meet the needs of individuals and companies.  Her aim is to help women—and men—use their professional capabilities to support their full lives, and by rethinking work to increase creativity and innovation. “We need to rethink amazing work and amazing lives,” she says. “People on all sides of the equation do better when these two complement each other.” 

“Communities as a whole benefit when talented people work on terms that are fulfilling for them.” — Sally Thorton, Founder and Chief Curator at Forshay

Thornton, a Clayman Institute advisor, sees the Institute’s efforts as an important catalyst for change.  “There is real, concrete benefit to gender parity—a more equal future will be more profitable, sustainable, and fulfilling for everyone involved,” she says. “However, at the current rate, it will be 2081 before we see true equality in business.” 

Thornton believes that Voice & Influence, and the partnership with Lean, can accelerate this process through education and community building.  “We need to create business relationships that are sustainable, for our sons as much as for our daughters,” Thornton says. “Communities as a whole benefit when talented people work on terms that are fulfilling for them.”


For more information on Voice & Influence and Lean In communities, visit the Clayman Insitute’s website at or


image of stacy

Stacy Brown-Philpot is a leader in operations and strategic management. Before taking the operational helm at TaskRabbit, Brown-Philpot served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Google Ventures. Brown-Philpot holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.


image of sallySally Thornton is the Founder and Chief Curator of Forshay, a new recruiting firm that provides resources on-demand. Thornton is a guest lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She has a BA from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

McCoyMaxie McCoy is the community manager for Levo League, a thriving community of young professionals. McCoy has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Masters degree in Media, both from Lehigh University.


image of RosieRosie Roca is a second-year MBA Student at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to business school, she was a Market Research and Strategy Manager for The Kraft Sports Group. Roca graduated from Harvard College in 2007, with a BA in Government and a citation in French.

image of Jessica Asperger

Jessica Asperger is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Literature with a concentration in Iberian and Latin American Literature.  She is also an Honors candidate in the Ethics in Society program, where she is researching the ethics of volunteer tourism and service abroad. She is a member of the Clayman Institute's Student Writing Team.