Keynotes & Featured Speakers

Thank you to all the presenters who contributed their time and expertise to make the day a memorable one for the young women and adults.

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beth albright, shading and grooming technical director, pixar animation studios

Beth Albright has been with Pixar Animation Studios since 2009, working as a character shading and groom artist on feature and short films including Toy Story 3, Day & Night, Brave, La Luna, and this summer’s Monsters University. Prior to joining Pixar, Beth worked in the 2D animation industry for ten years as a color stylist and assistant art director, contributing to a variety of feature films, short films and commercials. Her credits there include Space Jam, 101 Dalmatians II, The Fox and the Hound II, and award-winning short film The Indescribable Nth. Beth received a BFA in graphic design from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA in digital animation from The Ohio State University (ACCAD). (Photo by Alexandra Ambrose / Pixar)

alice brooks, co-Founder, Maykah, Inc.

Alice Brooks graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. She received her Masters in Mechanical Engineering Design from Stanford in June 2012. While a student at Stanford, Alice spent six months working at Nest Labs. Alice grew up playing in her dad’s robotics lab. When she asked for a Barbie, he gave her a mini saw. So she made her own doll! In her spare time, Alice loves making anything from light fixtures to stuffed animals to strawberry shortcake.

Bettina chen, co-founder, maykah, inc.

Bettina Chen graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 2010 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. She received her Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford in March 2012. Bettina has conducted research on bionic contact lenses and worked as an electrical engineer at Discera and KLA-Tencor. Bettina also loves volunteering and working with kids, and is looking forward to getting kids as excited about engineering as she is! She is an ultimate frisbee enthusiast and plays competitively on a Bay Area mixed club team.

Alina cioletti, Ashland university, exercise science major; Kart racer, cioletti motor sports

Alina’s love of racing began at age six when her father began taking her to professional open wheel Indy car races. She met her hero, Danica Patrick, at age 15 and she realized her true passion was to become a professional race car driver. Alina’s first race was at age 16 at Barberton Raceway where she placed third in her class. Since then, she has quickly moved through the kart racing circuit, racing at legendary tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Mid-Ohio Racecourse for Cioletti Motor Sports where she placed third in the 2012 World Karting Association (WKA) Fall Nationals at Mid-Ohio. When she’s not behind the wheel, Alina is obtaining her bachelor’s degree at Ashland University, majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Nutrition, Coaching, and Psychology. Alina recently received her personal training certification with the American College of Sports Medicine.

jennifer diaz, program coordinator, techbridge

Jennifer Diaz is a Program Coordinator for Techbridge. Originally from Los Angeles, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from Wellesley College. For the past five years, Jennifer has worked with out-of-school programs including Techbridge, Intel Computer Clubhouse, Safe Passages, and Global Youth Leaderships Institute. She believes that experiential learning is a powerful way for young people to grow and learn.

jesse draper, Creator and Host, “The Valley Girl Show,” CEO, Valley Girl, Inc.

Jesse Draper is creator and host of “The Valley Girl Show” and CEO of Valley Girl, Inc. She has produced over 150 interviews with some of the greatest minds in business, entertainment, government, and technology including Ted Turner, Mark Cuban, Sheryl Sandberg, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, MC Hammer and Eric Schmidt. Previously a Nickelodeon star, Jesse has used her comedic and acting talents to bring an approachable feel to the business world. Recently named “The Tech World’s Queen of Networking” by GENTRY Magazine, Jesse recently founded an organization that hosts events across the country for cross-industry networking and support of women in business. Through her fund, Valley Girl Ventures, she does early stage seed investing in startups that have a female in the founding team. A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, she is a regular contributor to Mashable,, and Huffington Post, and a featured speaker on digital media, women in business and entrepreneurship at business conferences including SXSW, TEDx, and TechVentures.

mike fischer, director for regional occupational programs

Mike Fischer is a Director for Regional Occupational Programs in the Sacramento area, serving three counties and multiple school districts with the mission of preparing students for both careers and college. In 2000, Mike founded the GBiT program, which is a student-run tech support organization at Granite Bay High School, which was formed in partnership with Intel Corporation. GBiT students conceived, launched, and now manage a real IT business on campus, serving teachers, staff, students, and parents, with hardware, software, web design, and professional development services. A former engineer and Intel Corporation analyst, Mike has seen firsthand the tremendous opportunities that await underrepresented students, especially female students interesting in engineering and IT careers. Many of Mike’s former students have gone on to technical majors at top tier colleges and are now enjoying successful careers in technical and engineering professions.

Lori Fitzmaurice, COO, Girls for a Change

Lori Fitzmaurice is the Chief Operating Officer, responsible for development and oversight of all fundraising, operational and program activities within the organization. Lori brings over 25 years of management and development experience to her role. Most recently the Director of Development at Keys School, a growing independent school in Palo Alto, Lori also served as Director of Fundraising Events for the San Francisco Zoological Society, and Director of Development for The Center for Grieving Children, the first children’s grief support program on the East Coast. As a Senior Director at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. she honed her project management skills across myriad disciplines, including marketing, strategic planning, customer service, and information systems. While at Schwab, she also managed the Boston and Lexington, Massachusetts offices as Vice President and Branch Manager. Also an entrepreneur, Lori created and managed her own yacht refinishing business in Florida and Maine.

Marie Floyd Tahir, Vice President Design, Marketplaces, eBay

Marie Floyd Tahir has devoted her career to improving customer experience. At eBay, Marie’s team designed the future vision for eBay Marketplaces commerce, as well as delivered a comprehensive redesign of the eBay Marketplaces experience, including a visual refresh and new logo launch. Marie’s team is now focused on designing eBay Marketplaces’ local, mobile, and disruptive innovation experiences. Marie has been in the high-tech industry since 1989. Her prior affiliations include Intuit, Nielsen Norman Group, Lotus Development, Dun & Bradstreet Software, and University of California at Berkeley. She is co-author of the best-selling 2002 book, Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed and has spoken and taught around the world on customer research methodologies and design.

Susan Fong, Rendering & Global Technology Supervisor, Pixar Animation Studios

Susan has been with Pixar Animation Studios for 12 years. In her current role, she supervises projects responsible for new technology in the fields of lighting, compositing, and rendering. In addition, she is responsible for shepherding the rendering process for a film from start to finish, working with all departments to ensure assets and pieces of the pipeline are as optimized as possible to minimize the computing resources required. Susan graduated with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech and a Masters in Computer Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Sue Graham Johnston, Vice President, Product Lifecycle & Technology, Worldwide Systems Operations, Oracle

Sue Graham Johnston is Vice President, Product Lifecycle & Technology Operations for Oracle’s hardware products. Her team is responsible for operations program management, engineering, quality and ongoing process improvement throughout the product lifecycle as well as the deployment and ongoing management of Oracle’s Configurator solution. She has held several executive roles at Sun Microsystems including Vice President, New Product Introduction Operations and Vice President, Volume Systems Operations as well as leadership positions in supplier management, value engineering, and quality. Prior to Sun, Sue held the position of Vice President of Account Operations at E2open, Inc., a supply chain Software as a Service (SaaS) company, where she managed multinational deployments of Business to Business (B2B) software. She holds an MBA, MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and BS in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design from Stanford University.

Jan Half, Program Director, MOUSE Squad Student Tech

Jan Half is a former middle school teacher who has been working with schools for 31 years. Her 38-year career experience also includes: California Technology Assistance Project Regional Director, K-12 Educational Technology Sales Consultant, Sears Technology Services Data Network Services Marketing Representative, and Non-Profit School/Business Partnership Manager. Jan received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Northwestern University and a Masters in Career and Adult Education from Northern Illinois University. Jan is active on the boards and committees of various educational nonprofits, including CA League of Middle Schools (CLMS) and Computer Using Educators (CUE).

katherine henderson, Henderson Frederick College Consulting

Katherine Henderson has been an educator for 20 years. For the last nine, she has specialized in college admissions and helped hundreds of college hopefuls get into their top-choice schools through Henderson Frederick College Consulting. A graduate of University of California, Berkeley with high honors in English and a Phi Beta Kappa Society member, she has an equal fascination with science and education. This has taken her to the ocean depths, doing research on coral reefs and reforesting kelp beds. As a master SCUBA diver and naturalist, she is fiercely committed to helping her students realize their scientific passions.

AnnaLise Hoopes, Director of Educational and Corporate Partnerships, Iridescent

AnnaLise Hoopes holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Studio Art from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, and a California teaching credential. AnnaLise taught elementary school before joining Iridescent in 2010. Over the past two years, she has worked to grow Iridescent’s Technovation program from 43 girls to 520 nationwide. Technovation inspires high school girls in technology and entrepreneurship through app development. Supported by women mentors from industry, teams work together to build mobile apps, write business plans, and pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to have their apps professionally developed.

Fran Kalal, Cloth and Simulation Technical Director, Pixar Animation Studios

Fran Kalal joined Pixar Animation Studios in July 2007. She began working as a prop and sets shading artist for the short film, Presto, and then moved on to work as a character shading artist in the Academy Award®-winning feature WALL•E. For another Oscar® winner, Up, Fran worked as a shot simulation artist and tailored all of the costumes and outfits for Ellie’s character. Most recently, she tailored Merida’s dresses on Disney•Pixar’s latest box office hit, Brave. In addition, Fran has been a lead instructor of the 10-week Pixar Undergraduate Program where she teaches interns the technical pipeline in Pixar production. Through a summer camp she gained early exposure to 3D computer animation at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) School at Ohio State University where she went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

krista kobeski, policy communications team, facebook

Krista Kobeski is a member of the Policy Communications Team at Facebook where she is responsible for strategic communications and public affairs and works with policymakers, the community and NGOs to develop and enhance Facebook’s policies and practices.  Previously, Krista served as Facebook’s European Content Policy Associate based in Dublin, Ireland where she managed relationships with members of the European online safety, hotline and data protection communities, promoting positive working relationships with European suicide prevention agencies and supporting a variety of other government organizations with content based issues, education and outreach. A graduate of Lehigh University with degrees in Journalism and sociology, she coordinates a leadership program for high school sophomores called HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) in Northern California.

staci lyons, vice president, global business development, oracle cloud services

Staci Lyons is Vice President of Global Business Development for Oracle’s Cloud Services where she helps Oracle’s largest global clients realize the value of Software as a Service. Prior to joining Oracle in 2006, Staci was Worldwide Vice President, Application Management Services with Siebel Systems, where she was responsible for all aspects of Siebel’s Managed Service Offerings. Prior to Siebel, Staci spent three years as a Senior Vice President of Sales and Support with Navisite, an enterprise application management and hosting firm. Prior to Navisite, Staci served as Managing Director, CRM Consulting and Business Process Outsourcing worldwide with EDS.

Nehal Mehta, Director, QA, NetApp

Nehal Mehta is an influential technology leader who currently manages Quality Assurance of the Manageability Engineering Group at NetApp. She’s a dedicated advocate of tech-focused women and was named Woman of Influence 2011 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. She is a Customer Advocate, delivering products for global organizations. She has been responsible for building and leading global teams of 100+ engineers in US, India, and China. The recipient of numerous nominations and awards, she is a sought-after panelist at technology leadership and women in technology events. Nehal arrived in the U.S. in 1986 and received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan and a master’s degree in software engineering from Wayne State University. She recently completed the Engineering Leadership Program through the UC Berkeley Fung Institute.

martha pena, program manager, techbridge

Martha Pena is a Program Manager for Techbridge. Martha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from California State University, East Bay. For the past 8 years Martha has dedicated herself to encouraging girls in STEM and has inspired many of tomorrow’s engineers. She has presented at several conferences and provided professional development to a wide range of science teachers.

Anita Rao, Business Partner Director, Symantec

Anita Rao is the Business Partner Director at Symantec where she is responsible for the technology strategy, planning and business relationship management for the Strategy Office, SMB, and cloud and finance organizations. She has over 20 years of experience in various business, technology and operations leadership roles across high tech, financial services, CPG, and payment cards industries. Previously she was the Vice President and Head of Global Finance Systems at Visa, Inc. where she contributed towards the strategy and development of corporate systems during Visa’s IPO. Prior to that she was responsible for the Enterprise Software Sector at Garage Technology Ventures, and she led the development of CRM analytical applications products at Oracle. She earned an M.B.A. and M.I.S. from Rutgers University and a B.A. from Calcutta University.

brad saffer, senior director, oracle academy

Brad Saffer is Senior Director, Business Development for the Oracle Academy, a program that grants Oracle software, hosted technology, training and certification resources to high schools and universities around the globe. After teaching middle and high school mathematics in Washington, D.C., for seven years, he managed the Oracle Certified Professional program, an industry-leading program that provides professional certification for a variety of IT job roles. He then served as the Director of Implementation for Project Achieve, an education software company that enables high schools to track student progress against local and national standards. He now leads the Oracle Academy business development efforts in the U.S. community college sector, where he works with computer science deans, department chairs and faculty to help them integrate the Academy’s resources into their academic programs. Brad holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and French from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

Beatrice Schultz, CFP, College Funding Specialist, Westface College Planning

Beatrice is the founder of Westface College Planning and the co-founder of Westface Financial & Insurance Services. She is also the host of the weekly radio show, “College Smart Radio–Tackling the Runaway Costs of College.” Beatrice has over 25 years of experience in personal financial services and international corporate business. Prior to launching Westface Financial and Westface College Planning, she held global technical sales and marketing leadership positions with Monsanto Chemical Company, Balazs Analytical Laboratory, Rodel, and Applied Materials.