The Path to Parity.

Enriching your team with different genders, races, and nationalities is key for boosting your company’s joint intellectual potential. In this months pop-up, we'll explore how creating a more diverse workplace will help to keep your team members’ biases in check and make them question their assumptions. At the same time, we need to make sure the organization has inclusive practices so that everyone feels their voice can be heard. All of this can make your teams smarter and, ultimately, make your organization more successful.

Our fireside chat moderated by Najib Khouri-Haddad and Lani Nguyen, "Equals: The Path to Parity" goes beyond the issues of gender, with an aim to provide a holistic discussion about how we can increase diversity and equal opportunity in the fastest growing sector of our economy.  With uncertainty on the horizon, it is vital to be aware of the current economic and political situation and the impact change could have on the tech sector. We will analyse the opportunities available, so you can create a strategy to future proof your company.

Our spotlight guests will take a deep dive into the fundamentals of attracting, hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent. They will talk candidly about their own challenges, failures and successes, so we can accelerate our progression towards adopting the best strategies and technologies available.

As the industry of the future, the tech sector has a duty to ensure that equality and opportunity is available to everyone, regardless of background. Join our community, share best practice and commit to action. Together, we will see the business returns of making our industry accessible to all.


Proudly sponsored by



speaker-bw-trina-van-pelt.pngTrina Van Pelt
Vice President
Intel Capital 

speakers-sydney-thomas.pngSydney Thomas
Associate & Head of Operations
Precursor Ventures

speakers-ann-lai.pngAnn Lai 


6:00 - 7:00 PM: Networking
7:00 - 8:00 PM: Panel Discussion
8:00 - 9:00 PM: Networking

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sway Ventures
325 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94111

Participation is by invitation only, we do not accept walk-up requests.
To request an invitation, please fill out the form.

Spotlight Guests

Our October pop-up event features industry veterans forging a path toward a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem.


Trina Van Pelt is Vice President of Intel Capital and Managing Director of the Internet of Things and Automated Driving Groups at Intel Corporation. She directs the team of equity investment, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and strategic business development professionals who identify, evaluate, lead, and negotiate strategic transactions in businesses focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous driving segments. She is responsible for fostering strategic thinking and growth initiatives that link Intel’s business strategy with strategic transactions.

Van Pelt also co-leads Intel Capital’s Diversity Fund, which invests in businesses founded and/or managed by women, under-represented minorities, U.S. military veterans, physically disabled, and the LGBTQ community. Van Pelt has over 20 years of experience in technology M&A, investments, strategic planning and business development. She has led more than 70 technology acquisitions and investments worth >$30B over the course of her career, spanning the computing, communications, software, IoT and mobile industry segments.

She joined Intel Capital in 2004. Before joining Intel, Van Pelt was a director of corporate development at CNET Networks and an investment associate at TA Associates. She began her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers and Ernst & Young’s financial advisory services group.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in management from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.


Sydney Thomas is the Investment Associate and Head of Operations at Precursor Ventures.

Prior to joining Precursor, Sydney gained experience working in technology startups in business development and product marketing. Prior to her work in tech, she managed public-private partnerships for the NYC Government’s Department of Education and Office of Financial Empowerment. Sydney graduated from Berkeley with her MBA and Duke with her BA.


Ann Lai is passionate about extracting core understandings and delivering effective results efficiently through innovative methods and interdisciplinary approaches. Enjoy communicating analytically intricate or scientifically dense materials to diverse audiences (from academics to the general public) to maximize interest, comprehension, and utility.

Most recently, Lai was at Binary Capital as a Principal, where she was responsible for data-driven sourcing, executing due diligence, and supporting/advising portfolio companies on data analytics and growth initiatives. Previously, she worked as Head of Strategic Growth at StyleSeat. She led a team leveraging data analytics as well as rapid-iteration testing to develop key strategies across StyleSeat in its accelerating growth as the preeminent marketplace for beauty and wellness. Lai also served as the Director of Growth at Tapingo where she led a core team (7 members) focused on developing and executing strategies to grow the platform in the campus market by using data to focus and optimize marketing and operational strategies.

Lai is a Harvard graduate (A.B. in Chemistry & Physics, S.M. in Applied Mathematics, and Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences) with expertise in applying quantitative methods and data analytics to developing business strategies in what is traditionally considered to be "qualitative" fields. Experienced in leading small but scrappy data-driven growth/business strategy teams.


Tonights Sponsor


TriNet provides small and midsize businesses with a full-service HR solution so they can free themselves from the complexities of HR and focus on their goals. As their trusted HR business partner, TriNet assumes many of the responsibilities of being an employer and helps these companies contain HR costs, minimize employer-related risks and relieve the administrative burden of HR. TriNet offers bundled HR products tailored by industry and strategic HR services, resulting in a comprehensive and empowering solution.

Sway Ventures Pop-Up Event Series

A chance to learn from the best and the brightest in an open and fun format. These events center on providing actionable information for entrepreneurs to use, to navigate challenges and scale their companies. Through insightful panels and interviews with some of today’s most innovative founders and industry experts, to solutions-focused workshops and demos, Sway Ventures Pop-Up Events are designed to provide actual value to a select group of entrepreneurs and be hands-on with the learning process. Conversations around marketing, operations, talent, culture, and innovation, give founders and entrepreneurs the insight and ideas to win in today’s tech environment.

* Food and drinks will be provided.