Code Commerce 2019: The rise of the female entrepreneur

From CEOs to founders to innovators to VPs, the all-star line-up wasn’t just one of the most interesting topics of conversation – it was the important one.

There was a lot of talk about Amazon at Code Commerce this past Monday and Tuesday in New York City. The Caldwell Factory in Chelsea was buzzing with over 400 commerce and tech executives gathering for two days to discuss how innovation is transforming the way consumers today choose to spend their money. As long as Amazon continues to be the world’s most customer-centric company and a leader in innovation, it’s probable we will be the topic of many keynotes, podcasts, and meandering monologues.

The Amazon Pay team was also on site in full effect, welcoming attendees to the #ConnectedwithPay café, a cozy networking lounge complete with charging stations, couches, and caffeine. Sponsored by Amazon Pay, the lounge was one of two rooms at the event, which meant between sessions and during built-in networking times, the space was filled with conversations and connections.


As we entered into day two of the event though, it became clear who the real standout of the show was: female leaders.

From CEOs to founders to innovators to VPs, the all-star line-up wasn’t just the more interesting topic of conversation – it was the important one. One after another, authentic, thoughtful, inspiring, and down-right hard working women who transformed the retail space took to the stage – and we leaned in. Hard.

Danielle Marino from Ecovative Design is creating compostable packaging using mycelium a.k.a mushrooms. Seriously, go read up on this.

Julie Wainwright of The RealReal is pioneering a different kind of sustainability in the retail space with online luxury consignment, a company she recently took public with a $1.7 billion valuation. Her tenacity and candor filled the room as she explained how she had trouble finding venture capitalists in the male-dominated industry.

Tara Walpert Levy, VP of Agency and Brand Solutions for Google was accompanied by a choreographer (and YouTube sensation), Kyle Hanagami. Together they walked us through the opportunity between influencers and brands, and how this duo can be quite impactful when influencers are given creative control. Tara has been a tech and media executive for over 20 years.

Co-founders of Away, Jen Rubio and Steph Korey shared their passion for building a brand that gives people a sense of delight. They are vigilant about soliciting customer feedback and using it to continuously build better products.

Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway talked us through her ten year journey building ‘the closet in the cloud’. The Rent the Runway community has largely grown organically, thanks to a dedication to customer loyalty and experience. Jennifer is also passionate about creating better equality for women entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to venture capitalist firms and funding.

Additionally, our very own Kelly Wenzel, Director of Marketing at Amazon Pay, gave an insightful overview of the third era of commerce: voice. During this ‘power lunch’ session, she encouraged the 30+ attendees to explore what’s #PossiblewithPay and Alexa. Learn more about voice here.

At Amazon, diversity and inclusion are critically important. It’s a focal point we will not turn away from until we’ve achieved balance. We want to empower all employees with a broad range of life experiences to utilize their diverse perspectives to better serve our customers. This is a company-wide initiative from the highest leadership level at Amazon to smaller teams like Amazon Pay.

As for Code Commerce 2019, it’s easy to get lost in the ‘noise’ but if you listen carefully, the roar of greatness rises above the rest. Thankfully, we heard it loud and clear.