Women Forum


Inspire, Impact, Win!

Agenda Register Speakers Location


Julie Hanna

Barbara Holzapfel

SAP Labs North America

Dina McKinney

Marilyn Nagel

Kristi Royse
KLR Consulting

Jennifer Walske
Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Erna Grasz

Asante Africa Foundation

Debbie Gisonni
Stillheart Institute

Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy
Muslim Women’s Fund

Leslie Marshall
“The Leslie Marshall Show”

Seema Aziz
Sefam and CARE Foundation

Lorraine Hariton
US Department of State

Sharon Vosmek

Angie Chang
Women 2.0

Dr. Tasneem Ismailji
Academy on Violence and Abuse


February 11, 2012 | Computer History Museum | Mountain View, CA


This one day conference is all about reinventing ourselves for a new successful future, and for new opportunities to brand and re-brand ourselves in these changing times.

To celebrate the power of women, come listen to inspirational stories told by women leaders – the lessons they learnt, and the wins they enjoyed!

At this event you will network with an impressive group of leaders and entrepreneurs belonging to technology, finance, social enterprise, medicine, and social media sectors in the Silicon Valley.



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**Student Member Ticket holders will be required to show a current Student ID at the day of the event.


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09:00 AM On-site Registration, Breakfast & Networking
10:00 AM Opening Remarks by Moazzam Chaudry President OPEN SV
  Welcome Remarks by Saadia Ahmed, Vice President, OPEN Women Initiatives SV
10:15 AM Morning Keynote
  Julie Hanna, Chair of the Board, Kiva “Be the Entrepreneur of Your Life”
11:00 AM Break
11:15 AM Panel I – Reassess, Rebrand, Restart; Reinventing Yourself for New Opportunities.
  Angie Chang – Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0

Marilyn Nagel – CEO, Watermark

Barbara Holzapfel – Senior Vice President Managing Director SAP Labs North America

Dina McKinney – Corporate Vice President, AMD

  Debbie Gisonni – President and CEO, Stillheart Institut
12:15 PM Mentorship & Networking Lunch Action Plan
Facilitator: Kristi Royse – CEO, KLR Consulting
12:25 PM Girl Power Lunch
  Power lunch by Curry Village Foods
01:00 PM

01:40 PM

Breakout Sessions for Group Discussion

Recap of the Networking Session

02:00 PM Panel II – From Vision to Success: Strategies that Win!
  Erna Grasz – CEO, Founder and Chairman of the Board for Asante Africa Foundation

Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy – Co-Founder and Former Board Chair, Muslim Women’s Fund

Sharon Vosmek – CEO,  Astia


Dr. Tasneem Ismailji – Co-Founder and President, Academy on Violence and Abuse

  Jennifer M. Walske – Faculty Director of the GSVC, and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley.
03:00 PM Afternoon Fireside Chat: “Powerful Women, Fashioning A New Future”
  Seema Aziz - CEO Sefam and Founder of CARE Foundation

Lorraine Harriton – Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at US Department of State


Leslie Marshall - Host of the nationally syndicated “The Leslie Marshall Show”

03:50 PM Concluding Remark

Keynote Speaker: Julie Hanna – Chair of the Board, Kiva


Morning Panel: Reassess, Rebrand, Restart; Reinventing Yourself for New Opportunities.

How do you reinvent yourself in challenging times. Learn to look for new opportunities and how to use times of crisis in your career or any aspect of your life to brand or rebrand yourself for success.

Julie Hanna is a serial entrepreneur who is driven by her belief in information technology as a democratizing force for social, political and business disruption. She has spent the last twenty years pioneering products that have allowed tens of millions around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate.

Julie’s experience creating innovative products and new business models now informs her work as a board member, angel investor and mentor to fellow entrepreneurs and CEOs. In addition to Socialtext, she is Chair of the Board at Kiva, the world’s largest micro-lending marketplace. Called the “hottest non-profit on the planet” by FORTUNE and a Top 50 Website by TIME, Kiva has delivered $280M+ loans to 700,000 entrepreneurs in 60 countries, since it’s founding six years ago.

Kiva ia a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Julie also serves as an advisor to leading technology incubator, Idealab, as well as a number of internet startups and social ventures in the US and Europe. Serving in roles that ranged from founding executive to founder & CEO, Julie has helped build five consumer internet and software companies. Among them, onebox.com, (acquired by OpenWave Nasdaq; OPNWV) the fastest growing internet communications service in 1999; Portola, the first internet mail system for businesses where she was instrumental to the acquisition by Netscape; Scalix, a pioneer and global leader in open source software and Healtheon, now WebMD (Nasdaq: WBMD).


Debbie Gisonni – President and CEO, Stillheart Institute



Debbie Gisonni spent fifteen years in the high tech industry holding corporate management positions with bottom-line responsibility. As the Publisher of Network Computing Magazine and Publishing Director for Internet Week, Debbie had it all—money, success and prestige. But at the height of her executive career, her life was derailed by the unexpected loss of four family members in four years. Debbie drew upon her inner strength to embrace her ordeal, and then boldly decided to leave her successful corporate career in order to help others be happy and prosperous in life, work and home no matter what challenges they face.

Debbie is the author of the national best seller, The Goddess of Happiness: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss New World Library ©2005. (translated into Mandarin Chinese) and Vita’s Will: Real Life Lessons about Life Death & Moving On. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, and her “Health and Happiness” column appears in the SF Examiner.com.

In 2010, Debbie found the perfect opportunity to combine her two distinct careers as President and CEO of Stillheart Institute; an educational retreat center where individuals, groups and businesses conduct programs for personal growth, professional success and positive transformation. Debbie will soon launch a business council as part of Stillheart’s goal of developing a global network for fostering personal growth within corporations seeking to improve their business culture and environment.

Debbie’s books: http://www.reallifelessons.com Subscribe and receive a FREE guided meditation.

Stillheart: http://www.stillheart.org

Health & Happiness Column: http://www.examiner.com/health-and-happiness-1-in-san-francisco/debbie-gisonni


Barbara Holzapfel – Senior Vice President Managing Director SAP Labs North America

Barbara Holzapfel is managing director (MD) of SAP Labs North America. She has held the role since April 2011 and is responsible for the strategy and operations of SAP Labs locations in the United States and Canada. As MD, she fosters greater cooperation among these SAP Labs locations and tighter alignment on a regional level. She is also responsible for connecting SAP to the local ecosystem, supporting the field organization, and helping deliver value to SAP’s development organization, and to SAP customers and partners. Barbara reports to Vishal Sikka, member of the SAP Executive Board, and Clas Neumann, global head of the SAP Labs Network.

Barbara has held leadership positions at SAP since 2001. Most recently she served as senior vice president of Portfolio Marketing, where she was responsible for ensuring that customers had a compelling and integrated understanding of the value of the SAP portfolio to help them address critical business challenges. In that role she also was responsible for delivering market and competitive insights and helping define and drive the release strategy of SAP solutions. Earlier, Barbara held positions as chief operation officer of Solution Marketing, vice president of SRM Strategy, and vice president of SRM Product Marketing. She began her career at SAP as marketing director for SAP Markets in EMEA.

Prior to joining SAP in 2001, Barbara spent five years as a management consultant in London and Frankfurt, after spending several years working for The Coca-Cola Company in Global Strategic Marketing.

Barbara holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and a business degree in from The University of Saarbruecken, German


Dina McKinney – Corporate Vice President, AMD



Dina has been a microprocessor designer for over 25 years, holding various positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, Motorola/IBM/Apple alliance on the PowerPC, and Alchemy Semiconductor.




Marilyn Nagel – CEO, Watermark


Marilyn Nagel joined Watermark as CEO in 2011, leading strategic initiatives designed to help exceptional women in the Bay Area enhance their personal and professional impact. As CEO of Watermark, Marilyn leverages her passion for gender diversity by promoting inclusive, diverse, and well-balanced workplaces.

Prior to joining Watermark, Marilyn was Chief Diversity Officer (Inclusion and Diversity, I&D) at Cisco, where she led the global I&D team on projects that require large-scale change management, talent planning, and learning. As Cisco’s Chief Diversity Officer, her responsibilities included facilitating the global I&D council, which set the I&D agenda and strategy for the company, and measured progress toward I&D goals. Marilyn also developed the strategic plan for I&D cross-functional teams. She continually looked for ways to help Cisco stay innovative, by driving policy changes to create a more inclusive environment.

Prior to joining Cisco, Marilyn worked in academia, leadership development, operations management, and organizational development for nearly 30 years, in both the private non-profit sector and for Fortune 100 companies.

Marilyn holds bachelors and master’s degrees in public administration, and has an additional master’s degree in social and systemic studies, with a focus on organizational systems.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Professional Business Women of California, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), and Watermark, and has been a co-chair of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force at the Center for Work-Life Policy.

Listed multiple times in “Who’s Who – Women in Business,” winner of the YWCA Women Leading the Way TWIN Award for 2011, Women Worth Watching award from the Diversity Journal 2010, Black Enterprise Top Executives in Diversity 2011, and Diversity Officer Leadership Award 2009, Marilyn is a frequent speaker on the topics of executive presence, developing women, as well as building a culture of inclusion.

Angie Chang – Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0

Angie is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0. The mission of Women 2.0 is to increase the number of female founders of tech startups. She has been managing the Women 2.0 brand, website, social media, marketing, and strategy since 2006, and converted her side project into her full-time role in 2012.  For more info, check out www.women2.org

In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief for Women 2.0, Angie is a contributing writer for BlogHer, ForbesWoman, The Huffington Post and TheNextWeb.

Separate from Women 2.0, Angie curates events for the wider women in tech community by organizing Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners in collaboration with local tech companies since January 2008. Sponsoring companies have included Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Genentech, Yahoo! and Palantir. For Girl Geek Dinners, she asks that guys come as the “+1″ for once. For more info, check outwww.bayareagirlgeekdinners.com.

In her free time, Angie studies the diaspora of tech-savvy and entrepreneurial women and designs cool stuff. Previous roles at startups include product manager, UI designer and web producer. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.

Meet with the panelists, make connections and feel empowered.

Networking & Mentorship Lunch:

Kristi Royse – CEO, KLR Consulting
 Kristi Royse, CEO of KLR Consulting, partners with clients to provide coaching and leadership development programs which are direct, specific and improve bottom line results. Kristi ensures that all KLR Consulting programs inspire leaders and teams to higher levels of performance and success. She is a nationally recognized speaker and since 1987 has coached executives to be stronger leaders and has helped organizations optimize their most vital resource – people.
Kristi has used her extensive expertise to improve the success of Boards of Directors, Executives, Managers, Salespeople and Support Staff of many national companies and firms. Areas of expertise include:

http://www.opensiliconvalley.org/wp-content/themes/choice1/images/arrow-simple.gif); background-position: 0px 3px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Company and management retreats

Kristi has a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. For more information on Kristi and KLR Consulting, please visit the company website at www.klrconsulting.com

Afternoon Panel: From Vision to Success: Strategies that Win!

Be inspired and motivated by stories of remarkable women in the areas of Social Entrepreneurship and Women Empowerment. They had a vision to change the status quo and made it work for many.
Jennifer Walske - Faculty Director of the GSVC, and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley.
Jennifer Walske is the Faculty Director of the GSVC, and the Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Walske publishes her research on emergent firms with an emphasis on how human capital, social capital, and strategy aids new firm success with particular focus on the social enterprise. Dr. Walske also founded Myriad Investments, LLC in 2000 and serves on boards of directors for both non-profit and for-profit enterprises. Prior to her career in academia, she was a nationally ranked software analyst by Institutional All-American, and was a regular guest commentator on both CNN and CNBC. Dr. Walske also spent ten years in Silicon Valley holding various marketing positions within the software industry prior to investment banking.
Erna Grasz – CEO, Founder and Chairman of the Board for Asante Africa Foundation

Erna Grasz has led organizations, teams and individuals to success in fast paced, high stress, and results orientated environments for over 25 years. She has an established reputation as a strategic leader with demonstrated success in diverse industries, including Medical Device, Defense Research, and Semiconductor Capital Equipment. She has exercised her skills in full management for business functions including: general management; research and product development; business development; operations; sales; and marketing. She has led teams as large as 400 people and as small as 3 people. Most recently, she has transitioned her leadership skills from being a Chief Technology Officer in the Medical Device Market to the Non- Profit world as the CEO of Asante Africa Foundation. She is known as an organizer of chaos and a “turn-around” leader. Other Formal Leadership Roles include : General Manager at Philips Healthcare, San Jose Campus / Vice President of R&D for Tyco Healthcare, Nellcor, Mallinckrodt Division / General Manager, KLA-Tencor / Program Manager, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Erna is an award-winning speaker with Toastmasters International. She has published numerous articles on leadership, communication skills and project management. She is a certified leadership trainer and career coach with a specific focus on youth, and early and mid- career professions. Her advanced degrees are in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management from Texas Tech University and Santa Clara University. She also has several executive Leadership and Management Training certificates from Stanford, MIT Sloan, UCLA.

Outside of running the Asante Africa Foundation, she is a fitness professional, a semi professional photographer, and an avid traveler.
Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy – Co-Founder and Former Board Chair , Muslim Women’s Fund

Shahnaz specializes in strategic communications and focuses on women’s, children’s and environmental issues. Her career has been spent working with non-profits, foundations and NGOs both  in the US, India, and Muslim world.

She started her career at Planned Parenthood in San Francisco where she was Director of  Strategic Communications and Public Affairs. Subsequently, for the next 25 years, Shahnaz ran her consulting firm and worked on campaigns for the ACLU, the Goldman Environmental Prize, and the Zellerbach Family Fund, among other clients. In 2002, she produced one of the first studies on diaspora philanthropy among Indians entitled, Non Resident Indians in Silicon Valley Care, Commit and Contribute to India (funded by the Packard Foundation).

In India for 20 years, Shahnaz provided trainings for NGOs in media advocacy on key social issues (funded by the Ford Foundation, OXFAM, UNICEF and USAID). In the Bay Area, she coordinated Brian’s Kids a “Waiting Child” program for CBS TV news in San Francisco for 15 years. This campaign was conducted for Bay Area counties and the State of California  -  focused on recruiting foster and adoptive parents for local children in need of homes.

Since 9/11, Shahnaz has focused on the Muslim women’s space. She interviewed 100 women in many Muslim countries – for a book on Women’s Islam which is in progress. She was executive producer for a BBC TV and radio series on Women’s Islam in 2008. Her writings have appeared in the SF Chronicle, Salon, and San Jose Mercury.  Her blogs on Muslim women’s issues are posted onHuffington Post, Alternet and Ms.

Shahnaz is a co-founder and former board chair of the Muslim Women’s Fund – dedicated to the economic empowerment of Muslim women. She is  about to launch phase 2 of MWF under a new name any day now. Stay tuned for the next iteration of the Fund.

Shahnaz has a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado Women’s College (now Denver University) and a Master’s degree from Stanford in Communications.






Dr. Tasneem Ismailji - Co-Founder and President, Academy on Violence and Abuse



Tasneem Ismailji M.D, MPH is an educator/ researcher in the field of health effects of violence and abuse. As a pediatrician (nonclinical) she has conducted numerous trainings, seminars and workshops for healthcare professionals at medical centers, hospitals and clinics for over fifteen years. She initiated and published research on survivors of intimate partner violence while a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. Her other major interest is relationship abuse prevention for young adults and adolescents and has led numerous workshops in schools, colleges and universities. She was a practicing pediatrician for more than twenty years.

Dr Ismailji is a co-founder of the Academy on Violence and Abuse and its current President. She serves on the medical sub-committee of the Domestic Violence Council of Santa Clara County in California.


Sharon Vosmek -Chief Executive Officer, Astia


Sharon Vosmek has been CEO of Astia since 2007, previously joining as COO in 2004. As CEO of Astia, Sharon has an unwavering passion and a uniquely well-suited background to drive forward the organization’s mission of propelling women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic. Under her guidance, the Astia community of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders has grown ten-fold and now spans North America, Europe and India.

Previously, Sharon founded SJ Vosmek & Associates and held management positions at American Express and in the office of U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini. Ms. Vosmek currently serves as founder and lead of the We Own It Collaboration, an effort of over 65 organizations globally committed to exploring women’s participation in high growth businesses and identifying solutions to move us forward. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the Cherie Blair Foundation, the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Experts Advisor Group, Illuminate Ventures Advisory Board, and the City of San Francisco Mayor’s Commission on Biotech (MayBAC..

Sharon has a master’s in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a bachelor’s in political science from Arizona State University.



Afternoon Fireside Chat

Leslie Marshall - Host of the nationally syndicated “The Leslie Marshall Show”


Leslie Marshall has over 23 years experience as a radio talk show host. She was the youngest person ever syndicated in America in 1992 when replacing Tom Snyder on the ABC Satellite Radio Network. At that time she was also the first woman who was syndicated discussing issues rather than giving advice. Leslie holds an undergraduate degree in Speech Communications from Northeastern University and attended the Master’s program at Emerson college; both in Boston from which she originally hails.  Leslie currently hosts the fastest growing progressive radio talk show in the United States; heard nationally on radio, internationally via live stream, podcasts, apps on itunes and on all American military bases via the American Armed Forces Radio Network.  Leslie also writes for USNews&WorldReport and blogs for POLITICO.  She is one of the few liberals who fights for the left on Fox News Channel seen weekly on The OReilly Factor ( reaching an audience of between 5 and 15 million), Hannity, America Live with Megyn Kelly and filling in for Bob Beckel on The Five.   Leslie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.  Leslie fights for issues such as women’s rights, peace in the Middle East, a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim world and numerous liberal and social issues. She adopted her son from Pakistan, had her daughter after 13 ivf cycles; but don’t call her octomom!  She has lived in Pakistan, the Middle East and Mexico.  She is highly respected as a political debator on radio, television and in print.

Seema Aziz  – CEO Sefam and Founder of CARE Foundation

For the past 26 years, millions around the world have been buying elegant clothes and fabrics made by the Pakistan-based textile maker Bareeze. Not many realize that their money helps educate Pakistan’s exploding and underserved youth.

Bareeze’s cofounder, Seema Aziz started her thriving business neither to make money nor to help children, but as a result of a challenge. Living in Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital, Aziz and her brother, who together launched the company in 1985, wanted to prove that their country could produce fabrics as chic as any in Europe.

By the mid 1990s Barezee had emerged as one of Pakistan’s most widely admired retailers, with shops in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, London, Manchester and Malaysia. A privately held company, it has also built a reputation as one of the country’s few multi-million dollar business chains with 40% of its shops in franchise hands. With 5,000 employees, nearly 145 shops worldwide, Bareeze is one of Pakistan’s leading businesses.

In 1988, after floods devastated areas around Lahore, Aziz took another giant step by launching CARE Pakistan which is currently educating more than 150,000 students in 225 schools across Pakistan.

CARE’s first school opened in 1991 with 250 students, paid for with Aziz’s personal funds as well as help from friends and family. The following year 450 enrolled. Demand grew. Today Seema Aziz’s CARE Pakistan supports more students than any other non-governmental organization in Pakistan–a total of 150,000. And she’s not satisfied.

“In the context of this country it is not large enough.The children are ours, the country is ours. It is the duty of a society, not a single person or entity, to look after its people.” Pakistan’s population is estimated to be 180 million, 60% of which is under the age of 25. Only slightly over half of that population is literate. Aziz is ready to do more but needs more human and financial resources.

She has proven to be an excellent entrepreneur, whose work and commitment to Pakistan is an inspiration to this nation, particularly young generation. She has proven that this country holds limitless opportunities for those who want to explore them. Her business continues to expand and her social venture continues to help others realize their dreams in life.

Seema holds a Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Punjab as well as a LLB from the same institute. She recently undertook an Executive Education Programme from Harvard Business School. Being actively involved in improving the educational opportunities for the children of Pakistan, she is on the board of multiple government and private bodies working in the sector.

Since 2011, she has served as the Chairperson of Technology Up Gradation and Skill Development Company, the first woman to ever do so. She is also on the governing body of TEVTA (Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority) and is on the Board of Directors of Pakistan Fashion Design Council, Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, Mobilink Foundation and Punjab Education Foundation.


Lorraine Hariton – Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at US Department of State


Lorraine is currently the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State. In this position she is responsible for representing business around the world. She actively advocates on behalf of American business and has launched the Global Entrepreneurship Program.

Lorraine has spent more than 25 years in the technology sector as a senior executive at IBM and Network Computing Devices. Hariton was President and CEO of Apptera and Beatnik, Inc., where she remains as Chairman. She is also on the board of IODA and MyShape.com.
Hariton is Chairman Emeritus of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives, serves on the board of the State of California Board of Accountancy, the Entrepreneur’s Foundation; the National Advisory Board of the Stanford Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Executive Committee of the National Center for Women and Information Technology. She is also a fellow of the American Leadership Forum. She has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in mathematical sciences from Stanford University. She is a triathlete, enjoys traveling and involved in politics.



The OPEN SV Women Leadership Forum is an annual conference dedicated to Women's empowerment in the workspace.  The one day conference is designed exclusively for women and by women from the community.

Women Leadership Forum 2013

Women Championing Women, Saturday, Jan 26th

Women Leadership Forum 2012

Inspire, Impact, and Win!  Saturday, February 11th

Women Leadership Forum 2011

Optimize Your Effectiveness, Saturday, January 29th 

OPEN Women Leadership Forum 2010

Finding Your Power, Saturday, February 20th Keynote: Nilofer Merchant

OPEN Women Leadership Forum 2009 Empowering for Success, Saturday, Feb. 7th Keynote: Wendy Beecham