• The QWoC MBA

Today I Read that one of the first self made female billionaires was charged with massive fraud

According to multiple media outlets, today the United States Security Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Elizabeth Holmes, founder and head of Theranos, with financial crimes.

Quick Summary: The SEC alleges that Holmes’ blood testing company, Theranos, raised over $700m from investors by making false and exaggerated statements about its technology and performance. Theranos claimed to offer portable, fast and low cost blood testing with merely a finger prick. Although Holmes and Theranos have not yet confirmed or denied the charges, in order to settle the complaint Holmes will have to pay a $500k penalty, is barred from running a public company for 10 years and must return close to 19 million shares of company stock.

Big Takeaway: “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday. Jina Choi, head of the San Francisco office of the SEC

Something I did not know: At her peak Holmes was worth $4.5b, but it was all on paper as she never sold any shares.

Makes me feel/think about: The story is significant for many reasons, particularly the fact that Holmes was a young college dropout with a great idea that put her on track for wealth and success. It is the same story we have heard time and time again about men, but never hear about women. In some ways this feels like a setback, but I also think it demonstrates that just like men, women fail. Female leaders disappoint, just like male leaders. While I support and champion women breaking down stereotypes, I think it's important to recognize that things are not always going to be perfect. The crimes allegedly committed by Elizabeth Holmes are serious indicators of poor character. I will continue to root for the women currently doing great things and the women who will come after them.

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