Girl Geek Dinner - Definitely Does Compute

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners – Definitely Does Compute

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #82: Sponsored by Optimizely

18.01.2015 (12:06 pm) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Join Optimizely on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm in 631 Howard Street #100, San Francisco, CA 94105, California for an Optimizely Girl Geek Dinner!

Optimizely’s CMO, Jessie Becker, will discuss her career path, pain points she encountered along the way, and how she overcame them to become a C-level mover and shaker.

Get involved in the conversation following Jessie’s talk with our breakout discussion groups. Each group will be hosted by an Optimizely Girl Geek and discussion topics will range from how women can empower each other to mentors to gender stereotypes.

Optimizely Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:30pm – 6:00pm: Registration, Food, & Networking

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Introduction to Optimizely and ​Discussion Groups

7:00pm – 8:00pm: More Networking!

Social media hashtag for the event: #OptimizelyGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @Optimizely @BayAreaGGD

Optimizely Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Jessie Becker, Chief Marketing Officer

Jessie Becker is the Chief Marketing Officer at Optimizely. She oversees all marketing activities including demand generation, customer marketing, product marketing, content marketing, and PR. Prior to joining Optimizely, Jessie was Interim Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix, where she was responsible for the global brand and customer acquisition programs. During her twelve years at Netflix she held a variety of marketing positions with increasing responsibility, and led a cross-functional product management, consumer insights, and engineering team to optimize all Netflix signup flows (domestic and international; web, mobile and 10’ UI), with annual gross signups exceeding 10 million.

Discussion Group Leaders

Heather Watkins, Director, Customer Marketing
Jennifer Lin, Software Engineer
Olga Antonenko Young, User Experience Researcher
Pamela Ongchin, Mobile Solutions Architect Team Lead
Shana Rusonis, Content Marketing Manager
Dan Siroker, Co-Founder & CEO
Shanann Klaver, Customer Advocacy Manager
Silvia Amtmann, Product Designer
Kristin Brey, Market Development Manager
Wintha Kelati, Marketing Automation
Lyndsey Williams, Technical Support Representative
Grace Ma Brelje, People Operations Manager
Neha Singla, Software Engineer

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #81: Sponsored by Houzz

01.01.2015 (6:52 pm) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Join Houzz on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 6pm to 9pm in downtown Palo Alto, California for a Houzz Girl Geek Dinner!

Get an inside look into the unique culture that empowers engineers to weave both big data and beautiful design.

Houzz co-founders (and married couple) Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen will share how they turned a passion project into a global company that is transforming home design around the world.

We’ll have plenty of food, drinks and time for networking with fellow women in tech. Don’t forget your business cards – we’ll be raffling away an iPad Mini!

Houzz Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

6pm – 7pm: Registration, food, drinks, and networking

7pm – 8pm: Chat with Houzz co-founders Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen

8pm – 9pm: More food, drinks, and networking

Social media hashtag for the event: #HouzzGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @Houzz @BayAreaGGD

Houzz Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Adi Tatarko, Houzz CEO & co-founder

Adi Tatarko is the President and co-founder of Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, bringing together both professionals and homeowners via mobile, local and social tools. Adi and her husband and cofounder, Alon Cohen, started Houzz out of challenges that they faced during their own remodeling process. Today, millions of homeowners and more than 500,000 architects, designers, contractors and other remodeling professionals are connecting through and its mobile apps every month, sharing their photos, advice and product recommendations. Earlier in her career, Adi founded a software company which developed products and services for the high tech industry. Adi lives with her husband and three boys in Palo Alto. In her spare time, she still enjoys looking at inspiring home design and renovating the rest of her own house one room at a time.

Alon Cohen, Houzz President & co-founder

Alon Cohen is the President and co-founder of Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, bringing together both professionals and homeowners via mobile, local and social tools. Alon and his wife and cofounder, Adi Tatarko, started Houzz out of challenges that they faced during their own remodeling process. Today, millions of homeowners and more than 500,000 architects, designers, contractors and other remodeling professionals are connecting through and its mobile apps every month, sharing their photos, advice and product recommendations. Earlier in his career, Alon was a Senior Director of Engineering at eBay, where he helped start eBay’s developer APIs and manage technology teams responsible for eBay Stores, ProStores, advertising and analytics. Before that, he worked in various other software development roles and founded a software company together with his wife. Alon graduated Cum Laude from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelor degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and an MBA. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and three boys and enjoys traveling the world and playing basketball with his sons, both of which he hopes to do more often.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #80: Sponsored by Box

26.12.2014 (11:51 am) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Join Box Women in Tech on Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Los Altos for a Box Girl Geek Dinner! Our SVP of Engineering will kick off the evening with an overview of Box, which will be followed by lightning talks from three of Box’s brightest engineers. These talks will span a diverse range of topics—from big data to dance—to foster open conversations about the many ways technology shapes our lives.

We hope you’ll join us at Box for food and drinks and, most importantly, to share your stories about working in tech. We view this event as an opportunity for women to expand their professional networks and build strong connections with like-minded women.

Box Women in Tech focuses on empowering the women of Box to 10x their careers and experiences—both inside and outside the company — enabling more effective involvement in the larger technological community. We aspire to make Box the best company for women working in tech.

Box Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:30pm – 6:15pm: Registration, food, drinks, and networking

6:15pm – 6:30pm: Welcome & Intro to Box by Sam Schillace, SVP Box Engineering

6:30pm – 7:15pm: Lightning talks by Box women

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #BoxGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @BoxEng @BayAreaGGD

Box Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Divya Jain

Divya Jain is a seasoned professional and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in building large-scale data-driven products. She was the Co-Founder and Chief Architect of dLoop Inc., a company that focused on providing advanced predictive analytics for big data in cloud. dLoop was acquired by Box in 2013. Currently, she leads the Big Data Machine Learning Platform initiative at Box. She was nominated as one of the 25 most powerful engineers in Tech for 2014 by BusinessInsider. She started her career at Sun Microsystems and was a senior technical member of Advanced Technology and CTO group at EMC and Kazeon (acquired by EMC). She holds Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering from San Jose State University and Data Mining and Analysis Specialization from Stanford University.

Alice Fuller

Alice Fuller came to Box from Princeton University, where she graduated with a BSE in Computer Science. While there she took many dance classes both academic and artistic. Growing up she was an active ballet student, attending several different Summer Intensive Programs, and performing in small productions. Currently, she sits on the Box Enterprise team and has been working on enterprise reporting and logging systems.

Tamar Bercovici

Tamar Bercovici is a Senior Engineering Manager at Box where she leads the Distributed Data Systems Team in scaling Box۪’s database architecture. Tamar has been frequently invited to speak on database architecture as well as her technical leadership in various leading tech conferences like Percona, Velocity and Grace Hopper. Prior to Box, Tamar was an early-stage employee at XMPie (now a Xerox company). Tamar holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

Box is HIRING in Los Altos for:

- Associate Product Manager (iOS)
- Sr. Software Engineer (Enterprise Application)
- Sr. Software Engineer (iOS)
- Sr. Software Engineer (User Flow Optimization)

Box is located at 4440 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #79: Sponsored by Twilio

27.11.2014 (3:33 pm) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Twilio is a telephone API that powers the future of business communications by enabling phones, VoIP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop, and mobile software.

Join us on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm at the Twilio Girl Geek Dinner as we explore some of the tech industry’s biggest questions: What’s it like to move from an enterprise company to a startup? And how do you start a diversity or social impact program in your company?

Join us at Twilio as we sip cocktails and mocktails, mingle over appetizers, and share our experiences about working in the tech and software industries.

Twilio Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

6:00pm – 6:45pm Doors open, heavy appetizers and cocktails/mocktails served!

6:45pm – 7:00pm Welcome and Intro by Natasha Whitledge

6:45pm – 7:15pm Panel Discussion: “Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life”

Panelists: Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator), Coleen Coolidge, Lynda Smith, Nisha George, Renee Chu

7:15pm – 7:30pm Q&A and discussion

7:30pm – 8:00pm Panel Discussion: “From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up”

Panelists: Gina Hernandez (moderator), Dominique DeGuzman, Danielle Leong, Emerald Maravilla, Erika Murdock Balbuena

8:00pm – 8:15pm Q&A and discussion

8:15pm – 9:00pm Networking and mingling

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #TwilioGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @Twilio @BayAreaGGD

Twilio Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Panel #1: Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life: What is it like to leave a big company to work for a startup? Is the promise of an exciting, fast-paced, “do-it-yourself” startup worth leaving an established organization? Learn about how these women made their decisions to move from large enterprise companies to smaller, more agile startups, and the lessons they learned along the way.

Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator)

Annie is a Product Manager at Twilio, where she works on voice connectivity products, defining product roadmaps, and specing out new features and product enhancements. Previously she was Sr. Executive of Technology Solutions at Oracle, and before that the VP of Engineering at Acme Packet. She has a MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from London Business School.

Coleen Coolidge

Coleen is the Director of Information Security at Twilio. She has served in leadership positions at traditional, larger enterprises in Southern California, such as First American Title Company and Corelogic. Her work centers on advancing the security culture past “just having the infrastructure people do it” to creating a comprehensive program where everyone participates and improves the company’s security posture. One of her goals is to educate others on good security practices to ensure that security is considered earlier in all areas of the business. Coleen decided to leave Southern California and executive grooming to have a larger impact in a smaller company. She earned her BA in English from SDSU and currently lives in San Francisco.

Lynda Smith

Lynda brings over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management across a diverse set of industries. In her capacity as SVP Marketing / CMO for a number of companies including Genesys, Nuance, Genpact, Jive, WeVideo and now Twilio, Lynda has been responsible for end-to-end marketing responsibilities. Lynda grew up in Joliet, Illinois and earned her BA in Liberal Arts from Simpson College, and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is on the faculty of Stanford University where she serves as a lecturer in Global Entrepreneurial Marketing and Professional Education programs.

Nisha George

Nisha is a Voice Product Specialist at Twilio. She graduated with an Engineering degree from Harvey Mudd and has worked at NASA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, The Daily Muse and now Twilio. She gravitates towards roles where she can be a bridge between multiple teams, focusing on improving communication and building out better tools and processes to increase efficiency. When she’s not adding notes to her work journal, Nisha likes to hike, bake, build things with power tools and go on international adventures. Follow Nisha on Twitter @negeorge.

Renee Chu

Renee is a Software Engineer at Twilio, where she works on services to onboard, test, and manage phone number inventory. Previously she was a Support Engineer at Twilio, and before that an Account Representative at Google Adwords.

Panel #2: From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up: How do you take your passion and turn it into a reality? For this panel, it’s all about dedication, support networks, and a whole lot of hard work. Join this group’s discussion about how a passion for increasing diversity in tech lead to the creation of the Twilio’s first diversity and employee resource groups.

Gina Hernandez (moderator)

Gina is the Inventory Manager here at Twilio, and a member of the Business Operations team. Gina graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she was a teaching assistant for Bettina Aptheker. While teaching her section of Introduction to Feminist Studies she realized that education was her calling. She would later graduate from Mills College with a Master’s degree in Education. While at Mills, Gina founded Californians Against 8 and with a small group, led the largest anti Prop 8 protest in California alongside Christine Chavez. The launch of sparked Gina’s interests in Twilio and she joined the team shortly after. She recently celebrated her one year anniversary as a Twilion, and has loved every minute.

Danielle Leong

After graduating from UC Irvine and working in marketing for several years, Danielle taught herself to code and joined Twilio as the company’s first female engineer. She’s passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in tech, and is a co-founder of Skittles, Twilio’s diversity initiative. In her spare time, she teaches public high school students how to code through the non-profit organization Mission Bit, and volunteers at Level the Playing Field Institute hackathons. In her spare spare time, she’s enjoys long rides on her motorcycle, following cute puppies on Instagram, and fiercely competing in Fitbit competitions. Follow Danielle on Twitter @tsunamino.

Dominique DeGuzman

Dom is a self-taught software engineer with a background in enterprise desktop hardware support. As a Cloud Services engineer at Twilio, she focuses on development pipeline, infrastructure monitoring, and internal communications tools. Alongside development, Dom is one of the founding members of Skittles, the diversity and inclusion initiative at Twilio. She travels around the globe speaking about the importance of diversity and inclusion, how to overcome impostor syndrome, and encouraging more women and LBGTQA to pursue a future in STEM. Follow Dom on Twitter @itshella_dom.

Emerald Maravilla

Emerald is a manager on the Customer Engagement team here at Twilio, where she focuses on making sure that Twilio’s customers have the tools they need to build best-in-class Twilio applications. Emerald joined Twilio as the first woman on the Sales team. She is currently co-chair of Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group, Twomen. Prior to Twilio, Emerald worked at Box, served as a founding team member of Strive for College, and blogged for Newsweek. She is passionate about issues of diversity and inclusiveness, the Golden State Warriors, and her Schnoodle, Splash. Follow Emerald on Twitter @dlaremej.

Erika Murdock Balbuena

Erika is the Community Engagement Manager and head of, where she works across departments to increase the company’s social impact. She is a co-chair of Twomen (Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group), which partners with Level the Playing Field Institute (LPFI), Women Who Code, and to help support women and underrepresented minorities advance in STEM. Erika is also currently the Vice-Chair of the board for R.O.C.K. SF. Prior to Twilio, she sharpened her community management skills at TaskRabbit and consulted for large and small nonprofits, including The Campaign for UCSF Medical Center. Erika is a proud San Francisco native, foodie and adventurer. Follow Erika on Twitter @Erikadmsf.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #78: Sponsored by IXL Learning

17.11.2014 (9:02 am) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

IXL Learning is an educational technology company like no other.  Our team is full of smart, motivated people with a passion for creating the best educational technology possible.   We leverage cutting-edge technologies to solve seemingly intractable problems in education.  Millions of users count on us to make learning as effective as can be, and we’re looking for exceptional people who are committed to solving the real-world challenges faced by students and teachers around the world.  

Join IXL on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm to learn about how IXL is shaping the future of education.  Our line-up will include a fantastic girl geek panel on the ups and downs of an educational technology company, the positive impact our work has on society, and the what it’s like transitioning from the classroom to the Edtech space.

IXL Learning Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:30PM – 6:30PM – Registration, Dinner, Mingling, Demos

6:30PM – 7:30PM – Panel Discussion

7:30PM – 8:30PM – Dessert, More Mingling, Demos

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #IXLGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @IXLLearning @BayAreaGGD

IXL Learning Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Kate Mattison copyKate Mattison (Director of Products)

After getting her start at IXL as a product analyst, Kate now leads IXL’s product management team. She is passionate about providing exceptional user experiences and superb educational content. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a PhD in mathematics from Stanford.




Debbie Chang copyDebbie Chang (Product Manager)

With over 5 years of product development experience under her belt, Debbie has strong demonstrated expertise and an unwavering passion for improving education through technology.  Focused on delivering a high-quality product and delightful user experience, Debbie is responsible for leading the design and development of the IXL product.  She works closely with our engineering, content, marketing, and user support teams to grow and improve our popular online learning program, found at  She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and health policy from Harvard University.



Megan Elmore copyMegan Elmore (Math Product Analyst)

Formerly a middle school teacher focusing on algebra and physical science, Megan is now an integral member of our math content development team.  As a math product analyst, Megan utilizes her educational insight to drive the success of the IXL product by creating engaging online math problems and collaborating with our engineering and visual design teams.  She is involved in all aspects of the content development cycle, including brainstorming, design, testing, and support.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology and a masters of arts in education from Stanford, with credentials in biology and foundational-level mathematics.



Suzanne Pelz copySuzanne Pelz (Engineering Development Manager)

With over 10 years engineering experience at IXL Learning, Suzanne has played a pivotal role in shaping the IXL product and developing our current engineering team.  She now leads a dedicated team of engineers who focus their efforts on creating the code modules and supporting libraries that generate the math and language arts questions (soon to include science and social studies!) that millions of students in over 190 countries answer every day.  She holds a bachelor’s degree and a masters of arts in mathematics from UC Santa Cruz.