2018 Launch Week Highlights 


We celebrated the launch of our Women's Network in Silicon Valley through June 11th- 15th. We hosted an immersive program bringing 14 women from startups across Canada to Silicon Valley. Together they represented 9 industries, 6 cities and held various executive titles in their organization. 

The Exclusive Program

•Supported by 30 women Connectors from our network

•A full week packed with private one-one-one mentoring sessions, 8 roundtable & workshops

•Engaging discussions covered various topics including platform partnerships, U.S. expansion, exit strategies, media positioning and talent acquisition

• Together we had 25 speakers, session leads and mentors

2 Public Events (Evening)

Jun 11, 2018: Securing Your First Enterprise Customer

Our first launch event (Monday, June 11th 2018) had more than 80 attendees and focussed on how founders have leveraged their network of investors, mentors and the media to help them land their first logo customer months, sometimes even years ahead of them doing it on their own.

Panel Included:

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May Habib, CEO & Founder @ Qordoba

Qordoba is a Strings Intelligence Platform that enables product teams to create compelling user experiences. It is the only machine-learning based solution which extracts text from strings in source code and makes it easy to manage product copy. Companies like Postmates, VISA and Marriott use Qordoba to rapidly optimize and release new copy across product, marketing and customer support.

Qordoba's platform integrates with over 100 development and marketing technologies, seamlessly fitting into the developer stack and enabling agile strings management. Before founding Qordoba, May was a Vice President at one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, where she was the first employee on the technology investment team, building a portfolio now worth over $20B.

Heather Kernahan

Heather Kernahan, President North America @ Hotwire

A global marketing tech expert & business leader, Heather has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Thrive Global, BizWomen, PR Week and AdWeek. Named one of B2B News Network 2015 B2B Top Influencers, Heather's work spans tech startups to industry leaders.

Michele Perras

Michele Perras, Global Ecosystem (APBG) @ Pivotal Software, Mentor @ Alchemist Accelerator

As General Manager at Pivotal (global cloud-native development and PCF platform), Michele leads the team across the Accenture Pivotal Business Group on strategy, GTM, training, delivery and customer success.

Moderated by: 

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Sandra Ponce de Leon, Head of Marketing @ The Vault

Sandra is a Senior Marketing Executive with deep expertise in entrepreneurial marketing and a focus on technology start-ups. She has over 15 years of experience spanning B2B, SaaS, Innovation, AI, Blockchain, Social Impact and Consumer mobile businesses. Sandra is Northern California Chapter President of LatinaGeeks and hosts her own weekly podcast, PoppingtheBubbl.

CWN Supporter

Anna Pickren

Anna Pickren, Director of Partnerships @ Alice

Alice is a free digital platform that makes smart, instance connections between business owners and the resources they need to accelerate sustainable growth and global impact. Alice is open to all founders and prioritizes access for women and other underrepresented business owners.

Jun 14, 2018: Women. Power & Money - Changing the Gender Ratio in Investing

Our second event (Thursday, June 14th 2018) brought together 50 women to facilitate a discussion on impacting the gender ratio in investing, as well as what we can do to better support female founders and women in decision making roles at startups.

Panel Included:

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Trish Costello, CEO & Founder @ Portfolia

Trish is the CEO of Portafolia, a global entrepreneurial investing platform designed for women, and Managing Director of Portfolia Funds.  Portfolia Funds package 6-9 entrepreneurial companies annually in multiple focus areas, such as Enterprise, Consumer Tech, Active Aging and Women’s Health. Portfolia funds provide a interactive and educational view of investing for its members, for a minimum of $10,000, while seeking market returns and innovation in the marketplace.

Trish is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in preparing venture capital investment partners, through the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program, where she was the founding CEO and CEO Emeritus. Trish was Founding President of CVE Capital Corp, the holding company of a $1.7 billion Fund of Funds. Costello was on the start-up team of the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurship center, where she played a leading role nationally in increasing equity investments in women’s businesses and in funding initiatives supporting high-growth women entrepreneurs. Trish led the National Science Foundation SBIR Sub-Committee on Commercialization and was the Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center of Entrepreneurship at Babson College.

Bulbul Gupta

Bulbul Gupta, Board Chair @ Upaya Social Ventures

Bulbul is the Board Chair for Upaya Social Ventures that does seed-stage equity investing in social businesses in India, including the 1st Accelerator for Jobs for the Ultra-Poor.

She is a long-time leader in the impact investing space, supporting some of the first deals and partnerships when the term was first coined 10 years ago out of Microfinance.

Bulbul was an outside policy advisor on Hillary Clinton's campaign, advises family offices on social innovation investment strategies, and is co-founding a think tank using Augmented Intelligence for good - Socos Labs. She is also an angel investor in US-based founders for now, especially women of color and immigrant founders.


Annette Poliwka, Zero Waste & Corporate Responsibility Consultant, Angel Investor

An international expert in waste reduction, recycling, and plastic pollution, Annette has 15+ years of experience in the environmental field, working for nonprofit, government, and private sectors. She's an angel investor with Portfolia and Pipeline Angels, and is on the board of Tending Inc.

Annette studied Communications, Business, and Environmental Scienceat Fairfield & Georgetown Universities, as well as the University of San Francisco . 

Moderated by:


Joanne Fedeyko, CEO @ Connection Silicon Valley

Connection Silicon Valley is an organization that helps companies collaborate, connect, innovate, and partner with Silicon Valley’s world-renowned technology ecosystem. She is the founder of the Canadian Women’s Network, along with the recently launched Canadian Landing Pad for visiting startups, and CELS - a nonprofit dedicated to helping Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Science gain access to Silicon Valley.  She is the Managing Director of theBoardlist Canada. 

Joanne launched the Canadian Women’s Network to support female founders, women in tech and female executives running innovation to help them grow their business; drive economic value back to Canada, and strengthen their own personal and company profile.


"I wanted to express my deepest gratitude for having arranged the Canadian Women's Network Launch Week. You are truly making a huge impact in the life of Canadian Entrepreneurs, and I am glad to say that I am one of them.

Because of this event, I came to California for the first time in my life. Until last week, I was seeing the Valley as unapproachable at this time, considering the current early stage of Optimal Efficiency. After an incredible week rich in invaluable experiences, I have to thank you and your team. I am now back in Vancouver with a totally new perspective about the Bay Area: A place of tremendous collaboration and support.

My week in the valley is unforgettable. Many thanks for your tremendous initiative!"

Karine Samson, Founder & CEO - Optimal Efficiency


"Thanks @ConnectSV for a valuable fast-paced week in the Valley pitching Interface Fluidics to investors and making great connections. Honoured to have been selected in this strong cohort."

Kirstie Boyle, Director, Market Development - Interface Fluidics 


"Thank you Connection Silicon Valley and Joanne Fedeyko! It has been a week full of learning and networking. Honoured to be part of this cohort and to spend time with these fantastic Canadian startups. Thank you all for your coaching and advice! Time to take it all in, and keep moving forward!"

Beatriz Morelo Sanchez, Co-Founder - SEEO2 Energy


"I want to thank you for inviting me to San Francisco, it was eye-opening, motivating and inspiring and I can't wait to get back. (...) Sending you my best with encouragement to keep up the amazing work, to keep reaching and best of luck with whatever is next on your horizon."

Esmeralda Smith Romero, Founder & CEO - Olive + Elliot


Launch Week Private Events

MoNDAY,  June 11TH, 2018

  • Breakfast Roundtable on Strategic Alliances - Understanding when & how to build meaningful relationships with partners who are critical to your business ....... hosted by Linda Campbell, Director for Ecosystems, Business Development, Strategic Alliances in IOT

8:00 am - 9:30 am, San Francisco

  • Office Hours with Lara Druyan, Managing Director, Head of Innovation, West Coast, RBC

9:30 am - 11:30 am, Redwood City

  • Building a Company for Successful Exit Lunch Roundtable, hosted by Mona Sabet, Tribal Ventures

11:30 am - 2:00 pm, Redwood City

  • CWN Promotional Video Interview

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, @The VAULT

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco

Tuesday, June 12TH, 2018

  • Pitch Feedback with Joan Dea, Corporate director, civic leader, and early-stage Investor

9:30 am - 10:30 am, San Francisco

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, San Francisco

  • CWN Promotional Video Interview

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco

  • Scaling Culture, Connecting to Performance, hosted by Jodi Johnson

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm, San Francisco

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, San Francisco

WedNesday, June 13th, 2018


9:00 am - 11:00 am, San Francisco

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm, San Francisco

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco

  • Office Hours with Linda Judge, Startup & Patent Attorney

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, San Francisco

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, San Francisco

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

  • Breakfast Roundtable on Platform Ecosystem - Practical tips for building a developer community on your technology platform ....... hosted by Linda Campbell, Director for Ecosystems, Business Development, Strategic Alliances in IOT

8:00 am - 9:30 am, San Francisco

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, San Francisco

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco

  • Office Hours with Trey Holder, Managing Partner at Brand Innovators Labs & Principal at The Solutions Network

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, San Francisco


  • Breakfast Roundtable "Managing yourself through the 0 to 1", hosted by Nikhyl Singhal, Chief Product Officer, Credit Karma

8:30 am - 10:00 am, San Francisco

FRIDAY, June 15th, 2018