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Deborah Perry Piscione, Media Speaker

Deborah Perry Piscione

    • Silicon Valley Culture and Innovation Expert
    • Best-Selling Author of Secrets of Silicon Valley
    • Serial Entrepreneur & Political Commentator
Full Bio
Fee Range:

$20,000 - $30,000

Virtual Fee: Please Inquire
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The Risk Factor | Deborah Perry Piscione | TEDxHarkerSchool

The Risk Factor | Deborah Perry Piscione | TEDxHarkerSchool

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).

To book Deborah Perry Piscione call Executive Speakers Bureau at 800-754-9404.

Changing Mindsets:  Getting Great Things Done in the Age of Innovation

We all understand how hard it is to change mindsets.  Since human behavior can be unpredictable, we set policies and procedures to limit behavior and focus our energies on managing productivity and investing in technological solutions...leading to cultures that over-reward production and under-reward creativity, risk-taking, problem-solving, and a general passion for innovation and growth.
In this breakthrough presentation Deborah Perry Piscione shows that every organization can develop new mindsets,  organizational structures, and product development/ problem-solving processes that will maximize opportunities in the future.  Using examples from the most admired organizations and from her research into world-class business practices, Piscione shows how to create a culture where risk-taking is rewarded, Mavericks are encouraged, collaboration is nurtured, and leadership unlocks the potential of it's workers.  This is a truly inspiring and pragmatic presentation on harnessing the energy in every organization.

The Secrets of Silicon Valley: Lessons from the Innovation Capital of the World

Why do governments around the globe keep sending delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? What is it that Silicon Valley can teach the rest of the world about creating value from ideas, build new forms of business and create disruptive 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, such as the collaborative dynamics between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community and the commercialization of know-how. Piscione takes a close look at the spirit of entrepreneurialism, examining the six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate -- passion, authenticity, love of ideas, an appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. You will find this an extremely enlightening and inspiring keynote.


In this presentation, Piscione discusses a 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. She explores how to allow good ideas to bubble up from anyone at any time, and solve the age-old leadership dilemma of, “How do I know if someone in our company has a brilliant idea that will either generate new revenue or save the company money?” She answers this dilemma by describing how to create a culture of “Yes, and…” – a well-known improv technique, capable of radically changing the fortunes of any company. The practice of responding, “Yes, and…” to employee suggestions (whether they are home runs or not), keeps the conversation going by encouraging a flow of new ideas with the support and validation of a positive reaction. When employees are encouraged rather than stifled, and given the courage to speak up, that one game-changing idea may only be one water cooler conversation away.


It’s no coincidence that our most revered business icons are also the boldest risk-takers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. Yet with so much emphasis on short-term stock price gains and bottom line focus, organizations tend to act too safe, resulting in a stagnant business culture which generates entirely forgettable results in a world that demands significant solutions.  If ground-breaking innovation is about taking calculated risks, then why do companies not only set reams of policies and procedures to limit risk, but also spend no resources developing the key skills and systems for effective risk-taking? In this poignant presentation, Deborah discusses how to get back into the business of taking risk. Based on her series of books, including The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure, Deborah Perry Piscione explores risk-taking as a powerful tool for leaders and their organizations. Exemplifying the heroes of risk, entrepreneurship, and venture capitalism, and the role risk-taking play in their success, Piscione makes the case that for your culture to act smarter, faster, with more agility in reacting to competition and developing innovative ways to grow, you must explore the one core leadership skill that has been completely ignored in corporate cultures. She explores both the individual skills and organization systems to unleash risk-taking. This is a very exciting speech for an entire audience.


From her experiences running the renowned national women’s networking program Alley to the Valley, Deborah Perry Piscione has an unparalleled understanding of what enables women to become great leaders and at the end of the day, accomplish her ultimate goals. Even with the rapid rise of women in great leadership roles, the playing field is still pitched away from women. Deborah not only talks about the skills and networks you need to develop, but more importantly the collective risks that women need to take to showcase the strengths of women leaders and improve organizational cultures and productivity. She addresses enduring myths that permeate the minds of decision-makers, and provides clear-cut solutions that will have you on your feet. Deborah believes that the onus in on women to stop talking, stop focusing on the negative statistics of women in the workplace, stop trying to adapt to male cultures and for once and for all, craft a coordinated effort to change the rules of the game.

Speaking Topics:

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