BlogHer Conference Speaker Spotlight: Founders and Partners and Girl Geeks, Oh My!

BlogHer Original Post

Our inaugural BlogHer | bet -- a conference designed for women with big ideas involving technology, the Internet or social media -- is less than a week away. And the closer it gets, the clearer it becomes that this is going to be something really special. Each and every participant is well into a career of imagination and influence, and each has a bright idea (or project, or business) that’s ready to become bigger and brighter. Each participant has been custom-paired with a mentor who has achieved acclaim and prominence in her field and is committed to sharing insights and supporting other women.

In previous Speaker Spotlights, we’ve introduced you to Charlene Li, Sandy Carter, Adriana Gascoigne, Megan Smith, Nicole Lazzaro, Liz Dolan, Laura Fitton, Amy Chang, Cindy Padnos, Natalia Oberti Noguera, Wendy Lea, and Pattie Sellers. Today, we’ll introduce you to four more: Just a few of the funders who’ll be sharing their insights and time at BlogHer | bet include Ann Winblad, Patricia Nakache, Tracy Sedlock, and Janice Roberts.


Ann WinbladTech leader and VC Ann Winblad was named one of the 100 most influential people in the digital age (Upside Magazine), one of the top 50 leaders of the New Establishment (Vanity Fair), and among the top 25 power brokers in Silicon Valley (Business Week). As co-founder of Hummer Windblad Venture Partners, she has helped launch more than 70 startups, and sits on the boards of seven companies. That’s quite a distance from her first dollar -- earned at age 7, picking strawberries -- and her first company, Open Systems, an accounting software company she co-founded her first company with a $500 investment and sold six years later for over $15 million. In an interview in Business Week, she said, “the people who are most successful are comfortable in their own skin.” Learn more about Ann at her profile page here.


Patricia NakacheTrinity Ventures General Partner Patricia Nakache is one of the few women in venture capital funding with a background in Physics and Chemistry (in which she received her A.B. at Harvard; M.B.A. at Stanford). She’s especially interested in Internet-based marketing and information services, vertical marketplaces, and alternative advertising solutions. We’re in what she calls the Power shopper era, and she is a keen analyst of the influence of social networks in it, and women’s central role there. Learn more about Patricia at her profile page here.


Tracy Sedlock, Partner, COO and CFO at Accel Management, is in her fourteenth year with the firm. There she is responsible for their finance, investor relations, IT, facilities, and HR, and has oversight on their global fund operations. Prior to joining Accel, Tracy was a Manager of Investment Administration at Princeton University, where she worked with Princeton’s alternative assets, including venture capital, private equity, real estate, and oil and gas partnerships. She also worked on the University’s Planned Giving program, where she helped manage the creation and maintenance of individual charitable trusts. Learn more about Tracy at her profile page here.


Janice RobertsJanice Roberts came to Silicon Valley twenty years ago, after selling her company, BICC Data Networks, to 3Com Corp. Since then she ran a number of the company’s new business initiatives, not least among them Palm Computing. At Mayfield Fund, where she is Managing Director, Janice Roberts invests in networking components and systems, mobile communications, and consumer-oriented companies. In a piece she wrote for Forbes, she describes what she calls “The New Girls Network,” a revision of the old boys’ one: “It’s growing one introduction at a time and often by serendipity. It’s a small, informal but thriving group of competitive and talented women who respect but don’t revere tradition. They look to performance more than pedigree; their idea of chat is a conference call between Menlo Park, London, Shanghai, and Bangalore.” To that list, we’re excited to add: BlogHer | bet. Find out more about Janice at her profile page here.

As you can see, an amazing group of women mentors will be coming together at |bet. When everyone gathers together for the first in the Cisco Telepresence Suites on Thursday evening, we’re half-expecting the lights to flicker and the WiFi to falter. After all, it's a critical mass of power women, sharing knowledge. And knowledge equals yet more power.

(Remember: if you can’t make it to Silicon Valley next week, you can still participate in the conference panels via a virtual conference pass.)

About the Speaker Spotlight Series: BlogHer is excited about our upcoming conferences this year (yes, conferences, plural: BlogHer | bet ’11, BlogHer Food ’11, BlogHer ’11, and our newest event, BlogHer Handmade). Each week, we’ll randomly select a panel or two to highlight. Though the panels are randomly selected, our speakers are not -- we take great care in researching, considering and inviting speakers for each conference, with a special focus on featuring new and diverse voices. We hope you’ll learn a lot, think a lot, and jump into lively conversations with these speakers!

Polly Pagenhart, BlogHer Conference Programming Director

Jes Ferris, BlogHer Conference Programming Manager


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