Deborah Perry Piscione is a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur in digital and traditional media whose experience spans the operations, content and e-commerce sides of digital media. Deborah co-founded Chump Genius™, an educational gaming company, and Desha Productions, Inc. the parent company of BettyConfidential®, a leading content and e-commerce site, and Alley to the Valley®, a community of the world’s most influential female entrepreneurs, investors, an corporate executives for deal flow. Prior to her move to Silicon Valley in 2006, Deborah spent 18 years in Washington, DC as a staffer in the U.S. Congress and The White House in addition to serving as a lobbyist. Deborah is also a bestselling author, on-air commentator, and public speaker and guest lecturer on topics including the Silicon Valley ecosystem and culture in addition to growing regional economies through innovation, entrepreneurship, and public policy issues. In 2012, Deborah created and co-founded Chump Genius™, an educational gaming company that will teach 21st century science and math education to kids, ages 8 and up. Co-founded with 3D illustrators Mark and Lee Fullerton, the Chump Genius™ brand franchise is based on humorous, time travel adventures of twin boy characters, Drake and Dominick (Deborah’s real life sons). The brothers take kid users on an interactive, story-driven journey and educate them through assessing and solving challenges, deciphering puzzles, constructing gadgets, utilizing tools, and exploring tactics as the kids strive for “Supremius Genius” status. In the process, kids will be taught subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry, robotics, nanotechnology artificial intelligence (AI) and aeronautics. In addition, the software will monitor the children’s progress for parents. Chump Genius’™ first product will be a video game for cross-platform applications, expanding into an app series, traditional and comic books, merchandise, and treatments for television.
Deborah is also the co-founder and CEO of Desha Productions, Inc., a company that owns and operates BettyConfidential.com® and Alley to the Valley®. Under her leadership, BettyConfidential® has become one of most recognizable lifestyle brands on the web for women (ages 18-49). Since 2007, Deborah has managed the operations (P&L), strategic planning and corporate development, and has worked with strategic partners across multimedia platforms including companies such as Electus (IAC), Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and Meredith Corporation, among others. Built on a proprietary content management system, BettyConfidential® was designed for easy usability for non-technical users, moving content rapidly in a 24/7 news cycle. The site reached #7 in comScore’s Beauty & Fashion category, and has received awards including AlwaysOn’s OnHollywood 100 list of World’s Top Private Companies in Digital Entertainment, Forbes Top 100 Women’s web sites, and min’s Editorial Excellence award in 2010. In early 2012, Deborah worked to diversify revenue streams and drove the expansion of the BettyConfidential® brand into e-commerce flash sales of style and beauty products, and a soon-to-be launched social platform for designers and style and beauty bloggers.
???In November 2010, Deborah created Alley to the Valley® for the purposes of deal flow among ?leading women in entrepreneurship, venture capital, corporate executives and government officials. Alley to the Valley® is often described by many of the country’s leading women as the most powerful networking group ever and “summer camp for smart women.” After a move to Silicon Valley from the East Coast, Deborah found the need to bridge highly accomplished women across the country, and provide a platform for dealmaking. In doing so, she trains highly-accomplished women in the Alley to the Valley® method to act upon their “asks” and simultaneously bring their “offers” to the table so that their businesses have an opportunity to rise to the next level. Organized around the country and expanding globally in 2013, Alley to the Valley® offers intimate in-person summits (50 women per summit), and continues dealmaking methods through its online community, making Alley to the Valley® the most productive ROI time spent outside of the office. Alley to the Valley® participants include entrepreneurs such as Jean Chatzky, Christina Brodbeck and Dr. Taryn Rose; venture capitalists such as Heidi Roizen, Nanon de Gaspe Beaubien-Mattrick, Amy Banse (Comcast Ventures), Rachel Lam (Time Warner Investments) and Barbara Corcoran (cohost and investor, NBC’s Shark Tank); corporate executives such as Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Robin Pringle (Liberty Media); and other leading women such as U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.
In 2012, Deborah Perry Piscione received a book contract on the Silicon Valley ecosystem and culture. The book, tentatively titled Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World, covers the characteristics of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, the history of how the culture came into being, the future of innovation and exponential technologies, and whether Silicon Valley can be replicated. The book, to be published in Q1 2013 by Palgrave-MacMillan, draws on examples and interviews leading people and companies in Silicon Valley, including technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and service providers to show how freedom and collaboration (including collaboration between public and private institutions) produce high-quality, forward-looking, socially conscious and profitable enterprises, and show’s how these factors can be applied in other cities, communities and business cultures to produce similar results. Deborah explores why the unique culture of innovation and progress in Silicon Valley represents our best hope for the future, and how it avoids the pitfalls of more traditional corporate culture in areas as varied as creativity, gender equity, speed to market, etc.
Deborah is also the co-author (with Dr. Julianne Malveaux) of the Washington Post bestseller entitled Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face (Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Putnam, September 2002).?
Prior to moving to Silicon Valley, Deborah spent over a decade as a television and radio commentator on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and National Public Radio. As a television and radio commentator, Deborah has appeared as a guest on the Today Show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, The McLaughlin Group, The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Politically Incorrect, and has been a featured guest on PBS, BET, and National Public Radio programs including Justice Talking, Public Interest and The Tavis Smiley Show. She has been featured in leading women’s magazines such as MORE and Ladies’ Home Journal, and in newspapers including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News. Earlier in her career, Deborah served as a lobbyist at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson and Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, working on financial derivatives and education issues. Deborah was appointed as a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC. She has also been a guest lecturer at Stanford University. Deborah served as a congressional staffer for then-U.S. Senator Connie Mack, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (now Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), and a political appointee for President George Bush (41st president), and specialized her legislative and executive career in foreign policy. As a legislative assistant for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Deborah spent much of her focus on the Refusenik issue of Soviet Jews and Israel’s eventual absorption of Soviet scientists and engineers. She worked on legislation and traveled to Israel to oversee and monitor U.S. loan guarantees that assisted in housing and services for the Soviet Jews upon their arrival to Israel. ?
From these positions, Deborah gained a breadth of writing experience in op-eds, political speeches, and press releases, and later became a freelance writer for magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal and National Geographic Traveler. She has won numerous awards including the 2009 Silicon Valley Women Business Owner of the Year, a Gracie Allen Award for her participation in a debate for NPR’s Justice Talking, and a distinguished award from The White House Project.
Deborah created Drake and Dominick Giving, a foundation named after her twin boys and their interest in the well-being of foster children. Drake and Dominick Giving has partnered with the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program to provide financial support for foster kids’ college readiness, and in the past has worked with the National Heart Gallery to encourage greater adoption rates of foster children.
Deborah received her graduate degree in liberal studies, with an emphasis on international affairs and economics from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree in communications from Florida State University. An avid runner, outdoor enthusiast, and international traveler, Deborah lives in Silicon Valley, CA with her husband, twin boys (ages 7) and daughter (age 4).
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Leadership is about courage. The courage to chance failing as the price for succeeding big. The courage to ignite the passions of your workforce and being open to great ideas from anyone at any time. It is about doing what is right, and seizing the moment when the iron is hot. So, why is this so hard? Because in all of the books and speeches about leadership, what has been neglected is how to master the art of risk-taking. In this exciting presentation, Deborah Perry Piscione shows how risk can become an incredibly powerful tool in the leader’s tool belt:
- Exploring how risk-taking is imperative to long term growth, both as an organization and as a person. Without failure we don’t learn. Without experimentation, we don’t evolve.
- Understanding the key differences between gambling and calculated risk-taking, and how to master the skills of risk.
- Building a culture that not only focuses on producing the work, but to also create and execute a steady flow of ideas to improve every aspect of the organization (and recognize a leader’s bias toward their own ideas).
- To find the balance between long-term value creation and short-term profitability.
Building a Culture of How
Corporate culture is the single greatest competitive differentiator, and is crucial to an organization’s long term success. Company culture is not just about what you do, but how you do it. Yet, every company culture is different, with its own hierarchies, preferred communications methods, sources of inspiration and energy, and unfortunately, its own series of speed bumps and gates that slow down change and hamper risk-taking. Yet, more has been learned than ever before about creating and adapting cultures that are fast, agile, collaborative and highly creative. An expert on corporate culture, Deborah shares her original cultural methodology on how companies should operate to best achieve an innovation culture and the blueprint of A Culture of How.
A Culture of How = Risk + Autonomy + Trust + Knowledge Share + Improv
Pressing the HR Re-Set Button
HR has been seen by a majority of company executives as the part of the organization that limits opportunities for innovation. Why? In her extensive research, Deobrah has identified the reasons for this negative perspective. More importantly, she shares the incredible opportunity for HR to hit the reset button to reinvent and be a partner in strategy, innovation and progress. HR is in the best position to do so, as it is the only part of the organization that touches every other part of the organization. She explores the big ideas that not only keeps HR relevant, but to be a driver for innovation and talent processes that will maximize the success of the entire organization.
Two Words That Will Change Innovation
Not every company will be at the fore front of disruptive innovation. To many, the exercise feels a bit like herding cats. For this reason, Deborah has worked with several of the most innovative companies in the world to develop an original methodology in innovation called, “Improvisational Innovation,” which democratizes the ability for anyone at any level to create and experiment. Improvisational innovation offers a formal process by which anyone can submit ideas, be taken seriously and be protected in the process. It provides an opportunity for new revenue streams as well as processes that advance greater efficiencies. Deborah helps you understand how to help you shift to more effective innovation processes in your organization and teams. She explores:
- How to allow good ideas to bubble up from anyone at anytime, and solve the age-old leadership dilemma of, “How do I learn if someone in our company has a brilliant idea that will either generate new revenue or save the company money?”
- How to create a culture of “Yes, and…” conversations that has radically changed the fortunes of companies. This approach unleashes the passions and creative ideas within your organization by focusing on respect and dignity in the sharing of ideas (instead of the more popular method of controlling idea flow and discouraging participation).
Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Why do governments around the world continuously send delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? In a time of economic downturn, what can Silicon Valley teach the rest of the world about entrepreneurialism and innovation?
The secret is in the synergy that creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione explains how different parts of the ecosystem come together as an interconnected web: the innovative approaches to business and finance, the collaborative ventures between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community, the networks, the commercialization know-how, the open attitude toward immigrants, and all the other extras that attract the creative class and boost the quality of life.
But then there's also that elusive spark: the quality of entrepreneurialism that is the region's signature asset - its sport, religion, and identity. As Piscione explains, there are six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate: passion, authenticity, love of ideas, appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. With the spirit of entrepreneurialism at the heart of the ecosystem, you create a distinct and extraordinary culture in which business is conducted not as cutthroat competition but as open inquiry and collaboration that nurture ideas, talent, products, and human potential.
Piscione's presentation captures the best of Silicon Valley so that others may create similar ecosystems and share in its success.
The Rise of the Intangible Asset Economy
Are we moving from an innovation economy to an intangible asset economy? Patents are playing an increasing role in the value of a company. Though the innovation economy relied on intangible assets like patentable ideas, it was never the ideas themselves that were bought and sold – rather, the companies and products that sprang from them. That economy still requires commercialization and monetization. In an intangible asset economy, what is being incentivized and rewarded (and bought, sold, traded and rewarded) is not the full lucrative manifestation of the idea, but the idea itself, protected by law as intellectual property. This speech will explore this question in great detail, and present the research that proves that an intangible asset economy is here.
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