2021 Women In Tech Festival

3-Day Virtual Event | October 13-15

Resiliency, Empowerment, Rebuilding, & Change

#SVFWiTF21 #SVFWomenTechFest


2021 Women In Tech Festival

3-Day Virtual Event | October 13-15

Resiliency, Empowerment, Rebuilding, & Change

#SVFWiTF21 #SVFWomenTechFest


All-Access IN-PERSON Pass (3-DAYS) Includes:

• 2 in-person days of keynotes, power talks, panels, pitch competition & in-person networking
• Continental breakfast for 2 days
• Complimentary lunch for 2 days
• Coffee, tea, snacks, & refreshments for 2 days
• Access to cocktail party & mixer
• 1 virtual day of talks, workshops, networking, recruiting & career development
• 1 day of a virtual yoga session to kick off the day with intention!

All-Access VIRTUAL Pass
(3-DAYS) Includes:

• 2 virtual days of keynotes, power talks, panels, pitch competition & networking
• 1 virtual day of talks, workshops, networking, recruiting & career development
• 3 days of a virtual morning yoga session to kick off the days with intention!

One-Day VIRTUAL Pass
(1-DAY) Includes:

• 1 virtual day of talks, workshops, networking, recruiting & career development
• 1 day of a virtual yoga session to kick off the day with intention!

About the event

“Amazing Festival! Raw, Real and Refreshing. Speakers shared great tools and tips for thriving as founders, leaders in tech.”     –Festival attendee

Silicon Valley Forum’s annual Women in Tech Festival celebrates women in STEM, business, and leadership who work to inspire, engage, and empower other women. The Women in Tech Festival invites ALL women (as well as anyone who supports the advancement of women and believes in the importance of diversity) to join together for three full days virtually of inspiring talks, keynotes, startup pitches, thought-provoking discussions, educational workshops, career mentorship and networking.

At the Women in Tech Festival, you’ll create lasting connections and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive and fun environment.

Subscribe for festival news  

FREE Tickets Available

For Women of Diverse Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds!

Last year, our Diversity Sponsor was able to gift 150+ tickets to women from underrepresented communities, including Black, Latinx, & American Indian! This year thanks to our 2021 Diversity Sponsor, Microsoft — we are able to offer free tickets once again! 

2021 Speakers


Click here to see our 2020 Keynote Speakers  


Neda Blocho

Investor & Head of Studios Program
Avanta Ventures

Dalya Perez, PhD

Program Manager for Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Mixed Reality

Grace Hwang

GM, Design & UX Research of Mixed Reality

Aly Wagner

Former US Women’s National Soccer Team 2x Gold medalist, Lead Sports Soccer Broadcaster Fox Sports and CBS Sports

Debbie Brackeen

Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer
CSAA Insurance Group

Susan Lucas-Conwell

Independent Board Director Sparrho
Acting Executive Director, Della Penna Motorsports Next Gen Foundation

Allison Henry

Senior Robotics Operations Engineer
Toyota Research Institute

Workshop Leaders

Donna Griffit

Corporate Storyteller
Donna Griffit Corporate Storyteller

Jie Li

Senior Research Scientist
Machine Learning Research Team, Toyota Research Institute

What's New at the 2021 Women in Tech Festival?


We’re formulating sessions around career development that will give you actionable items and key insights designed to enhance your soft and technical skills as well as prepare you for the next stage of your career.

We will have company recruiting booths so you can meet your next employer, find your next gig!

Meet The 2021 Presenting Startups!

Vanessa Archambault - Morales

Co-Founder, CTO at DealEngine

Regina Athie

CEO & Co-Founder,

Dayo Ogunniyi McIntosh

Founder & CEO, Yateou

Stefani Robnett

CEO, Co-Founder at Sci Find, Inc.

Olga Plets


Maryann Kilgallon

Founder & CEO
Pink Lotus Technologies, Inc.

Janna Colucci

CEO and Co-Founder

Lieza M Danan, PhD

Co-Founder and
Chief Executive Officer
LiVeritas Biosciences

Meet the past pitch compeition winners

Pitch Application Closing Soon! 3 Spots Left!

“Thank you for all your support, feedback and belief over the past few months. We really appreciate the events that you’ve organized – they’ve helped me become a much stronger presenter and boarded our network.”         – Pitch Company

2021 Agenda

DAY 1 - October 13

8:30 - 9:00 AM PST

Brella Networking + Exhibitor & Recruiting Hall

9:00 - 9:15 AM PST

Welcome + Housekeeping: Amanda Llerena, Marketing Director, Silicon Valley Forum
Opening Remarks: Denyse Cardozo, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Forum

9:15 - 9:45 AM PST

OPENING KEYNOTE: Anna M. Counselman, Co-Founder & Head of People & Operations, Upstart

9:45 - 10:10 AM PST

FIRESIDE CHAT: Our Journey into Venture Capital

Our speakers will share their unique stories about how and why they decided to pursue a career in venture capital, and share insights on how you can break in- and possibly fund the next unicorn!

Speaker: Veronica Reaves, Investor, Maveron
Speaker: Diana Kimball Berlin, Partner, Matrix Partners
Interviewer: Neda Blocho, Head of Studios, Avanta Ventures

10:10 - 10:25 AM PST


Topic: What it Means to be a Woman in the Pitching Room

Speaker: Victoria Wejchert, Founder & CEO, Kinship Systems

It’s time for a change in the male-dominated sector of investing. Join Founder and CEO of Kinship Systems Victoria Wejchert, who has been on both sides of investing, as she explores ways to involve more women in investing and demonstrates why women will add value to every aspect of business.

10:25AM - 10:40 AM PST


Topic: How this Non-Tech Government Official became an Improbable Founder in Silicon Valley

Speaker: Thuong Tan, Founder & CEO, Noodleist

I already had a job I enjoyed doing. I was a 41 year old who loved eating but had no idea about creating a consumer packaged food product. But I was waking up to my comfort zone everyday asking “what would instant noodles 2.0 be?” Here’s my story!

10:40AM - 10:55 AM PST


Topic: Venture Capital investing with a Feminist Lens

Speaker: Jessica Karr, General Partner, Coyote Ventures

10:55 - 11:10 AM PST


Topic: Reclaimed!

Speaker: Shivani Gopel, CEO & Founder, The Remarkable Woman

What leaving my arranged marriage taught me about confidence, self awareness, the importance of financial independence and living a life of purpose

11:10- 12:10 PM PST

Brella Networking + Exhibitor & Recruiting Hall

12:10PM - 12:25 PM PST


Topic: It wasn’t exactly my dream to be the leaky lady!

Speaker: Allison Conti, Founder & CEO – Watkins-Conti Products, Inc.

Allison will speak about her personal experience with body image issues which became inflated when she had a huge baby and started experiencing urine leakage. The mental health challenges faced are VERY real but she learned how to lean into that vulnerability after recognizing that ONE in THREE women experience the same issue. Now she has created a solution that will impact millions of lives positively.

12:25PM - 12:40 PM PST


Topic: 4 Keys to Success Without a Struggle

Speaker: Tereson Dupuy, Entrepreneur & Transformational Speaker

Entrepreneurship is hard no matter how you slice it! It is hard work, long hours, and requires a stamina of superhuman strength. Applying these four core keys (CONNECTION, ACCEPTANCE, HUMILITY, & PRESENCE) to success without struggle will re-wire the inner framework within the mind to settle the inner struggle, and create an internal environment of peaceful flow of genius through us all.

12:40 - 1:15 PM PST


Beauty & the Bling: Fearless Founders Disrupting the Beauty & Fashion Industry
Fashion, technology and beauty have never been more aligned. Our panel of game-changing innovators will share insights on how they broke into the industry, the future of beauty and fashion tech, and how to build fashion & beauty brands with staying power.

Speaker: Allie Egan, Founder & CEO of Veracity Selfcare
Speaker: Diarra Bousso, Founder & Chief Creative Mathematician at DIARRABLU
Speaker: Janet Wu, Co-Founder & CEO, SilkRoll
Moderator: Rachel Fischbein, Executive Director, Fashion Incubator SF @ Bloomingdales

1:15 - 1:25 PM PST


Brittany Rodriguez, Administrative Director, #LatinaGeeks

1:25 - 1:30 PM PST

Judge #1: Bill Reichert, Partner, Pegasus Tech Ventures
Judge #2: Neda Blocho, Head of Studios, Avanta Ventures

Each Startup has 5 minutes to pitch, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A & Feedback from judges


1:30 - 1:40 PM PST


1:40 - 1:50 PM PST

Liveritas Bioscience

1:50 - 2:00 PM PST


2:00 - 2:10 PM PST


2:10 - 2:20 PM PST


2:20 - 2:30 PM PST


2:30 - 2:40 PM PST


2:40 - 2:50 PM PST

Pink Lotus Technologies

2:50 - 3:15 PM PST


Topic: Now What? When the Hype is Over

Erika Lucas, Founder & CEO, Stitch Crew

So you’ve launched your startup, generated a sale, raised a funding round, hired your first employee. Now what? As entrepreneurs we often fall victim to thinking, “if I just launch, win this competition, raise this round of funding, hire more people,” all of my problems will go away. We forget that like in life, problems at a startup never go away, they just evolve to different types of problems as the company matures. Being an entrepreneur is an intellectual sport, and owning a company is a marathon, not a sprint. This means we need to pace ourselves because if we try to go too fast, we risk losing clarity, making unnecessary mistakes or worse we run out of gas.

To close this event, Erika Lucas will help us get clear on how to think, plan and consistently execute on the right things so we can minimize loss and potential burnout as we build our companies.

3:15 - 3:30 PM PST

Announce Winning Company + Closing Remarks

3:30 PM PST

THAT’S A WRAP – see you tomorrow!

DAY 2 - October 14

9:00 - 9:30 AM PST

Brella Networking + Exhibitor & Recruiting Hall

9:30 - 9:40 AM PST

Welcome + Housekeeping: Amanda LLerena, Marketing Director, SIlicon Valley Forum
Opening Remarks: Denyse Cardozo, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Forum

9:40 - 10:05 AM PST


Conquering the Unknown: Using Foresight to Guide Us through Uncertain Times

Speaker: Anne Boysen, Futurist,

Humans are optimistic about their own future, but pessimistic about the future of the world. Worrying about the future is especially problematic for younger generations tasked with building our common path forward in times of rapid change. Through years of consulting in Strategic Foresight and Generation Z research, Anne will share how we can help our youngest generation restore their faith in the future. This presentation will highlight some established foresight methods that may help us envision a more viable path forward, during the pandemic and beyond. And perhaps show us that we’re more in control than we think we are!

10:40 - 10:55 AM PST


One World: Women United for Change

A conversation with five game-changing women with a mission to improve the world we live in.

Speaker: Erin Zaikis, Founder, RISE by Sundara                                                                            Speaker: Dr. Carmen Rojas, CEO, The Margaurite Casey Foundation                            Speaker: Roya Mahboob, Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Citizen Fund                                    Speaker: Danielle J. Harris, Managing Director Engagement & Innovation, Elemental Excelerator                                                                                                                                                              Speaker: Daniela V. Fernandez, Founder & CEO, Sustainable Oceans Alliance    Moderator: Gail Gannon, Managing Director, Wave Edge Capital

10:40 - 10:55 AM PST


Topic: The Four Pillars of Co-Creative Impact: Sustainability, Consonance, Innovation and Celebration

Speaker: Cynthia A. Phillips, PhD, Writer, Producer, & Social Entrepreneur

We are at a critical moment in a time that tests our resilience and creativity as well as our values. To build back better and to truly contribute to solutions that build a better world for all, we need to lay a solid foundation. The 4 Pillars of Creative Impact is an invitation to discover and lay that foundation as individuals and leaders. We will explore the 4 Pillars of Creative Impact: Sustainability: Sustainability Is not just a buzz word about saving the environment. To thrive Sustainability must be at the core of our well-being, communities, the health of the planet, and our companies. Consonance: Assuring our intentions and preparation align with our goals. Innovation: Harnessing a new mind and models of partnership to build solutions that inspire, disrupt, and enchant. Celebration: We can become mired down in what haunts us and the work of creating a better world. We also need to remember to meaningfully celebrate our personal and partners’ milestones along the way. The practice of gratefulness is critical. As leaders, people are trusting us with their future, the practice of celebration builds trust and can inspire and sustain us all through even the darkest days.

Time - 10:55 - 11:10 AM PST


Topic: How to Cope When You’re Experiencing Trauma

Speaker: Catherine Gacad, SVP Partnerships, Wells Fargo

Everyone struggles with traumatic events during their lifetime. Hello pandemic! learning how to cope and care for your well-being (both mental and physical health) is a critical component to being effective in your career, maintaining good relationships, and feeling great. from recognizing trauma, finding support, building resilience, and everything in-between, this talk will clarify and destigmatize the struggles so many of us go through. catherine will share strategies for managing stress, facing challenging emotions, and dealing with the red flags of mental health issues. Attendees will come away with tactics and resources to help cope during challenging times.

11:10 - 11:25 PM PST


Topic: Did I Say That Out Loud?: How My Foot in Mouth Stepped Into Common Ground

Speaker: Katie Schuele, Co-Founder, Boostr

Any woman who has made it in tech has run the requisite gauntlet of male dominated boardrooms, striving to hide emotions in the face of underestimation, disregard, or intimidation. There are few female executives who have not wanted to shout out “I don’t want to join this f*@king call” at one time or another. When a young female cutting her teeth at IBM inadvertently said exactly such a thing to a room of male executives, she had no idea that the faux-pas would teach her a lesson that would inform her fundamental leadership philosophy until this very day. How should young, capable women fight the urge to suppress one’s own instincts — business and emotional — when working with older, male colleagues? In this session, hear how a rising female in tech learned that honesty and emotion do have a place at work — and can be valuable mechanisms to mold a shared objective out of competing agendas. The courage to change a detrimental conversation can be key to finding shared objectives that leads to greater alignment — and easier solutions. CCO and co-founder of boostr Katie Schuele will share how she learned and applied these lessons as she made her way as a successful tech founder, and how she learned to approach a situation exactly as it is, whether it be complicated, tricky or even unprecedented, and be okay with feeling a certain way about it.

11:25 - 11:40 PM PST


Topic: Remote work and equality: How a remote-first culture evens workplace gaps and keeps women in the workforce.

Speaker: Kaitlyn Hova, Sr. Software Engineer, Fast

Remote-first work opens the door for women to gain the equity needed to make it to – and stay in – mid-level positions. Investing in a remote-first culture not only invests in women’s’ career growth, but overall company productivity.

11:55 - 12:55 PM PST

Brella Networking + Exhibitor & Recruiting Hall

12:55 - 1:30 PM PST

PANEL DISCUSSION: Minority Report: How Diversity Drives Innovation
Diversity gives fresh perspectives and encourages new, creative ways of thinking for your business- giving your company the competitive edge needed to outpace your competitors. Our speakers will discuss why diversity is critical to understanding your customers, and why gender, race, and ethnically diverse companies perform better

Speaker: Grace Hwang, GM, Design & UX Research of Mixed Reality. Microsoft
Speaker: Pavi Ramamurthy, Chief Information Security Officer, Upstart
Speaker: Sherika Ekpo, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Anaplan
Speaker: TBD, Tesla
Moderator: Debbie Brackeen, Chief Strategy & Information Officer, CSAA Insurance

1:30 - 1:50 PM PST


How Women Can Be Allies for Each Other

Speaker: Melinda Brian Epler, Founder & CEO, Change Catalyst

Join Melinda Briana Epler, TED speaker, DEI activist, and author of HOW TO BE AN ALLY, for a discussion on how women can show up as allies for each other. Melinda will share a highly practical playbook for women to support one another and build a more diverse and inclusive world together.Drawing on years of work building empathy, allyship, and inclusion across organizations and startup ecosystems—as well as a new original global study on allyship—Melinda will outline practical steps for taking action as an ally. You’ll learn about historical harm, unlearn biases, and relearn new perspectives; methods for avoiding unintentionally harming people through microaggressions, and how to advocate for people in small ways that change lives; and actions to stand up for what’s right, lead the change, and transform your industry. We’ll discuss allyship especially for women with intersectional underrepresented identities.We can create much-needed change together, so that people of all identities feel safe, valued, and supported in the workplace and in the industry.

2:05 - 2:20 PM PST


Topic: Women’s Voices in Robotics

Speaker: Allison Henry, Senior Robotics Operations Engineer, Toyota Research Institute

Many of us believe that striving towards gender parity in technical fields is valuable, but often we flounder when trying to articulate why this is so. This talk will explore the use of the feminine gender in robots as well as the value of increasing the participation of women in the field of robotics.

2:20 - 2:35 PM PST


Topic: Everything You Wanted to Know about Cryptocurrency but Were Afraid to Ask

Speaker: Zenobia Godschalk, CEO, ZAG Communications

As technologists, we are being asked to quickly get up to speed on the various aspects of cryptocurrency – from how to purchase and use it, to how to secure it, to whether or not our organizations should use it to pay ransomware demands. This primer will cover the basics of cryptocurrencies – what are they, how do you get started using them, what are the benefits and pitfalls, and what does the future of crypto look like for the everyday consumer and organization using it.

2:35 - 2:50 PM PST


Topic: The superpower that is technology: How I used engineering to escape from a fundamentalist religion and build a life in the outside world.

Speaker: Miriam Haart, My Unorthodox Life Netflix, Founder, Eazitt

About 60% of the world’s population has direct access to the internet. This enables billions of people the ability to learn almost anything right from their computer screens. I grew up in a fundamentalist religion in upstate New York. Where women were covered from head to toe and were raised to be solely caregivers and mothers. Just like many women across the world, it was not I who had access to a computer but my brother. However, I used his computer to teach myself how to code. This enabled me to have a voice outside of the world I grew up in. By building apps, my voice wasn’t just loud, it was everywhere. It lived online and can be heard by anyone. The tech industry is hungry to close the gender gap. This hunger gave me the opportunity to leave my community and move to San Francisco to further pursue my interest in Computer Science. Technology can be used as a superpower to enable women to be financially independent and to have a voice. It can enable them to create the world they want to live in with their own knowledge. They just need three tools: a computer, the internet, and the drive to learn.

2:50 - 3:30 PM PST


Leveling the Playing Field: Women in Sports 

As the pandemic took hold, sports tech experienced a remarkable growth with sports businesses, entrepreneurs, elite athletes, and professional sports teams alike- creating an opportunity for innovation and a milestone year for women leaders in the sports industry. Our speakers will discuss women’s role in sports, the successes and challenges they’ve each faced along the way, and what they see for the future of sports and how technology will continue to transform the industry.

Speaker: Meghan Chayka, Co-Founder Stathletes
Speaker: Neda Tabatabaie, VP Business Analytics & Technology, San Jose Sharks
Speaker: Aly Wagner, Broadcaster, CBS Sports & Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Bronze Medalist
Moderator: Susan Lucas-Conwell, Executive Director, Della Pena Next Gen Motorsports Foundation

DAY 3 - October 15

9:00 - 10:00 AM PST

Brella Networking + Exhibitor & Recruiting Hall

10:00 - 10:05 AM PST

Welcome + Housekeeping: Amanda LLerena, Marketing Director, SIlicon Valley Forum

10:05 - 11:05AM PST

Workshop #1

Overcome ‘Overwhelm’ and Manage Uncertainty

Workshop Leader: Manuela Pauer, Career, Life, & Happiness Coach, Pauer Coaching

Do you have so many things going on that you are struggling with overwhelm? Do you find it difficult to manage uncertainty during this time?
In this session you will understand the truth behind why you get overwhelmed and learn key strategies to break your pattern of overwhelm.

Discover how you can use a “gameful” approach to manage uncertainty, so you can thrive during these challenging times.


Workshop #2

“Listen to Me!” How Women can be Passionate and still Communicate with Power and Clarity

Workshop Leader: Wanda Scott, Founder & Principal Consultant, Wanda Scott & Associates

In this interactive session attendees will learn how to passionately communicate, and not be blindsighted by unconscious perceptions. Excellent communication is not gender specific. Awareness is the key for women to excel in their communication in diverse environments. Attendees will walk away with tips and tools around emotional intelligence and understanding bias. The closing declaration will empower the attendees as they leave to apply their new communication tools.

11:05 - 11:15 AM PST

Break: Grab your favorite beverage and a snack, network, visit Exhibitor & Recruitng booths!

11:15 - 12:30 PM PST

Workshop #3

Quick Pitch – Don’t be Caught Pitchless!

Workshop Leader: Donna Griffit, Corporate Storyteller

You might be called up on stage to pitch…
You might be at a networking event…
You might even strike up a convo waiting line for a coffee and realize – hey – I need to pitch!
Bottom line – you never know if the next person you meet could change your startup! You want to be armed with the perfect story of your venture at any given moment.
Donna Griffit, an International Corporate Storyteller with over 15 years of experience will share insider tips for getting your story straight and sounding great telling it. Time permitting – a few lucky teams will get to pitch their story and get expert feedback from Donna.


Workshop #4

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Unlock Your Inner Leader

Workshop Leader: Christina Villareal, Executive Coach & Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

What is the Impostor Syndrome? Why do so many experience this feeling of inadequacy? This workshop will discuss signs and causes of Impostor Syndrome and provide tools designed to help you feel more confident in your abilities and career and unlock your inner leader!

12:30 - 1:30 PM PST

Networking + Exhibitor & Reruting Booths!

1:30 - 2:30 PM PST

Workshop #5

5 Powerful Ways Women Can Excel in the Workplace

Workshop Leader: Jie Li, Sr. Research Scientist, Machine Learning Research Team, Toyota Research Institute

The workspace in technical fields tends to be particularly challenging for women. How often do you found yourself having a hard time getting your voice heard or being treated with another stereotype-based expectation? In this workshop, we will share stories and thoughts, exploring ways to thrive as women in the challenging workspace.


Workshop #6

Building Your LinkedIn Profile

Workshop Speaker: Nicolette Song, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, LinkedIn

Start transforming your LinkedIn profile into a powerful professional tool. This hands-on workshop will show you how to use LinkedIn to get the attention of recruiters, potential employers and business prospects. You will learn how to enhance your personal brand and promote your expertise and create an inviting profile that effectively markets you!

This session will be beneficial for people who are relatively new to using LinkedIn and those who’ve had a profile for years improve their visibility and use LinkedIn more effectively.

2:30 - 3:30 PM PST

Networking + Exhibitor & Recruting Booths!

3:30 PM PST

That’s a wrap!

Join Our Volunteer Team!

This year our 3-DAY festival will be a hybrid event from October 13-15, 2021— with 1 virtual day and 2 in-person days.

For the in-person days we would love some extra hands, whether that be helping us as a greeter, a stage manager, an emcee or a casual photographer snapping pics, and more! We would love to have you join us! 

Please fill out the application form below!

2021 Sponsors

Justification Letter

If you need a bit of extra support to convince your employer to sponsor your ticket to the Women in Tech Festival, download our official Justification letter to help make your case.