2023 PNW speakers

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. 

Leading with a North Star of Impact

Ambassador Suzan Levine

Ambassador Suzan LeVine has over 25 years of experience leading global organizations across government, corporate and non-profit sectors. She is a board director for Publicis Groupe, an advisory board member for OpenClassrooms and Syndio and serves on the non-profit boards of CareerWise USA, Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL) and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. During the past decade, she developed landmark programs promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and catalyzed innovative workforce systems such as apprenticeship and paid family and medical leave. She brings valuable experience and insights into the inner workings of government agencies, human capital retention, the intersection of the public and private sector, and developing the workforce of the future. In the public sector, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Commissioner for Washington State’s Employment Security Department and, most recently, as the Acting Assistant Secretary at USDOL’s Employment and Training Administration. She led the latter two through significant crises and change as they navigated the pandemic. As Ambassador, Suzi partnered with both nations to significantly advance apprenticeship in the U.S. These public sector successes leveraged her experiences working at both Microsoft and Expedia and as a stay-at-home mom to her two children. Suzi has degrees in English and Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and enjoys civic engagement, dog-walking and paddleboarding.

Daring to be Different - Tips from a Woman Leader in Tech

Raji Rajagopalan

Raji Rajagopalan believes that your 'differentness' can be your differentiator. In her day job, Raji is a Partner Director of Software Engineering at Microsoft. In her last 20 years in the tech industry, her work has spanned building startup teams, turning around unsuccessful projects, driving engineering rigor, scaling online services, growing global teams, and creating products used by a billion+ customers. She currently runs an organization of developers across five countries and four continents. She is the author of the book "Daring to be Different: Stories and Tips from a Woman Leader in Tech". You can learn more about the book and about Raji on her website, https://www.rajiraj.com


Palak Goel

Palak joined Madrona in 2022. He focuses on sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities across Madrona’s investment themes and supports the growth and strategy of current portfolio companies. Palak is particularly interested in working with technical founders building AI/ML-powered applications, open-source projects, and cloud and data infrastructure. Before joining Madrona, Palak worked as a product manager at Microsoft. At Microsoft, Palak worked on a variety of products, including Outlook, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Teams, Windows, Visual Studio, and Bing. Most recently, Palak worked on Microsoft Turing, an initiative to build best-in-class deep learning models and productize them across the Microsoft product family.

Will Rush

Will is the Co-founder & CEO of Stack - an app that teaches primarily high schoolers about finance in a similar way to how Duolingo teaches language. Stack is backed by Madrona Venture Group (among others) and in just 5 months of being live has over 20,000 users. Prior to Stack, will was a consultant at Deloitte in the Securities industry working with clients like Robinhood, Sofi, Charles Schwab, E*Trade & TD Ameritrade. He also worked with the team at Seattle VC, Fuse Ventures. He then led the investing product at Copper Banking which grew to over 1.5 million users.

Adnan Mahmud

Adnan Mahmud

Adnan is passionate about using data and technology to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. As founder and CEO of FORWARD, he leads the company's efforts to accelerate equity and access in public assistance programs. FORWARD has been featured as a Gov100 company every year since 2016. Prior to founding FORWARD, Adnan worked for eight years at Microsoft, where he managed the company’s largest data pipelines and received multiple patents in data analysis, visualization, and management. In addition, Adnan is co-founder of Jolkona, a nonprofit that provides mentorship and training for social entrepreneurs.

Speed Networking Reception

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy is the Director of Electric Operations at Puget Sound Energy. His responsibilities include real-time distribution and load serving operations, substation and relay operations, metering operations, as well as electric first response activities. Ryan has over 20 years of experience in the electric utility industry, and he has held various field, technical and leadership roles spanning power generation, electrical transmission, as well as electrical distribution. In his time working at PSE, Ryan held engineering roles in support of greenfield hyrdo-power construction, maintenance and testing of large combustion turbine generators, as well as transmission line design. Prior to pursuing his electrical engineering education, Ryan began his career in the utility industry working on the line crews in MT building new transmission and distribution infrastructure. His passion for our industry has grown over the years as the electrical grid evolves and clean energy becomes a unified goal! Ryan is a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer in the state of Washington, and he holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree(s) in Electrical Engineering. Ryan earned his BSEE degree at Montana State University and his MSEE degree at the University of Idaho.

Innovation Management

Rebecca Lovell

Rebecca Lovell was named chief operating officer of Greater Seattle Partners, a public-private sector initiative that seeks to attract investment, companies and quality jobs in the Seattle area. Lovell was previously CEO of Denali Founder Consulting and executive director of Create33, a resource center and membership organization for technology startups. She also spent nearly five years at the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, and was executive director of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and GeekWire’s chief business officer.

Implications of AI for Business & Leadership

Erik Arnold

Erik Arnold

Erik Arnold has a passion for applying technology solutions to the nonprofit sector and joined Microsoft in 2017 as the Global Chief Technology Officer for the Tech for Social Impact team in Microsoft Philanthropies. In this role, he leads the engineering product strategy for nonprofits and the United Nations. Erik also leads the Microsoft Philanthropies program for the company’s cloud software donation strategy, which provides over $1b in software and services to over 300k nonprofits each year. Prior to Microsoft, Erik served nine years as the Chief Information Officer at PATH, an international nonprofit focused on global health, and 15 years at a privately held Bill Gates startup. Erik is active in local, national, and international technology communities. He sits on the board of directors of Evergreen Goodwill Industries, Global Impact, Global Washington, and on the technology advisory boards for a variety of social impact organizations in both the public and private sectors.

Product v. Project v. Program Management Panel

Zachariah Morgan

Zachariah Morgan is the Director of Site Reliability Engineering for Microsoft Defender services. He joined Microsoft in October 2000 and has worked on several high scale services since then including Windows Activation, OneDrive, Hotmail AntiSpam, SmartScreen, and Microsoft Defender. In 2006, he shaped his way into the safety + security space protecting consumers using IE7 from Phishing. Throughout his career, he has a strong track record of delivering outstanding business results for customers and Microsoft through excellent individual and team execution. Over the last several years, his multi-discipline leadership helped reposition Microsoft Defender into multiple Gartner Leader Quadrant status. Culturally, he successfully coached SRE & PM disciplines through several career transformations. This metamorphosis set the foundation and enabled Microsoft Defender to deliver reliable and efficient global scale services in 23 unique regions supporting over 1Billion MAD across Consumer, Commercial, and Government market segments.


Zach Howes

Zach Howes is a seasoned professional with 17 years of experience in the technology industry. He has held various roles through his career, ranging from Test, Development, SRE, Program Management, and Product Management. He has worked on consumer and enterprise software. In his last role at Microsoft he was a Group Product Manager for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. There he helped transform it from consumer grade Antivirus to an industry leading Enterprise Endpoint Protection Product. He is now a Director of Product at the Trade Desk where he owns Trust and Safety, Developer Experience, and Strategic Integrations.

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

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

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.


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 the PNW MBA conference to engage with speakers, ask questions, and connect with the community!