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One Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142

March 22, 2018

3:00 – 8:30 PM


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SheConnects 2018

Save the date for Venture Cafe’s She Connects mini-conference, taking place on March 22, 2018. Our annual mini-conference will feature advice and forward-looking ideas from successful female entrepreneurs, those funding women-led ventures, and leaders behind some of the ecosystems’ well-known organizations in Boston.


Reservations are recommended but not required. RSVP Here


She Connects is hosted by Venture Café Cambridge. #‎SheConnects

Presenting Sponsor



SheConnects in










3:00 – 8:30 PM NETWORKING   

3:00 – 5:00 PM OFFICE HOURS


4:15 – 5:15 PM TOWN HALL: WOMEN IN TECH (presented by Oracle)

5:00 – 8:00 PM LADIES LOUNGE @ VENTURE CAFÉ (with Evy Teas)

5:30 – 6:30 PM FUNDING PANEL

5:30 – 7:30 PM DEMOS


OFFICE HOURS (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

Early stage ventures and prospective entrepreneurs have an opportunity to sign up for Office Hours during this event. Entrepreneurs may sign up for 30-minute consultations with a variety of experts.

Appointments can be made on a first come, first served basis. Any cancellations will require 48-hour notification in order to accommodate entrepreneurs who have been placed on a wait-list. No-shows are frowned upon in the VenCaf community and we reserve the right to disallow future appointments for repeat offenders.

Appointments may be booked beginning March 2, 2018, here:

Female Founder Office Hours with Golden Seeds
Female Founder Office Hour with Golden Seeds, A National Angel Investment Group Investing in Women-led Early Stage Companies
Marlene Boyaner - Office Hours at Venture Cafe

Marlene Boyaner, Golden Seeds

Marlene Boyaner

Marlene is a member of Golden Seeds, one of the nation’s most active angel investment firms that provides early-stage and growth capital to women-led businesses across all industry sectors. An experienced technology executive in financial services, Marlene’s investing focus of interest is in healthcare solutions that improve patient outcomes.

Areas of expertise:
Finance, Health IT, Healthcare systems, Marketing, Operations, Org Design and Team Development, Product Development/Marketing Management, and Strategy and Business.





Lucy Steinert_Special Office Hours at Venture Cafe

Lucy Steinert, Golden Seeds

Lucy Steinert

Twitter: @lucypcs

Experienced Management Consultant providing support in business strategy and planning, organizational design and operations

Areas of Expertise: Finance, Marketing, Operations, Organisational Design and Team Development, Product Development, Strategy and Business






Laura Davis_ Special Office Hours Venture Cafe

Laura Davis, Golden Seeds

Laura Davis

Laura Davis is an early stage investor interested in helping entrepreneurial life scientists translate their work from bench to marketplace. She is currently a managing director of Golden Seeds, an angel investor group focusing on women-owned, women-led companies that provides early stage and growth capital across all sectors to women entrepreneurs.

Dr. Davis was an academic scientist at Duke University Medical School and later at the Rosenstiel Center at Brandeis University, where she oversaw an active laboratory using molecular genetics to study cellular function, and authored numerous publications. She currently serves on the board of directors of Day Zero Diagnostics.

Area of expertise: Biotech/Life Science






Coppelia Marincovic, Solvay Ventures

Coppelia Marincovic is Investment Manager for North America at Solvay Ventures. Established in 2004, with offices in Brussels, Paris, Boston and Shanghai, Solvay Ventures has over $100m assets under management, with a focus on energy transition, sustainable resources, health and industry 4.0. In addition to providing capital to start-up companies, Solvay Ventures leverages Solvay capabilities and network to generate business synergies and partnerships between the start-ups and Solvay’s BUs and Innovation Platforms. Prior to Solvay Ventures, Coppelia was Engagement Manager at McKinsey, helping pharma and biotech companies grow and solve their operational issues.









Cynthia Gilbert, Blueshift IP

Cynthia Gilbert’s practice focuses on the strategic development of patent portfolios for a range of computer technology companies in all stages of the invention life cycle: start-ups, emerging companies, and established public companies.










Jodi-Tatiana Charles, formerly Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Jodi-Tatiana Charles has enjoyed bringing people and companies together for over three decades. As a strategic marketing/branding specialist, she has combined her passion for branding with her love of business development. After working on her Global MBA at Babson College and traveling to 14 countries within a year, and starting two businesses, she continues to be inspired to share her knowledge and expertise with clients worldwide.

Prior to creating two businesses, she led the marketing and branding of MassChallenge at its inception, managed and coordinated the Massachusetts Conference for Women, a one-day event providing a forum for more than 7500 women, engaged as Deputy Press Secretary to Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, produced the award-winning NECN program NewsNight hosted by Chet Curtis and Jim Braude, and demonstrated leadership as WXKS Associate Producer for the legendary radio program The Matty in the Morning Show, where she was nominated “Producer of the Year”.




We are preparing the pipeline! Five youth female entrepreneurs (middle and high school age) will be pitching their startups to seasoned entrepreneurs.

Come out to hear these young entrepreneurs pitch!


Vicky Wu Davis Youth Cities Venture Café Cambridge

Vicky Wu Davis, Executive Director, Youth Cities

Vicky Wu Davis is Executive Director of Youth Cities

Youth CITIES (Creating Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability) is an education nonprofit that teaches middle/high school students higher order thinking through an entrepreneurial mindset. Working with students from public, private, and charter schools to complement traditional classroom learning, Youth CITIES provides curriculum, tools to tinker with, and access to thought leaders who guide them as they unleash their critical thinking skills.







Netia McCrae, Founder & CEO of Mbadika, Venture Café Cambridge

Netia McCray, Founder & CEO, Mbadika

 Netia McCray is Founder and CEO of Mbadika

Mbadika, is a not-for-profit organization focused on providing youth around the world, in particular, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the tools needed to overcome challenges in bringing their solutions for themselves and their communities into reality through educational workshops and a product line of DIY (do-it-yourself) kits, such as a Solar USB Charger Kit.

Since 2011, Mbadika has assisted over 700 youth around the world to realize their potential and unleash their inner innovator and entrepreneur. Currently based in Boston, USA and Cape Town, South Africa, Mbadika is fostering youth-driven innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.








Suzy Sharpe, Founder and CEO, CastingQual & Sharpe Insights

Suzy Sharpe, Founder and CEO, CastingQual & Sharpe Insights

Suzy Sharpe, Founder & CEO, CastingQual & Sharpe Insights

Suzy is a research expert with 20 years of experience conducting a variety of qualitative studies including One-on-one usability testing, eye tracking studies, shopper journey and diary studies and more. Her new venture CastingQual is a software as a service that helps big and small brands find the best participants for paid research studies.








Modjossorica (Rica) Elysee, CEO, BeautyLynk @ Venture Café Cambridge

Modjossorica (Rica) Elysee, CEO, BeautyLynk

Rica Elysee is Founder and Chief Executive Officer at BeautyLynk (, an on-location beauty service that brings style and convenience to your doorstep with a few clicks. Prior to launching BeautyLynk, Rica founded the Boston Naturals group, which has grown to include more than 1,200 members on the ground and 25,000 online and was Editorial Director for Amour Creole Magazine.



Join us for a special Town Hall on Women in Tech. This conversation will feature special guests and a moderator to talk about their 2-3 best ideas for moving the needle on the big hurdles women in tech are facing. Entrepreneurs and thought-leaders in the audience will also participate by sharing their best ideas/ strategies. We all know the issues, this is a session to brainstorm about best solutions.

Moderator: Christine Dunn, President and Founder at ArcPoint Strategic Communications.

Moderator: Christine Dunn, President and Founder at ArcPoint Strategy

Christine Dunn is an award-winning media strategist with more than two decades of experience working in the highest levels of journalism and corporate communications. She is the founder and President of ArcPoint Strategy, which offers advisory services in strategic marketing, communications, and executive development. Ms. Dunn has won multiple national and international awards, including several Best in Biz and Stevie Awards for Women in Business, as well as recognition from Bulldog Reporter and the Publicity Club of New England. Prior to starting her business, Ms. Dunn worked for more than a decade at Bloomberg News as a multimedia reporter, editor, and senior manager. Leadership roles included leading the North American Consumer/Retail Team, the Mutual Funds team, spearheading the Education Team, and serving as Boston Bureau Chief. A longtime advocate of education, Ms. Dunn serves on the Advisory Board of Tufts University’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and on the Board of Trustees for the Judge Baker Children’s Center.






Shaloo Garg, Global Innovation and Startup Ecosystem at Oracle & advisor to UN Women Technology & Innovation

Shaloo Garg, Global Innovation and Startup Ecosystem at Oracle & advisor to UN Women Technology & Innovation

Shaloo Garg is an Oracle veteran with experience in various spectrums of technology and business units. She joined Oracle in M&A and shifted to Global Marketing, Sales, and is now with Global Innovation and Startup Ecosystem at Oracle where she leads the Customer Connects practice of connecting the startups to large Enterprise clients for revenue growth and expansion. Prior to joining Oracle, Shaloo worked in two startups. Based in Silicon Valley, she is involved with Women and Youth in Technology. Shaloo is an advisor to UN Women Technology & Innovation, Board member, and ED, Silicon Valley, Board Advisor to Junior Achievement NorCal. She is a firm believer that disruptive technology’s best use case ever is leveraging its power to solve pressing issues in the world like hunger, poverty, education, clean water, air, energy etc. She is an MBA and has done specialization in Innovation and Design Thinking from Stanford d.School.






Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, MASS Technology Leadership Council

Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, MASS Technology Leadership Council

Tom Hopcroft is President and CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the largest non-profit, non-partisan technology association in New England. He is passionate about the future of technology and talent in Massachusetts. He was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, and reaffirmed by Governor Charlie Baker, to serve on the state’s 13-member Board of Higher Education, where he serves on the Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Fiscal Affairs and Administrative Policy Committee.
In addition to his role on the Board of Higher Education, he is Chairman of the Board for the MassTLC Education Foundation, a charitable non-profit focused on computer science education, particularly for girls and underrepresented minorities.
He is Vice Chairman of the Board for the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), an association of over 50 tech organizations representing over 22,000 companies across North America. He also serves on the Board of Directors for MassRobotics, a new independent, non-profit center and shared workspace designed to educate, inspire and bring robots and IoT companies to life.





Areva Martin is an attorney, advocate, television host, legal and social issues commentator, and author.

Areva Martin, Esq. – Attorney, Television Host, CNN Legal Analyst and Author

Known to audiences across the country, Areva Martin is an attorney, advocate, television host, legal and social issues commentator, and author. She is one of television’s most in-demand legal experts/analysts. A recurring co-host on the Emmy Award-winning syndicated talk show, The Doctors, and a CNN Legal Analyst, Areva appears regularly on Dr. Phil, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, World News Tonight and across the broad spectrum of CNN and HLN shows including, AC 360, The Michael Smercornish Show, CNN International, CNN Tonight, and a variety of talk and news shows.
A quotable authority on workplace, disability rights, education, custody and women’s issues, this accomplished and multi-award winning attorney, syndicated columnist, and public speaker is also quoted and/or featured on the pages of publications ranging from Red Book to Huff Post. Areva writes regularly for, Daily Beast, Thrive Global and Time.Motto, where you can find her monthly column, Sexist Laws Explained.
A Harvard trained civil rights attorney, Areva is the founding and managing partner of one of Los Angeles’ oldest and largest African American female-owned law firms, Martin & Martin, LLP. She has been identified as a Southern California Super Lawyer for the last 5 years. She is also the founder and President of Special Needs Network, Inc., California’s premier autism advocacy organization. Areva has raised millions of dollars for autism and disability-related causes. She has played a leadership role in advocating for new California laws to eliminate disparities in state funding for individuals with disabilities.
Areva is the recipient of many awards including L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth; L’Oreal Paris Inaugural Karen Fondu Leadership Award; Los Angeles County Women of the Year; Ford’s Living Legend Award; the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award; KJLH Proven Achiever’s Award; and Union Bank’s Neighborhood Hero Award
The mother of 3, Areva is an avid runner who lives in Los Angeles with her family. Her third book, Make it Rain!: How to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand (Hachette) hits bookshelves March of 2018.




We’re activating two floors during She Connects to provide different formats to connect. This space will feature a more relaxed setting to build your network along with rounds of Open Mic pitches throughout the evening to help you identify like-minded people within the community. Evy Teas to be served throughout the evening!

Lounge Activities:

  • Youth Pitch with Female Entrepreneurs (12 – 18 years old)

  • Open Mic Pitches at the top of each hour from founders and non-profits

  • Live Broadcast from 5th Floor

  • Podcast Interviews with CIC Cambridge

  • Evy Teas being served

  • Info Tables from amazing organizations:






MassCEC Catalyst Awards
She Geeks Out
WEST – Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology
United States Small Business Administration
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Innovation Women
CWE – Eastern Massachusetts
Women Who Code Boston
Ellevate Network



 Make it Rain!: How to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand

Areva Martin, Esq. – Attorney, Television Host, and Author

Areva Martin, Esq. – Attorney, Television Host, and Author

Come meet Areva Martin – a nationally-known attorney, advocate for workplace, women and disability rights, television host, and author.

A Harvard trained civil rights attorney, Areva is the founding and managing partner of one of Los Angeles’ oldest and largest African American female-owned law firms, Martin & Martin, LLP. She has been identified as a Southern California Super Lawyer for the last 5 years. She also created Special Needs Network, Inc., a non-profit benefitting special needs kids and their parents.

She is a quotable authority on workplace issues, disability rights, education, custody and women’s issues. Areva is a recurring co-host on the Emmy Award-winning syndicated talk show, The Doctors, and a CNN Legal Analyst. She appears regularly on Dr. PhilDaily MailGood Morning AmericaWorld News Tonight and across the broad spectrum of CNN and HLN shows including, AC 360, The Michael Smercornish ShowCNN InternationalCNN Tonight, and a variety of talk and news shows. Areva writes regularly for, Daily BeastThrive Global and Time.Motto, where you can find her monthly columnSexist Laws Explained

Areva Martin, Esq, Make it Rain, Book Signing at Venture Café Cambridge

Books available for purchase.


Areva is the author of The Everyday Advocate, a well-received memoir about raising a child with autism and the newly released book – Make it Rain!: How to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand (Hachette) hits bookshelves March of 2018.

FUNDING PANEL (5:30 - 6:30 PM)


A select panel of experts in venture capital, angel investing, revenue generation, lending, and grants will share their thoughts on funding female entrepreneurship within the Boston ecosystem, as well as offer tips for navigating the challenges of fundraising for female founders.


Dianne Hessan, Entrepreneur, Investor & Chairwoman C Space at Venture Café Cambridge

Diane Hessan, Chairwoman

Diane is a serial entrepreneur and investor.  She is Founder & Chairman of C Space, a market research technology company was one of the hottest companies in Boston’s innovation economy for the last decade, and which led to her work helping America to understand the electorate.  In addition to being a columnist for The Boston Globe, Diane co-authored the best-selling book Customer-Centered Growth, and she serves on a range of boards, including Panera, Eastern Bank, Brightcove, Tufts University, Beth Israel Deaconess & Mass Challenge.  She has a BA from Tufts and an MBA from Harvard.



Jennifer Jordan, Mass Ventures

Jennifer Jordan, Vice President of Venture Capital, Mass Ventures










As an early stage investor, Jennifer Jordan is passionate about teams, opportunities, and differentiation of technology, strategy or model. Throughout her 20 years in technology and financial services, she has worked on everything from early internet search solutions and web analytics to robotics and software used to design semiconductors. Her most recent investments leverage the power of data and automation to transform industries and provide a clear business advantage. Her investments span synthetic biology (Ginkgo Bioworks), data transparency (ClearGov), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for sales optimization (, and industrial IOT for advanced manufacturing (MachineMetrics).






Melissa Withers, Managing Director RevUP Capital at Venture Café Cambridge

Melissa Withers,
Managing Director
RevUp Capital

Melissa is managing director of RevUp Capital, a non-equity investment platform for companies moving fast up a revenue-fueled growth curve. She was previously Managing Director of Betaspring, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator that launched 89 companies between 2009-2014. Through her work as an investor and mentor, Melissa has overseen investments in 120+ companies across industries and at various stages of growth. She is a mentor and judge at TechStars and MassChallenge and a strong advocate for closing the diversity gap in early-stage investing.



Nadine Boone she connects venture cafe

Nadine Boone,
Assistant District Director
Small Business Administration

Nadine is currently Lead Business Opportunity Specialist and Lead Economic Development Specialist at SBA-Massachusetts District Office (MADO), working with Government Contracting Division and Marketing and Outreach across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Nadine earned a certificate from Federal Acquisition Institute in Contracting in October 2017, Omega Performance in Commercial Loans for Small Businesses in March 2013 and graduated from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing.



Sheila Narayan, Managing Director, Golden Seeds at Venture Café Cambridge

Sheila Narayan,
Managing Director
Golden Seeds

Sheila Narayan is a Managing Director and the Leadership Chair for Golden Seeds Boston Chapter.  Golden Seeds is a national angel investment organization that invests in early-stage women-led companies.  Sheila leads deal flow, membership, education and operations.  She is an active early-stage investor, mentor to entrepreneurs, and advisor to several start-up companies. Sheila earned her MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

DEMOS & INFO TABLES (5:30 - 7:30 PM)


Venture Café Demos are a great way to gain exposure through our online and offline channels. During our She Connects event, Venture Café will give a selection of the area’s start-ups, inventors and researchers an opportunity to showcase their work to the Boston community.

 Info Tables give nonprofit, educational and other entrepreneurial-focused organizations an opportunity to share information about the services and resources that they provide to the innovation community.



A few of the area’s rising female stars will share their latest success milestones as well as how they got started, failures along the way and strategies that helped their companies grow. This year’s panelists leveraged diverse funding strategies and will founders understand the value of multiple paths to launch.



Kelly O'Brien, Technology Reporter, Boston Business Journal

Kelly O’Brien, Technology Reporter, Boston Business Journal










Kelly O’Brien covers startups, venture capital and tech in Greater Boston for the Boston Business Journal.



Melissa Gersin, Founder & CEO Tranquilo at Venture Cafe

Melissa Gersin,

A maternity nurse for over six years at some of Boston’s most prestigious hospitals, Tranquilo Mat inventor Melissa Gersin has a wealth of knowledge in obstetrics, including Labor and Delivery and Mother and Baby Care. With no background in engineering, business, or product development, Melissa handcrafted a prototype, founded a company, and began production of her vision: the Tranquilo Mat. Melissa is passionately dedicated to helping empower parents with the tools they need to create peaceful bonds with their babies.



Laila Partridge, CEO WegoWise at Venture Café Cambridge

Laila Partridge,

Laila is a Fortune-100 trained executive with experience in a range of industries, business models, and company size and maturity. Passionate about developing new ideas into compelling, executable business models and market strategies — both within large corporate settings and entrepreneurial environments. She is particularly interested in how new technologies and data analytics can be integrated with business process change and talent re-engineering to drive high impact business results.



Zoe Barry she connects Venture Cafe Cambridge

Zoe Barry,
Founder & CEO,

Zoe is the Founder and CEO of ZappRx, a digital health startup in Boston. After graduating from Columbia College in 2007, Zoe launched her career on Wall Street at DeMatteo Monness and Dawson Capital. While on Wall Street, her younger brother was diagnosed with a serious condition that required specialty medication. Inspired by the months that it took to get her brother on life-saving specialty medication, she founded ZappRx in 2012 with the goal of getting the right specialty medications to the right patients as quickly as possible.


Christine Dunn

President and Founder
ArcPoint Strategy

Shaloo Garg

Global Innovation and Startup Ecosystem / Advisor to UN Women Technology & Innovation

Tom Hopcroft

President & CEO
MASS Technology Leadership Council

Areva Martin, Esq. 

Attorney, Television Host, CNN Legal Analyst, and Author

Martin & Martin, LLP

Diane Hessan

Investor, Researcher & Chairwoman of C-Space

Jennifer Jordan,

Vice President, Venture Capital

 MASS Ventures

Melissa Withers

Managing Director,
RevUP Capital

Nadine Boone

Asst. District Director,
Small Business Administration

Shelia Narayan

Managing Director,
Golden Seeds

Kelly O’Brien

Technology, Startup Reporter
Boston Business Journal

Laila Partridge


Melissa Gersin

Founder & CEO,

Zoe Barry

Founder & CEO,

Marlene Boyaner

Golden Seeds

Lucy Steinert

Golden Seeds

Laura Davis

Golden Seeds

Jodi-Tatiana Charles

Strategic Marketing & Branding
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Cynthia Gilbert

Founding Partner
Blueshift IP

Coppelia Marincovic

Investment Manager
Solvay Ventures

Vicky Wu Davis

Executive Director
Youth Cities

Netia McCray

Founder & CEO

Suzy Sharpe

Founder and CEO
CastingQual & Sharpe Insights

Modjossorica (Rica) Elysee





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