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Viola Davis, Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Sheryl Sandberg at Watermark Conference

Monday, January 16, 2017  
Posted by: Watermark
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Registration open for third annual event; thousands expected in San Jose

SAN JOSE, CA – The Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley announced today that Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Viola Davis and Facebook COO and creator of the Lean In movement Sheryl Sandberg will deliver keynote addresses and former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine K. Albright and Condoleezza Rice will hold a keynote conversation at the event on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the San Jose Convention Center. Annie Clark, co-founder of End Rape on Campus and subject of the documentary film “The Hunting Ground," and Shawn Achor, best-selling author of "The Happiness Advantage” and record-setting TED speaker, will also headline the third annual conference, with more than 6,000 expected to attend.

Viola Davis currently stars in the hit ABC drama "How to Get Away with Murder," for which she became the first African American to win the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series and also earned two Screen Actors Guild Awards, an NAACP Image Award and two Golden Globe nominations. Viola will next be seen in “Fences” from Paramount Pictures. The film is starring, directed and produced by Denzel Washington and is adapted from August Wilson’s play. Davis also starred with Washington in the 2010 revival of the play on Broadway. Her portrayal of Rose Maxson brought her a Tony Award. “Fences” was also honored with the Tony Award for “Best Play Revival." The film adaptation, for which Davis has won the Critics Choice Award and has been nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award, will release nationwide on December 25th.

Madeleine K. Albright made history as the first female Secretary of State, nominated by President Bill Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1997. Prior to her service from 1997-2001, Dr. Albright served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997 and as a member of President Clinton's National Security Council. Dr. Albright is the author of five New York Times best-sellers and she currently serves as chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and as a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. In 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Condoleezza Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, only the second woman, after Albright, and the first African American woman to hold the position. Previously, Dr. Rice was the first female National Security Advisor, from 2001 to 2005, to President George W. Bush. Currently, Dr. Rice serves as Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a professor of political science at Stanford University, in addition to being the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates, LLC.

Annie Clark is a co-founder of End Rape on Campus, a group working to end sexual violence on campuses around the country. Working with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, she helped write the Bi-Partisan Campus Safety and Accountability Act and her work is featured in the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Clark is a co-author of the book, “We Believe You,” a collection of 36 essays of campus sexual assault. Shawn Achor is a distinguished Harvard professor and New York Times bestselling author of "The Happiness Advantage" and "Before Happiness." His TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with more than 14 million views.

“Once again, Watermark offers an unparalleled opportunity to hear from accomplished, insightful and game-changing leaders,” said Marlene Williamson, CEO of Watermark. “We are proud to present an unforgettable program that will make a difference for women in Silicon Valley and beyond.”

Named one of the “Top 100” events in the San Francisco Bay Area by BizBash for its “buzz, innovation, and prominence,” the Watermark Conference for Women offers an unmatched breadth and depth of speakers in fields including new approaches to leadership, gender equity and inclusion, business management, digital strategy, and personal and professional growth. The Watermark Conference will once again host the QVC + zulily Product Search, where participants will have the unique opportunity to showcase their new idea to a panel of QVC and zulily experts, and receive on-site feedback from the panel. 

The 100+ speakers at the Watermark Conference include: Luvvie Ajayi, award-winning writer and digital strategist; Jenny Blake, millennial expert, author, and business strategist; Michelle Gielan, former “CBS News” anchor, best-selling author and psychology researcher; Tiffany Dufu, chief leadership officer of Levo and launch team member to Lean In; and Caretha Coleman, principal at Coleman Consulting and former chairman of the board of Dignity Health.

"Our stellar lineup of speakers represent a diverse array of individuals from politics and entertainment to global diplomacy and education," said Amy Flood, Vice President, Public Affairs of co-chair sponsor Gilead Sciences.  "Gilead is honored to celebrate the full spectrum of women's achievements at the Conference and throughout the year."

The Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley is generously underwritten by co-chair partners Juniper Networks and Gilead Sciences along with the following sponsors: Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, Genentech;  Akamai; Boston Scientific; Johnson & Johnson; QVC; Silicon Valley Bank; Applied Materials; BMW; Oracle; Poo-Pourri; State Farm; United; Visa; VMWare and media sponsors KFOG 104.5 San Francisco; KGO 810; KSFO 560; and NBC Bay Area.

Registration is now open for the conference. To register or learn more about the event, visit our conference website.

To apply for media credentials, please contact Michelle Clark.


Watermark is the leading community of top women executives, entrepreneurs and emerging executives in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the representation of women in leadership positions. The membership organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark supports girls’ leadership programs, as well, to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.