Beyond Silicon Valley: Why Inclusion is Important Right Now [Recording]

How can we create a more inclusive Future Economy? What are the differences in the inclusion and diversity debate between the US and Switzerland?

Photo by Astra Brinkmann for swissnex San Francisco.

Event Details


Online Event


Thursday, June 4, 2020
11:00am to 12:15pm in San Francisco 08:00pm to 09:15pm in Switzerland


Free. RSVP below.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has hit us hard – experts expect a global economic crisis, and millions of people have lost their jobs. The fragility of the economy has proven that we need to seek alternative ways to think about how we do business. As witnessed, the most vulnerable groups in society are the first impacted by the global health crisis. This moment might be the chance to sustainably change and influence our economic system while we build up the fragments. How can we create a more inclusive Future Economy? 

The debate about diversity and inclusion has been ongoing for years in the US and Switzerland, but the current situation has accelerated some developments, and opens up a general discussion about values in business. This is the reason why including more women and minorities into the conversation might be key. In this discussion, we want to look at the differences in the inclusion and diversity debate between the US and Switzerland, talk about the opportunities of this pandemic to remodel our economic systems, and finally, rethink our economy in a way that includes more women and minorities.


San Francisco
11:00am — Panel
11:30am — Q&A
11:45am — Networking and exchange
12:15pm — Conclusion  

08:00pm — Panel
08:30pm — Q&A
08:45pm — Networking and exchange
09:15pm — Conclusion


Rekha Pai Kamath
Rekha Pai Kamath is Impact investor and Partner at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, and serves on the board of Fast Forward, an Accelerator for Tech Non-profits based in San Francisco. Prior to becoming an angel and impact investor, she led New Business incubation at Juniper Networks. She has 15+ years in various Corporate Strategy, Product Management, Marketing, and Product Development positions at companies such as Symantec Corp, Applied Materials, Sun Microsystems, and Procket Networks (acquired by Cisco). Rekha has been a Mentor, Impact Advisor, and on the selection committee for past five years for Techwomen, a US Department of State Initiative that seeks to connect global women leaders in technology with those in Silicon Valley. She is a mentor and advisor to several start-ups at Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs (SA&E), at MIT Solve as well previously at StartX. She holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business.


Valentina S. Velandia
Valentina S. Velandia is the Co-founder of Capacity, and Partnership Curator. With 10 years of expertise in the areas of Gender Policy Analysis, Migration, and Entrepreneurship, Valentina’s professional journey ranges from her native Colombia to the US, Asia Pacific, and now Europe. She has worked for organizations such as UN Women Singapore Committee, UN-CEDAW, EDGE (as a consultant for the World Bank, The Inter-American Development Bank, Swiss-Re, IKEA, and other global entities), The International Women Rights Action Watch (IWRAW), and The International Disability Alliance, among others. Valentina holds a BA in Intercultural Communication Studies (Rhetoric and Public Discourse), a Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy with an emphasis on Gender Policy, and she is a Swiss-certified teacher.

Ana Maria Angarita
Ana Maria Angarita is the Co-founder of Capacity, and Entrepreneurship Programme Manager. She is an international development professional with over 10 years of experience in the management of international capacity-building initiatives and high-level cooperation networks. Developing communication and marketing initiatives that promote impactful advocacy have also inspired Ana Maria’s professional path through Colombia, the United States, India, and now Switzerland. She has a migrant background and is passionate about social inclusion and migration issues. She has worked for organizations such as the Organisation of American States (OAS), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), UNICEF India, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), Management Systems International (MSI), amongst others. Ana Maria holds a BA in International Development Studies from American University, and a Master’s in International Relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva.

Petra Ehmann
Petra believes that each problem provides an opportunity to do things better. From the educational system, industrial companies to politics, we see that more digital potential can be unlocked. Petra joins us in her function as a board member at WE SHAPE TECH, a network for greater diversity and inclusion in tech and innovation. She received the Top 100 Digital Shaper Award from BILANZ and the Top 100 Women in Business Award in Switzerland. The Stanford and ETH Zurich alumna is looking forward to fostering the connection between her former home turf, Silicon Valley, and and her current home turf, Switzerland. She is a polyglot German citizen who lived in four continents previously and is a mechanical engineering by training.


Ash Coleman
Ash’s work in technology focuses on raising awareness about the inclusion of women and people of color, especially in context-driven testing and agile communities. While technology and inclusion are her main passion today, engineering was not her first love. As a former chef, Ash crafted her software approach through the learnings of hospitality. After 16 years, she put recipes aside when she began her career in software development, using the engineering skills she acquired as a kid building computers with her brother. As an avid fan of matching business needs with technological solutions, you can find her doing her best work on the sunniest coast. Having helped teams build out testing practices, formulate agile processes and redefine culture, Ash was formally Engineering Manager in Quality, and now serves as Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Credit Karma. She continues testing and consulting based out of San Francisco.

George McCalman
Raised in Brooklyn, Creative Director George McCalman received his BFA in philosophy at St. Johns in Queens, NY, which indicates his passion for design. He credits his Caribbean heritage for his unique ability to both embrace and rebel against traditional modes of design, enabling a brand to simultaneously integrate and stand out in its industry. George is a fine artist, illustrator and graphic designer. His studio serves primarily art, lifestyle, and food clients. McCalman creates a classic, long-lasting brand that continues to define his clients as they evolve. After 14 years as a leading art director in the magazine industry, George McCalman opened the doors to MCCALMAN.CO in 2011. Working at highly respected national magazines like ReadyMade, Mother Jones, and Entertainment Weekly, McCalman amassed numerous design awards throughout his career; his editorial background gives him a unique perspective on commercial branding. And for McCalman, community is paramount. The foundation and proven success of the studio relies on his strong relationships with his clients and creative partners. MCCALMAN.CO is a design studio built on the foundation of editorial expertise, bold brand messaging, and personal relationships.