An incubator of women leaders


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  • 03/01/2024 1:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the past five years, CLUB members escaped to the beaches of Santa Cruz for our annual Shine Retreat! The coastal fog and high winds seemed fitting to refresh our mind, body, and soul.

    Our agenda was thoughtfully crafted and structured around four pillars: social, environmental, physical, and developmental. We delved into our leadership vision, discussed opportunities for change, and shared actionable advice to bring our ideas with us home. It was all about setting the stage for a successful year ahead.

    Inspiration & Connection

    We kicked off on Friday with a light lunch at the Ideal Bar & Grill, went on a self-guided tour of The Sanctuary Exploration Center, and headed to Cowell’s Beach for a beach clean up. It was a good reminder of the impact we have as humans and the role we can have to protect the ocean and sea life. The highlight of the day though was at dinner. Led by the wicked smart Tamar Serna, we enjoyed Table Talks - a series of thought-provoking questions that helped us uncover unique and mutual interests. The intimate setting also made it easy to engage in profound discussions, build stronger connections, and deepen our sense of belonging.

    Charting the Path Forward

    Saturday dawned with restorative Isha Uppa Yoga exercises and a scenic beach view. We had a great turnout at this early morning stretch. We loosened our muscles and activated our energy ahead of our goal-setting session with Laraine McKinnon.

    Laraine helped us define what matters to us at this stage in our lives and careers. As a recovering overachiever, I particularly appreciated how she led us through the process and helped us hone in on our Most Important Goal (MIG). Through a series of exercises, we tied our goal with a bigger why so that we could prioritize actions accordingly.

    Makes sense right? If you don’t have clear goals, how can you possibly be sure you’ve made the right choices? Laraine thoughtfully broke us into groups to partner up on specific timelines and action items to hold each other accountable post the retreat.

    Playing Big with Empathy and Accountability

    This tied well with our authentic leadership session led by Candice Heidebrecht. Candice is a long time CLUB Member and coach who leads our Mentoring Circles. She commanded the space with her bold colors and executive presence. She came uber prepared with a Cultivate Empathy workbook. Returning participants enjoyed looking back at last year’s journal and comparing how they’ve grown.

    “When you are playing big, your behavior is confident, you feel motivated, and you tend to be investing in people and projects that energize you” - Candice Heidebrecht

    How can you spend more time playing the big version of yourself? Think about how many identities you navigate in your day-to-day and throughout your life. Sometimes, we become different people to adapt and flex in certain situations. Interestingly, being sincere in your motivations helps you adapt to each situation while staying true to yourself. In the same manner, when you set goals, make sure you start by understanding your value system.

    Bringing it all together

    One of my biggest takeaways is remembering that accomplishing your goals comes with small behavior changes. Makes it super easy to say yes. Once you’re comfortable with the first action item, you can stack another action item and build traction. Also, make it memorable. I loved the idea of translating your goal into one word that can be used as your password. This keeps it top of mind. Lastly, connect with people who keep you inspired and accountable.

    The CLUB is a community of women, who have been continuously inspiring each other, sharing challenges, and serving as role models to our accelerate our leadership journeys. If you missed this event, be sure to join us next year, and let's continue to build a world where every woman leader shines in her unique way.

  • 06/11/2020 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The CLUB Bay Area Women’s Leadership Organization Announces 4 New Board Members! Svetlana Kamyshanskaya, Julia Andrianova-Figg, Galina Livitina, Manju Abraham
  • 05/25/2020 11:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Palo Alto—Women’s leadership non-profit The CLUB is delighted to announce that four alumnae of the CLUB’s Incubator Program have been named 2020 Silicon Valley Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The four awardees are Colleen Crangle, Olga Mack, Marla Sofer and Aila Malik.

    "We’re delighted to see these dynamic women recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. In this group we have an AI pioneer, a CEO, a FinTech executive, and a non-profit strategist, each of whom is shaping the future." says Laraine McKinnon, President of the CLUB and founder of strategic consulting firm LMC17.

    The CLUB’s Incubator program is an annual advocacy program for women leaders. Founded and run by McKinnon, the Incubator helps diverse cohorts of talented women crystallize, showcase, and be recognized for their expertise.

    Colleen Crangle has forged a path of distinction in both her professional life and her community involvement. An immigrant twice over, she moved to the US first as a child of Irish nationality and then as a young adult from South Africa to enroll in a Ph.D. program at Stanford University. Collen is a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence who, through joint undertakings with professionals in public health and medicine, genetics and neuroscience, adult literacy and bioinformatics, has helped move AI into the mainstream. Colleen is co-founder and owner of Converspeech LLC, the lead author on ‘Language and Learning for Robots’, CSLI Press, Stanford University, Associate Professor in Public Health and Information Sciences at the University of Louisville, a NIH award winner, and co-founder of an independent small publisher, Faultine Press. Her volunteer efforts support criminal justice reform, the unhoused, and LGBTQ+ youth.

    Olga Mack is a powerhouse CEO, lawyer and advocate. She is currently the CEO and Chairwoman of Parley Pro, a contract automation startup and previously served as VP of Strategy for Quantstamp. Olga is also the Founder of the Women Serve on Boards movement, where she single-handedly launched full-fledged social media campaigns targeting specific companies to place a woman on their board. She is the author of “Get On Board: Earning Your Ticket To A Corporate Board Seat.” Olga is a contributing writer to Bloomberg, Newsweek and writes columns for the Association of Corporate Counsel and Above the Law  Through which she frequently showcases other members of the legal profession for their unique talents and contributions.

    Aila Malik is a standout leader in the non-profit ecosystem of the Bay Area, inspiring mission-driven organizations to fulfill promises on their impact. As Founder and Principal of Venture Leadership Consulting, she is a strategic advisor to non-profits and occasionally serves as an interim executive to help non-profit organizations to deepen impact, drive performance, and scale solutions. Aila has served as Advisor, Board member or Commissioner on twelve Bay Area non-profit boards, from Mountain View to Santa Clara to San Quentin. Aila lives with intention as a compassionate advocate of community kindness, planet protection, and family togetherness. She is deeply committed to contributing to a world in which disparity does not limit people’s access to opportunity.  

    Marla Sofer, Marla is VP of Strategic Partnerships at Jemstep, by Invesco. Throughout her career, she has been a proponent and driver of innovation across the traditional financial services ecosystem. She led major relationships while at JP Morgan and BlackRock and dove head-first into FinTech in 2015 to improve the customer experience. Marla bridges FinTech with traditional financial services companies, simplifying technological integration. She’s also an ardent believer in the value of non-linear career pathing. She has launched two women’s leadership networks, and has supported countless mentees with job transitions. Marla has also served on the executive board of a high profile community relations non-profit focused on social justice, and chaired her synagogue’s youth education committee. Her unique and impactful leadership style stems from her background studying Middle East peace and conflict resolution.

    Past CLUB Incubator members who have received the Women of Influence award include Joselle Deocampo (LinkedIn), Anuradha Gali (Uber), Nolwenn Godard (PayPal), Heather Jerrehian (startup executive)  Alice Katwan (Salesforce), Nancy Poon Lue (Advanced Education Research & Development Fund), Sherry Main (UC Irvine, UC Board of Regents), Mindy Morton (Procopio), Mansi Shah (Kilpatrick Townsend), and Leedjia Svec (US Navy), as well as founder Laraine McKinnon (LMC17).

    More information about the 2020 Women of Influence can be found in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.​​​

    About The CLUB Silicon Valley

    Founded in 2012, The CLUB is a diverse community of inspiring, professional helping women accelerate their leadership journeys. Our Bay Area based community is hundreds strong and made of professionals who are leaders in their industries–tech, finance, engineering, marketing, legal, rocket science and beyond. We connect women with one another in order to build critical, multi-disciplinary peer groups and mentorship opportunities that strengthen their careers and keep them at the top of their game.
  • 12/09/2019 3:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two more CLUBbie awards were presented at an event for alumnae of the CLUB’s Incubator program.

    The Connect Award

    The CLUB honored Marla Kowalski Knapp, a masterful strategic connector with our “Connect” CLUBbie award. Marla is an executive with global experience and a unique mind that brings together people, ideas and resources. Pictured with Board member Tanal Basma.

    The Build Award

    Adimika Arthur is a visionary who builds for the future. We're thankful that she took time out of her passion project (transformational innovation for Medicaid) to build the CLUB's Shine Retreat. Board members Tammy Serna and Jeanel Carlson present Adimika with the CLUBbie award for "Build.”

  • 11/11/2019 4:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The CLUB celebrated its 7th Anniversary with a banquet, held at the Fremont Hills Country Club on November 5, 2019. At this event, the CLUB recognized three of its members for their outstanding service:

    The Connect Award

      The CLUB awarded Susan Freeman our CLUBbie for ”Connect.” Susan is an avid supporter of women, putting many ‘on stage’ as speakers at events, including her upcoming event “Empowered Women” event on December 5th in SF. Pictured here with Board Member Catherine Cannon Francis.

    The Unite Award

      Congratulations to Kristen Guggeis, winner of the 2019 CLUBbie Award for “Unite.” As a top enterprise client relationship executive, Kristen has incredible skills - we thank her for pouring them into our CLUB mentoring circles. Here Board member Lamya Alaoui thanks Kristen for her efforts!

    The Lead Award

      Cheers to Melissa Mahoney winner of our 2019 CLUBbie award for “Lead.” She’s a thought leader in small business and soloprenuership, a successful artist with a unique corporate approach, and a volunteer for CLUB mentoring and social events.

    These CLUBbies will be handed to the winners at an upcoming gathering of CLUB members.

  • 11/11/2019 4:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cheers to Melissa Mahoney winner of our 2019 CLUBbie award for “Lead.” She’s a thought leader in small business and soloprenuership, a successful artist with a unique corporate approach, and a volunteer for CLUB mentoring and social events.

  • 11/11/2019 4:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Kristen Guggeis, winner of the 2019 CLUBbie Award for “Unite.” As a top enterprise client relationship executive, Kristen has incredible skills - we thank her for pouring them into our CLUB mentoring circles. Here Board member Lamya Alaoui thanks Kristen for her efforts!

  • 11/11/2019 4:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The CLUB awarded Susan Freeman our CLUBbie for ”Connect.” Susan is an avid supporter of women, putting many ‘on stage’ as speakers at events, including her upcoming event “Empowered Women” event on December 5th in SF. Pictured here with Board Member Catherine Cannon Francis.

  • 10/14/2019 5:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The CLUB Annual Party Celebrates Women Leaders

    The CLUB of San Francisco Bay Area celebrates its seventh anniversary with a party to celebrate women


    Palo Alto—The CLUB, a San Francisco Bay Area organization focused on accelerating women’s careers, announced their “Celebration of Women” party scheduled for November 5, 2019 at the Fremont Hills Country Club. CLUB President, Laraine McKinnon, said, “Every year we pause to celebrate our accomplishments, refresh our aspirations, and gain inspiration. Our events are open and inclusive and we welcome guests to join us. The event is a great way to plug into a supportive and friendly community focused on helping women in the Bay Area reach their career goals.”

    The highlight of the event will be a Fireside Chat with three exceptional women who research and improve women’s roles and reputation in the workplace.

    • Julie Des Jardins, Ph.D., Author, Editor, Scholar, and Cultural Analyst focusing on women and gender in American culture. Julie’s books include: Lillian Gilbreth: Redefining Domesticity, The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science and Women and the Historical Enterprise in America: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Memory.

    • Susan Freeman, M.A., CEO at Freeman Means Business. Susan is a super-connector and communication expert who helps women in business communicate effectively with the world -- and men communicate effectively with women in business. 

    • Jennie Giron, MBA, MEd, Senior Consultant at Riva Negotiations. Jennie is a scholar and consultant focused on researching and teaching women negotiation skills. 

    The discussion will be moderated by Tanal Basma, an HR diversity business partner at Epic Environmental Inc. 

    The event takes place at the beautiful Fremont Hills Country Club starting at 6 pm with a champagne reception and fun networking icebreaker. The evening includes a formal dinner with remarks by The CLUB President Laraine McKinnon and Board Members Sherry Hashimoto Main, Jeanel Carlson, Lamya Alaoui, Catherine Cannon Francis, and Tanal Basma, followed by a dessert buffet.

    To recognize and celebrate women, the event also our annual CLUBbie Awards – recognizing women in our community who Connect, Lead, Unite and Build to create a strong ecosystem for women’s success. 

    Register today! CLUB members and guests are encouraged to register before October 23 as registration will close on Thursday, October 24th at 5 PM PDT.


    About The CLUB

    The CLUB is a leadership incubator for San Francisco Bay Area women who want to accelerate their careers. The name is an acronym for Connect, Lead, Unite, and Build. Collectively we grow talent through high-impact programs, networking, and support. We’re an inclusive organization and we invite anyone interested in supporting women through the leadership pipeline to join our membership:
  • 09/03/2019 6:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    In recognition of YOU, we'd love your feedback! As you know, the CLUB is a unique community supporting the professional growth of women. Each and every one of you make the CLUB successful. Help us learn about what's working (or not) by taking this short 10-minute survey. Your input will help us shape the future of the CLUB with the goal of making your membership a valuable experience for years to come. Making the CLUB better for YOU!

    Survey is open until 9/12/19.

    Take the Survey

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The CLUB is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and is tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code.

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