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Technology for Good - Challenges & Opportunities

Join WITI Bay Area and our esteemed panelists as they share how they're supporting a greater mission AND finding success in their careers. Discover how these impressive women are combining social entrepreneurship and innovative technology to foster a more equitable society.

Emily Branton, President, Link2FeedEmily became the President and part-owner of Link2Feed at only 24-years old.

In just seven years, she’s grown the company from a side project to an international business that has impacted over 6 million lives and has been listed as one of top social impact organizations in the world. In 2020, Link2Feed became part of the “ASG” portfolio, a private equity firm based in Silicon Valley.

Her work has also been a launching pad for her travels, having visited 19 countries including 8 Canadian provinces and 23 US states.

Emily holds both an MBA and a degree in Communication Studies from the University of Windsor. Her Tedx talk “Bad at Math” has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2,000 times and her writing has been featured in national media, including the Financial Post.

She is a writer, speaker and yoga instructor who struggles to decide what she likes more- tea or red wine. She lives in Sarnia, ON, Canada with her spouse and fellow Packer’s fan, Matt, and their black lab Clay (named after the great Clay Matthews).

Elaine Zhou, CTO, Change.org

Elaine Zhou is the Chief Technology Officer of Change.org, the world’s largest social change platform with more than 400 million users in 196 countries. As Change.org’s technical leader, Elaine leads a global engineering team to drive Change.org to the forefront of Responsible AI, to elevate the platform capability to reach a larger community, and engage repeat users who can lead change for their causes.

Most recently, Elaine was the CTO at Vidado.ai, an Oakland AI startup, dedicated to use Artificial Intelligence to help organizations unlock critical insight trapped in handwritten documents to drive their operations and strategy. Previously, Elaine was the SVP of Development overseeing engineering and product development at Clean Power Finance (CPF), a solar leasing & financing startup backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures. Elaine’s 20+ years of experience includes technology strategy, AI research and development, software product development and process improvement. Elaine received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from UC Berkeley. In her free time, Elaine can be found traveling to some far flung island, paddleboarding Richardson Bay, hiking a local peak or discussing life in a startup over milk tea with her husband, Ken.

Cheryl Vargas

Cheryl joined the University of San Francisco, Women in Leadership & Philanthropy initiative in 2018. Prior to joining the Development team, she served as a fund development consultant, and an executive director in higher education and the YMCA. She is passionate about providing opportunities for women to realize their fullest potential and fostering collaborative and community-minded strategies to serve the needs of nonprofits toward growth and impact. She has authored curriculum for parent-child programs and led over 100 professional development workshops. Cheryl holds a B.S. in Health Education and a Masters in Public Health from San Diego State University.