Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners » Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #79: Sponsored by Twilio

– Definitely Does Compute

27.11.2014 (3:33 pm) – Filed under:

Twilio is a telephone API that powers the future of business communications by enabling phones, VoIP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop, and mobile software.

Join us on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm at the Twilio Girl Geek Dinner as we explore some of the tech industry’s biggest questions: What’s it like to move from an enterprise company to a startup? And how do you start a diversity or social impact program in your company?

Join us at Twilio as we sip cocktails and mocktails, mingle over appetizers, and share our experiences about working in the tech and software industries.

Twilio Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

6:00pm – 6:45pm Doors open, heavy appetizers and cocktails/mocktails served!

6:45pm – 7:00pm Welcome and Intro by Natasha Whitledge

6:45pm – 7:15pm Panel Discussion: “Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life”

Panelists: Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator), Coleen Coolidge, Lynda Smith, Nisha George, Renee Chu

7:15pm – 7:30pm Q&A and discussion

7:30pm – 8:00pm Panel Discussion: “From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up”

Panelists: Gina Hernandez (moderator), Dominique DeGuzman, Danielle Leong, Emerald Maravilla, Erika Murdock Balbuena

8:00pm – 8:15pm Q&A and discussion

8:15pm – 9:00pm Networking and mingling

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #TwilioGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @Twilio @BayAreaGGD

Twilio Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Panel #1: Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life: What is it like to leave a big company to work for a startup? Is the promise of an exciting, fast-paced, “do-it-yourself” startup worth leaving an established organization?

Learn about how these women made their decisions to move from large enterprise companies to smaller, more agile startups, and the lessons they learned along the way.

Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator)

Annie is a Product Manager at Twilio, where she works on voice connectivity products, defining product roadmaps, and specing out new features and product enhancements. Previously she was Sr. Executive of Technology Solutions at Oracle, and before that the VP of Engineering at Acme Packet. She has a MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from London Business School.

Coleen Coolidge

Coleen is the Director of Information Security at Twilio.

She has served in leadership positions at traditional, larger enterprises in Southern California, such as First American Title Company and Corelogic.

Her work centers on advancing the security culture past “just having the infrastructure people do it” to creating a comprehensive program where everyone participates and improves the company’s security posture.

One of her goals is to educate others on good security practices to ensure that security is considered earlier in all areas of the business.

Coleen decided to leave Southern California and executive grooming to have a larger impact in a smaller company.

She earned her BA in English from SDSU and currently lives in San Francisco.

Lynda Smith

Lynda brings over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management across a diverse set of industries. In her capacity as SVP Marketing / CMO for a number of companies including Genesys, Nuance, Genpact, Jive, WeVideo and now Twilio, Lynda has been responsible for end-to-end marketing responsibilities. Lynda grew up in Joliet, Illinois and earned her BA in Liberal Arts from Simpson College, and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is on the faculty of Stanford University where she serves as a lecturer in Global Entrepreneurial Marketing and Professional Education programs.

Nisha George

Nisha is a Voice Product Specialist at Twilio. She graduated with an Engineering degree from Harvey Mudd and has worked at NASA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, The Daily Muse and now Twilio. She gravitates towards roles where she can be a bridge between multiple teams, focusing on improving communication and building out better tools and processes to increase efficiency. When she’s not adding notes to her work journal, Nisha likes to hike, bake, build things with power tools and go on international adventures. Follow Nisha on Twitter .

Renee Chu

Renee is a Software Engineer at Twilio, where she works on services to onboard, test, and manage phone number inventory. Previously she was a Support Engineer at Twilio, and before that an Account Representative at Google Adwords.

Panel #2: From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up: How do you take your passion and turn it into a reality? For this panel, it’s all about dedication, support networks, and a whole lot of hard work. Join this group’s discussion about how a passion for increasing diversity in tech lead to the creation of the Twilio’s first diversity and employee resource groups.

Gina Hernandez (moderator)

Gina is the Inventory Manager here at Twilio, and a member of the Business Operations team. Gina graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she was a teaching assistant for Bettina Aptheker. While teaching her section of Introduction to Feminist Studies she realized that education was her calling. She would later graduate from Mills College with a Master’s degree in Education. While at Mills, Gina founded Californians Against 8 and with a small group, led the largest anti Prop 8 protest in California alongside Christine Chavez. The launch of sparked Gina’s interests in Twilio and she joined the team shortly after. She recently celebrated her one year anniversary as a Twilion, and has loved every minute.

Danielle Leong

After graduating from UC Irvine and working in marketing for several years, Danielle taught herself to code and joined Twilio as the company’s first female engineer. She’s passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in tech, and is a co-founder of Skittles, Twilio’s diversity initiative. In her spare time, she teaches public high school students how to code through the non-profit organization Mission Bit, and volunteers at Level the Playing Field Institute hackathons. In her spare spare time, she’s enjoys long rides on her motorcycle, following cute puppies on Instagram, and fiercely competing in Fitbit competitions. Follow Danielle on Twitter .

Dominique DeGuzman

Dom is a self-taught software engineer with a background in enterprise desktop hardware support. As a Cloud Services engineer at Twilio, she focuses on development pipeline, infrastructure monitoring, and internal communications tools. Alongside development, Dom is one of the founding members of Skittles, the diversity and inclusion initiative at Twilio. She travels around the globe speaking about the importance of diversity and inclusion, how to overcome impostor syndrome, and encouraging more women and LBGTQA to pursue a future in STEM. Follow Dom on Twitter .

Emerald Maravilla

Emerald is a manager on the Customer Engagement team here at Twilio, where she focuses on making sure that Twilio’s customers have the tools they need to build best-in-class Twilio applications. Emerald joined Twilio as the first woman on the Sales team. She is currently co-chair of Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group, Twomen. Prior to Twilio, Emerald worked at Box, served as a founding team member of Strive for College, and blogged for Newsweek. She is passionate about issues of diversity and inclusiveness, the Golden State Warriors, and her Schnoodle, Splash. Follow Emerald on Twitter .

Erika Murdock Balbuena

Erika is the Community Engagement Manager and head of, where she works across departments to increase the company’s social impact. She is a co-chair of Twomen (Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group), which partners with Level the Playing Field Institute (LPFI), Women Who Code, and to help support women and underrepresented minorities advance in STEM. Erika is also currently the Vice-Chair of the board for R.O.C.K. SF. Prior to Twilio, she sharpened her community management skills at TaskRabbit and consulted for large and small nonprofits, including The Campaign for UCSF Medical Center. Erika is a proud San Francisco native, foodie and adventurer. Follow Erika on Twitter .

Designed and Produced by


| © 2017 Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.