Blockchain Savvy.

We got this!

We had a mix of subject matter experts (not just on the panel!), folks creating social justice solutions, creatives and marketers all thrown together to play our ‘Blockchain GAME’.

Each player received a Starter envelope labeled with a letter and a number. Inside were either 3 tokens and/or pencil toppers or fun gadgets. Players

  • Participated in an exchange where one player ‘sent’ another player tokens by declaring both parties and amounts.
  • Players verified the transaction, checking the sender was not an impersonator and actually had the funds to make the exchange.
  • Once the exchange occurred. The transaction was recorded on the team’s ledger.

Of course, we had a few ‘rules of the game’ some of which included that

  • Players who began with a ‘toy’ had to SELL it during the game
  • Players who began with tokens had to ‘make a purchase’

The fun really got started when Player E was found to have passed on a contaminant.

Lucky we had ‘kept track’ of every transaction. Hence we were able to remove the ‘contaminated’ tokens.

Supply chain transactions are a natural fit for Blockchain. In real-life such as the romaine lettuce scare earlier this year, if the path of transactions were executed using blockchain, you could quickly detect the source of the contaminant and remove it. Why is this important? Millions or billions of dollars are spent pulling food and other items ‘off the shelf’. By using blockchain, the transactions are transparent and traceable.

Thank you to all of you who made this night happen. Thank you to our volunteer panelists Daisy, Betsabe, and Alex. A big thank you to Mitchell and Jess for working with us to not only create the ‘Game’ but test it out on some Fellows at Insight Data Science. Photos courtesy of Afshin Shirazian.

And, of course, we couldn’t have done this event at all if it were not for our sponsor, Heroku-Salesforce!

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.