Laetitia Gazel Anthoine is the Founder and CEO of Connecthings, a software company that specializes in providing real-time user location and context to mobile applications. Connecthings was founded in July 2007 and currently operates in six countries, with dual headquarters in NYC and Paris. Prior to Connecthings, Laetitia worked as a Project Director for Orange, the European Mobile Operator, where she managed the implementation of the first mobile internet gateway and the first music streaming service. Laetitia has a Master of Engineering in Computer Sciences and graduated from CentraleSupelec University. Laetitia is a member of the INRIA’s board of Directors, the French Public Science and Technology Institution, fully dedicated to computational sciences. Laetitia is the representative of a Women Initiative Foundation in North America.
With groups creating programs to encourage females to consider STEM, what is the biggest barrier to entry that is still prevalent today?
The biggest barrier is due to a bias that is set in the girls and boys minds since their youngest age. This bias is that some subjects or jobs are more masculine, that sciences and Maths are more for men even if women are very strong in these subjects until high school. The gap really starts at the end of high school when students have to select their University and major.
We have to highlight this bias and show girls that STEM careers should be considered as there is a huge amount of jobs – wide range and employment. We also have to market STEM courses is a way that echoes a girl's mindset.
What or who inspires you?
Entrepreneurs that want to change the world to widen our culture, knowledge and improve the planet - inspire me. I am a big fan of Jacques Coeur a French Entrepreneur of the 15th Century who transformed France by bringing culture, sciences and goods from Italy, Asia and Middle East to France. Thanks to his open-mindness, willingness and audacious character he succeeded in moving France from Moyen-Age to a new era - La renaissance.
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment?
In 2015, I raised $11M for Connecthings. It ranked as the #2 fund raising amount among the French companies founded by women. In 2016, I was named Femme d’Influence Espoir Economique 2016 http://femmesdinfluence.fr/les-laureates-2016/#economique and was nominated for the Femme d’Affaires Veuve Clicquot 2016 prize.