Spring Forward with Women Leaders 2016

Seattle is a city on the rise. Well-educated and engaged, Seattleites are eager to take the next step toward living their progressive values. Our people and companies have a pioneering spirit and amazing knack for innovation well known world-wide. Our burgeoning tech and business communities have begun to rival those in places long synonymous with leadership in those fields.

But our strength does not benefit everyone equally. Our region struggles with issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in much the same way other regions struggle with these challenges. The Puget Sound, in the form of the public and private organizations—including community organizations, residents, businesses, local governments, and philanthropic groups—have committed to addressing these challenges head-on, and with as much creativity and urgency as we can muster.

The Spring Forward with Women Leaders event series grew out of our region's collective commitment to do better on topics such as gender pay equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership and in technical and STEM-based fields, entrepreneurship and investing.

The Spring Forward with Women Leaders series in 2016 was presented as a joint effort of Ada Developers AcademyArtemis ConnectionCambia GroveCoMotion (at the University of Washington), Galvanize Seattle, the Washington State Department of Commerce and Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA).

The 2016 series was presented with support from Series Sponsors:


2016 Programming

Equity Programs That Work and How To Build One (For You or Your Company)
March 10
@ Cambia Grove - Read the Recap

The statistics on the wage gap between women and men are well-documented and readily available – while the gender wage gap is narrowing, it’s narrowing at a rate that won’t bring us to the level of equal pay for men and women until after the half way point of this century. 

The issue of pay equity is complicated by the issue of gender diversity in technical fields – typically some of the economy’s best-paying jobs. Wage gap statistics for black and Hispanic women are significantly worse than the overall numbers. Adding to this is the absence of women in critical leadership roles in the technology field– according to a Silicon Valley Bank survey of 1,100 executives worldwide, 45% of respondents said their companies didn’t have women in executive or board positions. And just 29% currently had programs in place to change that.

During Equity Programs that Work and How to Build One (For You or Your Company), Liz Vivian of Women's Funding Alliance engaged three panelists working to increase gender diversity and inclusion and improve pay equity for women in an honest and productive discussion about how we all (men and women alike) can start to aggressively address these issues.

The panelists:

  • Liz Vivian (Moderator) – Executive Director, Women’s Funding Alliance
  • Rebecca Pomering – Chief Executive Officer of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors
  • Christy Johnson – Founder & CEO, Artemis Connection
  • Kore Koubourlis – Founder & Principal of The Essential Group

Full video from the panel below. Introductory remarks end and panel begins at 00h:07m:45s.

For Company Leaders And CEOs: Increase Gender Diversity On Your Teams
March 15

@ Galvanize Seattle Campus - Read the Recap

This event went beyond acknowledging the need for gender diversity to provide a roadmap for gender diversity for health care, technology and investing organizations. Attendees gained an understanding how other organizations have successfully created and supported gender diversity on their teams.


  • Cortney Bigelow (Moderator) - Community Marketing Manager at TUNE
  • Kalpana Narayanaswamy - VP, Engineering at EnergySavvy
  • Wendy McIntosh - Director; Global Talent Acquisition at Chef 

Speed Mentoring for Women in Tech
March 24

@ CoMotion

Women working in the tech industry – especially in technical roles – are rare. How many times have you gone to tech events hoping to meet and learn from women leaders you admire, only to find that approaching them is just TOO awkward? This Speed Mentoring event helped mentees get actual face time with some of the tech industry's rare women executives.  And it all happened in just one hour. Mentors were sourced from WTIA’s Executive Women in Tech (EWiT) community.

Mentees and mentors met in a fast-paced setting, asking and answering questions, with the option of making a longer-term connection. We had 10 mentors from small and big tech companies, representing both technical and non-technical roles. This event was open to women only.

Getting On Board(s)
March 30
@ TUNE Kitchen - Read the Recap

Even in fields where the ratio of men to women is fairly balanced, there is a lack of gender diversity in leadership positions. This holds for the C-suite, and especially in the Board room – despite the wealth of data that shows gender diversity on for-profit boards leads to better decisions and more successful companies.

Getting on Board(s) was moderated by Cate Goethals, who has been working to elevate women into the Board room for the last decade with a host of corporate partners and at the UW Foster School of Business. Panelists Rhonda F. Rhyne (President, CEO, Board Director at Prevencio, Inc.) and Edith Dorsen (Managing Director, Women's Venture Capital Fund) discussed with Cate what it takes to get onto a for-profit Board – with all of the professional benefits associated with that. They addressed what it’s like to serve as the only woman on a Board, and what makes diverse Boards so much more effective.

Leader Keynote + Speed Networking
April 5
@ Cambia Grove - Read the Recap

Keynote and conversation with Representative Tana Senn, who has been working to address issues of inclusion, equity and diversity through her role in the Washington state legislature. Joining Rep. Senn on the dais was Cynthia Tee, Executive Director of Ada Developer's Academy.

Moonshots for Health Care & Technology
April 14
@ Galvanize Seattle Campus - Read the Recap

Moonshots are massive ideas that can change the world for the better. The term “Moonshot" derives from the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission, and in recent years, with the launch of Google’s “moonshot factory” and President Obama’s initiative to cure cancer, the Moonshot movement has become a galvanizing force for big thinkers and doers around the world.

Attendees joined hosts and former Disney Imagineers Lauren Baldesarra and Laura Youngkin, in partnership with Artemis Connection, for a two-part creative workshop and took the first step to launching their Moonshot into reality.

User Generated Content (Audience Choice) - Re-entry into the Technical Workforce
April 21
@ CoMotion - Read the Recap

For this event, series attendees chose the topic! A distinguished panel discussed Re-entry into the Technical Workforce, including barriers facing re-entering workers and how to overcome them. 


  • Rebekah Bastian, Vice President of Product, Zillow (Moderator)
  • Karen Manuel, Project Manager, WTIA Workforce Institute
  • Lora Poepping, President, Plum Coaching and Consulting
  • Angela Stugren, Founder and CEO, Cloutera

Battle Decks Tournament
April 27
@ Galvanize Seattle Campus

A March Madness-style tournament where people competed to create the best presentation from a random deck of 10 slides of images. Stand-up meets the Board Room. 

Presented with our Battledecks Tournament Promotional Sponsor:











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