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Kick Off the New Year with Women Like Us Networks

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Our Women Like Us (WLU) Networks, held 5:30-7:30 p.m., are among our most popular events – an excellent way to network and 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!

Plan to join us for the first four of the new year:

Tuesday, Jan. 9, Peninsula, Luisa Spagnoli, Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto

Thursday, Jan. 11, East Bay, Merit Resource Group, 2121 North California Blvd., Walnut Creek

Thursday, Feb. 1, San Francisco, MM.LaFleur, 125 Maiden Lane, San Francisco

Tuesday, Feb. 6, South Bay,TBD

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Season's Greetings from Watermark

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Saturday, December 23, 2017

As we enjoy the holiday season and draw 2017 to a close, the staff of Watermark would like to thank you for your active membership, sponsorship and partnership. We always enjoy bringing you fantastic speakers, interactive panels, customized workshops, expansive networking opportunities and our special counsel and advocacy as we strive to increase the number of women in leadership positions.

We've had so many great comments this year. Among our favorites:

• "After the events of this past year and the encouragement and inspiration of people and organizations like Watermark, I've looked for opportunities where I can make a positive impact. I'm happy to report that I've just been named General Counsel of Looker, a leading data platform company. I am so excited to see where this path takes me. Watermark is making a difference!" – Tricia Timm, Looker

• "Through Watermark, I've learned that 'no' is a complete sentence."
– Shakeya McDow, Kaiser Permanente

• "Thank you, Watermark, for your support, courage, dedication and commitment for building a tribe of powerful, driven and ambitious professionals." – Olga V. Mack, ClearSlide

We are here for you. We support and celebrate you on the way up the corporate ladder, and we lend a hand, contacts and resources when you need a boost.

Next year, Watermark celebrates our 25th Anniversary – 25 years of making a difference for women – and men – throughout the Bay Area. We have a wonderful line up ahead of customized corporate programs and popular events, including a career- and life-changing Are You Ready to Be a Thought Leader? workshop with our co-founder, Denise Brosseau, CEO, Thought Leadership Lab. Be sure to RSVP – it's Thursday, Jan. 18, at Osborne Clarke in Palo Alto. What a great way to kick off the new year!

Watermark programs are open to everyone. Please feel free to invite your staff, colleagues, customers – and "men who get it." There's something for everyone at Watermark.

We are your community. And we wish you a joyous holiday season and a very successful new year ahead.

Best wishes,

Marlene, Asa, Kate and Mary

If you'd like to expand your support of Watermark even further, we have two great ways for you to do that.

First, consider joining our Watermark Leadership Circles. As part of this exclusive group, your name will be added to our website and included in our promotional materials for our Make Your Mark Awards and other Watermark conferences. You'll also receive invitations to Watermark Leadership Circles special events and offers.

Your contribution to Watermark is 100 percent tax-deductible. Does your company have a matching gift program? Let's connect and add Watermark to it!

Second, switch from Amazon to AmazonSmile, which offers the same products, same account and same wish list. Select Watermark Institute as your preferred non-profit and the AmazonSmile Foundation will direct a portion of all your eligible purchases to Watermark.

Two easy ways to give – and so many ways to benefit from Watermark. We appreciate! Happy Holidays!

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Members and Sponsors on the Move

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, December 21, 2017

Congratulations to Tricia Timm! Tricia was just named General Counsel of Looker, a leading data platform company. Tricia comes to Looker with over 20 years of experience as both in-house and outside counsel, advising companies on areas such as corporate governance, M&A, data privacy and securities law compliance and obligations.

Congrats also to Denise Thomas, the new Contracts and Pricing Senior Manager at Pharmacyclics. Denise was previously Government Contracts and Pricing Manager at Gilead.

And kudos to Hannah Kain and her ALOM team. ALOM, a global leader in sustainable supply chain management, has been selected to receive the Supply & Demand Chain Executive Green Award for 2017. This is the fourth consecutive year that ALOM has been honored with this award.

New Watermark member Sudha Kasamsetty invites everyone to VerveCon, set for Friday, Feb. 9, at the Santa Clara Conference Center. VerveCon is a "convention for enthusiastic women in technology" in the Bay Area. Register using vc-comp1 as the comp code for a 40 percent discount. Thank you, Sudha!

And last, Watermark is pleased to welcome Silicon Valley Bank as a new sponsor. From technology to health care, from San Jose to Shanghai, SVB supports businesses that invent the future, helping innovators, enterprises and investors move bold ideas forward, fast. A perfect match for Watermark!

Watermark members and sponsors: Send us your good news! We’re always happy to spread the good word and celebrate one another's successes.

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Q4 Message from Marlene: The Silence Breakers and the Imbalance of Power

Posted By Marlene Williamson, Monday, December 11, 2017

In my Q3 Message, I wrote that it seemed like we were hearing and reading about gender-related harassment, discrimination and disrespect every day. While it’s easy to become disheartened, I said, the good news is that people – women and men – are talking.


And wow, are they ever. The topic of sexual harassment has gained such attention that Time magazine selected “The Silence Breakers” as Person of the Year, noting that these brave women have influenced the news this year more than anyone else.


The number of women and men coming forward is absolutely staggering. Their harassers are finally facing the consequences they deserve. And thanks to The Silence Breakers – and anyone who is speaking out – we will, indeed, see a positive change in behaviors and our workplaces. But as long as we continue to experience an imbalance of power, this positive change will be impossible to sustain.


Until we achieve gender parity in the C-Suite and the boardroom – and throughout our organizations – our progression in business will be cut short. Our insights and input will not be fully valued. And our contributions will not find their way to our companies’ bottom lines.

In one of the Time videos, artist/activist Rose McGowan reminds us to: “Know your power. Know your worth.”

At Watermark, we help you do exactly that.



In October, we held what many participants told us was our best Entrepreneur Conference ever. The funding panel was especially powerful as our very candid speakers urged us to be more forceful in empowering ourselves.

Many of you told us our November Make Your Mark Awards was the most inspiring event you’ve attended. Hearing our winners’ speeches and the testimonials of our members was deeply touching. Among our favorite takeaways? This from Kaiser Permanente’s Shakeya McDow: “Watermark has taught me that ‘no’ is a complete sentence.”

Indeed, it is.



We have one more event for 2017 – Writing Your Next Leadership Chapter workshop with Kelly Carlin. It’s Tuesday night, Dec. 12, at Samsung in San Jose. It's not too late to RSVP! We would love to have you with us for this very special evening.

Next year marks Watermark’s 25th anniversary – 25 years of supporting and celebrating the Bay Area’s most outstanding women and men.

We have many exciting programs and initiatives planned ahead – including Watermark Co-Founder Denise Brosseau’s Are You Ready to Be a Thought Leader? workshop on Thursday, Jan. 18, and Daniel Pink and his new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Tuesday, Feb. 13.

If you’re not yet a Watermark sponsor or member, now’s the time to join us. This is a very exciting time to be part of our growing community.

Here’s to the rest of 2017 – and to a wonderful new year ahead.

Best regards,
Marlene Williamson
CEO, Watermark

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Members on the Move

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Friday, December 1, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 18, 2017

Coach Val Sanders is interested in interviewing individuals who have achieved equity in their relationships, particularly for those with children. Interviews take 15-20 minutes. If you are interested in sharing your story, contact Val.

Several members have new books out! Congratulations to Joie Seldon on Emotions: An Owner's Manual, to Abigail Stason on Evolution Revolution and to Patty Watkins on Driving MORE Sales: 12 Essential Elements. Patty is offering a free Kindle promotion now through Dec. 3. Well done, you all!

And congratulations to Merline Saintil (pictured above, right) – she was one of three execs who shared their boardroom stories at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel last month. In addition to her operations role at Intuit, Merline serves on the boards of Watermark and of Banner Corp. Pictured with Merline is Color Genomics CMO Katie Jacobs Stanton, who serves on the boards of Vivendi and Time Inc. Jennifer Dulski, who heads the Groups/Communities unit at Facebook, was also part of the panel.

Are you a Watermark member or sponsor with great news to share? Let us know! We're happy to spread the word!

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Watermark Welcomes Stacey Ferreira, Newest Board Member

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Monday, November 20, 2017

Watermark is thrilled to welcome Stacey Ferreira, CEO of Forge, to our board of directors. Forge is an enterprise workforce management software that empowers hourly employees to work on-demand while providing retailers the tools needed to source, hire, manage and retain their workforces.

Stacey is a native of Arizona and co-founded her first company, a single sign on company called MySocialCloud, when she graduated from high school. She attracted investors like Sir Richard Branson, Jerry Murdock and Alex Welch through Twitter who invested $1.2M in the business when she was just 18 years old. In 2013, Stacey sold MySocialCloud.com to Reputation.com and went on to publish her first best-selling book called 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers & Changing the World.

In addition to her entrepreneurial work, Stacey was one of 20 Thiel Fellows selected for the 2015 Thiel Fellowship. Stacey is a US State Department Speaker who has given speeches about entrepreneurship in Russia, Egypt, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, to name a few. She is featured in Forbes 30 Under 30.

Visit Stacey's own website, connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Heather Jerrehian: Make Your Mark Senior Executive of the Year

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, October 26, 2017
This week we honor the winner of our Watermark Senior Executive of the Year Award, Heather Jerrehian, Vice President and General Manager, Custom Products for Massdrop.

Heather leads the team in delivering exceptional enthusiast-grade products across hardware, electronics, clothing, accessories and more. In the past year, she has launched more than 60 products, working in collaboration with brands such as Sennheiser, AKG and Allen Edmonds, as well as with community designers. She also helped create the company's own Massdrop Made collection.

An avid philanthropist and mentor, Heather advises a number of early-stage startup. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise as a serial entrepreneur and working with local nonprofits and executive leadership organizations to empower the leaders of tomorrow.

Heather is a Watermark member, ambassador and co-lead of the Peninsula Women Like Us Network.

Advice to Her Younger Self
"Invest in building a network! A robust network is the greatest asset anyone can have – and, I believe, a leading indicator for future career success. This has been absolutely true for me, and it’s the reason I value Watermark’s unique ability to bring so many remarkable women together who sincerely support and encourage one another!"

Her Personal Heroes
"My parents are the true heroes in my life – for all of the love, support and encouragement they have given me. I still call on both of them today for advice! And there’s Oprah – for inspiring and encouraging so many people to move beyond the hardship and limitations in their lives to find the peace, love and joy that we all deserve."

Well done, and congratulations, Heather!

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Watermark's Online Auction Extravaganza

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Sunday, October 22, 2017
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017

It’s fall – time for Watermark’s annual Make Your Mark Awards – and our once-a-year fabulous fundraising auction! We have some amazing items, from sessions with local personal development luminaries to vacations of a lifetime and more! Bidding is EASY and takes three simple steps:

1. If you don't already have an account, sign up at biddingowl.com. Registration takes just 30 seconds.

2. Once you’ve registered, go to biddingowl.com/WatermarkInstitute to view our auction items. The "View Items" button is a drop down menu.

3. Browse our incredible selection. Click on any item for more information and place your bid. Check back often – our auction closes Tuesday, Nov. 7, at midnight!

Place Your Bids Today!

And there's more! Visit biddingowl/WatermarkInstitute for our full list!

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RSVP Today: Make Your Mark Awards: Wednesday, Nov. 1

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Saturday, October 21, 2017
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017

Join us for our signature event, the Watermark Make Your Mark Awards, when we celebrate Women Who Make Their Mark. Enjoy old friends, make new ones and be inspired by the incredible women (and men!) who make up the Watermark community – leaders in every field who are changing the world of work for women everywhere.

We invite you to purchase tickets to our VIP Reception beforehand, as well, where you'll have a chance to visit with our Make Your Mark Award winners and our fantastic event sponsors, partners, Watermark board members and ambassadors. The VIP Reception will be held in the upstairs atrium from 5-6 p.m., with our main event in the ballroom beginning at 6 p.m. You can purchase the VIP Reception tickets along with your main event tickets, or you can purchase them separately later.

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Make Your Mark Awards! Connection: Irana Wasti of GoDaddy, Development: Ritu Mangla of Mobilyte, Advocacy: Olga Mack of ClearSlide, Impact: Cloudera, Bill Campbell Award (Man Who Gets It): Rami Rahim of Juniper Networks, Watermark Emerging Executive of the Year: Margaret Kelleher of VMware and Watermark Senior Executive of the Year: Heather Jerrehian of Massdrop.

We're thrilled to have The Honorable Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, as our keynote. A portion of our evening's fundraising will benefit IGNITE.

Note: The Hyatt has an event parking fee of $10.

If you are interested in sponsorship and/or table pricing, please contact Kate Byrne.

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Irana Wasti: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017

Congratulations to the winner of our Connection Award, Irana Wasti.

We'll be honoring Irana at our Make Your Mark Awards, Nov. 1, at the Hyatt Regency SFO in Burlingame. Please join us!

As Senior Vice President and General Manager for GoDaddy’s Productivity business, Irana leads teams that provide small businesses with tools and services that help them improve communication and run their businesses.

Irana founded GoDaddy Women in Technology, a networking group with a mission to foster professional growth among women at GoDaddy as well as attract more diversity to the technology industry.

Before joining GoDaddy, Irana led product teams at Intuit, where she oversaw the launch of Quickbooks POS and mobile payments, enabling more than 100,000 merchants to “go mobile.” She began her career at IBM, where she served in engineering and product leadership roles focused on technology solutions for enterprise customers worldwide.

Most Valuable Lesson Learned
"Speak up, ask questions and state your point of view! Throughout my career, I’ve found myself filtering ideas and holding back from speaking up unless I was 200% confident and correct. What I’ve learned is that if you don’t speak up, no one will know what you’re thinking, planning or hypothesizing. I’ve found that more often than not I am a subject-matter expert in the room, and bringing my ideas to the table, even if I’m 75% confident in them, opens up the discussion and is infinitely better than not speaking up at all. Speaking up requires confidence and stepping out of your comfort zone, and it also introduces diverse opinions and ultimately expands opportunities."

Her Personal Heroes
"My parents. They’ve consistently set an example of how to pursue both professional and personal aspirations without making unnecessary trade-offs. They immigrated to the USA, earned PhDs in science and achieved their career goals while raising two daughters. Learning from their example helped me establish my guiding principles of what I want to accomplish in all facets in life."

Well done, and congratulations, Irana!

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