Dell celebrates the power of women entrepreneurs: My experiences at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network in Rio de Janeiro

I just returned from the second annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where I met some of the most inspiring and successful women business leaders in the world. It was amazing to see the commitment that these women have to help each other succeed and grow. Women entrepreneurs truly share a unique perspective and approach to business—and Dell is focused on empowering them to achieve their goals, using technology to support and help them along the way.

More than 100 female business leaders from around the world gathered with us to learn about technology, marketing, brand, social media and raising capital while building relationships and sharing insights. It was an impressive group, with standout speakers such as Carley Roney, founder of The Knot; venture consultant Judith Clegg, founder and CEO of Venturing Unlimited and The Glasshouse; Leila Velez, president of the Brazilian beauty chain Beleza Naturals; Sarah Prevette, CEO of Sprouter and recent recipient of’s 30 Under 30 honor; Neetu Bhatia, founder of KyaZoonga (India’s Ticketmaster); Amy Millman, president and co-founder of entrepreneur incubator Springboard Enterprises,  and Reina Otsuka, founder & CEO of Ecotwaza, a leading eco-friendly Japanese product export company.

Moira Forbes, president and publisher of Forbes Woman, emceed the event and Arianna Huffington even joined us via Skype for a spotlight interview. Luiza Helena Trajano, founder of the third largest retail chain in Brazil, provided good (and humorous) insight into doing business in Brazil—a country where more than half of the entrepreneurs are women!

The event kicked off the event in true Brazilian style Sunday night with dinner and Samba dancing in the world’s largest green reserve, followed by a day-and-a-half of hard-hitting sessions focused on growing your business, reaching customers and leveraging data in unprecedented ways. You can visit Dell’s Flickr page to see videos and photos from the event.

Journalists and bloggers in attendance couldn’t wait to share their experiences at DWEN. Stories to-date include a USA Today on “How women entrepreneurs are changing the world,” a Fortune blog on “Business building tips from Brazil,” and an article on the CBS Interactive Business Network called “The one surefire way to market to women.”

There are few times in your career that you’re part of something amazing and magical and, for me, participating in DWEN was one of them. Not only did these women forge relationships and swap business advice, but deals were actually struck between investors and business owners during the three day event. The attendees will continue to stay in touch with each other through Dell’s LinkedIn community, Women Powering Business.

I’m already gearing up for the 2012 event which we’ll host in India next summer!

About the Author: Karen Quintos

Karen Quintos is Dell’s first Chief Customer Officer (CCO), leading a global organization devoted to customer advocacy. Under Karen’s leadership, the CCO organization defines and develops Dell’s customer experience strategy and programs, with the goals of maximizing customer satisfaction, acquisition, retention and profitability. Karen is also responsible for Dell’s strategy and programs for Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity & Inclusion and Entrepreneurship — business imperatives she is passionate about and that matter to our customers and team members around the world. Previously at Dell, Karen served as senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer; vice president of Public Sector Marketing and North America Commercial; and she also held executive roles in services, support and supply chain management. Karen joined Dell in 2000 from Citigroup, where she was vice president of Global Operations and Technology. She spent 12 years with Merck in marketing, operations and supply chain leadership positions. Karen earned a master’s degree in marketing and international business from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. She is on the board of Lennox International and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She is also on the board of Penn State's Smeal College of Business, and a 2014 recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. Karen was listed among the most influential CMOs in the world by Forbes, and named 'Mother of the Year' by Working Mother magazine. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children.