Empowerment, Innovation Centre Stage at SoCal Women’s Leadership Summit

This year’s SoCal Women’s Leadership Summit — taking place 4th Nov in Los Angeles, co-located with the Infinity Festival Hollywood event, and being held as both a live, in-person event, and online via the MESAverse virtual platform — will bring together thought leaders in technology and management to discuss the changing landscape of leadership, diversity, accessibility and more.

Here’s a look at what attendees can expect during the all-day event:

• Following opening remarks by Christina Aguilera, head of technology workflow and strategy, for Amazon Studios, and president of the WiTH Foundation, and Arjun Ramamurthy, CTO of Ateliere, Guy Finley, executive director of the WiTH Foundation and Nadya Ichinomiya, executive director and head of the Agile Center of Excellence for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and chairwoman of the WiTH Foundation, will offer up “A Look at the 2022 Leadership Awards Nominees.” The session looks at this year’s award nominees along with previous year’s winners.

For a brief profile of each nominee, click here, here and here.

• Karen P. Layng, president of the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of USA, will deliver a keynote stressing the importance the organisation has on the future professional lives of its members. “Future Women Leaders in Tech Wear Green” will discuss the ROI of Girl Scouting and the Gold Award and local opportunities for you to partner with Girl Scouts. The harsh reality is that by the time that a young woman has graduated from high school and begun to decide on her aspirational career path (declaring themselves a STEM or technology related field major), she is already behind in the career race and may never catch up.

Girl Scouts presents the critical leadership development training for future change agents in tech and that training starts in kindergarten and continues to the C-Suite.

• “Lasting Impact: Empowering the WiTH Community” will bring out the personal stories and journeys from the women who have been directly impacted by WiTH’s community engagement efforts over the years and how they have been able to change their trajectory.

Attendees will also hear more about what these WiTH supported non-profits do with their members and for their broader community.

April Schneider, a WiTH Foundation board member and executive director of IT, TV distribution, for Sony Pictures will moderate the panel with Temitope Adepoju, Women’s Empowerment Institute alumna, and Salesforce system administrator for Redpath Consulting Group; Patricia Cruz, DIY Girls alumna, and co-lead instructor for Invent Girls; Karen Elzy, Codetalk alumna, and workforce development and graphic designer for Codetalk; Hailey Lister, Boundless Brilliance alumna, and product manager for Kinotek Software; and Leslie Segovia, STEM Advantage alumna, and software engineer for Disney Streaming Services.

• Attendees will hear from Angeline Buenaventura, creative talent development manager for Netflix, and Kari Grubin, executive board member with the Hollywood Professional Association, in the panel session “Building Community through Leadership.” This discussion will highlight the organisations and individuals who empower women in the industry.

From allies to mentors to leaders this session will highlight the history and strength of collaboration within M+E. Nina Skorus-Neely, WiTH secretary and digital advisor for Microsoft, will moderate.

• “Leading (Women!) Through Technology Innovation” gathers WiTH Leadership Award Nominees to discuss their impact as a technology leader within their organisations. Learn how to motivate teams and inspire women to move beyond their comfort zone to create or drive adoption of products throughout the production and distribution supply chain. They’ll be discussing their individual career paths while focusing on the technology innovations that made the most impact on their career path(s) as well as the mentors and allies who helped along the way.

James Andrews, founder of Creator Mode Studios, Albertina Cardiel Chavez, IT governance, risk and compliance director and cybersecurity evangelist for Softtek Integration Systems, Anna Claiborne, CTO and co-founder of PacketFabric, and Eric Iverson, director of products for Amazon Studios, will be on hand.

• The afternoon keynote of the day — “Women in Technology Leadership” — will be presented by Jana Vondran, SVP of global business services for Ingram Micro. A leadership path starts from within and isn’t bound by economics or borders. The inner strength required starts with pure determination and is further fuelled by life experiences and teamwork. Starting as an immigrant to America through building a successful career in technology, and now one of the top leaders within a $50 billion company, in this keynote presentation attendees will learn how this executive’s journey has shaped her career.

• Meet in the metaverse for a virtual lunch and open networking session to jam with other Infinity Festival WiTH attendees. Grab a sandwich, pull up a digital chair and connect with other powerhouses in the digital universe. This “Ask Me Anything” is designed to give virtual participants a platform to engage with leaders in this emerging technology space. Jeanette DePatie, lead writer and analyst for Propellerhead-Inc will moderate.

• That will lead into the Lunch Mentorship Workshop, “The Four Mentors: The Case for Kind Leadership.” Mentorship has not only yielded a faster track toward salary increases but has also given its participants a greater sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in their lives at work. Like mountaineers linked at the hip, mentors and mentees typically stay loyal to their jobs and are justly valued for their professionalism and commitment.

During this talk, attendees will review the “four mentors,” and the interactive session will include a worksheet exercises. Participants will walk away with practical actions to take to increase mentorship in their professional and personal lives. Nadya Ichinomiya will lead the discussion.

• “Creating Diversity in the Metaverse” will see DePatie moderate a session with Mariana Danilovic, managing director of Infiom, Heidi Pease, head of investment products for Wave Financial, and Christina Trampota, managing director of Innovate Grow Scale. Blockchain technologies such as DeFi, DAOs, NFTs, and Web 3.0 offer unique opportunities to both serve and create opportunities for populations that are currently underserved due to conscious and unconscious bias.

In this session speakers will discuss how avatars and other identity tools within the Metaverse can be used to make members feel represented and welcome.

They will also talk about how these technologies may be used to bank the unbanked or underbanked, create merit-based opportunities for young techs who may not have degrees from prestigious institutions and how these technologies may be among the best tools to manage income inequality in the future.

• “Accessibility in the Metaverse” will be led by iAsia Brown, data and AI specialist for Microsoft, and board member for the WiTH Foundation. Metaverse is not just a 3D virtual world but a future state of technology. It is far bigger than you can imagine. Physical disabilities are not reflected to the Metaverse, therefore others don’t know if you are using accessibility aids or different devices to move your virtual avatar in the meeting. This creates the opportunity for tech to bridge the gap where limitations once existed.

• Jinsu Wang, SVP of business operations for MGM will lead the presentation “Using Cloud Transformation as a DE&I Opportunity.” MGM is one of the most iconic names with some of the most beloved movies and TV series ever made. But after an extended period of manual asset processing, it was time to remake MGM Studios using the best modern content technology available. Jinsu will share her experience leading one of the largest studio transformations of our industry and the enormous opportunities cloud, analytics, AI/ML and media supply chain technologies like Ateliere brings to M&E and the opportunities for women to lead an industry-wide transformation.

• The closing keynote — “From Silicon Valley to Sony Pictures – My Adventures in Executive Leadership” explores the career of keynoter Virginia Lyons, CISO for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and discusses how a theatre major with a law degree ended up in the tech field developing some of the first e-commerce platforms and later moving into cybersecurity. Learn how to guide your own path through personal triumphs and tribulations as you hear career advice on learning about new opportunities or deciding your “non-negotiables.”

• The day closes with the presentation of the winners of the WiTH Leadership Awards, and a networking reception.

The SoCal Women’s Leadership Summit is presented by Ateliere with sponsorship by Amazon Studios, Softtek, Fortinet, Prime Video, SHI, Amazon Web Services, PacketFabric and Presidio.

To register for the event, click here. To learn more about MESA’s events, contact sales@mesaonline.org.