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Hot Technology Roundtable: Shaping the Future

Leaders across industries from venture capital to cancer research weigh in on technologies critical for businesses and organizations now and in the future. Moderator Laura Capper will help lead the discussion to explore what technologies businesses need to know about today to be successful in the future. Join us for "Hot Technologies: Shaping the Future" and participate with our distinguished panelists and moderator covering the technologies you need to know about today.

Featured Speaker(s)

Laura Capper

Laura Capper is President and Founder of CAP Resources, a Houston-based consulting firm established in 1994. Laura and her partners specialize in increasing shareholder value of start-up private and publicly held high-growth companies. The Company is known for its work in launching technology startups and its expertise in developing business plans, market positioning, revenue generation, financial modeling and investor recruitment. CAP Resources has worked with over 225 clients, and facilitated $350 M in equity financing for its clients.

Prior to founding CAP Resources, Laura served as a senior manager in marketing, sales, and operations roles with companies including Advanced Micro Devices and Landmark Graphics (now a Halliburton company). She has served as Director of E-Realty.com, Wallis State Bank, and Princess Energy Systems. She is a former Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum, serves on the Advisory Boards of the Houston Technology Center, BioHouston, the Rice Alliance for Technology Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Houston's Future. Laura graduated from Rice University in 1983 summa cum laude with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a minor in computer science and bioengineering.


Blair Garrou
Blair Garrou is a Managing Director of DFJ Mercury, a Texas-based seed and early stage venture capital fund and a partner in the global intelligence network of Draper Fisher Jurvetson funds. Prior to DFJ Mercury, Blair was the CEO of Intermat, Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a leader in the product information management sector. Prior to Intermat, Blair was a Principal of Genesis Park LP, a Houston-based private equity firm. Prior to Genesis Park, Blair assisted in the launch of and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center, where he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, Houston's first angel investment organization. Blair is currently an Adjunct Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University where he teaches a course on venture capital. Previously, Blair was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and he provided audit and assurance services with Deloitte & Touche. Blair received his B.S. in Management from Washington & Lee University.

Blair focuses on information technology investments at DFJ Mercury, specifically in enterprise software and internet-enabled businesses. Blair's recent investments include: Alert Logic (www.alertlogic.com), Phurnace Software (www.phurnace.com), Performix (www.performixinc.com) and ShareThis (www.sharethis.com).

Michelle Calabretta
Michelle Calabretta received her PhD in Biochemistry from Rice University in 2005. While at Rice she became an advocate for affordable student health insurance and was a member of the Health Insurance Committee and several other student associations. Since joining MD Anderson in 2007 as a clinical research program coordinator for Phase I studies she has continued her volunteer work in cancer survivor advocacy, with a focus on young adults. She is a member of the Young Adult Leadership Committee for I'm Too Young For This, a national young adult cancer survivor advocacy group. Michelle also serves as a volunteer in the Web 2.0 group for MD Anderson and as a new media consultant for Collage: The Art For Cancer network.

Sherry Walshak
Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Worldwide

Hewlett-Packard Company
Sherry Walshak is a Solutions Enablement and Readiness Manager for HP Worldwide. She is responsible for the technology solutions portfolio, focused on sales enablement and readiness which includes coordination and alignment across the various HP Business Unit Groups and Regions. Prior to this role, Sherry was a Solutions Principal for Hewlett-Packard - U.S. State & Local Government, working as a member of the HP Services Consulting & Integration team. She was responsible for a select portfolio of solutions, including Identity Management, Border and Maritime Ports Integrated Management and Security, and First Responder Integrated Planning, Communications and Response.

In her previous position as Business Development Manager, WW HP Public Sector, Sherry was responsible for Public Safety and Homeland Security solutions for projects worldwide. She provided solution development, bid support, field/customer engagement, as well as coordinated best practices across regions. Previous to this role, Sherry was Director for U.S. State & Local Government Marketing, where she was responsible for the business and marketing strategy, working closely with the field on aligning our solutions and product offerings to the needs of customers. Sherry served on the Technology Committee of WESG (Women Executives in State Government) as well as the Corporate Leadership Council of NASCIO (National Association of State CIOs).

Prior to joining HP, Sherry was a Management Consultant for American General Corporation, focused on improvement projects including designing and implementing a company-wide Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan.

Sherry holds a Masters of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Houston. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Texas A&M University.

Aruna Viswanathan
Vice President - Texas
Aegis Capital Group

Ms. Viswanathan is a Vice-President with Aegis Capital Group, a private equity firm that provides growth capital to small to mid sized Texas-based businesses. Prior to joining Aegis, Ms. Viswanathan was the Vice-President and Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC), the largest technology incubator in Texas. While at the HTC she helped direct the operational growth of the organization and its client company profile from under 30 to over 65 Houston area startups. She also launched the Gulf Coast Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, which makes funding recommendations on regional applicants to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) and currently serves on the 17 member State Committee that reviews applicants statewide for TETF funding.
Aruna began her career as an Associate Engineer for Advanced Micro Devices in the Wafer Fab Quality Control area, looking at failure analysis measurement and methodology. After leaving AMD, Aruna worked as a Test Engineer for Motorola's Wireless Signal Processing Division, specializing in the testing of digital signal processors and flash memory devices. While at Motorola she managed the launch of multiple globally dispersed, multi-million dollar product lines.

Ms. Viswanathan graduated with a BS and MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin where her master's work centered on the design and testability of embedded flash memory devices. She also received an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Rice University.

Aruna sits on the advisory boards of the Houston Technology Center, UH Cullen College of Engineering Leadership Advisory Board, Test Masters, and selected portfolio companies. She was named in 2003 among Houston's "Top Women in Technology" and is a member of numerous area organizations, including the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and TiE-Houston



Schedule of Events

6:00-6:30 Registration, Dinner and Networking
6:30-7:00 Announcements, Sponsor Welcome
7:00-8:00 Program, Q&A
8:00-8:30 Networking