Blockchain Immersion. Explore the Power of a Ledger

Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 6pm

Salesforce East, 5th floor, Room C02, 350 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Enjoy this free event sponsored by  Heroku-Salesforce.

Actively engage in a a hands-on workshop designed to immerse you into conducting transactions within a blockchain world. Unearth the power a ledger can bring to your business.

AI Hands-On

WST in collaboration with AI subject matter experts from, Insight Data Science, Women in Product, and Heroku developed programming where WST Attendees walked away with

  • Examples of different ways AI is used, lessons learned
  • Awareness of AI and new technology impacts (to the Industry, Jobs, Life)
    • Positive effects we desire
    • Common Use Cases: drive greater customer intimacy, increase competitive advantages, improve efficiencies
    • Negative/In-effective results that AI could bring (example: gender bias)
    • What questions to ask about AI
    • How to keep informed
  • Hands-on experience via ‘development team scenario’’ workshop
    • Set AI criteria and define assumptions  

Our Subject Matter Experts

2019, What’s Up?

WST plans to continue to empower you to Speak Up and take action with even more hands-on workshops, new partners, and….

  1. Network. Find a Mentor. Be a Mentor. Sign up for The Guild. Use the discount code WST20
  2. Get excited about Blockchain. The team at Insight Data Science and WST have been working to create a hands-on workshop where you will walk away with an understanding of what Blockchain is and how it can be utilized. As well plan to add a notch up on your ‘data-driven awareness’. Registration will open shortly. Our host: Heroku-Salesforce. Mark your calendar for February 7, 2019 from 6-9pm
  3. As a female, have you ever felt boxed in? Learn more about how our partner, Unboxd the Vogue for STEM is working to close the gender gap and inspire a better future for all.
  4. Serendipity’s Emerging Tech House interviews have been published. Get inspired! Anne Cocquyt, Liza Lichtinger, Radhika Iyengar-Emens, Anuradha Gali, Joanna Bloor, along with interviews from some of the top women in STEM.
  5. WST workshops and programming in development include Radical Collaboration, Power Dynamics, more AI Hands-On, …. stay tuned for details

The Story of Unboxd and What to Expect in 2019

These are the thoughts that lead me to Unboxd. I coined the term STEMfluencer as someone who is working to change the perception of STEM in the media. I spent May and June putting all my thoughts together and reaching out to all the STEMfluencers I could find and building a community around them. The idea was to take the storytelling piece aspect from my blog but launch it as a lifestyle media brand that highlights women in STEM fields — it got coined as The Vogue for STEM.” Nitasha Syed founder of Unboxd

The platform that is working to change the gender gap.

Adjust Your Hearing. Drive Change.

Rebecca Traister explains how women’s anger has historically been a catalyst for social change and how people can better listen and respond to women’s anger.

Our Artificial Intelligence Experts

We are extremely lucky to have so many talented and accomplished individuals who have volunteered their time to further our discussions. As part of our Women Speak Tech community, we are encouraged that men & women continue to come together to create more equitable workplaces and invest in others.

 Travis Dirks, is a CTO at XLabs, a moonshot factory for AI. Prior to XLabs, he was Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of Seldn, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup predicting global socio-economic disruptions (“black swans”). His superpower is in connecting complex science/math to impactful business problems and building software around the solutions. Seldn was a new type of AI leveraging custom machine learning algorithms specifically tailored to deal with complex, nonlinear human-generated data. Specifically, Seldn pioneered the application of breakthroughs in Complexity Physics along with in-house advances in validation to tackle the prediction of rare socio-economic human disasters.

Prior to Seldn, Travis co-founded and led Rotary Gallop – a Big Data Finance firm that applies game theory to impact investments and strategy for corporate control (m&a, hostile takeover, and activist situations). Travis’s analysis on popular contested situations has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Travis received his Ph.D. in physics from the world’s leading institution for condensed matter, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Listen to XLabs’ podcasts>>



Anne Cocquyt’s journey across four continents is driven by her passion for transforming ideas into reality and leading cross-functional teams to implementation. Anne has successfully founded and led a broad range of projects, startups, and non-profits in multiple industries ranging from IT outsourcing to hardware consumer products, social networking communities, cancer prevention, digital health, and biotech.

In her current venture, Anne puts her MBA and her experience as a serial female founder to work: with her expertise in computer and data science and her passion for building communities around causes paired with her ability to inspire she founded the GUILD – a novel networking solution for female entrepreneurs and women in business to build stronger networks.

Anne keeps active in the digital health world by advising a patient education startup specialized in stroke prevention, mentoring HealthTech and medical device startups at the Singularity University Accelerator, supporting the due diligence process for MedTech track of 500 Startups, mentoring USF Design Thinking class and assisting a data insights startup as COO.

Jess Roeder has a PPh.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience and is a Director of Product for Insight Data Science, where she advises companies on building data teams and oversees a team focused on helping scientists and engineers transition to careers in data.

Learn more about Insight Data Science>>

Mars  Hall merges creativity & engineering through his work as a research & development engineer at Salesforce / Heroku. Tasked with wildly varying problems, he runs strategic experiments pushing the Salesforce platform where customers want to go, including machine learning apps with PredictionIO and cross-cloud architecture with Terraform.

Wow! 10 Venues, 2 Days. Serendipity Delivered.

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Over 30 intimate sessions across ten venues in San Francisco were literally buzzing with experts and attendees discussing topics from Augmented Reality to Social Responsibility to Leadership and Investing. In addition, skill-building workshops focused on everything from the written word to understanding resonance and pitch when one speaks.

On Friday (10/26) Women Speak Tech’s Robin Parisse had the honor of moderating the Emerging Tech House.  A big thank you goes to Autodesk for hosting the venue, STYLEBEE (YCS15) for giving us some extra glamour and to our amazing experts who not only presented but engaged session attendees in a dialogue to explore the impacts and opportunities of technology solutions, human behavior, privacy, security, and ethics. 

Missed, Serendipity or want to relisten? Podcasts to be published shortly>>

Our Emerging Tech Speakers included:

  • Anastasia Miron, — Explore the brain via virtual reality to teach us how to be better parents? What triggers are there? How can we adapt behavior, provide modeling and tools for a better outcome?
  • Lisa Mae Brunson,  — Explore how the art of ‘fearless asking’ can help you magically manifest your vision into reality.
  • Anuradha Gali, — Learn how Uber is leveraging AI to automate their predictive models and dynamically adjust utilizing market insights.
  • Dr. Amrita Ray, — How are Network Effects and Shaping Influences used in machine learning models to retain, engage and improve products? Why are these model important when we look at automation and scale?
  • Annie Rogaski — How does augmented reality fit into our lives? How should we engage with technology to reign in the right balance of ethics, privacy and security?
  • Radhika Iyengar-Emens— Why should we care about blockchain? How blockchain can solve real-world problems like food safety, e-identity, and more.
  • Liza Lichtinger — How do we ethically align emerging technologies with the footprint of humanity? Why is it important to educate corporations and governments on the use of technology in collaboration with human behavior?


Did you know you have to exercise your networking muscles! Well, you do. And, practice is progress. Our workshop leaders put us to the test! Emily and Jacqueline taught us how to create a networking mindset while Lady Badass, Joanna made us re-evaluate how to answer the question, ‘what do you do?’

Stay connected and keep the conversation going about leadership, women’s health, social responsibility, coaching, storytelling, investing and mindfulness.  Join The Guild using the partner discount code WST20.


Design Sprints. Best of 2018

A Women Speak Tech Partner Event


Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)


Unable to attend the Google Design Sprint Conference? Join us for an evening of 15-minute lightning talks and panel discussions around design thinking, design sprints, and business model innovation frameworks and methodologies. Listen to local experts and engage in open discussions about industry best practices. Come to learn, share, evolve, and expand your practice. (Oct. 17th, 5:00-8:00pm, San Jose WeWork)


Neha Saigal, Founder of N5

David Holl, Founder of Postobject

Joyce Liu, UX Designer at Google



Divya Jindal, Staff Designer at Google

Taylor Cone, Senior Partner at Smallify




  • Welcome and Networking
  • Best of Design Sprint 2018 (Lightning Talk)
  • #SprintCon2018 Highlights (Lightning Talk)
  • Idea Generation for the Enterprise (Exercise)
  • Design for Business @Scale, Enterprise Innovation (Panel Discussion)
  • Designing Emergent Cultures of Creative Collaboration (Organizational Culture Exercise)
  • Building Empathy with Customers (Relationship Canvas Case Study Exercise


Join Us at SERENDIPITY October 2018!

The GUILD presents SERENDIPITY, the first women’s conference of its kind where attendees engage with experts in intimate sessions across San Francisco, October 26 & 27th. Similar to the Paris salons of the early 18th century where intellectual discourse was commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements, Serendipity gives attendees the option to spend time in multiple houses including StoryPower, Founders Meet Funders, Social Responsibility, Investing, Leadership, and more.  Like the Paris salons, these small gatherings foster an environment to increase collective knowledge, collaborate and make connections.

Women Speak Tech is excited to partner with the Guild, and to moderate the Emerging Tech House.

This salon focuses on the latest and greatest developments in the emerging tech landscape including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and VR advances. Moreover, the salon will dive further into the ins and outs of building and prototyping new technology. Also joining in, is Unboxd, the new ‘Vogue’ for Stem Women

Join us at Serendipity, get your ticket today with a Women’s Speak Tech 20% off promo code PARTNER>>

When you register, Serendipity will query your interests, desired areas of growth, and what you want to get out of the conference. Next, you will receive a proposed schedule based on your responses. Keep the recommendation or make changes. The goal is to create a two-day experience on what you’d like to learn and who you’d like to connect with.



Why Startups Need Marketing Operations

by, Nicole Beckerman — Every startup has to sell its product or service to survive. Yet startups often find themselves using ad hoc tactics and experimenting on the fly with sales and marketing tools that are merely getting them through another day.

To scale successfully, a startup needs not only a marketing plan but a tactical set of marketing tools that are managed by subject matter experts: Marketing Operations.

What is Marketing Operations?

Broadly speaking, Marketing Operations manages the technologies, tools, digital assets, data, services, and resources that a company uses to perform marketing efforts. Marketing Operations as a functional area is still emerging, and as such, it is continuing to evolve and may look different from company to company.

For most organizations, Marketing Operations responsibilities include:

  • Deploying information and assets across marketing and product teams, related departments, business units, and external agencies.
  • Aligning resources to maintain consistency, manage creative review & approvals in a single source, provide compliance & audit tools, and manage asset lifecycles from ideation to preservation.
  • Optimizing efficiencies across technology investments.
  • Partnering with IT to provide security and environment oversight.

As a formal function, Marketing Operations first caught on in larger companies who needed to wrangle dozens of marketing cloud services, software solutions, and tools to work together. These typically included social media tools, marketing automation, CRM software, content management solutions, digital asset management, analytics & reporting tools etc.

As an example, Cisco’s marketing stack is a complex ecosystem of 39 different technologies. A startup may not have the needs of Cisco, but with the accessibility of technology, a startup can and should optimize to meet the basic requirements of a scalable marketing stack. Management of these systems is clearly still important, yet Marketing Operations has evolved further to become the backbone supporting all marketing efforts.

“Imagine an organization as a country, marketing operations is like the roads and bridges that connect its cities, plants, people and resources within the country, and transport all sorts of assets inside and outside the country.” –Luque Wang, Senior Marketing Manager of Global Strategy & Operations at GE Digital

Marketing Operations Evolution

In the future, Marketing Operations will be even more essential for organizations in maintaining costs and driving revenues. Similar to accounting or IT, Marketing Operations will be a foundational cornerstone of an organization whether it is a start-up or global enterprise.

Currently, the marketing technology landscape is exploding with over 6,000 solutions. With these technologies readily available, many marketers are being held more accountable for hard-to-track metrics beyond traffic or likes. This, in turn, drives the need for subject matter experts to work with IT and orchestrate the right balance of technologies. Furthermore, creatives and marketers need guidance and support to define solution requirements, vet and deploy solutions effectively.

There is an imperative to deliver on the marketing & sales plan with rapid, data-driven decisions. With the world moving faster than ever, marketing needs to be streamlined with results that drive both revenue and insights to re-pivot, fix and/or augment the product, service, or the business. This is especially true in a startup environment where small missteps are potentially ruinous.

Benefits of Marketing Operations

If you’re a fast-moving startup, why not just hire an email marketer who also dabbles in social and then turn them loose with no red tape? While you could find some success doing that (or something similar), I’d argue that spending time on Marketing Operations upfront increases a startup’s viability and lays the foundation for scaling.

Getting Marketing Operations right means you can:

  • Track customers across their entire lifecycle to understand where they are and meet them at that exact place. This might look like rapid lead routing after a demo request or serving targeted educational content in the early stages of customers using the product
  • Bring transparency and accountability to the marketing planning process. When schedules and budgets are accessible, everyone can work towards a shared goal with confidence.
  • Get campaigns to market faster (without burning out your creatives) by using automation and review processes.
  • Harmonize your content to tell a cohesive story and economically reuse existing assets, aligned with the brand vision.
  • Realize  ROI of marketing initiatives through data. With processes and technology in place, you can monitor the performance of your marketing efforts and understand how they impact the bottom line.

Simple Best Practices for Startups

At a startup, you likely won’t see a full-time Marketing Operations person managing a complex tech ecosystem, but there are still aspects of the function which can be used:

  1. Get Serious About Planning and Processes: Leadership, marketing, and any other relevant stakeholders should work together on a comprehensive marketing plan which includes objectives, customer segments, channels, campaigns, and expected results. This plan can then be broken down into detailed tasks, milestones, and deliverables that are supported by defined processes. Processes are often where people skip out and take shortcuts, so strive to create intuitive processes which help things flow easily.
  2. Monitor Financials Habitually: Getting a handle on marketing spending and budgeting early helps to understand ROI, what assumptions you need to revise, and what’s working well. Integrating detailed budgeting with the marketing planning process is a great start, but follow through with periodic updates and tracking against expectations. Even a simple system to track budgets tied to specific programs and campaigns will yield useful information.
  3. Build Tech Infrastructure Thoughtfully: With so many solutions on the market, specific recommendations are out of the scope of this article, but in general, the marketing plan should delineate your requirements for your vendors. Rather than being reactive, these decisions should be driven by high-level strategy. Price point, integrations, and workflows are all factors to consider, along with how your marketing needs will scale going forward.
  4. Understand Your Technology Investment Roadmap: Depending on your business, develop a 3-year financial model including how you will sustain and maintain the technologies in your stack. Have the intent to interoperate via automated workflows while in the near-term testing your vision by implementing, governing and auditing manual processes. Don’t forget that users will provide feedback which will shape what improvements and modifications become necessary for your organization right out of the gate. Have the staff or vendor resources and subject matter expertise to vet, prioritize and solve for these along the way.
  5. Develop Structure Around Creative Work: The creatives who power your content are a unique resource, and their time should be preserved for doing what they do best. Rather than having them entangled in endless, demoralizing feedback cycles, agree on how the feedback process will work and make sure it leaves them with breathing room to experiment, periods of uninterrupted work, and a set number of revisions where ever possible.
  6. Use Your Assets Effectively: Make sure your assets are clearly organized and stored in an effective manner. Dedicate a digital asset management system as the single source of truth for your digital assets plus a content management system that can publish out to meet your needs. Enter descriptive metadata once and let the technology pass it on versus burdening your creatives with busy work. Effectively use a style guide, processes, and procedures. In addition, develop templates whenever possible which give a cohesive experience that can be tailored to customer segments.

Factors for the Future

Starting out with a Marketing Operations mindset allows startups to learn from their customers quickly and start working on more advanced tactics like personalization. Once you have a sizable chunk of users you should, for example, be able to learn from their behavior and segment out specific profiles. Your marketing plan should specify what customer information you’re looking to capture to get to this point, and your tech stack should allow you to move into strategies like lead scoring and lifecycle tracking at the right time.

A final factor to keep in mind for a growing startup is change management and ongoing learning. As your Marketing Operations function expands and matures, your people will have to adapt as well. While the ecosystem of marketing technology will continue to become more and more sophisticated, we humans will always remain essential to the marketing process. Making sure you have informed, up-to-date people at the helm ensures that your marketing efforts are on course and reaching their maximum potential.


The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion

by, Nicole Beckerman — From the water cooler to keynote speeches, diversity and inclusion are topics looming large in the tech industry. Today one finds that the two terms have been conflated often enough that they seem interchangeable. But they are not. Diversity and Inclusion have distinct differences which influence individual experiences as well as organizational success.

A clear understanding of diversity and inclusion helps us to communicate effectively and consistently share a common perspective.

Diversity as a Requirement

The narrative has changed from diversity being an unusual virtue to a respected standard. A “diverse” company means one staffed by people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, physical abilities, and sexual orientations. In 2018, a diverse workplace environment is widely expected.

Workplaces pride themselves and tout diversity as a moniker. The job section of major corporate websites often highlights diversity efforts to attract top candidates, while at the same time organizations make a big PR fuss about their diversity hiring goals and employee engagement activities.

These diversity efforts have yielded meaningful results. Collectively we’ve worked to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups and established formal legal protections. Research has also come out demonstrating that highly diverse firms are 45% more likely to have growth in market share over the previous year, and 70% more likely to capture a new market.

In a 2018 study, Atlassian commissioned, over 80% of tech professionals said diversity and inclusion are important to them. In response, Companies are creating diversity measures designed to get a wider variety of people in the door and cultivate a more diverse hiring pipeline. Examples include Microsoft tying bonuses to diversity hiring and Pandora regularly releasing their diversity metrics while forming relationships with historically diverse colleges. Clorox has even stated via its corporate blog:

“If you cannot answer the diversity question clearly and favorably when it is asked in the recruiting process, [candidates] are going to choose to work elsewhere.”

Diversity efforts and research are vital to maintain. They lead to real outcomes and helpful information, yet they are not a complete solution to the problems disadvantaged groups endure on a daily basis. That is where diversity and inclusion merge.  

Evolving to be Inclusive

Diversity at the hiring stage and supporting pipeline programs which get minorities into the ranks are critical. However, this approach is limiting when you look at the overall employee experience over the course of employment. How people from disadvantaged groups are treated day-to-day in an organization matters significantly more because it affects their ongoing engagement and performance. This is where inclusion steps in.

A Deloitte study found that 61% of employees are “covering” on some personal dimension (appearance, affiliation, advocacy, association) to assimilate in their organization.

Everyone covers. To cover is to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream. In our diverse society, all of us are outside the mainstream in some way […] every reader of this book has covered, whether consciously or not, and sometimes at a significant personal cost.[3]Wikipedia

These people are denying a part of their identity to function within their workplace. This is a serious problem for companies who want to keep their turnover at a minimum, reap the benefits of a highly engaged workforce, understand a diverse customer base, and be truly innovative.

Inclusion means embracing differences so that people don’t have to downplay their individuality or work harder to receive equal recognition and rewards. It means people of all backgrounds are not just sitting at the table, but are also being listened to, taken seriously, and respected for their individual contributions.

A large part of inclusion is undoing bias. Unconscious bias keeps people on a narrow track, with leaders hiring and promoting those who are similar to them and employees unable to collaborate effectively. Minority groups might find themselves excluded from important conversations, passed over for mentoring, and left unrewarded for their hard work. When unconscious bias pervades an organization, a large percentage of employees will not perform to their full potential, while the organization will become stagnant and lag behind competitors—a potentially fatal problem.

A common mistake companies make is to look at positive diversity numbers and think everything is going well, but this assumes that inclusion naturally follows diversity. This is not necessarily the case. One can’t simply throw a bunch of minority hires at the problem and hope for the best. An organization can easily have high numbers of diverse people of different backgrounds all feeling unseen, unheard, and unwelcome due to facets of their identity.

What advantage is there in an inclusive environment?  We’re just starting to scratch the surface to understand  what potential can be unlocked, but recent research sheds some light on the benefits inclusive organizations enjoy:

  • Employees who say they can bring their whole self to work are 42% less likely to leave their job within a year,
  • 69% of women who made the decision to off-ramp would have stayed on, continuing to contribute, if they’d had flexible work options.
  • Ethnically and racially diverse companies who emphasize inclusivity are also 33% more likely to outperform their peers.

Savvy companies are coming to realize that diversity efforts without inclusion are hollow measures. Whereas diversity measures are a fight against a highly visible bias, inclusion works against a subtler, yet constant bias. Diversity alone simply can’t unlock all the potential opportunities for us to collaborate as a society, so it must be coupled with efforts to be inclusive.

Taking The First Step          

Inclusion is quite simply harder, more expensive, and more demanding than diversity. It is a mindset and culture within an organization which requires long-term, sustained effort around sensitive topics. Even a positive outcome might be abstract since diversity efforts can be considered successful with a few headcount metrics, while successful inclusion is much more about detailed experiences and subjective information.

Yet the effort is worth it when employees get to feel engaged with their job, seen as complete human beings and become invested in the organization’s success on a new level.

The first step towards fostering inclusion is to have real, honest conversations with disadvantaged group members and understand how they feel at work. Are they free to express their views and opinions? Are they compromising their authenticity at work to get ahead? If they feel stuck in their career path, why do they think that is? Do they feel obligated to spend extra time sponsoring employees of their gender/race or do they perhaps have fears about the repercussions of doing so?

Gathering this information may be uncomfortable, but it is especially necessary for dominant group members to take in the experience of the minority group members without making excuses or getting defensive. Part of inclusivity is also acknowledging that multiple legitimate experiences of the workplace exist.

We need conversations like this to move forward. For example, when men and women were asked about the cause of tech’s diversity problem in a 2016 survey, a whopping 49% of men said that not enough women and minorities were entering the industry. Conversely, women were more likely to cite lack of unconscious bias training and role models/mentors. This disparity in response leaves one to think that men in tech could learn information that might surprise them by talking to their female colleagues.

Ironically, according to the study, the men surveyed really do care about diversity and inclusion. This begs one to surmise that a large majority of the men were not truly engaged in an inclusive environment since their female counterparts exist.  The solution is not simple as engagement mechanics need not only be adopted but practiced. Without truly listening to disadvantaged or minority groups the men’s responses might stay the same.

It can be scary for the dominant group to acknowledge and delve into the reality of a marginalized group. It’s comfortable and easy to rely on existing patterns of thinking that don’t challenge us. Yet we can never collaborate with one another to our full potential if we don’t harness our differences. They are truly powerful and allow us to face any number of complicated challenges together, with creativity and innovation.

Act Now. Start the conversation, and continue the conversation. Inclusion starts with being inclusive. 

Here are some links to help (and, if you have articles or links to share please post!):