Our 2017 Workshops

Keynote

Leap of Faith: When is the right time to change my career or start a company?

Whether you're making a massive career change, thinking about starting a company or recently took that leap of faith, it can be one of the most exhilarating and scariest steps in life.

Hear Melani's personal experiences on what matters most in making these decisions:

  • Make sure it's really what you want to do
  • Understand your own motivations
  • Build a support network
  • Take calculated risks
Mark Cuban famously said, "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.

Melani Gordon

Co-Founder & CEO, TapHunter

She has grown the company from an innovative two-person startup into a leading player in the hospitality software space through innate leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and a deep passion for all things craft and premium beverage. Prior to starting TapHunter in 2012, Melani founded and led the successful marketing firm gWave Consulting and held senior roles at a variety of high-tech and startup companies. Melani leverages her extensive business, marketing, and entrepreneurial experience to guide the strategy, give life to the vision and enable the success of TapHunter every day. An active leader in the rapidly growing San Diego startup community, Melani co-founded San Diego Startup Week and serves as a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the region. Melani enjoys running, camping and snowboarding the Sierras near her hometown in Reno, Nevada. While she still loves riding, Melani saves her cut-throat, must-win attitude for the day-to-day operations at TapHunter’s headquarters.

Our 2017 Speakers

Alison Caron

Alison Caron

Creative Director | Alison Caron Design

Alison Caron is the founder and creative director of Alison Caron Design, a Hyannis-based firm specializing in advertising, branding, and publishing. With a BFA in graphic design from UMass Dartmouth and more than 12 years of experience in publishing and advertising—including as creative director of Cape Cod Magazine and its sister publications.

Alecia Orsini Lebeda

Alecia Orsini

CEO | Good Natured Dog Productions

Alecia Jean Orsini Lebeda is an award winning multi-media professional with more than 12 years of experience working in the film industry. She is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, currently a Gold Award Advisor for Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and a volunteer in the town of Falmouth. She is also a prominent voice in the region's film community as President of Women in Film and Video of New England.

Meghan Blair

Meghan Blair-Valero

Owner | Fogged In Bookkeeping

Meghan Blair-Valero is a tech geek through and through. A QuickBooks ProAdvisor and member of the Association of Independent Professional Bookkeepers, Meg has contributed to articles and news stories for CNN, Forbes Magazine, and various independent news sources related to the world of QuickBooks and small business finance and had the honor of being individually recognized by Intuit CEO Brad Smith during his QBConnect Keynote address.

Jean Kourafas

Jean M. Kourafas

Owner | Basimos Digital Marketing

Jean Kourafas helps small businesses get customers using online marketing without being overwhelmed by technology. She is the owner of Basimos Digital Marketing based on the Mid-Cape and has been an organizing member of Geek Girl Camp since its inception. Jean has more than 20 years of professional experience designing, marketing, and managing corporate websites on both the East and West Coasts. Her specialties include providing technical support for WordPress, SEO and a variety of digital marketing platforms.

Rob Kaufman

Rob Kaufman

Owner | NOTCH8 & LEARN Academy

Rob Kaufman has been in software his whole life. He's been an active member of the SDRuby community since it's inception in 2005 and has gone on to start Notch8, a web and mobile development agency with offices in San Diego and Portland, OR. Seeing the increasing need to expand their own team, Matt and Rob teamed up with Chelsea Kaufman to create LEARN academy, taking all the mentoring and teaching Rob was doing regularly with clients and community members and applying that to the classroom.

Tomas Suros

Tomas Suros

Chief Solutions Architect, Practice Automation | AbacusNext

Tomas has a rare combination of experience: he is both a California attorney and an intuitive technologist. Working at the intersection of law and IT, he uses his deep understanding of the legal, technical, and strategic challenges that lawyers face, to increase the depth and breadth of AbacusNext’s solutions.

Cameron Wilby

Cameron Wilby

Cofounder/Instructor | Origin Code Academy

Origin Code Academy is a twelve-week boot camp that primarily focuses on full stack web development using various JavaScript technologies and .NET, with a focus on soft skills needed to participate in the enterprise software development lifecycle.

Michael Roberts Jr

Michael Roberts Jr

Instructor | Origin Code Academy

Michael is an instructor at Origin Code Academy and Board Member of San Diego JavaScript Community. He is a Fullstack JavaScript practitioner, primarily using the MERN stack (MongoDb, Express.js, React, Node.js). When he is not off riding double centuries on a bike, he enjoys teaching web development and building Javascript tools that empower developers to be more productive.

Kari Simmerman

Kari Simmerman

Founder | SocialPhoto

Kari is the founder of SocialPhoto a mobile photography and video service based in Southern California. She specializes in Corporate Headshots provided in her state of the art mobile photo studio built in a Sprinter Van. She's recently expanded her portfolio to include Corporate Video and Social Media imagery. Keep an eye out for her big green van traveling all over So Cal!

Joel Koch

Joel Koch

Business Sales Specialist | Microsoft

Joel works with local Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) to drive productivity and to help these teams achieve more. As a member of the Microsoft Store Fashion Valley Mall, Joel is able to offer his clients the robust device and service offerings to the San Diego community. With a focus on providing world-class customer service and a love for Microsoft products, he enables businesses to reach their goals.

Bridget Ayers

Bridget Ayers

Founder | Get Smart Web

Bridget Ayers is the Head Geek and Founder of Get Smart Web & Co-Creator of Get Smart WorkSpaces. Bridget has been a tech obsessed, sales savvy, bottom-line managing, data-driven, innovation seeking, behavior watching entrepreneur for 14 years.

Alex Cameron

Alex Cameron

Founder & CEO | Signature Social Marketing Consulting

Alex Cameron is the Founder & CEO of Signature Social Marketing Consulting. Signature Social provides social media marketing solutions for small business owners. Alex’s professional background includes 5 years in hospitality and event management where she earned her reputation as a successful sales leader and marketer.

Chris Memmott

Chris Memmott

CEO | Vault RMS

Chris has a 10-year background working in public safety startups. Fresh out of college Chris was one of the first employees at Public Engines, Inc. where he helped the company grow from dozens of customers to over 2,000 in less than 3-yrs. Public Engines went on to raise $16M in venture capital, was named Inc. Magazine’s #297th fastest growing company in the US and got acquired by Motorola in 2015. In 2013 Chris launched Vault RMS with the intent of building software to better track data to keep cops and firefighters safe.

Heather Wilde

Heather Wilde

CTO | ROCeteer

Heather Wilde is CTO of ROCeteer, and is also known as the “Unicorn Whisperer” due to her special focus on entrepreneurs. She is a personal and professional growth expert, executive coach, author, and speaker.

Matthew Renze

Matthew Renze

Data Scientist

Matthew is a data-science consultant with over 17 years of professional experience building software that transform data into actionable insight. He is an international public speaker, author, instructor, and an open-source software contributor. In addition, he’s a Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider, and a featured author for the online-education company, Pluralsight.

Stefanie Blue

Stefanie Blue

TRUE BLUE Portrait

Stefanie Blue is a professional photographer in San Diego, providing personal branding, headshots, and portrait services since 2006. In addition, she teaches Social Media for Business at Grossmont Adult School, and thrilled to be at Geek Girl Tech Con for the 3rd year in a row! She dusted off her camera after a career as a Social Worker. She still volunteers her time to heart-centered projects such as The Inspiration Project. When she's not in portrait mode, she plays chef in the kitchen, loves to travel, and visits the tide pools for her happy place!

David Whittaker

David Whittaker

Co-Founder | Sparkistic

David has been programming ever since he could reach a keyboard. He is co-founder of Sparkistic and a passionate developer, trainer, and mentor with more than 12 years of experience building custom software applications such as expert systems, defense simulations, and enterprise productivity software on a variety of technology stacks.

Nate Kandler

Nate Kandler

Instructor | Dev Bootcamp

A former luthier, Nate has been a web developer since graduating from Dev Bootcamp Chicago. He spent two years as a full stack Ruby on Rails developer in Chicago and another year as a JavaScript developer in San Diego working mainly with React. He decided to "come back home" to Dev Bootcamp, and joined the SD team as an instructor. When he's not coding, he's most likely at the beach with his dog, playing guitar, or surfing.

Penny Sansevieri

Penny Sansevieri

Founder and CEO | Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

Penny is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU.

Melissa Williams

Melissa Williams

Founder and Copywriter | Brand Meets Copy

Melissa Williams is a copywriter and content strategist for tech startups and online learning programs and platforms. Blending her love of storytelling with persuasion hooks and hacks, she helps her clients tell authentic brand stories that connect and convert. When she's not writing converting copy she can be found knitting up a storm or be practicing the craft of acting.

Patricia Ramert

Patricia Ramert

DevOps Developer | MindTouch

Patty is an autodidact Web developer that turned into a full stack developer managing Web projects from infancy to adoption. Although her roots are in Web development, she has transitioned into DevOps working primarily with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is currently part of the DevOps Team at MindTouch. She has a bachelor's in Information Systems and has her AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level Certification. When not tinkering with AWS, she's either sewing, playing video games, or out for a hike.

Donald Parker

Donald Parker

Full Stack Developer

Donald is a full stack software engineer with fourteen years of experience, building applications that look and work great. He currently is working at a local IoT company as a Sr. Application Engineer. When he's not coding, he coaches youth soccer at the YMCA and will be participating in multiple triathlons 2017.

Leslie Panjuelo

Leslie Panjuelo

Software Engineer | WalmartLabs

Leslie has built visual interfaces for over a decade giving decision makers insight to what their data is telling them. Leslie has also taught at a leading software immersive and continues to add to the community by launching San Diego’s network of Women Who Code. Currently, Leslie is working as a Software Engineer at WalmartLabs on the Business Tools team across the stack.

Jezreel Go

Jezreel Go

Associate Instructor | LEARN Academy

Jezreel stumbled upon coding in 2013 when repurposing an old netbook. She’s been hooked ever since. After devouring print and internet resources on Python and Javascript, she decided to pursue her passion for software development and graduated from LEARN Academy in 2015. After honing her skills in local San Diego startups she has returned to LEARN Academy as an Associate Instructor.

Lea Ann Bradford

Lea Ann Bradford

Software Developer | Notch8

Lea Ann is a software developer for Notch8, a web and mobile development agency with offices in San Diego and Portland, OR. She discovered coding while working in graphic and web design, and jumped head first into the world of web development. Her coding skills combined with her love of user experience and design provide her unique and valuable insight into projects. In her free time, she volunteers as Member Ambassador for the San Diego Chapter of Girl Develop It and teaches web development workshops and classes. She loves to share her passion for coding with others, as well as support them on their journey into and through the tech world.

Gina Alagata

Gina Alagata

Founder & CEO | Wink

Gina is the Founder & CEO of Wink, Women Inkorporated, a faith-based, business women's networking company headquartered in San Diego. She is an entrepreneur with more than 15 years experience building, facilitating and leading professional women's groups.

Dr. Stephen Foster

Dr. Stephen Foster

CEO and Co-Founder | ThoughtSTEM

Dr. Stephen Foster earned his PhD in computer science in 2015 from UC San Diego, with research focused on the design of educational software that teaches coding to K-12 students. In 2012, Dr. Foster founded ThoughtSTEM, a San Diego startup that teaches coding to kids and adults online and in-person. To this day, Dr. Foster leads all software development efforts of ThoughtSTEM’s e-learning technologies.

Judith Eisenberg

Judith Eisenberg

Lead Teacher | ThoughtSTEM

Judith received her Bachelor's degree in Mathematical and Computational Sciences from Stanford University. Prior to joining ThoughtSTEM, she worked in Silicon Valley for several high-tech companies and in San Diego in the non-profit world. Judith's been teaching K-12 students coding with ThoughtSTEM since 2013.

Zelekha Amirzada

Zelekha Amirzada

Owner | Tigress Negotiating

In her company, Zelekha seeks to Educate and Empower Women in their Professional Careers. From Salary Negotiation to Career Change, Zelekha is eager to share insights gained during her journey as a minority female in the professional world, including how to successfully negotiate salaries and how to acquire career development skills that will allow women to attain the most ambitious career goals.

Ross Manges

Ross Manges

Co-Founder | Sparkistic

Ross is co-founder of Sparkistic, a “side gig” started by two guys who obsess over bringing innovative mobile and wearable apps to reality. Ross has a background in computer science, is a certified scrum product owner, and has held various roles including software engineer, software architect, product owner, and program manager.

Kathy Selman

Kathy Selman

CoFounder | WINK

Kathy is a Co-Founder of Wink, Women Inkorporated®, a faith-based business women’s networking organization. She is a Certified Trainer and Speaker’s Coach and has coached and mentored hundreds of women. Kathy’s mission is to inspire others to find their natural passions and gifts so they can live their life purpose.

Gina Whitcomb

Gina Whitcomb

TOSA - Technology | Anaheim Elementary School District

Gina Whitcomb has been in education for over 18 years, in various roles from classroom teacher to curriculum coach and digital learning coach. She is Nationally Board Certified and is currently a Teacher on Special Assignment for the Anaheim Elementary School District, focusing on technology integration.

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The Schedule

Conference Timeline

  • 8:00am - 9:00am Welcome, Registration and Marketplace

    Get registered and settled in for a great day of learning.

  • 9:00am - 10:00am Keynote: Melani Gordon, Co-Founder & CEO, TapHunter

    Leap of Faith: When is the right time to change my career or start a company?

  • 10:00am - 5:00pm HackRoom

    It does not matter if you are a kid or an adult - everyone wants to learn how to code! Come bring your laptop and hang out in the HackRoom where we will be providing one-on-one help and providing demos on JavaScript, Ruby, Python, PHP, iOS, Android & more!

  • 10:00am - 5:00pm Mentor Lounge & Help Desk

    Come join us in the Mentor Lounge and connect with local hiring professionals that will help you with common questions when looking for a job in tech and on the Help Desk for one-on-one sessions to answer all your tech questions!

  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch, Marketplace, HelpDesk

    Enjoy lunch, check out the Marketplace.

  • 5:00pm - 5:30pm Announcement of Sharkette Tank Winner

    Celebrate the winners of the Sharkette Tank pitches.

Our 2017 Panels

  • 10:00am - 11:00am Star Trek, The Jetsons or Skynet - How To Shape the Future
    Sponsored by Microsoft

    The world of science and technology is changing fast - and every year we have new advances in applied sciences such as biotech, space, telecommunications, computers - even sports! What should today's "geeks" learn or do to create their dream world of tomorrow? In this panel, you'll hear from some leading technologists for their thoughts.

  • 11:00am - 12:00pm Sharkette Tank Pitchfest - Round 1

    Watch local San Diego startups and others vie for bragging rights in an exciting round of pitches to local celebrity judges. Hear them pitch, listen as the judges provide valuable feedback and cheer them on! Pitch Lineup: Lash.Live, Direct Cannabis Network, The Sharing Exchange
    Sponsored by Hera-Labs

  • 1:00pm - 2:00pm How I Started Working In Tech
    Sponsored by LEARN Academy

    Ever hear someone say “I work in tech” and wonder what that really means? Join us for a panel of technologists of varying degrees, and learn how they got started in the industry. Technology today covers almost every industry and tech competency can give you that competitive edge across job titles and positions or traditional roles. Come hear how our panel started in tech, transitioned to tech, or works in a tech-adjacent position. Learn how you can leverage your experiences when entering the tech space.

  • 2:00pm - 3:00pm Sharkette Tank Pitchfest - Round 2

    Watch local San Diego startups and others vie for bragging rights in an exciting round of pitches to local celebrity judges. Hear them pitch, listen as the judges provide valuable feedback and cheer them on! Pitch Lineup: Healthy Mommas, MeTyme, SaveIt, Angel Shave Network
    Sponsored by Hera-Labs

  • 3:00pm - 4:00pm “Fake it till You Make it then Speak up and Stand Your Ground!” - Experiences in Imposter Syndrome

    Everyone has experienced that feeling of not knowing what you’re doing and that everyone else around you does! A feeling that you don’t belong or don’t have anything to add to the conversation. This event is an opportunity to hear stories and share you own about this very common feeling. Join in on a casual conversation in which industry professionals of all levels, from CEOs to newcomers in the field, talk about their experience with Imposter Syndrome and share some tips and tricks on how to work through the feeling. Panelists and Participants in the audience will share their stories and thoughts on their experiences. We will also discuss how to make your voice be strong, how to stand your ground and feel good about what you are contributing to the conversations in the workplace.
    Sponsored by COX

  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm Sharkette Tank Pitchfest - Round 3

    Watch local San Diego startups and others vie for bragging rights in an exciting round of pitches to local celebrity judges. Hear them pitch, listen as the judges provide valuable feedback and cheer them on! Pitch Lineup: DoWhop, A Smart Move, TNDNature
    Sponsored by Hera-Labs

Workshops

  • Check out the downloadable schedule above!

This year's tech con is located at Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

The University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies is located in San Diego, California. Located at: 5998 Alcala Park Way, San Diego, CA 92110, USA

Joan B. Kroc Institute
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What are you waiting for?

Don't Wait, Get your tickets right now Purchase Tickets Oh, invite your friends too

Look Who's Pitching in the Sharkette Tank

The Sharing Exchange

Rent Children's Goods and Get Paid To Share Yours

The Sharing Exchange™ is an online community marketplace that allows families to rent children’s goods from one another. Access anything you need for your kids or grandkids, just for the time you need it, all through community sharing; Rent, play, return!

Healthy Momma

Making Healthy Food Accessible by Making it Affordable

Healthy Momma is a meal delivery service focused on making delicious, healthy and affordable meals, delivered to your door each week.

Lash.Live

The first social, e-commerce solution for live action shopping

Founders: Nichole MacDonald and Tyler French

aLign

Let's Think Higher

Direct Cannabis Network is the leading digital B2B news network highlighting the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry.

Me Tyme Network

Video content to help you think and feel better anytime, anywhere.

Me Tyme Network ™ is a self-help video-on-demand network featuring cognitive designed content to improve emotional health and wellness in both your personal and professional life RIGHT NOW. With Me Tyme™, people can think and feel better anytime, anywhere.

Saveit

they say it, you save it!

save it! a new free mobile app was created by to help capture moments and memories you would normally forget and not document. save it! easily allows you to save quotes, text messages and small conversations along with a photo for kids, family and friends.

DoWhop

Opportunities to Do

DoWhop is your personal marketplace for experiences. Buy or sell an activity online, meet up in person to go do it, and then DoWhop you love!

A SMART MOVE

Calm the chaos of moving

A SMART MOVE rents plastic eco-friendly moving boxes for homes and offices looking to reduce the cost and hassle of moving. As the go-to resource in San Diego for simplifying the moving experience, A SMART MOVE offers a no-nonsense approach, exceptional service such as clean, sanitized boxes, door-to-door delivery and collection and flexible scheduling. The standard size boxes are easier to pack, require no tape or assembly and stack easily - all of which lower moving costs and are made from 100% recyclable material in the USA.

Travel and Discover Nature

Travel and Discover Nature

Travel and Discover Nature (TnDNature.com) is an online platform where travelers can find inspiring Nature destinations, plan, and book their dream outdoor adventure. Our DIY solution costs 1/2 as much as a tour operator would charge you and our community tips and tricks give you the confidence you need to make your travel plans.

Nerd Out

The First Online Boutique Shave Club for Women

Founders: Iskra Tsenkova, CEO and Co-Founder/ Brian Archambo, VP and Co-Founder

Sharkette Tank

Are you a Founder of a Startup? Do you have that awesome app everyone should know about? How about that incredible product that will be the next big thing?

Then you need to apply to pitch!

We are looking for 12 companies in 3 sessions during Geek Girl TechCons in 2017 who will have the opportunity to pitch and receive valuable feedback from our local celebrity judges and vie to win top bragging rights!

Apply Here


Even if you are not ready to pitch, please forward to those who would love to!
*If you plan on attending a TechCon this year, these panels will be included in your ticket price so come and cheer these folks on!

Sharkette Tank
San Diego Geek Girl TechCon

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