Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are changing the world. Our leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, and are all doing their part to have an impact in their communities and at their workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their background and path to success.

What is your name and title?

Madeline Duva, CEO of Fluxx.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

Fluxx is a mission driven company, whose goal is to democratize philanthropy by creating the go-to grants management platform powering giving and impact in the world. As CEO, my role is to drive the strategy and lead this incredible team in achieving their individual and company goals.

What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

Not worrying about what other people think. I have always had a clear set of values. I have found that staying true to those values makes seemingly hard decisions easier. You will never please everyone.

Being clear about what is important to you, and making decisions based on what that means, means you never have to compromise who you are. At the end of the day, integrity is everything.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

Taking up space. As a woman, it was a hard thing to learn as we are taught to be “sugar and spice and everything nice”. When we speak up or have a strong opinion, it is often taken completely differently than it would be if a man had said it. It was a scary thing to do at first, but it is critical to speak up and voice your opinions.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you? 

I didn’t grow up in the era of mentorship that I see today.

That being said, I had amazing parents and siblings who shaped who I am today. Additionally, as someone who loves to learn, many teachers from grade school to grad school left lasting impressions on me.

On the other end of that, I do a lot of mentoring. One, because I love it; and two, because I wish I had more formal mentorship when I was first in my career. To me, mentorship not only provides a sounding board and insights, but it offers a view of the forest for the trees. Often, you get caught in the details or the minutia of the day and it is super helpful to get perspective.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Build your network from the point of view not of what someone can do for you, but how you can be helpful in return. I love connecting people that I think will benefit from that connection.

I get so much joy hearing, sometimes years later, how an introduction or feedback helped someone or really changed their trajectory. I believe in karma and the idea that if you help others, it will come back to you in surprisingly wonderful ways.

What women inspires you the most? Why?

That is a hard one! There are so, so many awesome women I look up to – some of whom I have admired from afar and others I have worked for, have worked for me or have been my colleagues.

If I had to pick one, it would be Ruth Bader Ginsberg. RBG is a total badass. She is fierce and speaks truth to power, and always has. She didn’t seek fame, she just sought justice. The tenacity she has displayed her entire life shows that you should never give up pursuing what is right.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

I love podcasts– from Reveal, to The Daily, to This American Life to How I Built This.

Right now, I am also listening to Darren Walker’s book From Generosity to Justice. He is the President of the Ford Foundation. His personal story and the work they do at Ford is so inspiring to me.