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Eileen Tanghal Serves as a Panelist for Women in Venture Event at the GCV Symposium

Updated: Apr 30

Managing Director and Founder of Black Opal Ventures, Eileen Tanghal, joins a panel at the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium in London, England to discuss the women in venture.

London, UK - On June 20, 2023, Eileen Tanghal, Founder and Managing Director of Black Opal Ventures, served as a panelist at the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium. Eileen's participation was part of the highly regarded Women in Venture program, an initiative aimed at empowering women in the venture capital industry by fostering invaluable networks. The panel discussion, titled "What Women Bring to the Table," featured Nicole LeBlanc, a Partner at Woven Capital, and Grace Cassy, co-founder of CyLon.

Eileen emphasized the paramount importance of female role models and the need for increased representation. She spoke about the former female Head of the British Venture Capital Association, who not only served as a pivotal role model in Eileen's own journey but also played an instrumental role in propelling her to her current position. The panel underscored the profound impact that women in leadership positions have on fostering diversity within organizations. Eileen recalled opening up an Associate position at Black Opal Ventures and having the majority of applicants be women. “For the most part, when we have Associates apply, there's about 5 out of 100 women applying. Our numbers are usually unheard of, and the reason is because when women see that other women are running the firms, they apply.” These numbers were a testament to the fact that when women witness other women leading firms, they are inspired and encouraged to seize opportunities.

The panel also spoke on the subject of being underestimated, shedding light on its both positive and negative repercussions. Eileen articulated the challenges faced by young women striving to establish themselves in the industry. “When you’re starting out, and you look particularly young, it is hard for many people to distinguish whether you are the assistant or the associate. You get asked things like can you take my jacket, can you get me some coffee, and then, of course, you get coffee and you sit across from them, and they get very embarrassed.” She also explained the idea of a ‘glass ceiling’, which is an invisible barrier to progress in the workplace. Eileen candidly admitted encountering this obstacle numerous times in her own career, where despite a considerable number of women occupying low-level positions, higher-level roles were predominantly filled by men often due to prejudiced assumptions regarding maternity responsibilities.

Overall, the panelists summarized the myriad challenges faced by women in the venture capital industry and the broader professional landscape. Our primary takeaways are:

  1. Embrace and acknowledge your worth and unique skills. Recognize the distinctive value each individual brings to the table.

  2. Foster diverse connections and actively challenge your own biases. While it is natural to gravitate towards those who resemble ourselves, it is essential to proactively seek out diverse perspectives and experiences.

  3. Venture capitalists hold substantial influence in shaping a more diverse and representative future. By actively promoting and championing diversity within their organizations, they play a pivotal role in dismantling barriers and creating more inclusive industries.

This article was written by Ninne Court, a student at the American School in London.

GCV is Europe’s leading corporate venturing and innovation event, providing unique networking opportunities, as well as interactive talks and workshops. Black Opal Ventures aims to improve health outcomes for all by investing in companies at the collision of healthcare and technology.


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