2014 Silicon Valley Conference

Breakout Sessions

Session descriptions are updated daily. Please check back frequently.

Are You Ready to Be a Change Agent and Thought Leader?

Denise Brosseau, CEO, Thought Leadership Lab

Do you want to be a change agent – someone who can move and inspire others with innovative ideas and scale those ideas into sustainable change? Do you want to be a thought leader – the well-respected go-to person in your industry or your niche? Then join this session! Achieving the designation “change agent” or “thought leader” is not only the very best career insurance around, it also unlocks a whole new level of career and personal satisfaction. In this program, author and serial entrepreneur Denise Brosseau shares her own journey from Fortune 500 executive to co-founder of Springboard, the prestigious women’s start-up launch pad that has led to over $6 billion in funding for women entrepreneurs. She will also lead an interactive session to show you how you can increase your influence, expand your impact and become a trusted change agent and thought leader in your niche. Chock full of best practices, tools and success stories. You will walk away:

  • Knowing what it takes to implement change…that sticks!
  • Understanding how (and why!) to use thought leadership to gain visibility for you, your team and your ideas across your company and your industry.
  • Inspired by the stories of others who advanced their careers by becoming change agents and thought leaders.
  • Ready to create a plan to become more ‘discoverable’ this year.

What do you want to be known for?

What Works for Women at Work

Joan Williams, Ph.D., Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law

Joan Williams, an expert on women and work, will speak about the four types of gender bias women commonly encounter at work. In her new book, What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know, she has taken decades of laboratory research on gender bias out of the classroom and tested it against conversations with highly successful career women. Joan pinpoints the four ways office politics are trickier for women than men, and even trickier for women of color. Women have to prove themselves over and over (“Prove-It-Again!”); they have to navigate a tightrope between being too masculine and too feminine (“Tightrope”); having children just compounds both those problems (“Maternal Wall”); and gender bias against women often fuels conflicts among women (“Tug of War”). In this session, Joan will share specific strategies highly successful women have used to navigate workplaces shaped by subtle bias. These strategies are beneficial to a wide range of women, be they timid or assertive, white or a woman of color, juggling a family or single, twenty or sixty years old.

In the Spotlight: Creating a Powerful First Impression

Sydnie Kohara, Media Strategist: Former CBS and CNBC News Anchor

Your palms are sweating, your heart is racing and you’ve got that deer-in-the-headlights stare. No, you’re not watching a scary movie –those are common symptoms of people who fear public speaking. Let’s face it; you talk to people – clients, customers and bosses – every day. And every day, you have just seconds to make a lasting impression. In this highly interactive, engaging session, communications expert Sydnie Kohara offers tips and advice gathered from more than two decades in front of the camera. She also charts her own journey from shy kid in speech class to Emmy award-winning television journalist. Learn the secrets of:

  • Facing your speaking fears
  • Vocal performance
  • Power dressing
  • Positive body language
  • Connecting with and inspiring your audience

The Dolphin Tank

dolphintankJoin us for a lively session where several diverse businesses give two-minute pitches to a panel of seasoned experts in marketing, strategy and raising funds who provide feedback and actionable insights. This isn’t the adversarial competition of the shark tank, but rather the supportive, vision-expanding experience that may make a difference in the strategic connections that can catapult a business forward. Do you have a start up? Would you like to pitch your company in the Dolphin Tank? Complete this online application to be considered.



  • Nina Bhatti, Founder, Kokko Inc.
  • Trish Costello, CEO & Co-Founder, Portfolia
  • Alison Lewis, Founder, Switch Embassy
  • Cynthia Schames, CEO, AbbeyPost

Ignite Your Career by Creating a Powerful Body of Work in 2014

Pamela Slim, Speaker; Business Strategist; Author, Body of Work

In today’s job market, job titles, years of experience or educational background are not enough to ensure a flourishing career. In order to stand out from your peers and invite ongoing opportunities, you have to create and share a compelling body of work. Whether you want to aim for a promotion, switch careers, grow your personal brand or deepen your expertise by writing a book, you need a plan of action to get you there. In this session, business strategist and best-selling author Pamela Slim will help you:

      • Understand the 8 steps required to build a powerful body of work that will drive career growth and opportunities
      • Define your top 3 strategic career priorities and underlying projects you need to accomplish them
      • Identify the specific knowledge, resources and mentors you need to accomplish your goals
      • Create a concrete plan with milestones to ensure you accomplish your career goals in 2014

Tech Women on Fire: Ignite Your Technical Career

Michelle Quinn, Business Columnist, San Jose Mercury News (moderator); Cindy Warner, Managing Partner, Cloud Strategy and Solutions, IBM; Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder, Femgineer; Nandini Ramani, Vice President, Java Development, Oracle

Women are not only opening more doors in the tech industry but they are getting ahead, negotiating raises, finding more opportunities and changing the work cultures. This panel of technical women will look at the challenges and opportunities in the hottest industry in the country and share their tips and success stories from the trenches to help you navigate your technical career.

Burnout and Wellness: How to Avoid One and Achieve the Other

Pierre Khawand, Founder and CEO, People-OnTheGo; Author, Time for Leadership

We are challenged today with an unprecedented workload and competing priorities coming at us from all fronts, which is leading to exhaustion and diminished work satisfaction and, eventually, burnout. In addition, this overload is causing us to throw our wellness effort into the backseat, which in turn makes us even more susceptible to burnout. How do we stop this vicious cycle? Join us in this presentation to learn about developing mental, strategic, and emotional resilience and therefore avoid burnout, while incorporating agile wellness habits to get energized and rejuvenated. This engaging presentation covers a broad range of topics ranging from managing the information overload to engaging in wellness practices.

Share the Wisdom Forum Roundtables

Enjoy the practical and interactive roundtable sessions hosted by experts who will share their wisdom and tips in a casual setting. Bring your questions and join in the discussion. Each session lasts 30 minutes and will be offered twice. More topics are being added daily.

Career Development
Become a Thought Leader – Denise Brosseau, Thought Leadership Lab
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile – Yumi Wilson, John Hill, Dana Kramer, LinkedIn (3)
Executive Media Coaching – Janice Edwards, former NBC Bay Area host
Find a Mentor – Expand Your Network – Susan Lucas-Conwell
Building Your Professional Network – Pamela Slim
Advancing Your Technical Career – Poornima Vijayashanker, Femgineer
Building a Women’s Network – Cheri Leonard, eBay Inc.

Healthy Living and Wellness – Jackie Szeto, Brocade

How to Invest in Entrepreneurial Companies – Trish Costello, Portfolia
Is Entrepreneurship Right for You? – Sonya Siglar

Personal Development
Being Present – Pierre Khawand, People-OnTheGo
Personal Branding – Laurie Cornmesser Ruiz, Ixia
Building Your Brand through Twitter – Laurie Kretchmar, Laurie Kretchmar Associates

Program is subject to change.