This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Becoming a CEO: Lessons from Four Techette Leaders

#sxsw #lunatechs

Even though the U.S. workforce is comprised of 50% women, our society still finds it unusual for women to hold roles in certain fields – one of them being technology. In fact, only 25% of people that work in tech are women, and a very small percentage of that number are women in top-level positions. It’s still widely assumed that women who assume upper-level positions in their profession will be forced to make sacrifices in their personal life.

In this panel you’ll hear from four successful female CEOs/Founders of tech companies about their (wildly different) paths to the top. The panelists will provide a unique perspective about what it’s like to be a woman in tech today, the changing role of the CEO, the past and present obstacles of this profession, and advice they'd give to aspiring CEOs of both genders.

From running an online training startup, to co-founding an online event registration site with their spouse, to having served as a CEO for both enterprise and consumer tech companies, these women are at the forefront of leadership and innovation in technology. Learn from their successes and mistakes and ask them questions about their careers and work-life balance that you’ve always wanted to know.



Alexa von Tobel CEO LearnVest Inc

Alexa von Tobel is the founder and CEO of, the leading independent personal finance website for women. Since launching the company in 2009 and LearnVest being selected as a TechCrunch50 Company, von Tobel has been widely quoted as a personal finance expert and entrepreneur in top tier business and consumer publications. Most recently, she was named as one of Inc. Magazine's “30 Entrepreneurs Under 30” and highlighted as one of Marie Claire's “18 Women Changing the World.” In April 2009, von Tobel closed a $4.5 million series A round of funding led by Accel Partners, the venture firm responsible for backing Facebook, Groupon and more. Originally from Florida, Alexa received an A.B. in Psychology at Harvard College. Upon graduation, she worked as a trader at Morgan Stanley on their Proprietary Trading Desk before leaving to be the Head of Business Development at, a venture backed start-up in NYC. She enrolled in Harvard Business School Fall of 2008 only to take a leave of absence to launch LearnVest and pursue her dream of bringing financial literacy to millions of women everywhere. In addition to LearnVest, Alexa is the co-founder of L.W.A.L.A. ( a 501c3 focused on fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Courtney Myers Features Editor The Next Web

Courtney Boyd Myers is the Features Editor of The Next Web, an international, new media company. She began her career writing about robots and now covers global technology trends, web startups and Internet entrepreneurs. She splits her time between New York City and London and her favorite app of the moment is Path.

Donna Wells CEO Mindflash

Leads, a VC-backed start-up looking to disrupt the online training industry in much the same way that disrupted the personal finance industry. Was CMO and employee #9 at Mint and helped build the company from launch in 2007 to US market leadership with 2 million users .... to sale to Intuit for $170 million in 2009. Prior to Mint, led client acquisition/retention, brand-building and product development for Expedia and myCFO and held senior roles at Intuit, Charles Schwab and American Express. Angel Investor and Advisory Board member to several web-based businesses. Named one of the Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch. Founding Advisor at Palindrome Advisors, Founding Member of Planned Parenthood Technology Innovation Council. Infrequent blogger for Mashable, FastCompany and Inc. magazine.

Julia Hartz Co-Founder & Pres Eventbrite

Julia spends her day focusing on the happiness, productivity, and growth of the team at Eventbrite (aka the Britelings). She strives to foster the culture that has defined Eventbrite, and that has placed the company among the Top 5 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area two years in a row, according to the SF Business Times.

Prior to co-founding Eventbrite with her husband, Kevin Hartz, Julia enjoyed a career in Television Development at MTV Networks and FX Networks. She was fortunate enough to be a part of acclaimed shows such as Jackass, Nip/Tuck, The Shield, Rescue Me, and Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days.

Julia graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Telecommunications. She has served on the board of The Village Well, a non-profit organization that supports slow parenting, and has been active in The Full Circle Fund.

Julia has participated in several keynotes and panels to discuss ticketing, social commerce, and entrepreneurship including 2011 SF MusicTech, 2011 SXSW, 2011 Women in Business Conference, 2010 Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference, and 2010 Women 2.0 Founders Lab and Pitch Night. She was recently named 2011 SF Woman Entreprenuer of the Year by Women's Intiative and recognized in Forbes Magazine's 10 Female Entrepreneurs and Mompreneurs to Watch and Huffington Post's 18 Female Founders in Tech to Watch.

Julia lives in San Francisco with her handsome husband, adorable daughter, and a pretend dog.

Meredith Flynn-Ripley Co-Founder & CEO MediaFriends/HeyWire

Co-Founder & CEO
MediaFriends – Home of HeyWire & BNDWGN

Meredith is all about building new tech companies with ground-breaking consumer experiences. Before becoming a CEO, she began her career with Ogilvy & Mather’s Interactive Marketing Group introducing online marketing to clients like American Express and AOL; leading content strategy on interactive TV for U S West; and becoming a founding member of the Road Runner broadband services joint venture of MediaOne (now Comcast), Time Warner and Microsoft. Meredith then took that big-time passion to grow 2 Boston start-up companies as CEO before co-founding MediaFriends - a Mobile Messaging Platform Company that connects people and brands around the world in better ways with their HeyWire free texting service…and now BNDWGN a new way to chat with your friends.

Meredith has been named a Top Woman in Cable Technology and a "Woman to Watch" by MultiChannel News, is a Mass High Tech All-Star and received the Executive of the Year award by the Mass Technology Leadership Council

Favorite Way To Go HeyWire: “At the end of a too long business trip, messaging from my iPhone to my daughter on Facebook that mom’s coming home!”

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