Think Tank For women in Business & Technology

Raising women’s socioeconomic status through the application of technology.

October 28th Conference Announcement

After an incredibly well-received inaugural Think Tank session with close to 500 live attendees, we’re now preparing for our second round. As of this writing on 25th of September, we’ve had nearly 6,000 expressions of interest from professionals of diverse backgrounds rooting for and supporting the movement.  

Our aim is to raise women’s socioeconomic status through the application of technology, which brings me directly to the theme of our second conference:

Growth vs Impact, Could a Female Perspective Save the Future of Our Economy?

Some time ago I read a book entitled “The Price of Tomorrow”, by Jeff Booth, which resonated with me and I believe that it ties in well with my argument for having women in the forefront of decision making in business and technology. The book essentially argues that the nature of digital technology is deflationary, but our current economic systems have been built for a pre-digital era with an obsession with growth. In other words, we are living in an inflationary economy with deflationary technology. 

In my book, Career Fear, I also warned against challenges ahead resulting from the winner-take-all nature of the digital economy, and I referenced MIT professor Erick Brynjolfsson who has done great work and research in this area. The takeaway lesson from all this seems to be that our past few decades rate of growth is no longer sustainable which explains why we are now facing a crisis of job losses and an impending social breakdown. You may also be interested in reading my in-depth article on Covid19 and the Future of Business, Economy, and Democracy, where I talk about how Covid19 has accelerated a trend that had already started. 

In particular, in that article, I mentioned the biggest threat posed to the middle classes as we are likely to see this entire portion of the society disappear should the digital economy grow at an increasing speed. If we think of the formation of the middle classes as the era of the great nap, we seem to be coming to the end of this era. 

Join the Think Tank

Have a Question?

That's where women comen in!

I’ve spoken to a number of Think Tank members from a variety of background who pointed out that the obsessive growth-driven approach to business and economy is very much male-oriented, and that in their experience they felt that female entrepreneurs tended to be more focused on impact. The overall impression I got was that in numerous cases, although female-led businesses made more money in the long run, the rate of growth was not always as explosive and astronomical as their male counterparts in the short run. Of course, But anecdotes are not enough and we are calling for contributors with sold data and insights into this hypothesis. 

Call for Contributors

So, given the current economic crisis that we are all facing, it seems apt to focus on this topic for our October conference. Whether you agree or disagree with this hypothesis, please share your thoughts and if you feel you have something interesting to add to the panel, please submit your proposal below. We aim to have 9 speakers in this round so we can have more time for interaction and Q&A and another announcement. 

The way that these conferences work is collaborative and the content will evolve right up to the last week before the conference. Please bear in mind that anything I say here is just a suggestion to open a conversation, it’s not an assertion of absolute facts. We are thinking together and brainstorming to create a world that is more balanced as we bring in more female perspective to the table. 

speakers

The Format

The format of the conference is that each guest has three minutes to make their case. This was very popular last time and viewers found it interesting and engaging. The speakers will then get a chance to answer questions and further engage with the audience. 

Who should be on the panel?

We are open professionals with a strong background in any of the ten areas of focus of this movement, namely:

We want you to answer the following question from the perspective of your industry and your experience, in three minutes: 

  • How do you see women being able to bring a new perspective and approach to your industry and what would the overall impact be on
    the economy and society at large? 

Panel - Part 1

Somi Arian

Somi Arian is a tech philosopher, multi-award-winning filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, and a LinkedIn-Top-Voice in the UK. Somi is researching women’s socioeconomic position in society and why, historically, women have been held back in science, technology, and the business landscape and how to change this narrative. This is why she started this Think Tank.

Prof. Alessandra Cassar

Alessandra Cassar is Professor of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where she directs the M.S. in International and Development Economics. She uses both field and laboratory experiments to study individual’s behaviour. Her work shows that women are as competitive as men, once the elements that matter to women are included in the analysis. She argues that to reach equality in labor markets we should change the system of incentives, not the women.

Christophe Georges

Christophe Georges is the President and CEO of Bentley Americas. Christophe is leading the brand in the Americas, which remains Bentley’s largest market. The automotive veteran was appointed President & COO of Bentley Motors Inc. in 2007, after serving as the Regional Director Europe for Bentley Motors Limited, where he was responsible for a twenty-fold increase in sales.

Cobey Flynn

Cobey Flynn is a multi-award-winning Innovation Marketer who has launched over 30 brands from incubator to national/global launch. She is the Global Vice President of United Mint Campus, where she replaced classrooms with Project Incubators — dynamic co-working spaces where students work on real industry projects. Mentoring innovators at multinationals and startups on new-to-world product strategies, Cobey finds that women in business do more with less.

Ramona Liberoff

Ramona Liberoff is an Investor, Advisor and Founder based in Berlin. Ramona is currently working on solutions to critical, hard to fund SDGs in emerging markets. She believes that the Sustainable Development Goals is a list of what the world must do-and must fund-for a prosperous, equitable future.

Samar Shams

Samar Shams is a Partner at Spencer West LLP with experience working in traditional and non-traditional law firms. Based in the United Kingdom Samar raises issues of indirect discrimination against women in immigration rules, in particular, to sponsoring migrant women workers.

Kim Meltzer

Kim Meltzer is an Esports Industry Speaker, Experiential Event Producer, Player Experience, and Travel & Hospitality Guru as well as an Esports Mom based in California. Having been in the Corporate entertainment and Esports industry for 25 years, Kim is in a unique place to discuss the impact of the digital economy on women.

Michael O'Toole

Michael O’Toole is the founder and Managing Director of CareerDrive and served as a Tech MD at Morgan Stanley for 15 years. Michael’s focus has been leading mission-critical and large complex programs. Michael observes that women are sometimes given the advice to look at being webmasters or support staff but he believes there are much bigger opportunities for women.

Rita Kakati-Shah

Rita Kakati-Shah is an award-winning, gender, diversity, inclusion, and career strategist. Based in New York Rita is the Founder and CEO of Uma, an international platform that partners with organizations to attract, retain, and develop women and minorities in the workforce. Rita believes that increasing women’s influence is better for the global economy.

Sarah Hammond

Sarah Hammond is a Business Owner/President, Director, Co-Owner, and Investor. Sarah is also a Speaker based in Texas. Being a CEO in a male-dominated industry, Sarah will give us an insight into how she worked through the challenges and shifts in the business world.

Panel - Part 2

Daniela Barone Soares
Barone Soares is the CEO of Snowball, an impact investing fund, a Non-Executive Director of Halma Plc and the Chair of Gove.digital. For the past 14 years, Daniela has worked at the intersection of commercial and impact worlds for both startups and in large corporate environments. 

Michelle Foley
Michelle Foley is a Technical Program Manager, Security Program Manager, and Business Analyst with 20 years of experience in IT and based in Louisiana. With two degrees in life sciences, Michelle has a wide perspective that covers IT, project management, security, and science.
Tania Gupta
Tania Gupta is a Data and Analytics Director, with 10 years of experience in the data science and analytics space across the Middle East and the UK. As a data analyst, Tania is in a unique position to address the issue of Data Gap when it comes to women.
Debra Bass
Debra Bass is President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nuvo Group. In addition to her business leadership, Debra is a renowned advocate of Women serving in various leadership capacities to advance Gender Equality in the workplace and “grow women to grow the business and our world”.
Yojna Verma
Yojna Verma serves as an Associate Director at Constellation Advisers, LLC, a management consulting firm in financial services. With over two decades of experience in New York and the Bay Area, she has held high-level roles at companies on Wall Street that include BTIG LLC, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and the New York Stock Exchange. She serves as volunteer treasurer and board member of Leading Women in Technology, is a non-profit organisation that empowers women to grow their networks, knowledge, and leadership skills for greater professional and personal impact.

Joti Balani

Joti Balani is Founder and Managing Director of Freshriver.ai, a leading Enterprise Conversational AI & Data science consultancy. She has developed Conversational AI & Data Science frameworks and executed them at Enterprises including Lowe’s, Citigroup, American Red Cross, Google and Verizon to name a few over the last few years. She also leads strategy & design at Open Voice Network (Linux foundation funded) and Women in Voice/NJ chapter, both global non-profits looking to build the next generation of emotionally intelligent talent, design and user trust in the Conversational AI space.

Christine MacKay

Christine Mackay is a Founder of Animation Studios in Eton & Dundee. Christine is a woman working in animation, which is a male-dominated industry. Her team of very talented creatives is the majority female including at the senior level. Christine observes that women have the ambition to gain leadership roles in animation but the culture preempts progress in this industry.

Joshua Meredith

Joshua Meredith, J.D. is the Direct of Career Advising and Technology at Yeshiva University. He also teaches Ethics at Yeshiva, Georgetown University, and Muhlenberg College, in addition to being the Chair of Hoya Hacks, the Georgetown University Hackathon. He maintains an interest in technology education and helping woman achieve equality.