Meet the 26 Women in Tech Featured at Innovate! and Celebrate

Innovate! and Celebrate 2016 is over so join us for 2017

Come join us at the Innovate! and Celebrate conference in San Francisco, CA. The event will take place October 9 – 11, 2017, and is held in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Tech conferences are not exclusively defined by enlightening talks and the riveting panel discussions. A truly productive tech conference is inclusive, diverse, and overflowing with unique perspectives and ideas. And at Innovate! and Celebrate, you can expect a wide range of startup founders, engineers, designers, and directors willing to impart their wisdom in regards to funding, marketing, product development, virtual reality, and anything else you can think of.

The women that will be part of these discussions and talks are some of the most driven individuals in the startup world today. They've pioneered technology, championed diversity, and committed their time and energy to bettering the world through entrepreneurship.

So who are these women entrepreneurs making an impact on their respective startup ecosystems? Meet them below and come to Innovate! and Celebrate to hear their perspective on tech and entrepreneurship.

  • Aleda Schaffer, Strategic Partnerships Manager at American Airlines Aleda works with startups and small businesses throughout the US to help grow their businesses through American Airline’s Innovators Initiative. She is also the co-founder of Aseah, a connected apparel startup, and was a finalist on season one of America’s Greatest Makers on TBS.
  • Alisha Seam, robotics engineer at AT&T Foundry Alisha works with Silicon Valley’s prolific startup community to accelerate innovative technology into AT&T products and services. She is passionate about emerging technologies and their applications in automation and immersive visualization.
  • Amy Jo Kim, Ph.D, cofounder of Shufflebrain: Amy Jo Kim is a world-renowned social game designer, community architect & startup coach. She’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs innovate faster & smarter with her Getting2Alpha programs.
  • Annie Scranton, founder and president of Pace Public Relations: Prior to forming Pace Public Relations, Annie Pace Scranton worked for eight years as a seasoned television producer, with a resume that includes major networks such as CNN, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC & ABC.
  • Bambi Francisco, founder and CEO of Vator: Vator is one of the largest communities dedicated to high-tech entrepreneurs and investors. Prior to Vator, Bambi was an award-winning journalist, as a syndicated columnist and correspondent for Dow Jones MarketWatch. She covered Internet trends and investments across the public and private sectors.
  • Cayla Chambers, partner at InvestHER Ventures Cayla is a familiar face in the Chicago startup community. She has built a track record for scaling startups and providing a voice for women in tech. She is focused on technology enabled business services, data driven products, and disruptive solutions for large-markets.
  • Cheryl Foil, Principal of Tech and Innovation at Kiddar Capital Serial CTO-turned-venture capitalist, Cheryl comes from a machine learning background and created the first Emmy-nominated AI while CTO at SocialSamba.
  • Clara Sieg, partner and founding member of Revolution Ventures Clara focuses on identifying, investing in, and helping to build innovative and impactful early-stage companies. Clara was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and named one of Levo League’s 100 millennials redefining the world.
  • Erica Duignan Minnihan, Cofounder and Managing Partner at One Vest For years, Erica has worked with startups trying to raise capital to grow their businesses. As the leader of several prominent angel groups, she’s had the rare privilege of seeing behind both sides of the curtain when it comes to funding.
  • Gabriella Draney Zielke, cofounder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters Gabriella is cofounder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters, a Top 10 seed accelerator for B2B startups, as ranked by Forbes, TechCruch, and Inc Magazine. In 2013, she co-founded and is also a Partner in Health Wildcatters, a healthcare based seed accelerator.
  • Jessica Alter, cofounder and chief connector at FounderDating Jessica is passionate about helping entrepreneurs through her work and is also a 500 Startups mentor. Previously, Jessica was CEO of Formative Labs and led Business Development and was GM of Platforms at Bebo (Acquired by AOL).
  • Lisa Lambert, Managing Partner at Westly Group Lisa responsible for investments in software, IOT, and the internet. Prior to joining the Westly Group, Lisa was a vice-president at Intel Capital and the managing director of Intel Capital’s Software and Services Fund and the Intel Capital Diversity Fund.
  • Lindsey Turrentine, Editor-In-Chief of CNET At CNET, Lindsey sets the direction for, CNET TV, CNET How To, and all of CNET’s compelling consumer tech advice. She has worked for 15 years in internet journalism.
  • Liv Erickson, virtual reality developer at Microsoft & cofounder of ARVR Academy Liv has experience building for both virtual and augmented platforms, including the Oculus Rift and Meta Glass, and taught an introductory virtual reality development course at the University of Bremen’s Informatica Feminale summer program this past August.
  • Mara Lewis, managing director at Start Co. Accelerators Mara is a serial entrepreneur and a champion of diversity in tech. She has founded three tech startup, and has helped accelerate and fund over 30 high-tech, high-growth companies.
  • Melody McCloskey, CEO of StyleSeat Melody has made a huge impact on the business world, whether it’s leading digital distribution at Current TV or receiving accolades for being one of Fast Company‘s “Most Creative People in Business”, she has shown that talent can come from the most unlikely places.
  • Natasa Djukanovic, CMO at Domain.ME Natasa is the CMO at domain.ME. She is a startup mentor and a cofounder of Digitalizuj.Me. Being a mother of three grown-up kids, she is an expert in conflict resolution and organization.
  • Neveen Abel-Jalil, resource supervisory patent examiner at United States Patent and Trademark Office Neveen’s primary responsibility is leading the regional office’s newly hired patent examiners through their first year at the agency.  Before transferring to California, Neveen worked as a Supervisory Patent Examiner in Technology Center 2100, Computer Architecture and Software.
  • Sarah Kunst, Founder and CEO of Proday Sarah is an investor and entrepreneur who has worked at Apple, Red Bull, Chanel, Mohr Davidow Ventures and several venture backed startups. She is also a contributing editor at Marie Claire Magazine and writes and hosts a podcast for Forbes.
  • Sarah Moret, associate at CrossCut Ventures: Sarah’s role at CrossCut Ventures includes evaluating investment opportunities, sourcing new deals, and helping existing portfolio companies on hiring, strategy, and operations.
  • Shradha Agarwal, cofounder and president of ContextMedia Shradha is adamantly invested in the venture philanthropy model for scaling nonprofit solutions through SVP Chicago and The Chicago Public Education Fund. She even serves on the boards of OneGoal and Chicago Children’s Choir.
  • Stephanie Lampkin is the CEO of Blendoor, a Google Demo Day winning company whose platform provides a blind recruiting application that hides candidate names, photos, and dates to mitigate unconscious bias in hiring. They also won Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year competition in 2015.
  • Susan Cooney, head of marketing and partnerships at Change Catalyst Susan is a serial entrepreneur and startup coach. She’s been a member of 9 founding teams, six with successful exits, including PayPal, LinkExchange and PlumChoice. Susan works with early stage entrepreneurs to drive next level results and has passion for creating better products through inclusion.
  • Tammi Smorynski, Director at Intel Capital Tammi has been focused on emerging technologies at Intel Capital. From 2000 to 2005, Tammi was a treasury manager supporting Intel Capital and responsible for financial due diligence and structuring of over 70 investments across a variety of sectors including wireless, sensors/RFID and software.
  • Tishin Donkersley, Director of Audience Engagement at Tech.Co and TV Tech Correspondent Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, was the former Chief Editor of AZ Tech Beat and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations.
  • Ximena Hartsock, founder and CEO of Phone2Action Prior to founding Phone2Action, Ximena was a member of the executive cabinet of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, serving as the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation and later as the chief of staff of the City Administration.

Innovate! and Celebrate 2016 is over so join us for 2017

Come join us at the Innovate! and Celebrate conference in San Francisco, CA. The event will take place October 9 – 11, 2017, and is held in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).


Photo: Unsplash / Eutah Mizushim

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Written by:

Conor is the Lead Writer for For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at

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