Friday, November 13 – Saturday, November 14, 2020


 #SVFWIT20  #SVFWomenTechFest 


Empowered Women, Empower Women!

About the Women in Tech Festival

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 two full days of inspiring talks, startup pitches, thought-provoking discussions and educational workshops.

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

The Infrrd Diversity Scholarship

FREE Tickets Available for Women of Diverse Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds!

Are you a Woman of Color and want to attend the Women in Tech Festival – for free? We can’t wait for you to join us! Thanks to our Diversity Sponsor, we have scholarships available to give to our underrepresented communities, including Black, Latinx, & American Indian! If this is you, answer a few questions below to get a FREE pass with full access to every session of our 2-day virtual event!

Click here to get started

2020 Speakers


Panelists & Power Talks

Aruna Ravichandran

Aruna Ravichandran is Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Cisco Webex Collaboration, responsible for promoting Cisco’s $6B Collaboration Technology business. A passionate advocate for customers with 20+ years of technology industry experience, Aruna leads product marketing, brand management, digital marketing, demand generation, events, and solutions marketing. Prior to Cisco, Aruna was Vice President of Marketing for DevOps at CA Technologies (acquired by Broadcom). Earlier experience includes Vice President, Marketing and Strategy for the Software Solutions Division at Juniper Networks, and escalating leadership roles in both marketing and engineering at Hewlett-Packard. Aruna serves on the Advisory Board for Graphics Communications at California Polytechnic State University. Previously she was on the Advisory Board for Panzura, a leading provider of cloud file sharing solutions. She has published two books on DevOps and is a contributing blogger for the Forbes Technology Council. Aruna holds an MBA and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Bangalore University. She completed the Northwestern University's Kellogg Executive CMO program in 2019.

2020 Workshops & Leaders

Your Hosts & Emcee’s

Pitch Judges

2020 Agenda

We can't wait!

Subject to change

Day 1 – November 13, 2020

8:00 am - 5:30 pm PST

8:00 – 8:30AM PST MORNING STRETCH: Live Yoga Workout w/Michelle Dickson, Yoga Instructor




9:00 – 9:15AM PST Opening Remarks + Housekeeping: Amanda Llerena, Digital Marketing Mgr, Silicon Valley Forum
Welcoming Remarks: Denyse Cardozo, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Forum


9:15 – 9:45AM PST FIRESIDE CHAT: Sarah Kunst, Managing Director, Cleo Capital
Interviewer: TBA


9:45 – 10:25AM PST PANEL DISCUSSION: Finding Balance: Parenthood & Entrepreneurship 
Lessons and advice from 4 Entrepreneurs & Super-moms achieving work/life success
Speaker: Serafina Palandech, CoFounder & CEO, A Boring Life
Speaker: Kristina Bingham Jones, Founder & CEO, Guardianlane
Speaker: Zoe Share, Founder & CEO, Schmooz Media
Speaker: Maria Oliveira Tamellini, CoFounder & COO, GamerSafer
Moderator: Charu Sharma, Film Producer, Real Moms of Silicon Valley


10:30 – 10:45AM PST Power Talk: How to Work through Burnout as an Entrepreneur (and Bounce Back!)
Entrepreneurs are passionate and driven people who often find it hard to separate the self from the business. The necessity to hustle and grind sometimes risks tipping life out of balance; the unbalanced work ethic may be why an increasing number of entrepreneurs burn out. Hear how to deal with burnout from an entrepreneur who bounced back–twice. And, learn how to watch how you grind before you get ground up.
Speaker: Alley Lyles, Marketing Director, FemTech Focus


10:45AM – 11:00AM PST Power Talk: #WhatIWishIKnew: Starting a Tech Startup
ShaKeia will discuss the mistakes she made while starting her own tech company, how she over came them, and provide sound advice on how to avoid the same pitfalls to scale and grow quickly.
Speaker: ShaKeia Kegler, Founder & CEO, GovLia & Code To Eat


11:00 – 11:15AM PST Power Talk: 7 Lessons from a VC-backed Latina Tech Entrepreneur with a Celebrity CoFounder ( A ‘Modern’ Story)
Renata launched EBY, a subscription business delivering underwear of all sizes directly to people’s doorstep. Shortly after launch, actress & producer Sofia Vergara reached out to Renata and soon they became Cofounders- and together realized their visions for the business, and impact they wanted to create for women’s empowerment globally.
Speaker: Renata Black, CoFounder & CEO, Eby


11:15 – 11:30AM PST Power Talk: COVID-19’s Impact on Consumer Behavior
A discussion on new consumer trends as a result of COVID-19, and how these new trends will spark innovation
Speaker: De’Havia Stewart, Strategist, Accenture


11:30 – 12:30 PM PST Brella Networking


Workshop #1: From Failure to Prosperity
A 3-step system to increase your energy, gain focus and clarity, and develop a clear vision for your business/career
Workshop Leader: Holly Jean Jackson, CEO & Business Coach


Workshop #2: Sticking to My Story – The Magical Influence of Storytelling
Storytelling is all the buzz – but what does it mean? And how can the simple yet powerful principles of storytelling be harnessed to enliven any message, pitch or presentation to drive to desired results whether you’re a seed stage startup or a seasoned organization? Learn how to apply the simple principles of the age-old art of storytelling to your modern-day messages to win the hearts and minds of your audience.
Workshop Leader: Donna Griffit, Corporate Storyteller 


Workshop #3: Driving Innovation through Diversity
Today, product development teams are more global and diverse. Working with different cultures brings benefits of different points of view and perspectives. Research has found that diverse teams are more innovative. Organizations are becoming more intentional on building a global mindset in product development by building diverse teams. In this workshop, we will explore the different dimensions of diversity, how to create a global mindset in teams and building a culturally competent organization.
Workshop Leader: Claudia Galvan, Technical Advisor, Early Stage Innovation


1:35 – 1:55PM PST AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: Mental Health and Your Personal Brand: How To Keep Your Sanity While Growing Your Brand
Speaker: Goldie Chan, Global Speaker, Founder, Warm Robots
1:55 – 2:05PM PST Q&A w/Goldie Chan


Shaloo Garg, Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups


Judge #1: Ilse Calderon, Sr. Associate, OVA Funds
Judge #2: Chris Yeh, Managing Partner, Wasabi Global Ventures
Judge #3: Maria Salamanca, Investor, Unshackled Ventures
2:30 – 2:40PM PST Startup #1: You’re Welcome: Caitlin Folawn, CEO & CoFounder
2:40 – 2:50PM PST Startup #2: Dog Log, Lynn Marks, CoFounder & President
2:50 – 3:00PM PST Startup #3: SpenDebt: Ty’Lisha Summers, CoFounder
3:00 – 3:10PM PST Startup #4: Aunt Flow: Claire Coder, CEO & Founder
3:10 – 3:20PM PST Startup #5: ApisProtect: Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO & CoFounder
3:20 – 3:30PM PST Startup #6: The Remarkable Woman, Shivani Gopal, CEO & CoFounder


3:30 – 4:00PM PST CLOSING KEYNOTE: Riana Lynn, Founder, Journey Foods (WiTF 2020 Pitch Competition Winner)
Topic: TBA




5:00:00 PM PST That’s a wrap, see you tomorrow!

Day 2 – November 14, 2020

8:30 am - 5:30 pm PST

8:30 – 9:00AM PST MORNING STRETCH: Live Yoga Workout w/Michelle Dickson, Yoga Instructor




9:30 – 9:40AM PST Opening Remarks: Amanda Llerena, Digital Marketing Manager
Welcoming Remarks: Denyse Cardozo, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Forum


9:40 – 10:05AM PST OPENING KEYNOTE: Diversity & Inclusion are Table Stakes. Why Belonging is the Breakthrough!
At this point, the stats speak for themselves. Diversity and inclusion make companies better. But without a culture of belonging, D&I efforts can only go so far. Belonging – building a culture of trust, where everyone feels safe bringing their authentic selves to work – unlocks people’s superpowers. Join Pat Wadors, an original believer in belonging, to learn why belonging creates magic how to build a culture of belonging in your organization
Speaker: Pat Wadors, Chief People Officer, Procore


10:05 – 10:50AM PST PANEL DISCUSSION: The Art of Inclusion: From Ageism to Equality in the Workplace 
In a world that seems more divided than ever, creating an inclusive space at work has never been more imperative – or more challenging – for companies of every size. Our panelists will discuss why a cross-generational workforce is invaluable, and how diversity of ideas, skills, and experience can enhance each other, and how employers can do their part to ensure that ageist attitudes and practices no longer have a place in the workforce.
Speaker: Sheela Sukumaren, Partner, Technology Industry Leader, Mercer
Speaker: Lizanne Vaughan, Chief People Officer, Getty Images
Speaker: Lorraine Vargas Townsend, Chief People Officer, A Cloud Guru
Speaker: Brittiney Jones, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, Oracle
Moderator: Susan Hailey, VP, Global Talent Acquisition and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, OpenText


10:55 – 11:15AM PST MID-MORNING KEYNOTE: When Life Hands You Cactuses, Make Margaritas – How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity
Adiba will discuss her very personal and professional journey, including how she achieved her career dreams in the male-dominated tech industry, her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, and finding joy & happiness for living life like there is no tomorrow. Throughout the years, she’s learned how to handle challenges; and, importantly – how to survive and thrive from them.
Adiba Barney, Author, Former CEO, Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Advocate


11:20 – 12:05PM PST PANEL DISCUSSION: The Future of Work: Built by Women 
Our speakers will address how women are taking the lead on the future of work, and the solutions we need to adopt to thrive as things continue to shift and change at a rapid pace. They will also discuss the implications in Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, and how these changes will affect how we lead and work.
Speaker: Jomayra Herrera, Sr. Associate, Cowboy VC
Speaker: Priya Saiprasad, Venture Capitalist, Mayfield Fund
Speaker: Linda Pouliot, CEO & Founder, Dishcraft Robotics
Speaker: Aruna Ravichandran, VP/CMO, Webex Collaboration, Cisco
Moderator: Jen Cohen, VP of Core Engineering, Toyota Research Institute




Workshop #1: Design Sprint tools that take your team’s [virtual] collaboration to the next level
Design Sprints are typically multi day, activity packed (lots of sticky notes!) and cross functional affairs. Learn how to steal some of these tools to make your day to day meetings run smoother, make decisions faster, and give better feedback to your designers.
Workshop Leader: Aly Boncha, User Experience Designer, Google
Workshop Leader: TBA


Workshop #2: Why So-called Soft Skills Can Make or Break your Engineering Career–and How To Build Them!
When it comes to technical careers the skills that most workers and managers focus on are, aptly, technical skills. Engineers are rarely expected to have a mastery of soft skills like communication, listening, team work, and conflict resolution. In fact, the soft skills are considered uncharacteristic of people with technical prowess. In this workshop, Tracie Hlavka will speak to the importance of soft skills in advancing your technical career and lead participants through exercises designed to help them flex their soft skill muscles.
Workshop Leader: Tracie Hlavka, VP of Engineering, Flyhomes


Workshop #3: Woman & Money: Taking Charge of your Financial Future
Join this workshop for solid advice and tips about planning for retirement, transfer of assets to the next generation, how to effectively plan for stock options, as well as proceeds from M&A transaction or IPO.
Workshop Leader: Linh Nguyen, VP, Private Client Advisor, Bank of America
Workshop Leader: Katriece Isaac, Sr VP, Private Client Manager II, Bank of America


2:05 – 2:20PM PST POWER TALK: Advocating for Your Career as a Woman of Color in Tech
Speaker: Diana Albarran, CoFounder, Latinas in STEM


2:20 – 2:35PM PST POWER TALK: Bringing People Together in Mixed Reality
Conventional wisdom tells us that devices are getting in the way of human connection. At work, in public places, at the dinner table – we are spending more time on devices than being socially available. How will virtual reality and augmented reality technologies change the social interactions, either by driving us into more immersive isolation, or by connecting us in new ways not otherwise possible. Come find out in this power talk!
Speaker: Poonam Mor Sigroha, Principal Software Engineering Mgr, Microsoft


2:35 – 2:50PM PST POWER TALK: Being Non-Technical in a Technical World
For those of us who support tech whether through sales, marketing, or operations, it can be difficult to find your place in this world. It can also come with a bit of imposter syndrome considering that tech has its own language that can feel impossible to learn. In my talk, I’ll discuss what I’ve learned in my first year at a startup, how I proved my value, and why collaboration between technical and nontechnical teams in the key to startup success.
Speaker: Pashara Black, PR & Content Marketing Mgr, StrongKey


The day I understood my power I committed myself to utilize it for the empowerment of others. I understood that in order to achieve greatness, it didn’t matter how far I had come but how hard I was willing to work to go the farthest I could. Unlike many that celebrate being the first and/or the only, I take pride in those I support to reach new goals. In this talk, I will address my journey to empowerment and share core principles to help you do the same.
Speaker: Martha Soledad Hernandez, Founder & CEO, MADEbos


3:45 – 4:00PM PST POWER TALK: Communication & Collaboration for Women in Tech
Communication and collaboration are two fundamental keys to success in any business. However, far too often we find ourselves focusing on trying to change the people around us, when really we need to be holding a mirror up to ourselves so that we can continue to grow and develop as professionals. As a minority of the population in the tech industry, the ability for women in tech to communicate and collaborate is more important than ever. We need to be equipped to handle conflicts and roadblocks in our careers without losing sight of the end goal and the ability to work with others to get the job done. This session will outline five best practices that everyone should implement to help them communicate and collaborate more effectively with others, including being enlightened, certain, open, contentious, and a champion. and ensure that they’re In the complex and fast-moving world of technology, it’s important that we all show up the right way, every day.
Speaker: Amelia Ransom, Sr. Director, Engagement & Diversity, Alvara


4:00 – 4:15PM PST Being an Ally in the Remote Workplace
Based on her popular TED talk, Melinda will share specifically what you can do as an ally in this moment: during a pandemic, in the remote workplace (for most of us), with a spotlight on racial justice. We’ll talk about tangible, actionable steps you can take to be an ally and an advocate for your colleagues today.
Speaker: Melinda Briana Epler, Founder & CEO, Change Catalyst


4:15 – 4:30PM PST POWER TALK: The Pivot Point: How to Excel in Your Career Without Falling Apart
Speaker: Nazanin Delam, Sr. Software Engineer, Netflix


4:30 – 5:15PM PST PANEL DISCUSSION: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure their Seat at the Table (w/Q&A)
Women of color face unique challenges to success in the workplace: managing continual microaggressions, navigating undeniable racism, leveraging career allies in positions of power, and more. All of these challenges are addressed in Minda Harts’ new book, The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. Minda Harts will moderate this panel of powerhouse women of color and dive into the themes and success tactics from The Memo. Learn how to invest in yourself and identify and develop the skills needed to help you get ahead to claim your seat at the table.
Speaker: Samara Mejia Hernandez, Founding Partner, Chingona Ventures
Speaker: Kathryn Ross, Global Open Innovation Lead, Accenture Ventures
Speaker: Tina Eskridge, Sr Director of Marketing, Microsoft
Speaker: Kunbi Tinuoye, Founder & CEO, UrbanGeekz
Moderator: Minda Harts, Author & CEO, The Memo


5:15 – 5:30PM PST CLOSING KEYNOTE: Finding Your Inner Phoenix
Being vulnerable is risky. We women want to appear as if we have it all together. The truth is, sometimes we don’t and that’s ok. Learning to be authentic was a lesson I learned the hard way. A few years ago I was on top of the world, then I lost everything. For 3 ½ years I searched for my purpose and life’s meaning everywhere. This talk is about finding strength and courage to believe in yourself when others don’t. It’s about acknowledging that we may experience bad moments but they won’t last. I’ll share what it took to find my Inner Phoenix.
Speaker: Elizabeth Adams, Race & Technology Fellow, Stanford University


5:30:00 PM PST THAT’S A WRAP – see you next year!

View program highlights from 2019! View the 2019 agenda

2020 VENUE

This is a 2-DAY Virtual Event!


2020 Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsor

Networking Sponsor

Diversity Scholarship Sponsor

Supporting Partner

Networking Platform

Community Partners

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.

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