NBC Bay Area Invent Your Future Conference

NBC Bay Area
Invent Your Future Conference for women
March 31 - April 1, 2009
Santa Clara Convention Center

The Invent Your Future conference is the premier educational event for businesswomen in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. It features nationally-recognized keynote speakers, best-selling authors, thought leaders and business experts who offer informative seminars, tools and techniques to accelerate career advancement.

Program tracks include:
• Closing the Leadership Gap
• Career Advancement
• Entrepreneurial Strategies
• Health and Wellness
• Careers in High Tech/Biotech
• Young Woman in Technology Program

Special in-depth, pre-conference seminars on executive leadership, finance, business simulation, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation will also be offered March 31st.

The conference is being produced by NBC Bay area and  Planning Dynamics, Inc., the same team that has successfully designed and produced 40 major conferences for businesswomen over the last 20 years including 17 California Governor’s Conference for Women and 23 Professional BusinessWomen of California (PBWC) Conferences. Past sponsors and partners:

Who will attend?
Professional women and entrepreneurs seeking products, services and solutions to propel their careers and businesses. 2008 attendees included corporate executives from leading technology, financial and business service companies and established entrepreneurs.

Also expect to see corporate management, government employees, non-profit leaders, association executives, small business owners and employees, and independent consultants from a wide variety of industries and market segments. 97% of last year’s attendees said the conference met or exceeded their expectations.

Female CEOs at top Silicon Valley tech firms down to zero
By Brandon Bailey
Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/11/2008 01:30:29 AM PDT

The number of women chief executives at Silicon Valley's biggest technology companies dropped to zero this week, with the abrupt departure of VMware's Diane Greene from the company she co-founded 10 years ago.

Greene's ouster may have stemmed from a dispute over business strategy, rather than her gender, but the news sent a rumble through the ranks of female managers and others concerned about diversity in the corner office.

Many were disappointed. And many were speculating about the pool of likely female candidates for future CEO openings.
"The pipeline is light. It's not a pretty picture," said Wendy Beecham, who runs the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives, a Palo Alto organization formed to support women in business in the Bay Area.

"The valley's abuzz" about Greene's departure, said Nicole Woolsey Biggart, dean of the graduate school of management at the University of California-Davis, which conducts an annual survey of women executives and directors at the state's biggest public companies.

"It's certainly a moral blow for women who see her as an aspirational model, whenever someone who is widely admired leaves a very visible position," Biggart said.

The UC-Davis survey and other studies have repeatedly highlighted the relatively small numbers of women in senior jobs at large firms. Last year, Santa Clara County ranked lowest in the state for the number of women in the top ranks of big firms.

There are powerful women executives at major corporations - including Yahoo President Susan Decker, Oracle co-president and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz, and Hewlett-Packard Executive Vice President Ann Livermore, who runs one of three major divisions at the giant computer-maker. And there are some well-known former CEOs, such as HP's Carly Fiorina and Autodesk's Carol Bartz.

But earlier this year, a Mercury News survey found only two women CEOs at the valley's 150 biggest corporations: VMware's Greene and eBay's Meg Whitman, who stepped down from her post in March.

There are some rising stars out there, according to Bob Concannon, who runs the Silicon Valley Technology Practice Group for Boyden, a global executive recruiter. He and other sources mentioned Nora Denzel, a senior vice president running Intuit's payroll services for corporate clients; Sheryl Sandberg, a former Google executive recently named chief operating officer at Facebook; and Carol Mills, a former Juniper Networks executive vice president now serving on corporate boards.

Google and Hewlett-Packard are examples of companies that generally do a good job of supporting and promoting women managers, according to Beecham and others. There are smaller companies and start-ups run by women, as well.

"It's easier for a female to start her own company than to move through the ranks of a big corporation. You don't have to ask anyone's permission in a start-up," said Jessica Livingston, who helps run an early-stage start-up funding company called Y Combinator.
But men still seem to outnumber women in the ranks of engineers and scientists who seek funding for new companies, she said. Her firm has given funding to about 250 founders in three years - only seven of them women, to Livingston's chagrin.

Women face another obstacle that's similar in both public and private companies, added Cindy Padnos, who has been CEO at two private software firms and is now putting together a venture capital firm that will target companies led by women.

The people making key decisions - directors who hire CEOs for public companies, or venture capital partners who dole out funding - tend to be men. While that doesn't mean men are deliberately holding women back, Padnos said, those decisions are often based on "who you know and who you're comfortable with."

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