Marvell co-founder Weili Dai at the company headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

Marvell co-founder Weili Dai at the company HQ in Santa Clara, California.

If you’re not involved in the semiconductor business, chances are  good that you may never have heard of Weili Dai.  But make no mistake, she’s a force in Silicon Valley, and in the world of business and technology.  She, along with husband Sehat Sutardja, co-founded the Marvell Technology Group, based in Santa Clara.  As the only woman founder of a global semiconductor company, Forbes named Weili Dai in its list, “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Also, Newsweek named her as one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World.”


Marvell Co-Founders, Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Marvell is Israel's second largest chip maker.

Marvell Co-Founders, Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Marvell is Israel’s second largest chip maker.

But how does Dai do with respect to her personal style, and does it serve her well? Let’s take a look.

Weili Dai is a shining example of what is possible for foreign-born Americans and for women.  She actively campaigns for immigration reform, so that skilled international tech graduates have the legal opportunity to stay in the United States.  A mother of two, she’s also a strong advocate for more opportunities for women in business.

Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a tablet with a chip inside made by Marvell Seminconductor, as co-founder Weili Dai, left, and co-founder and CEO Sehat Sutardja, center, look on.

Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a tablet with a chip inside made by Marvell Seminconductor. Co-founder Weili Dai, and co-founder and CEO Sehat Sutardja, look on.

But about her style…

Let’s start with the ‘elephant in the room:’ her hair.  One consistent element of her hair is that it is super-duper curly.  I don’t know Weili Dai, and mean no disrespect to her in the least.  That said, if her hairstyle is not natural, I would never suggest it for her.  If it is natural, I would highly recommend that it be relaxed.  It seems to be a distraction away from her face, which appears to look attractive and approachable.  Another distracting hairstyle element , as evidenced by reviewing many photos, is that her hair color seems to rotate.  I get the impression that she’s not happy with her hairstylist. Or she cares about her hair only enough to use a color-in-the-box approach and colors it herself at home.

Marvell Co-Founder Weili Dai.

Marvell Co-Founder Weili Dai

So, if that sounds a bit harsh, just ask yourself this question. Why would someone of her prominence and interests ever let people question her ability to lead steadily stably?  Hair affects how others react to the wearer.  For a business leader like Weili Dai, something as seemingly simple as hair should not distract onlookers. Really, it should make one look appealing. As a result, this inspires people to follow your lead and take the action you want them to take.

Marvell Co-Founder Weili Dai

Marvell Co-Founder Weili Dai

Weili Dai seems to have an eclectic personal style.  In fact, she wears everything from smooth and shiny jackets to super colorful and unusual blouses.  Her husband looks like a very business-minded company co-founder, and she looks like the creative brain of the business.  Even though I do see this as a visual strength, I question the consistency of her look. For instance, do the colors and patterns always flatter her appearance? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

Especially of interest is whether the very busy patterns she wears actually distracts an onlooker from focusing on her face.  Despite the issues of her curly hair, hair of that quality warrants more pattern and texture in clothing.  Each should “talk to each other,” in an agreeable way.  Evaluating Weili Dai and her personal style, I conclude that she looks like a ball of energy. But it may be hard for her to stay focused.


Of course, Weili Dai has proven to be quite successful, despite these visual inconsistencies.  Yet, working with many wonderfully successful people over the years, I learned that they want to find ways to improve.  Challenging yourself to be at your best helps you achieve even higher levels of success. It also gives you a higher degree of personal satisfaction, and a deep sense of confidence.