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Upcoming Women Like Us Networks

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Friday, February 16, 2018

Expand your networking circles with Our Women Like Us (WLU) Networks, held 5:30-7:30 p.m., throughout most of the Bay Area, and 6-8 p.m. in Marin. Please use the links below to register.

Tuesday, March 6, Peninsula, DLA Piper, Palo Alto
Thursday, March 8, East Bay, Gensler, Oakland

Tuesday, March 27, Marin, San Rafael (held 6-8 p.m.)
Tuesday, April 3, South Bay, Juniper Networks, Sunnyvale
Thursday, April 5, San Francisco, RSM US LLP, San Francisco

These are among our most popular events – an excellent way to connect with other Watermark members and fans who live or work near you. Enjoy some great wines and hors d'oeuvres while you're at it!


Join us! We'd love to see you. Questions? Send us an email, and we'll get right back to you.


What Watermark Women Say About Our WLUs

"I meet the most interesting women at our WLUs. Great conversations among a very welcoming group of professional women. I highly recommend the WLUs to any members and potential members."

Indigo Ocean Dutton
Awaken, LLC


"WLUs provide an easy way to connect with other Bay Area women leaders. I have learned so much from our meaningful conversations about our challenges and successes – it's helped me become a better leader in my business."

Elizabeth Dean
TM Financial Forensics, LLC
San Francisco WLU Co-Lead

"Attending WLUs has fulfilled something I was really craving – connection with other business women I can relate to. I've met so many inspiring and enjoyable women at these events and have made valuable connections for my business."

Joie Seldon
Executive, Leadership & Emotional Intelligence Coaching

"I love attending the WLU events. Since the focus of the evening is on networking and getting to know one another, I find that you have more time to spend engaging in fruitful conversation with members and guests!"

Allison Padilla


"I have been to several WLUs and have always felt welcome – never having awkward moments where you don’t know anyone at first. There are always interesting conversations to join and interesting women to meet."

Jackie Kleinman
KB Financial Advisors

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Zach Barasz Joins Watermark's Board of Directors

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Watermark welcomes Zach Barasz to our board of directors. Zach is a partner with BMW i Ventures, a €500m fund created to support technology companies reimagining transportation, manufacturing, and mobility. His investment focus is on autonomous driving, industry 4.0, electric mobility, and AI / data applications. At BMW, he has led investments in Proterra, Xometry, and a stealth sensor technology business.

Before joining i Ventures, Zach was a Senior Associate at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) in the Green Growth Fund (GGF), a $1b fund focused on high growth companies leading in sustainable ways. At GGF, he focused on transportation and services business across sectors. Before KPCB, he was an Associate at Altamont Capital Partners, spent time as a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, and has worked in strategy at the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading international conservation organization.

Zach earned his degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

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Fuel the Leadership Fire of Your Team: 25% Off Our World-Class Workshops

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Updated: Saturday, February 17, 2018

Watermark wishes you a red-hot Valentine's Day! To show our love, we're pleased to bring our world-class workshops to your office at a 25 percent discount throughout the month of March – a perfect time to deliver leadership development programming customized specifically for your staff, clients and partners.

Looking for a way to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8? Bring in our Step Onto a Bigger Stage workshop – or perhaps our sessions on Leveraging Mental Toughness, Five Keys of Influence or Boundary Spanning Leadership.

Need to expand your efforts in inclusiveness? We've got workshops on Unconscious Bias, Self-Awareness, Managing Diverse Teams and Communicating Across Cultures.

From Negotiating Effectively to Building Meaningful Connections to Enhancing Conflict Management Skills, Watermark has expert and engaging facilitators on every leadership subject. Each unique program is strategically designed to foster career, personal and corporate development.

Here's what our workshop attendees tell us:

  • "I thought that I was a great networker, but this workshop opened my eyes to the fact that my current network is not going to help my career development. I was astounded by the gaps that I have. I now have the tools to be more strategic with the process." – Oracle Executive

  • "This program was very relevant, engaging, fun and inspirational – there were also a number of a-ha moments." – Ericsson Executive

  • "I came out of this session with some tangible and useful skills. What a phenomenal facilitator!" – VMware Executive

Check out our world-class curriculum and contact Kate Byrne to get your workshops scheduled!

Happy Valentine's Day from Watermark!

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Thank You for Joining Us at Daniel Pink

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Many thanks to everyone for making our Daniel Pink event such a success this week – and especially to Nevro for hosting us! What a great night!


Your feedback is important to us. Please take a few moments and share your thoughts about the event. We use your suggestions as we plan our many programs throughout the year.


We so appreciate all the great posts to social media! We've included our favorite tweets below. If you don't already, please follow us on Twitter and Instagram and @WeAreWatermark on Facebook and LinkedIn. #WeAreWatermark


We hope to see you at the one of our many Watermark events coming up!


Thank you again, and may your timing always be perfect!

– Watermark Team


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Do Women’s Networking Events Move the Needle on Equality? Ours Do!

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Watermark is thrilled to announce our new study with happiness researcher and Conference for Women veteran Shawn Achor, published on Feb. 13 in the Harvard Business Review. You can read the full article at HBR, but here are our main takeaways:

  • People can be cynical about the utility of women’s professional conferences. Shawn's [male] seatmate on a recent flight said “I’m all for equality, but I’m not sure what good it will do.”
  • What good CAN it do? Shawn spoke with fellow happiness researcher Michelle Gielan, and the two decided to survey attendees in advance of the 2017 Conference for Women.
  • They wanted to know what, if any, financial or intellectual impacts could be measured among attendees.
  • They surveyed 2,600 women, using prior attendees to study outcomes and first-time attendees as a control group.
  • Among attendees who had never attended the Conference, 18% had received a promotion over the past year. During the same economic period, 42% of women who had attended the Conference received a promotion.  
  • The likelihood of receiving a promotion doubled after attending the Conference for Women.
  • 5% of women in the control group received a pay increase of more than 10% compared to 15% of women who had attended the Conference.  
  • Attendees of the Conference for Women had triple the likelihood of a 10%+ pay increase.
  • 71% of prior attendees reported that they “feel more connected to others.” Shawn’s book Big Happiness argues that social connection is the greatest predictor of success and happiness, and tangentially leads to longer, healthier lives.
  • 29% of prior attendees reported that they “agree a lot” with the statement “I feel happier.” 78% of prior attendees reported feeling “more optimistic about the future” than before the Conference. 25% of prior attendees reported that they “agree a lot” with the statement “I feel more capable of handling stress in a positive way.”

"Something special happens when you see that you are not alone," notes Laurie Dalton White, founder of the Conferences for Women. "Making connections and building relationships with other attendees and speakers helps women form an understanding of their worth, and then they learn strategies to ask for promotions, seek fair pay, and even become a mentor to others.

‘We invite women like Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg to speak at our conferences not just because of their own personal success stories, but because they are role models who inspire women in both big and small ways," Laurie adds.

Shawn's findings suggest that business leaders ought to encourage employees to find social connections in a professional context. The result may be a happier and healthier workforce.


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25 Women | 25 Stories: Denise Brosseau and Jennifer Gill Roberts

Posted By Claire Johnson, Monday, February 12, 2018

In celebration of Watermark’s 25th anniversary, we’ve taken a step back to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished so far and commend the ambitious women – and men who get it – who are leading us into the future.


Today, we're kicking off our 25 Women | 25 Stories series with profiles on our co-founders, Denise Brosseau and Jennifer Gill Roberts, who have truly made their mark on our community and beyond.


Denise and Jennifer shared instant chemistry when they met as MBA students at Stanford University more than 25 years ago. After graduating, they came together to address one particular statistic: Less than 1 percent of venture capital financing was going to women-run or women-founded businesses. Their shared vision: Boost that statistic to 50 percent, if not more.


Together, they founded the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), which later became known as the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives (FWE&E) – and now is known as Watermark.


Twenty-five years later, we still have a long way to go. Female CEOs still get only 2.7 percent of all venture funding. Yet, according to a study by First Round Capital, companies with a woman on the founding team outperform their all-male peers by 63 percent.


The upcoming annual Watermark Conference for Women is one of the most powerful ways Watermark helps fortify our expansive network, and Denise and Jennifer are proud to have helped ignite that movement.

"I remember so clearly coming to the first Watermark Conference for Women," Denise recalls. "Women entrepreneurs, executives, consultants, newbies, college students – there were people of all walks of life, all energized as women leaders. That energizes me to keep going, to keep fighting. How could that not be the most incredible legacy you can ever hope to have? To create a genesis for a conference where everyone is coming together to make change in the world."


That electrifying power of community is at the heart of Watermark and the Conference for Women. The sense of having a sisterhood to support one another is invaluable to advancing our collective and individual impacts in various business sectors.


 Upon reflection, the two share powerful advice to other women entrepreneurs:

“It’s OK to fail. It’s most important to attract the best and brightest people you can. To take risks, to think big, to think about billion-dollar businesses – not smaller businesses. To think about your hiring advantages, your authentic self and the leadership style that you bring to it.” – Jennifer Gill Roberts



“It is not about playing it safe. It is not about taking the easy road. It is about having a big vision. Finding a partner. Be bold. Take things on and get things done. That, to me, is what I’m most proud of – that we were those kinds of people from the very get go.” – Denise Brosseau


We'll post more 25 Women | 25 Stories via social media, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and @WeAreWatermark on Facebook and LinkedIn. #WeAreWatermark


We hope to see you at the one of our many Watermark events!

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Is Your Voice as Powerful as You Are? Two Workshops with Hillary Wicht

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, February 8, 2018

5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 28
Fitbit, 215 Fremont St., San Francisco


5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29
Veritas, 500 E. Middlefield Rd., Mountain View


When you walk into a room, you may look the part. Your business accomplishments may indicate that you’re an achiever. But the moment you begin to speak, your audience will be listening carefully to gauge if your voice and message are congruent with your appearance and resume. How we show up vocally leads people to definite and immediate conclusions about how we show up in the world. How we say it is far more persuasive than what we say.

Your listeners decide in just seven seconds. Simply put, there is a strong relationship between vocal acoustics and the psychology of perception: who we are as individuals, our personality, our strengths, what we bring to the table and also our weaknesses are unmasked in the voice.

Hillary Wicht is a voice expert who has been tapped as a specialist by the Wall Street Journal and the Stanford Entrepreneurial Graduate Program for her work on the impact of gender communication styles in the corporate sector.

In this experiential workshop – scheduled for San Francisco and Mountain View – Hillary unveils the ways in which women unknowingly give up their power through the way they communicate. She will uncover the most common “power-leaks” in female communication styles and give insights and tools for communication “power-plays.”


Make you voice at the table as powerful as you are and be the leader you are meant to be in your business, community and the world.

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Your Story is Your Power: An Evening with Elle Luna a​nd Susie Herrick

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, February 1, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2018

5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 14
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
650 Page Mill Rd., Palo Alto


Whether we realize it or not, we define ourselves through stories. Understanding your own story is the key to understanding yourself, your world and your capacity to act within that world. And in the heart of your story, you will find you – your voice, your power and your truth.

In Your Story is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice, Elle Luna, bestselling author of The Crossroads of Should and Must and creator of the Instagram 100-Day Project, and Susie Herrick, acclaimed psychotherapist and author of Aphrodite Emerges, ask readers to discover their own stories, challenging them to use that story to cultivate their own feminine power and move forward both as an individual and as part of a strong female community seeking positive change.

This inspiring and practical talk – for both women and men – will show us how to collectively uncover and understand our own stories about feminine power in order to live more confident, unapologetic lives.


Please plan to join us for this very special Watermark evening.


Many thanks to our host:


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Women in Leadership Survey: Win a Google Home Mini!

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Sunday, January 14, 2018

As part of our yearlong celebration, we want to hear about your insights and your experiences in the workplace. Please complete our State of Women in Leadership survey by Friday Jan. 26 and your name will go into a drawing for a Google Home Mini!


We'll share highlights of the survey throughout the year.

Thank you in advance for your time!

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Wonderful WLU at Luisa Spagnoli!

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What a great evening! Thank you all so much for attending our Jan. 9 Peninsula WLU at Luisa Spagnoli – and many thanks to Julia, Irene and the entire Louisa Spagnoli team for making us all feel so welcome and fashionable! Italian prosecco and hors d’oeuvres, gorgeous clothes and accessories and such a wonderful gathering of our Watermark community! What a great way to kick off Watermark's 25th Anniversary.


Check our events calendar for more upcoming WLUs and other world-class programming!

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