GirlCon 2024

GirlCon Digital
GirlCon Virtual will be taking place from June 20th-22nd. All times below are in CST.
Opening Ceremonies
Keynote Speaker
Breakout Sessions
Closing Ceremonies + Keynote

2024 Virtual Keynote Speakers
Hear from inspiring women to kickstart your career and gain the confidence to launch forward in tech and beyond.
  • Vivian Nguyen
    Vivian Nguyen was named one of the 6 teens in the nation "Making the World a Better Place" by Forbes Magazine in 2022. As the founder of The Formula Project 501(c)(3), and the CEO of the social justice company, Dyenosaur Apparel, she is a fervent activist for female empowerment in male-dominated fields, notably STEM and entrepreneurship. Since starting her business in the 8th grade, Dyenosaur Apparel intertwines art with civic action to uplift minority communities through intersectional activism. Her girl's mentorship program strives to develop interpersonal, STEM, and career skills to provide the scaffolding undergirding girl's transition into confident female leaders. In her free time, Vivian conducts research on biometrics for wildlife conservation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • Nita Kaushal
    Nita Singh Kaushal is the Founder of Miss CEO, a company that empowers students and women with world-class leadership training, mentorship, and career exploration opportunities. Since its founding in 2011, Miss CEO has trained over a 100,000 students all over the world. Nita is currently a Lecturer in the School of Engineering at Stanford University and an Instructor at Stanford Continuing Studies where she teaches undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals how to develop leadership skills so they can make meaningful contributions in their careers. Nita's work inspiring young women has been profiled by many prominent publications including Stanford Magazine, Yahoo! Entertainment, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and Women of Silicon Valley. Prior to Miss CEO, Nita held senior product management, engineering, and operations roles at Yahoo! and Intel. She has served on the Stanford Women's Community Center Advisory Board, as well as led Yahoo! Women in Tech, a 500+ member organization committed to attracting, developing and retaining more women in technical and executive positions. Nita graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
2024 Virtual Breakout Session Bios
Tech + Law: Leslee Cohen
Learn about the many different ways to use a law degree, including to satisfy your interest in STEM. In addition, hear career advice from a female attorney who has practiced for many years at both the large and small firm level.Bio: Leslee Cohen is the founder and Managing Partner of AllRise Legal Counsel. AllRise concentrates its transactional practice in securities and startup law, corporate finance, technology law, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. It represents clients across many industries from consumer products to technology companies to healthcare businesses to real estate firms.Leslee started her practice at a Wall Street firm in 1992, spent 13 years honing her skills at a large firm based in Chicago and left to form AllRise in 2010. AllRise was founded on Leslee's desire to work with earlier stage and smaller businesses. Each of its attorneys is big firm trained and experienced.Leslee has been named by Illinois Super Lawyers as a Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Illinois and Top 50 Women Lawyers in the State of Illinois, corporate finance and securities, every year since 2010, a Leading Lawyer in mergers & acquisitions, securities and venture finance every year since 2007, the Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Advocacy Council in 2019 and, most recently, an Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine in 2023. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Small Business Advocacy Council, the co-chair of the Advisory Committee of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law (of which she is also a co-founder), a speaker and mentor for the Good Food Accelerator, the Hatchery, LegalPad, the Wisconsin Technology Council/the Founders Institute and Workbox, and involved with the Chicago Job Creators Grant organization and GirlCon, which supports high school girls interested in careers in technology.Leslee received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Tech + Data Science: Jody Porazzo
This session will discuss how rich conversations on social media are surfaced and combined with other sources to reveal hidden consumer insights and activities. We will demonstrate several key NLP techniques combined with ML models and their application to uncover the voice of the consumer.
Tech + Balance: The Balance Project
Agi Corona Semrad is the Founder of The Balance Project, a nonprofit organization focused on bridging the gap to accessing mental health support services in communities. Agi has a background in Education and a Masters in School/Community Counseling. She is passionate about equality, mental health, child development, and the overall well-being of children and families. The session will explore the unique challenges that come with pursuing careers in tech, while also acknowledging the potential stress and anxiety that come with academic and social pressures. Through guided discussions, group activities, and interactive exercises, attendees will learn strategies for self-care, stress management, positive self-talk, and building supportive relationships. Agi will also share how tech plays an important role in the mental health space, from connecting to intended audiences to developing support tools that promote social and emotional wellness.
Tech + Heuristics: Newristics
This session will heavily focus on what heuristics are as well as how Newristics (a company) has been implementing tech into our processes/where we are looking to go with tech in the future.
Tech + Poker: Poker Power
Join us for an exciting Poker Power workshop! An expert instructor will guide you through the basics, from hand strength to bet sizing, so you can confidently sit at the table like a boss. You'll learn the ins and outs of the game, when to hold, and when to fold, all while having a blast. But it's not just about the game - the skills you'll learn in this program can be applied to your career and life. You'll develop strategic thinking, quick decision-making, and a competitive edge that will set you apart in any field. And the best part? You'll get to put your newfound knowledge into practice right away by playing with your fellow participants. So don't miss out on this unforgettable workshop - it's your chance to level up your game and life!
Tech + Medicine: Abbvie
Graphs for Good – how AI and Knowledge Graphs demonstrate the powerful potential for those with rare diseasesBio: Brian joined AbbVie in 2018 and formed the RAIDERS team within R&D Information Research, focused on accelerating, scaling, and amplifying the work of AbbVie's R&D community using AI technologies like machine learning, deep learning, graph computation, and cognitive computing. Brian is a part of the leadership team building and directing the AbbVie R&D Convergence Hub (ARCH) and a member of the AbbVie Community Of Science Scientific Innovation Council. Brian came to AbbVie after spending five years in technology consulting across many industries, and over a decade of additional experience before that working in trading and financial markets technology.
Tech + Business: Google & IBM
Minh is a Technical Sales Specialist at IBM. For the past 6 years Minh has helped banks, insurance, and other financial institutions modernize their IT by introducing new analytics technologies and concepts that improve their business outcomes. Prior to this, Minh studied Engineering at UIC (biomedical engineering, industrial engineering), and taught pre-calculus to incoming freshman students (ask her about her stories!). Minh has a passion for mentorship, making meaningful connections, and fostering a safe environment for people to express themselves. She has also tried to apply these concepts to her cats, but the results are still TBD…
Tech + Environment: Rachel Berry
Rachel Berry graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Chemical Engineering and has been working in industrial environmental compliance and remediation ever since. She has spent time doing a bit of everything, including: -Running a NCASI certified environmental lab -Overseeing OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Management (PSM) compliance -Directing operations and maintenance for an environmental remediation site -Specializing in industrial storm and wastewater management And now spends her time focused on air emissions compliance in the oil and gas industry. She makes educational content surrounding environmental engineering and sustainability on TikTok: you can find her @theberrybestt on all platforms! Her session will go over: -Industrial driven pollution -Environmental toxicology and disasters like the derailment in Ohio earlier this year -Environmental remediation and control technologies -New and exciting climate change mitigation technology
Tech + Healthcare: IBM
When was the last time you really thought about all the places technology exists? Technology is obviously everywhere - at home, at school, and in businesses across the globe. It's baked into interactions, conversations, experiences, products, services, travel, and finance too. But have you noticed how deeply technology is woven into healthcare? Have you considered the technology involved each time you go to the doctor, fill a prescription, or purchase a health product? Join this session to learn how Technology is healing the healthcare industry - and they key role "good tech" can play in healthcare for all. Melissa Hadley is an IBM Sales Account Executive at IBM, working out of the Chicago, IL office. With 4 years at the company, she helps clients in the Financial Services and Healthcare markets with leveraging Business Automation software on an enterprise-wide scale to improve processes, manage content, deploy Artificial Intelligence and bots to complete repetitive tasks, and mine workflows to improve efficiency. Outside of her day job, she sits on the board of LGBT+Chicago, the Chicago Black Networking Group, and the Chicago Womens Network Group which are all internal employee groups at IBM. Melissa is a Team Lead for sellers with her role, a mentor for newer sellers, a self-proclaimed foodie, and ran her first marathon last year at the 2022 Chicago Marathon. She has begun training to run the Chicago Marathon again in 2023.
Tech + QSR (Quick Service Restaurants): McDonalds
This session will cover why McDonald's requires so much technology to prepare and sell a burger, starting from a crew member's journey within the restaurant, encompassing restaurant operations, and extending to a customer ordering and paying for a burger.
Tech + Travel Commerce: Expedia
Join Expedia Group's very own Sr. Information Architect, Fran Alexander, to discover the power of knowledge graphs to make technology smarter and more useful for everyone, including travelers using Expedia's ChatGPT plug-in to plan your optimal vacation!
Tech + Art: Lisa Beth
This program features artists working in glass who collaborate with scientists and scientific research that investigate environmental themes. Through their creative voices and work, they employ a dynamic visual materials to expand the reach of the scientific community to new broader audience.
Tech + Brand Management: Pinterest
Jordan Richman will be going over her role at Pinterest, her journey navigating tech fields, and an activity where she will be creating idea pins for GirlCon. Join to learn more about Pinterest, make new Pinterest boards, and for a Q&A session!