By Jason Alderman, Fastronaut #12
The business industry has spoken: Allison Barr Allen is a superstar.
Entrepreneur recently named Fast’s co-founder and chief operating officer to its 100 Powerful Women list. That’s not all. Allison also won a Silver Stevie Award, an industry honor recognizing excellence in business, in the “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” category.
For me, this comes as no surprise. Allison is charting that path to Fast being the internet’s go-to service for quick, easy, and safe online purchases. At Fast, she also leads on workplace initiatives, such as Fast’s flexible work program, which allows our team of 60 to work from anywhere in the world.
I’ve worked for many strong leaders in my career -- groundbreaking people who have run companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars and others who have helped shape American history. Allison fits easily into this pantheon of leaders. What stands out about Allison is her relentless determination, coupled with a thoughtfulness few others possess. I saw that the first time I met her last year over coffee, and I live it every day now that I work with her. These will not be the last awards Allison receives.
Allison is emphatic about empowering fellow women entrepreneurs and advocates for diversity in business. As an investor, Allison has always had a special interest in companies led by women from outside the Bay Area funding network bubble. In the first year of leading her angel investment firm, Trail Run Capital, 70 percent of the startups Allison invested in were led by female, immigrant, Black, and Latinx founders. Allison pledged that members of these communities will helm at least half of the startups she plans to back this year.
“At Fast, we’ve recognized that cultivating a diverse company goes beyond just hiring. Leaders should create a culture where employees feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work,” Allison told Entrepreneur. “Too often when companies create diversity groups or initiatives, those diverse voices are required to do the actual work. It is great to invest in these initiatives, but it should be a core part of the company, and all employees should feel they have a role to play, rather than creating a one-off project to check off the list.”
We owe much of our company culture and many of our wins this year to Allison’s leadership. Allison is a trailblazer, and I know there will be more opportunities to celebrate her work.