In-Person: June 23rd
GirlCon X RSM

GirlCon 2023's in-person conference this year will be held at RSM Chicago's office on Friday, June 23rd! This is a completely free single-day event. Registration closes June 6th!
What's on the agenda?
2023 Conference Agenda
Note: Sessions are scheduled based on speaker availability and are subject to change
GirlCon 2023 - June 23

RSM US LLP - 30 S Wacker Drive Suite 3300, Chicago, IL
10:00 am: Check in

10:30 am: Ice Breakers begin

11:00 am: Opening ceremony

11:30 am: Keynote #1

12:00 pm: Lunch and learn

1:00 pm: Breakout sessions

2:00 pm: Professional development sessions

3:00 pm:
Keynote # 2

3:30 pm: Closing ceremony

4:00 pm: Booths + Photos

2023 In-Person Keynote Speakers
Hear from inspiring women to kickstart your career and gain the confidence to launch forward in tech and beyond.
  • Larissa Buchholz
    Larissa Buchholz is an award-winning sociologist whose research centers on dynamics of cultural production and markets in global context. Holding four graduate degrees (three Master's and a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University), Buchholz is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Sociology (by courtesy) at Northwestern University, a faculty fellow at the Critical Realism Network Yale University, and an editorial board member of Sociological Theory. Prior to that, she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, breaking barriers as the first woman elected from sociology. Buchholz work has garnered multiple awards, including a Fulbright Award, the Alex Inkeles Prize and Robert K. Merton Award at Columbia University, the Junior Theorist Prize of the International Sociological Association, the Junior Theorist Award of the American Sociological Association, Harvard University's William F. Milton Fund award as well as Columbia University's outstanding recent Alumni Award.
  • Kira Kessler
    Kira Kessler started Rock N Rags when she was 17 with just a few dollars and an Instagram account. 10 years later, this family business has blossomed into a multi-million dollar company known around the country and shipping to 65+ countries world-wide. After the launch of Rock N Rag's first store in Highland Park in 2013 and an online store in 2019, the brand continues to grow with the opening of a brand new store in the heart of Lincoln Park this summer. With a mission of inspiring confidence in every person shopping with them, Rock N Rags has built a community of strong women embracing their realness and imperfections together.
GirlCon 2023 In-Person Breakout Sessions
Tech + Medicine: Abbvie
Brian Martin is the Head of AI and a Research Fellow for AbbVie's R&D Information Research organization. He leads a team of data scientists and machine learning engineers that are building advanced capabilities to help accelerate, scale, and amplify the power of AbbVie's R&D community to unlock the information that makes cures possible. He will be sharing about the power of Graphs for Good and the way AI is changing the conversation between patients and providers. 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 + Engineering: Devina Dhawan
Devina Dhawan is a Staff Security Engineer at Shopify and Founder of Devi-Labs. Devi-Labs is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching women and gnc (gender non-conforming) folks how to code. Her career has consisted of infrastructure security engineering, cloud security engineering, and security education. Devina loves supporting womxn in tech and goes out of her way to help people climb the tech career ladder. Outside of STEM, Devina loves to spend her time doing calligraphy, pottery, and taking care of her furry family.
Tech + Energy: Schneider Electric
GiGi Jones is a young, driven Black woman from the great city of Chicago. GiGi is approaching her two year mark with Schneider Electric and couldn't be more thrilled to continue on her path for both personal and professional development with a company helping her each step of the way. GiGi currently works for SE's National Service Provider (NSP) team focused on one of SE's largest channel partners, CDW based in the on-site office in downtown Chicago. She works with a plethora of customers, strategizing ways to generate incremental growth within the Public Sector and implementing a more full-solution selling. She also makes it her prerogative to become more well-versed and acclimated with the amazing Employee Resource Networks offered by SE as a great means of networking. When GiGi is not working at SE, she thoroughly enjoys stage acting, improv, and exploring new, exciting activities.
Tech + Quick Service Restaurants: McDonalds
This session will cover why and how McDonald's uses 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 + Risk: RSM
The Tech + Risk session aims to showcase the day in the life of a Technology Risk Consulting associate at RSM. During this session we will highlight our key consulting clients and various workstreams that you can potentially be involved in one day if you pursue a career in consulting. This session will be led by two of our associates, Zach Popp and Jackie Chmiel, who will give a candid take of what their day to day job is like and their transition from school to the work world. Zach is from Sugar Grove, IL and graduated from DePaul University with a double major in Accountancy and MIS. Jackie is from Crystal Lake, IL, and graduated from the University of Dayton with a double major in Finance and MIS.
Tech + Digital Trust: ISACA
  • The significance of digital trust for an organization and its operations
  • Digital Trust Ecosystem- determine areas, functions and key contributors and stakeholders responsible for fostering digital trust
  • Benefits and impediments of addressing digital trust
  • Tools to enhance digital trust in cybersecurity
  • ISACA's State of Digital Trust
  • Speaker: Ramona Ratiu- MS, CISA, CISM, GSTRT Board Strategic Advisor/ Past President- ISACA Chicago Chapter Cyber Security Professional- Zurich Insurance Adjunct Professor- IT Risk Management- DePaul University SheLeadsTech Ambassador
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 + Sports: Stats Perform
Nancy Hensley is a seasoned executive with a strong background in technology and data analytics. Currently serving as Chief Product Officer at Stats Perform, a global sports analytics company, Nancy brings over two decades of executive experience in Big Tech and Private Equity. Her expertise spans various areas, including Development, Sales, Marketing, Product, and Digital. Since joining Stats Perform in February 2020, Nancy has played a pivotal role in shaping the company's product strategy and driving innovation and growth. She has led the product team in harnessing the power of AI and advanced analytics, revolutionizing the portfolio of products and pioneering the live productization of AI. Nancy is a firm believer in diversity and inclusion within the technology industry. She is particularly passionate about empowering women in tech and actively works to inspire younger women to pursue careers in STEM.
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 + Cybersecurity: Prof. Sruti Bhagavatula
With computers and the internet being the backbone of our lives today, there are myriad ways the security and privacy of our data can be compromised. Cybersecurity is fundamental to keeping ourselves safe in the digital world. In this session, you will get an introduction to the essentials for and implications of cybersecurity and data privacy from Prof. Sruti Bhagavatula, who researches and teaches security and privacy at Northwestern University. We will also talk about what research and teaching security and privacy looks like as a career pathway.
Tech + Nuclear Energy: Krista Hawthorn
Nuclear energy is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the United States and provides 60% of our electricity in Illinois. Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions will require deployment of new advanced reactors to provide the green electricity we need to power our houses, cars, and manufacturing. This session will break down the basics of nuclear fuel and reactors, demonstrate how uranium atoms get split and turned into electricity, and discuss all the ways technology is evolving to support the next generation of nuclear electricity!
Tech + Development: Amber Payden
AMBER C PAYDEN, FOUNDER CEO - THINKSMARK.COM With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and partnerships. Amber has worked in National Accounts for companies such as AT&T and James Hardie Building Products. Managing corporate and retail relationships with Apple, LG, HTC, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, and more. After leaving AT&T; Amber started her own marketing agency focusing on sports wearables, Healthcare SaaS products, and youth consumer sports brands, with clients ranging from the Lebron James Shooting All-Stars Tournament, Pulmonary Apps, and Nascar Race for Autism Initiative featuring driver Armani Williams. After 3 years of running her agency; Amber decided to return to corporate and continued her career as a Sr. Account Manager for Simon and Myers Ad Agency, developing client services strategies for clients such as Devry, and Delta Faucet, from there advancing her corporate career with Safeware Insurance heading up the Technology Segment for the US Market; in direct partnerships with CDW and Insights, overseeing the channel marketing, sales, and partnership initiative for North America, Amber finished her corporate career as the Chief Revenue Officer for the Canadian tech-enabled marketplace Cansulta. Amber has a degree in Interpersonal and Public Communications with a focus in rhetoric from The University of Akron, minoring in piano performance and consumer marketing. Over the course of her career, Amber has built multiple 6 & 7-figure brands and mentored, coached, and hosted workshops for small business owners all over the world. She loves chocolate chip cookies, volleyball, college football, golf, sharpies, marvel movies, and spending time with her family & friends.
GirlCon 2023 Professional Development Sessions
Resume Building: CME
Upgrade Your Email Inbox: Google
Google + CME Group Innovation Challenge