2022 Speakers

Speaker Biographies

We are honored to welcome these business leaders, professors, professionals, and mentors to lead our speaker series and participate in our different panels. Each one has their own journey and experiences to learn from and we know will provide valuable insight to our conference and its attendees. 

Key Note Address

Anoop Gupta

Anoop Gupta is the CEO and Co-Founder of SeekOut which provides companies a competitive advantage recruiting, retaining, and maximizing talent. We believe that great people and great companies grow together.

SeekOut was founded in 2017 and recently raised $115 million in a successful round of Series C funding with a valuation of $1.2 billion, following a year of 3X revenue growth.Read More


Prior to SeekOut, Anoop had a 20-year career at Microsoft which included overseeing enterprise communications products (Exchange, Skype) as Vice President of Unified Communications. He was Technical Advisor to Bill Gates and a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, leading work on Telepresence and Natural User Interfaces. Prior to Microsoft, Anoop was a tenured professor at Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. In Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Building Your Personal Brand

Ben Ravani

Ben is the Founder and CEO of Build Insight, helping companies and partners with digital transformation and M&A. He brings over 30 years of experience in building and operating mega cloud services and software engineering. Before Build Insight, he held a number positions including, SVP at Nutanix, VP at Salesforce, CEO and President at Northwest Center, and spent 21 years at Microsoft building and operating B2B and B2C cloud services and software products. During his time at Microsoft, he was the General Manager for both Microsoft’s Service Engineering of Windows Live, including Hotmail, LiveID, OneDrive, and also Dynamics365. He has a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Louisiana Tech University.
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Ben has also served as a strategic advisor and angel investor in a number of startups, including, Azuqua (acquired by Okta), BaseHealth (acquired by Genalyte) , Bina Technologies (acquired by Roche), ClearLabs, Clever Sense (acquired by Google), Passban (acquired by RSA/EMC).

Panel Discussion: Career Transitions

Moderator: Sophie Leroy

Dr. Sophie Leroy is an Associate Professor of Management, at the University of Washington Bothell, School of Business. She received her Ph.D. from New York University, Stern School of Business. She also holds a Master in Management from HEC (Paris), which was partially completed at Columbia Business School, MBA program. Before her academic career, Dr. Leroy held managerial and executive positions in the finance and consulting industries, working for SG Cowen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Interbrand, among others. .Read More

Dr. Leroy teaches courses on Managing High Performance Teams, Leadership, and Ethics. Her most recent honors and awards include MBA Faculty of the Year Teaching Award, 2020; 2019; 2018, 2016; Undergraduate Faculty of the Year Teaching Award in 2017. Dr. Leroy’s research investigates how the modern workplace affects people’s ability to focus attention and perform. She pioneered the concept of Attention Residue, which has received large academic and popular press interest. Dr. Leroy’s work has been published in top scientific journals and has been featured in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, the World Economic Forum, Strategy+Business, and many more. Her research has led to corporate invitations such as Google Future of Work conference. Dr. Leroy is also on the editorial board of several top scientific journals. .

Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst, the CEO and co-founder of Imperative, is the foremost expert on the science of purpose and fulfillment at work. Imperative is a peer coaching platform that uses the power of peers to support each other over time to become increasingly effective and fulfilled. The science-backed platform combines the effectiveness of coaching with the impact of building trusted peer networks that are proven to build resilient and high performing cultures. Read More

In 2014, he brought global awareness to the rise of the fourth economic era in history, the Purpose Economy. Previously, as the founder of the Taproot Foundation, Aaron catalyzed the $15 billion pro bono service market. He has written for or been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, World Economic Forum, Fast Company, MIT Sloan Management Review and was named a LinkedIn Influencer.

Britt Provost

Britt Provost is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Siteimprove. She plays a key role in shaping the employee experience across the company to ensure they attract, develop, engage and retain their talent.
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Britt has over 20 years of experience leading People, Culture and Talent teams in global and growth organizations. Prior to joining Siteimprove, Britt was the Executive Vice President of People and Culture at Accolade, a personalized healthcare company. She led the organization through many transitions during her tenure, including their initial public offering in 2020, as we well as through two significant acquisitions (Plushcare and 2ndMD) and the global pandemic.

She has also held a senior People leadership role at Promethean, Apptio, and Avanade. Much of her experience has been focused on globally distributed, high growth/high change organizations.

Britt is also an accomplished speaker and facilitator on topics including: enabling and growing great people managers; building organizational culture; developing high performing and engaged teams; and career empowerment. Britt has a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Washington and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Colorado

Michael Erisman

Michael Erisman has led teams, organizations and employees across over 100 countries around the world in a variety of industries. Michael serves as the Chief People Officer at Reputation, and has held this role at DocuSign, Pushpay and Parallels, and brings more than 25 years of global HR experience. In addition to the senior executive roles, Michael has served in senior HR leadership roles with Microsoft, H&R Block, Qwest Communications, KRONE, PepsiCo, and General Electric. Read More

Currently, Michael also serves on the Board of Directors at MAP International, as an Advisory Board Member for tech start ups Prisidio, CODI, and Prefect. Michael graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Psychology and received his MA in Industrial/Organizational psychology from Radford University in Virginia. Michael also teaches at Seattle Pacific University as an adjunct professor in the School of Business.

Michael lives with his wife and three daughters in Snoqualmie, Washington.

Finding Your Purpose

Akhtar Badshah

Dr. Badshah is the Distinguished Practitioner at University of Washington at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, the Business School, Bothell campus and faculty advisor at the START Center Department of Global Health. He is the founder and curator of Accelerating Social Transformation, a mid-career professional development certificate course on social impact. Dr. Badshah is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in international development, managing a corporate philanthropic program and co-founding a global nonprofit for social enterprise.
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Dr. Badshah is Chief Catalyst at Catalytic Innovators Group where they are advising individuals and organizations to catalyze their social and philanthropic investments. Dr. Badshah led Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts for ten years, where he administered the company's community investment and employee contributions. He was instrumental in launching both Unlimited Potential and Youth Spark – the company’s focus to bring digital technology to the underserved communities and youth all over the world. His book Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft Inspires Employees and Alumni to Change the World, was recently published by Harper Collins Leadership. Over the last year Dr. Badshah and his colleagues at Restart Partners have been working on a project funded by the Department of Commerce, WA State and supported by Facebook to increase confidence in mask adoption and vaccines and help restart the economy. Dr. Badshah serves on the boards of Microsoft Alumni Network, Global Washington, Restart Partners and The Indus Entrepreneurs, Seattle. He is an accomplished artist and a doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Badshah and family are very active philanthropist in the Seattle area.

Job Searching & Recruiter Tips

Moderator: Sreeja Kundu

Sreeja is a 2nd year MBA Student at the University of Washington. She received her undergrad from Washington State University, achieving a double concentration in Marketing & Psychology. She has an Event Marketing/Administrative background worked at Microsoft before, supporting the Microsoft Real Estate & Facilities team. At Microsoft, she supported over 5 directors where she supported their teams, events, and space allocation. Currently, she works at Starbucks Corporate in the Global Growth & Development Team where she supports her leaders and executes complex administrative projects. Sreeja lives in Sammamish with her dog Luna whom she affectionally calls “Lunatic.” When she isn’t busy with work and school, Sreeja loves taking Luna on runs, traveling to new places, and spending time with family and friends. On the weekends, she participates in hip-hop and contemporary dance workshops.

Sonali Naidu - Amazon

Sonali has extensive recruiting experience working with agencies, corporations, across different geographies, and varied global markets. She graduated with a masters degree in Human Resources in 2002 and soon after joined a recruiting agency in India where she worked a little over a year. She then joined a company supporting their recruiting needs for domestic/local market and eventually became a founding member to support US staffing. Sonali moved to Seattle in 2011 and resides here along with her family. She has had the opportunity to work with companies like Microsoft and currently Amazon. Read More

Sonali is passionate about food and loves to cook. She is also a certified yoga instructor and is working towards building a community of yoga practitioners. In her free time, she loves to read, listen to music, hike, and spend time with family.

Alejandro Guzman

I am a trilingual psychologist who graduated from Ricardo Palma University, have a master's in Leadership from the City University of Seattle. I have experience recruiting Talent from the USA, Canadian, Peruvian, Costa Rica, and Mexican markets. Currently, I work as a recruiter at Microsoft.

Garrett Nelson - KPMG

Garrett Nelson is the University Recruiter for KPMG Seattle. He was born and raised in Washington state where he received his Bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University in Psychology. He continued his focus on human develop and received a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University in College Student Personnel. Garrett spent the last five years of his career working in higher education, and the last two working at UW Bothell! Now he seeks to provide diverse student talent with opportunities to succeed in positions at KPMG.

Panel Discussion: Startups & Investors

Moderator: Brandon Fleming

Leading software development and commercialization at PorticoCare Inc, a health data management company creating platforms for patients to manage their health data. Applied economic, accounting, strategy, and sociology frameworks to prescribe strategies in startups in the Pacific Northwest and South East Asia. Collaborated with and mentored 100+ entrepreneurs on topics of strategy, product development,Read More

business models, idea validation, innovation assessment, intellectual property, and career development using economic and strategic theories.

Susan Perreault

Dr. Susan Perreault is the Director of the Washington Women’s Business Center at Business Impact NW, a non-profit small business community development lender supporting the continuing growth of local small businesses. Washington Women’s Business Center, a program in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, promotes long-term positive economic change through financial services, business coaching, and training with a focus on helping underserved entrepreneurs at every stage in their business growth. Read More


Prior to joining WWBC/BINW, Dr. Perreault spent much of her career as an entrepreneur and in senior management positions in the professional beauty industry. As an entrepreneur, she understands how difficult it can be to launch and grow a business. A motivation for pursuing her doctorate was to assist others to achieve their business and entrepreneurial aspirations. In her role with the Washington Women’s Business Center, Susan is honored to support the startup and growth of small businesses by providing the connections, resources, and training needed to successfully start and run a business.

Everardo Ruiz

Everardo has spent nearly 30 years as a Private Equity and Venture Capital investor, entrepreneur, and director, in addition to being a product manager, design engineer, researcher, and inventor.  In his roles at Intellectual Ventures, Intel Capital, Texas Instruments, Alcatel, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Calgene he has invested worldwide in and developed products spanning medical diagnostics, wireless networks and devices,  high-speed networking & supercomputing, 3D Printing, UAV/UAS vehicles, semiconductor, and biotechnology.  Read More


Everardo holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas, an MS degree in Management and Engineering from MIT Sloan School of Management and the MIT School of Engineering, an MSEE from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a BSEE degree from the University of California Davis.  Dr. Ruiz is a NASA Fellow.

Aseem Datar

Aseem joined Madrona Venture Group in 2021. As part of the investment team, he identifies and evaluates new investment opportunities and works closely with existing companies on business and product strategies. Prior to Madrona, Aseem spent over 17 years at Microsoft, working in various roles from a developer to creating business models for Office 365. Aseem also has global sales experience, led growth for the SaaS and hardware businesses, and was most recently the GM/COO for Microsoft Azure. At Azure, he led growth and scale initiatives that grew the business from its early days to over $20B ARR. Read More

His background in Cloud, AI/ML, SaaS, Commerce & Payments, Devices & OS means he is interested in many startup businesses. While at Microsoft, Aseem was also active with smaller companies, building a small investment fund and serving as an advisor to early-stage companies.

Aseem holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Washington. He is a Seattle 40 under 40 honoree and is also the recipient of the coveted Microsoft CMO Award for leading growth in emerging markets for both devices and SaaS.

Closing

Sandeep Krishnamurthy

Sandeep Krishnamurthy is the first Dean of the AACSB-accredited School of Business at University of Washington, Bothell. This role involves managing the School of Business as its chief academic, and, administrative officer, with primary responsibility for faculty, students, curriculum, budgets, and external engagement. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in marketing with a minor in Economics in 1996. He received a PGDBM(equivalent to MBA) from XLRI and a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.

Deanna Kennedy

Deanna M. Kennedy, Ph.D. is Associate Dean (Academics) in the School of Business at the University of Washington Bothell. Dr. Kennedy received her PhD in Management Science from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and earned her MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, CA. he is interested in the use of interventions, technologies and tools that facilitate group/team processes and lead to better task outcomes. Her research has been published in the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Decision Sciences and Production Planning and Control.

Carol Shaw

Carol Anderson Shaw is an adjunct professor with the UWB School of Business and a strategic communications consultant. She teaches courses on leadership and communications, with a focus on diversity, collaboration, stakeholder theory, social enterprise, and environmental sustainability. Originally from the East Coast, Shaw earned an MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics at UWB. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the UWB School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS), Washington State Parks Foundation Board (WSPF), and Dartmouth College alumni organizations. In the classroom and as faculty advisor for the UWB MBA Association and the Women in Business club.

Come to our PNW conference and learn more about our speakers, ask questions, and connect with them!