Mix and mingle with attendees while enjoying a catered breakfast.
Keynote and Interactive Workshop
Haley Hoffman Smith is the author of Her Big Idea, a book on creativity, ideation, and women's empowerment which debuted as a Top 3 Bestseller in Women & Business. She is a regular keynote speaker who recently spoke at Harvard, Yale, Microsoft, SoGal Ventures, and more. She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Washington Examiner, and writes for Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. A recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, she wrote her honors thesis on how women develop their sense of self agency in entrepreneurship and venture capital. She is also the founder of the Her Big Idea Fund in partnership with Brown University's Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, which awards grants to women who apply with BIG ideas. Having founded an international nonprofit for girls’ literacy and empowerment at age 18, she has harnessed her own self agency to surpass doubt surrounding her age and gender.
At Brown, she was the President of Women’s Entrepreneurship and started the first-ever women’s entrepreneurship incubator. She is the Director of Community for Next Gen Summit, the premier entrepreneurship community of 5,000+ members, and sincerely enjoys consulting and connecting with other entrepreneurs. She cares deeply about identifying and obliterating the limits women feel in the pursuit of their ventures, so they may live in their full power and create their own BIG ideas.
Women in Venture Capital Panel
Sonali Vijayavargiya, Founder and Managing Director - Augment Ventures
Sonali is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor, technologist, curious traveler and a mom. She is the founder of Augment Ventures, whose mission is to invest in exceptional teams transforming the way we live and work using software and smart hardware to impact energy, sustainability and health and wellness. Over the last 20 years Sonali has worked with entrepreneurs, technologists and CEOs in order to build new businesses, mentor cross functional teams and accelerate new technology adoption across a variety of sectors and geographies.
Sonali began her career in Mumbai, India where she had worked with large organizations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), raising more than $100 million of capital for her clients and providing a range of financial advisory services.
Sonali moved to the United States in 2001. Drawing from her experience at Edelweiss, she started venture advisory practice and launched Augment Capital, where she facilitated multiple fundraisings, created customer partnerships and mentored aspiring entrepreneurs. Building on this success, Sonali founded Augment Ventures in 2011.
Sonali currently serves on the Boards of Mercatus, Lumenetix, RayVio, Iteros, Geotix and Flume. She is a past board member of LLamasoft, TiE Angel Group and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She serves as an advisor to the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund at the University of Michigan Ross Business School. Augment was recognized by Michigan Venture Capital Association in 2017 for the Capital Event of the year for its investment in LLamasoft.
She holds a BS in Statistics from Ferguson College and MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management both from Pune, India.
Patti Glaza, Managing Director - Invest Detroit Ventures
Patti Glaza is a managing director at Invest Detroit Ventures. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced technologies. She started her career as a COBOL programmer at Accenture in 1992, but it was a series of jobs with then-venture capitalist Rick Snyder that established her credentials in local entrepreneurship circles.
In 2000, she was named as director of business development for HealthMedia Inc., a University of Michigan spinoff Snyder helped launch. In 2002, she was named CEO of Small Times Media, which published a print magazine and a website devoted to micro and nanotechnologies.
From 2007 to 2011, Glaza was CEO of the Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization, which was based in Austin, Texas, and matched large corporations with technologies emerging from startups.
She then managed Arsenal Venture Partners' Michigan and Hawaii venture activities before taking the Invest Detroit job in August 2014. Her responsibilities there include being managing director of its Detroit Innovate and First Step investment funds.
Invest Detroit is the successor organization to the Detroit Investment Fund, created by the former Detroit Renaissance, now Business Leaders for Michigan.
Jen Neundorfer, Co-Founder and Partner - Jane VC
Jen is an operator turned investor who has backed over 50 early stage startups and now leads JaneVC.
As Partner and Cofounder of Flashstarts, an early stage venture fund in the Midwest, she discovered her passion for investing in visionary women at the earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journeys.
As an operator, she launched and scaled media and advertising businesses at 21st Century Fox and YouTube. When she’s not searching for the best entrepreneurs, she’s the mother to two young children and juggling the demands of being a working mom.
She has an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Harvard.
Caroline Lewis, Principal - Rogue Venture Partners
Caroline Lewis joined Rogue in 2018.
Caroline’s role at Rogue is to identify new investment opportunities, leverage her experience to support portfolio companies, and engage with Portland’s start-up ecosystem. She serves on the boards of Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and Young Entrepreneurs Business Week.
Prior to Rogue, Caroline was Senior Director in Strategy and Operations for Global Design, Product, and Merchandising at Nike where she managed a portfolio of strategic programs focused on consumer experience, digitization, and big data. Prior to being recruited to work for Nike, Caroline was a management consultant for Propeller and Hitachi Consulting, working with Fortune 100 companies on enterprise technology implementations and organizational restructuring. Her love for start-ups comes from her early career experience as a founder for an e-commerce business and as a leader at a consumer health product company.
Caroline graduated as a Division 1 Field Hockey player with an MS in Psychology from Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina. She then received an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship from Portland State University.
Women Founders Panel
Marlin Williams, Founder - Sisters Code
Marlin Williams is the founder of Sisters Code, which educates, empowers and entices women ages 25–85 to explore the world of coding and technology. She speaks nationally on issues related to diversity and tech, and was recently the keynote speaker for Microsoft’s Global DigiGirlz Technology Camp.
Outside of her endeavors with Sisters Code is also Assistant Vice President for Economic Development at Wayne State and Chief Program Officer at TechTown. In this role Williams oversees the entrepreneurship programs housed in the university’s Office of Economic Development and the tech and neighborhood business support programs at TechTown, with a focus on more closely integrating programs at both organizations.
Previously she launched “Candid Conversations and Code,” a discussion series that has attracted more than 300 people from diverse backgrounds, six of whom have gone on to start businesses and one of whom has become a TechTown Business Incubation Center client. She helped the organization realize a 200% increase in women participants and a 700% increase in African American participants in the DTX Launch student accelerator, and she helped recruit the program’s first two community college teams. She also launched Labs Neighborhood Open Office Hours to ensure tech entrepreneurs in Detroit neighborhoods had access to support programs at TechTown and throughout the city’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Marlin began her tech career as a coder at Compuware, where her passion for inspiring women and people of color to join her field gained notice. She quickly rose to Compuware’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and she has also served as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Fiat Chrysler and Deputy CIO for the city of Detroit. At the city, she and her team successfully developed the City’s first e-government initiative, and she led collaboration across 10 agencies to support the technology and infrastructure for Super Bowl XL. She is a graduate of Wayne State University, and began her career as an aspiring mortician.
She is a graduate of Wayne State University, and began her career as an aspiring mortician.
Laura Khoury, Founder and CEO - Shoptelligence
Laura is the CEO of Shoptelligence, a digital smart personal shopping assistant that offers dynamically personalized curation and ensemble recommendations using artificial intelligence for Unified Commerce.
She began her career at Accenture and quickly realized that her strengths lie in her entrepreneurial spirit and analytics with her innate ability to pinpoint retailer's engagement and experience issues. Her current influence on personalization puts her at the top of the pack in retail initiatives, where she is changing the game for in-store shopping. Laura leads major retailers and brands through a process to deliver their own unique, smart shopping experience offering true "personalization without getting too personal.”
Laura graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and the Wayne State University School of Law.
ZeroGap is a non-profit that believes that experiencing spaces of equity is a key step in systemic change needed to move the needle forward. They are actively being the model we want to see in the world by creating 50/50 spaces, men and women together in equal numbers. Through intentional, inclusive, and compelling events, Zero Gap serves as a facilitator for men and women to challenge current imbalances in the workplace and provides resources that empower attendees to close the gap.