Alix Peabody, Michelle Edgar, Mercedes Bent, and Sashee Chandran

Speakers | Bev Women's Month Panel

RSVP HERE for Bev’s Women’s Month Panel on March 8th at 4:00 P.M. PST.



4 Female Entrepreneurs On How to Successfully Negotiate A Higher Salary

It’s a familiar story — the female manager working twice as hard and earning much less than her male counterparts. Here, female executives from Bev, The XX Project, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Tea Drops share their top tips to ask for a raise, or to improve your resume if you’re looking for a new job.



As an executive in the entertainment business for over a decade, Michelle’s Edgar’s expertise and focus is securing partnerships for her artists as VP brand marketing at Epic Records. Michelle also founded The XX Project over 8 years ago and has made it part of her everyday life to inspire and empower women in business by providing them with  resources and tools to propel business forward.

Why did you want this XX Project panel conversation to be about how to negotiate salaries and tips for improving your resume? Are these just important topics in general that help people with their careers? 

During these challenging times, our community of members have reached out as many are going through career changes and looking to pivot. We created a Slack community with over 100 women looking for new job opportunities whose careers were affected by COVID. When COVID hit, I was flooded with messages from my community asking for advice on marketing themselves and finding a job. I wanted to connect them all to share intel and information to help one another. It’s important during these times to empower our community and give them the professional tools and skills. In honor of women’s history month, I wanted to highlight the best leaders in the space from founders to VC to help inspire women to advance their careers and take the risks needed to catapult their careers and find happiness in their true calling in work. It’s important to be strategic especially in today’s climate, and to know your worth and ask for it.

A Harvard study found that when a job description says the salary is negotiable, there isn’t much of a difference between salaries among genders. But when the description doesn’t say that, men wind up negotiating more and getting paid more. What do you make of that?

As women, we need to get comfortable with discomfort and uncomfortable conversations. We need to speak up for our worth and value, especially now more than ever with the uncertainty and ever-changing climate of business. It’s important to teach women how to negotiate with confidence and to empower one another by sharing insight and intel so we better understand the opportunities out there as we continue to grow and advance to the C-Suite and corporate leadership. 



As the founder and CEO of Bev, Alix Peabody  took one look at the alcohol beverage industry and realized there was very little out there that spoke to and about women in a positive, authentic way. She founded Bev in 2017 to change not only the drinks in our hands, but to inspire kinder, more inclusive fun in drinking culture at large.

What makes a resume sent to your company really stand out in a good way? And should applicants be crafting their resumes to at least initially be read by a bot and AI, or by a person? 

Bev’s hiring process is a bit different from that of other companies. Although we initially score candidates based on their qualifications and past experiences, we also take a deep look at who they are as people and make sure that their values align with our mission. We pride ourselves on straying away from the historic ways of hiring those who look best on paper and instead go after those we believe will grow in their roles and carry the Bev pillars into their day to day lives. Each member of our team is considered a part of the Bev family, and we make sure that each new hire feels the same as well.

How should women deal with pushback?

“I think it comes down to knowing your “why.” If you have conviction in yourself and what you do, you can push through a lot of tough scenarios. For me, it’s been about believing fully and wholeheartedly in what I’m doing. That power has enabled me to move past all the “no’s” and keep going after my vision.”

The panel conversation topics will revolve around both how to negotiate salaries as well as tips for improving your resume.



Mercedes Bent is a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in the Bay Area. Previously she served as an executive at a VR startup and a General Manager at General Assembly (acquired, 2018) where she oversaw a multi-million dollar business line. She has an MBA and a Masters in Education from Stanford University and an AB from Harvard University. She serves as a board member for the non-profit Birthright AFRICA and in her free time she enjoys off-roading in her Jeep. She is an African-American of Bermudian, Grenadian, and Colombian heritage and was named a 40 under 40 for Tech Diversity.

We’ve read that venture funding for female-led companies was down last year, globally. Looking for funding may not literally involve sending a resume, but it certainly involves negotiation skills. What’s one lesson that you think is transferable to women everywhere, whether they are entrepreneurs or not?

Ask for more than what you think you’re worth – 1.5-2x is normally a good starting point if you tend to ask for too little. Research and make sure it’s not completely out of bounds but never be afraid to ask for more. 

Aside from a raise, what other benefits should women keep in mind when negotiating?

In addition to a salary and bonus raise, women should also enquire about additional equity grants for great performance and higher bonus amounts that are contingent on performance benchmarks. Many employers are open to negotiating bonuses that are much higher than 10% of the salary if they can be tied to objective metrics. I’d also ask about education and women’s health benefits such as tuition assistance above the federally mandated amount and benefits for fertility treatments. And of course I’d always ask about 401k matching.



Sashee Chandran is founder and CEO of Tea Drops, which creates bagless whole leaf teas using a patented process — shedding about 15% less waste than traditional tea bag packaging. Tea Drops has become a favorite among new and experienced tea drinkers alike, launching innovative tea experiences that merge flavorful blends, food art and edgy design. Tea Drops an omni-channel brand, selling D2C and also available in 1,500 retailers — loved by Oprah Magazine, Chrissy Teigen, and former first lady Michelle Obama. Sashee is a 1st Place $20K Women Founders Network  pitch winner, 1st Place $100K Tory Burch Fellow Grant winner, and the 1st place $50K PepsiCo WomanMade Challenge winner. She has also raised over $3.5M in VC funding for Tea Drops.

How does your company handle salary negotiations? Do you find that different genders have different approaches — and is one approach more effective than another in terms of winning a higher salary?

We hold bi-annual performance reviews. This is a time for us to review individual performance and personal development plans, but also to talk about salary adjustments. We strive to provide clear career journey milestones, and celebrate when those are achieved.  I really appreciate when a team member advocates for herself when it comes to salary negotiation, especially if she can point to clear performance OKRs/KPIs that were met. I usually find with salary negotiations that data speaks volumes, and if you can point to tangible performance milestones, usually the negotiation lands in your favor.