Panels - Session 1

Transforming Society: Women in Emerging Technology

From deep learning to digital health, buzzwords surrounding emerging technologies often command the top of our newsfeeds. Yet, what do these words actually mean for the future of work? This panel explores what it’s like for women working at the forefront of how technology will shape the future of our society by bringing together extraordinary women leading breakthrough ventures in biotechnology, 3D printing, fitness tech, and tech for government services.

Featured Speakers:

  • Minnie Ingersoll - COO, Code for America

  • Andrea Coravos - CEO/Co-Founder, Elektra Labs

  • Dara Treseder - CMO, Carbon

  • Stephanie Hannon - Chief Product Officer, Strava

  • Julia B. Austin - Senior Lecturer, Entrepreneurial Management at the Harvard Business School

  • Nina Sodhi - Founder and CEO, Bookshelf Builder

Journey of Women Leaders

Despite years of progress in the workforce, women hold less than a quarter (24%) of senior roles across the world in 2018. Even in USA, women hold barely a third of managerial positions as the gender pay gap continues to stand at 0.8 per dollar earned by men. For women who aspire to top leadership, routes do exist but are labyrinths full of twists and turns, both expected and unexpected. This panel features perspectives from experienced senior leaders on not only the barriers that make up this labyrinth, but most importantly what we can do to better navigate through this situation - be it addressing the subtle gender biases or negotiating better. Our hope, is to spark a discussion that enables a deeper understanding of the situation and helps both women and men make more informed choices towards their vision of success.

Featured Speakers:

  • Dagmar Bryant - Transformational Coach

  • Milan Prilepok - Co-Founder and Global Leader, McKinsey Negotiations Service Line

  • Wei Moline - Vice President, 3M’s New Economy Forum Initiative,

  • Laura Tulchin - Director, Exiger

Diversity in Investing

Women make up for less than 20% of the venture capital or private equity industries. Women run only two of the top 50 hedge funds. Why is that? And how is it changing? This panel will feature a variety of investors across the venture capital, private equity and hedge fund industries to discuss their keys to success, as well as their thoughts and actions regarding diversity in investing.

Featured Speakers:

  • Kristin Mugford, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration [moderator]

  • Edith Dorsen - Managing Partner, WomensVCFund ll

  • Suzanne Norris - General Partner, Victress Capital

  • Caroline Sherman - Managing Director and Head of Enterprise, Quantopian

  • Payal Agrawal Divakaran - Principal, .406 Ventures

  • Pavithra Mahesh - Vice President, Apax Partners

The Rise of FemTech: Finally a Focus on Women’s Health

For decades, healthcare offerings were created without consideration for the differing needs of men and women. It is no surprise that there are physiological differences, so why has the system historically developed and delivered products and solutions that are the same for both genders? Fortunately, a new wave of companies has emerged to serve the unique needs of women. Femtech refers to software, products, and services that harness technology to improve women’s health. The purpose of this panel is to explore the femtech industry through leaders and companies that are carving out their own space within this emergent market.

Featured Speakers:

  • Gina Nebesar - Chief Product Officer/Co-Founder, Ovia Health

  • Kat Stillman - Vice President, Prelude Fertility

  • Kate Torgersen - Founder/CEO, Milk Stork

  • Monica Belsito - VP of Product Development, Lola

  • Terry Stone - Managing Partner, Oliver Wyman Global Health & Life Sciences

Diversity in the Public Sector

Today’s turbulent political climate has struck chords with diversity movements worldwide--from the Women’s March to immigration policy protests, now is a pressing time for those serving in the public sector. This panel takes a deep dive into these issues, exploring questions around the role of diversity and gender in such a visible sector, along with discussions around the current administration’s impact on diversity and inclusion.

Featured Speakers:

  • Cynthia Orellana - Director, Office of Community Partnerships at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

  • Jenifer Pinkham - Founding Partner, Phifer Pinkham, LLC

  • De’Ara Balenger - Co-Founder, Maestra

  • Paola Ramos - Host, Latin-X and Weekly Contributor, Telemundo News

  • Monique Dorsainvil - Public Policy, Facebook

The Gender Experience

This panel explores the abundance of academic research demonstrating that many of the norms and expectations associated with masculinity limit men’s ability to express connection, vulnerability, and other traits considered traditionally feminine.  So long as we live in a world where men are discouraged from acknowledging important emotions and sources of meaning seen as “weak” or “unmanly,” gender hierarchies will persist in both personal and professional environments. In a guided discussion, our expert panel will address:

  • When do gender stereotypes start? How do children, specifically boys, process and respond to gender constructs?

  • Men have their own gender experience – how does this impact their personal and professional lives?

  • I don’t question my gender identity, so why does this conversation matter?  For society? For business?

Featured Speakers:

  • Lacey J. Hilliard, Ph.D. - Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

  • J.G. Boccella - Co-Founder, FierceWomen, and author of Bring Your Strength

  • Dr. Christin L. Munsch - Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut

  • Marc Grau-Grau - WAPPP Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Judy Y. Chu, Ed.D. - affiliated faculty member, Stanford University

  • Colleen Ammerman - Director, The Gender Initiative

Building an Executive Team

Women currently hold 10.6% -- or 643-- of the total 6,081 board seats on Fortune 500 companies and 84% of Fortune 500 companies have women board directors. While it’s not exactly gender parity, we’ve seen an upward trend in female board representation over the last few years. Women accounted for 38.3% of all newly-named directors at Fortune 500 companies in 2017, according to executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles, and in 2018, California became the first state to require women on corporate boards. This panel will feature perspectives of several female board members who will share how they amplify each other in the boardroom, how their professional experiences supported their effectiveness on a male-dominated board, and how these recent changes will impact corporate board composition in the future.

Featured Speakers:

  • Martha Goldberg Aronson - Corporate Board Director, Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., Methode Electronics and CONMED Corporation

  • Christine Spadafor - CEO, SpadaforClay Group, Inc.

  • Rudina Seseri - Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures

  • Laila Partridge - Serial Entrepreneur and Fortune 100 trained executive

  • Mei-Mei Tuan - Managing Director, Trewstar Corporate Board Services & Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Notch Partners LLC

Beyond Financial Returns: Impact Investing in the 21st Century

The relationship between business and social or environmental considerations has become increasingly blurred in the 21st century. Accordingly, there is a growing and diverse market of investors adopting strategies that consider non-traditional factors - such as social or environmental outcomes - alongside financial risk and return.  And along multiple dimensions, women are a leading force behind this phenomenon. This panel will explore the diverse career paths of leading female practitioners in impact investing, while facilitating discussions of how values have shaped their personal, business and investment decisions.

Featured Speakers:

  • Fran Seegull - Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance

  • Kavita Gupta - Consensys Ventures

  • Anna-Marie Wascher - Founder and CEO, Flat World Partners

  • Kate Ahern - Director, ESG and Communications, Bain Capital

  • Cait Reimers Brumme - Director of the Impact Collaboratory at the Harvard Business School

Panels - Session 2

Technology for Social Impact

There is no doubt that technology is transforming society around us, shaping our decisions from who we choose to meet to how we choose to move from point A to B. How can we ensure that the new products and services we develop have a role in driving social change? From education to the future of work, there is no shortage of use cases for technology to empower communities and provide greater access to opportunity. This panel explores this topic and showcases women leaders at the intersection of technology and social impact.

Featured Speakers:

  • Lucy Caldwell - Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President, Crowdskout

  • Nicole Isaac - Director of North American Policy, LinkedIn

  • Carolina Huaranca - Principal, Kapor Capital

  • Mina Hsiang - VP of Product, Devoted Health

  • Patricia Carrolo - Vice President, Travel and Transportation Industry, IBM Global Markets

Building Businesses from the Ground Up

What happens after you’ve moved from ideation to incorporation and started your own business? What are the challenges facing small business owners as they continue to build their companies? This panel explores the experiences of several successful female founders from several diverse industries, all currently running their own small businesses. We will learn more about the unique issues and difficulties they face as business owners/operators.

Featured Speakers:

  • Annie Scranton - President & Founder, Pace PR

  • Felice Friedson - Author, The Media Line

  • Jody Greenstone Miller - Co-Founder and CEO, Business Talent Group

  • Trudie German - Trainer, Author, & Health & Fitness Expert

  • Jodi Gernon - Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship Harvard Business School [Moderator]

Thriving in a Dual-Career Relationship

Dual-career couples are now the norm with about 80% of millennials reporting being in a dual-career relationship. Most of us want to support our partners on their career journey, but thinking about two careers individually and then trying to marry them together is often a design challenge. In this panel, we will explore what it takes to balance a relationship with two careers and what it takes to make the workplace work for dual-career couples.

Featured Speakers:

  • Demeatria Boccella - Independent Global Arts and Philanthropy Professional

  • J.G. Boccella - Co-Founder, FierceWomen, and author of Bring Your Strength

  • Lauren Coyle - Division Vice President, DaVita

  • Meghan Fennell - Founder, The Spark Collective & Senior Manager, Global Sponsorships

    Marketing at Deloitte

  • Marilou McFarlane - President, North America, STATSports Ltd.

  • Pooja Kumar - Partner, McKinsey & Company

Who owns Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion are integral to high performing workplaces. But who owns the responsibility for them? How is this responsibility allocated within an organization? Is it better to have a dedicated individual (I.e. Chief Diversity Officer), or does ownership lie with each member of the organization? This panel will explore the various ways organizations are approaching diversity and inclusion to recruit and retain diverse talent. The goal of this panel is for attendees to walk away with a better understanding of how to best align ownership and incentives within their organizations to best achieve their diversity and inclusion goals.

Featured Speakers:

  • Yai Vargas - Diversity & Inclusion Strategist

  • Dominica Groom Williams - Vice President, Office of Inclusive Engagement at Freddie Mac

  • Josette Robinson - Managing Director, Prosek Partners

  • Kathryn Sayko - Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, PGIM

  • Lorie Valle-Yanez - Head of Diversity and Inclusion, MassMutual

Beauty In Diversity

What is beauty? Traditionally, to answer the question, some observe who they see on TV and magazine covers; others are told they need to change their hair or sculpt a certain body shape. For decades, the beauty industry has championed a narrow definition of “beautiful”, leaving those who don’t fit in to feel less than. When Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launched in 2017, its inclusive marketing and 40 foundation shades set a new standard for redefining beauty by embracing diversity. This panel explores how the beauty industry is tackling the representation of beauty in its products, stories, and leadership. This conference celebrates the beauty in diversity, now let’s talk about diversity in beauty and hear directly from those pioneering this change.

Featured Speakers:

  • Natalie Neilson Edwards - Global Director, Inclusion & Diversity at The Estee Lauder Companies

  • Amanda E. Johnson - Co-Founder & COO, Mented

  • KJ Miller - Co-Founder & CEO, Mented

  • Meghan Maupin - Co-Founder & CEO, Atolla

  • Rooshy Roy - Co-Founder & CEO, aavrani

  • Felicia Walker - Founder, ThisThatBeauty

Forging a Career in the Energy Industry: A Fireside Chat

The rapidly-evolving energy industry faces pressure on many fronts; from the demands of climate change to the shapeshifting regulatory environment and international nature of the industry, sweeping change looms. Overcoming such widespread challenges requires complex, diverse, and innovative points of view. This fireside chat features three women in the energy industry, each forging their careers in this traditionally male-dominated, technology-focused industry. We’ll discuss how these women chose their roles, the key challenges they face, and how inclusion and diversity has shaped the industry now and in the future.

Featured Speakers:

  • Laila Beavogui - Lead Engineer, National Grid

  • Carine Tamasang - Diversity Specialist, National Grid

  • Barbara Scalia - Senior Principal Nuclear Engineer, Framatome EDF [Moderator]

Panels - Session 3

Woman Entrepreneurs: Why? When? How?

Several studies point to the gender disparity in both the corporate and entrepreneurship world. According to recent studies, women founders receive less funding than male counterparts, while arguably performing better. Our panel has thrived in both worlds, and will discuss why they chose entrepreneurship, how they overcame gender bias, and when their entrepreneurship journey started.

Featured Speakers:

  • Dolores Hirschmann - Strategist and Coach

  • Helen Lo - Founder and CEO, Lo & Sons

  • Addie Swartz - Founder and CEO, reacHIRE

  • Edith Dorsen - Managing Partner, WomensVCFund II

Work/Life Balance

This panel will explore the challenges women face with balancing a successful career and a fulfilling personal life which becomes harder as women decide to start families. The panelists will share their experiences on how they managed to maintain a good work-life balance in their demanding careers as well as some of the best practices companies are applying today to help women achieve a better work-life balance.

Featured Speakers:

  • Ashley Whillans - Assistant Professor, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit, Harvard Business School

  • Lee Harper - Principal at Southeastern Asset Management

  • Frances Brooks Taplett - Leader, Global People Team and Women@BCG, Boston Consulting Group

  • Dr. Kathryn Smerling - clinical instructor, Mount Sinai OBGYN

  • Autumn Manning - Co-Founder, YouEarnedIt

Diversity in the Great Outdoors

Whether it’s backpacking the Appalachian Trail, skiing the slopes of the White Mountains, or taking a brief afternoon bike ride through a park, spending time in nature is shown to have incredible mental and physical health benefits, from reduced stress and depression to improved memory, focus, and creativity. However, the outdoor recreation world struggles deeply with under-representation from a number of populations, such as people of color, women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. Much has changed in recent years, from more welcoming marketing to dedicated inclusive outings, but substantial work remains to be done. This panel will explore ways in which individuals have worked hard to make the outdoors world more inviting and accessible, key challenges that lie ahead, and lessons from inclusion and diversity efforts across the globe.

Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Carol-Ann Nelson, PT, DPT - Founder, Destination Rehab

  • Courtney Holub - Member, Board of Directors and Adaptive Coach, New England Disabled Sports

  • Gale Straub, Founder,

  • Shiona B DeCarvalho - Director of Impact and YES Academy at Youth Enrichment Services in Boston

  • Danielle Williams - Founder,

Design: Creativity, Production, Impact

What is the role of design in our increasingly connected world? What impact does design have on shaping our relationships, communities, and society at large? This multidisciplinary panel explores the challenges of balancing expression and output in the world of design, and questions the costs and emotional labor inherent to a creative career. Design leaders from the worlds of technology, architecture, urban planning, and research converge to discuss the power of women to influence the narrative of the design industry.

Featured Speakers:

  • Jha D Williams - Senior Associate, MASS Design Group

  • Sabrina Dorsainvil - Civic Designer, City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

  • Rosa Ji Yoon Hyun - Product Designer/ User Experience Designer, PillPack Pharmacy

  • Sarah Kettles - Director of Research, The Zebra

  • Emily Rawtisch - Product Design Lead, Spotify’s Personalization Team

  • Katie Swenson - Vice President of Design & Sustainability, Enterprise Community Partners

Communicating with Purpose: Tips for Handling Media Interviews and Delivering Presentations that Make an Impression

Want to learn how to ace a media interview or give a killer presentation? Do you have your story down, but want to get better at delivering it? Every successful interaction, whether it is with a reporter, investor, or employee, depends on delivering your key messages clearly, concisely and consistently. This interactive workshop will provide best practices for ensuring you are not only heard but that you are memorable.

Featured Speakers:

  • Kirsti McCabe - Managing Director, Finsbury

  • Amy Gross - Managing Director, Finsbury


Join the Admissions Panel to learn more about Harvard Business School’s MBA program and participate in a Q&A discussion with current students who will reflect on their experiences at HBS.