In WCS Blog


It’s that time of year again, the time to be inspired by some of the brightest minds in Cleantech at WCS Talks 2018. Women in Cleantech and Sustainability (WCS) has been hosting informative events all year, but none that measure up quite like WCS Talks. For the fifth year in a row, Google will be hosting professionals from all stages in their career, from students to C-suite executives on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

New this year is the first startup pitch competition in the cleantech and sustainability space focused on female-led companies. CEOs from SINAI Technologies, Simusolar, Deep Isolation, TotalCtrl, NuLeaf Tech, and Artveoli will pitch their businesses and field questions from esteemed judges from Centrica Innovations, G2VP, Energy Impact Partners, the Urban Innovation Fund. The winner of the competition will enjoy a large prize pool to continue growing their business, including a guaranteed spot to pitch at SVForum’s 2019 Women in Tech Festival and preferential consideration to serve on a Cleantech Forum San Francisco panel, among other prizes.

“A growing body of research indicates companies with women in leadership roles produce slightly higher returns on assets and capital, as well as higher average growth rates,” Lidiya Dervisheva, an investor at G2VP, a spin-off from Kleiner Perkins’ Green Growth Fund. “Yet, the VC database PitchBook reveals women-led startups only garnered 2.2 percent of the $85 billion in funding distributed to the startup community in 2017. In the 21st Century, we get a chance to change this gender disparity together, and that’s why I’m looking forward to serving as a judge in the competition.”

Women from companies like Amazon, Google, OSIsoft, Engie, EDF Innovations, Bloom Energy, First Solar, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs will speak on a wide variety of subjects from industry trends and share advice for both professional and personal development.

Specifically, Presidio Graduate School MBA Candidate and WCS Career Development Board Co-Chair, Melanie Lucas-Conwell will speak on how to create a positive impact with our financial decisions.

“Our money doesn’t sit around at night while we sleep. It gets re-invested by bankers and investors, to fund the causes they believe will yield the highest returns regardless of the values behind them,” Lucas-Conwell says.


“New banks and investing models are popping up that are both good for the planet and good for our wallets. As individuals, we can make decisions about our money that will have a positive impact on our community and our planet.”

Mastering the art and science of negotiation is the topic of Ellenore Angelidis’s talk. She’s the founder and Board President of the Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund. She plans to outline for attendees the powerful mental models such as win-win and value-based negotiations, as well as tips from experts to help people realize they negotiate all the time and they can use what they already know to build out their negotiation skills, for everything from household chores at home, to getting a team to take on work, to negotiating flexibility, job scope, promotion or salary.

“Many people think negotiation is something only some people are good at and believe it results in a winner and loser and you need to embrace conflict to end up a winner,” Angelidis told WCS.

Head Box Wrangler K.O. from Bahr Bee Ranch will share her perspective on how bees and EVs are alike, outlining for attendees a species that neither speaks nor hears but has intelligence, curiosity, and social organization, even democracy.

“Determined not to work for any entity less than carbon neutral, I have been working for my Bees,” KO told WCS. “This takes me to fighting agricultural and environmental poisoning of the land and its inhabitants through civic discourse.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Arathi Gopinath, Global Asset Performance Manager for NEXTracker, will outline how solar energy had matured into the world’s cheapest form of energy and getting smarter with artificial intelligence (AI).




“From cute to sexy, solar has become a major powerhouse in new electricity generation. Solar accounted for 55% of all American electricity added so far in 2018, more than any other type of energy,” Gopinath told WCS. “With the dire findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel report on climate change, renewable energy will play an important role in limiting, if possible, the devastating effects of global warming. Beyond increasing its share of the energy mix, solar is also maturing. It’s getting smart, and I want to highlight that women are at the forefront of the AI, data science and R&D initiatives that are transforming how we generate and consume energy.”

Also featured at WCS Talks will be “Sierra” the Tiny Home of the travel bloggers, educators and activists Lindsay and Eric Wood. The couple’s Travel in a Tiny Home mission includes giving people the opportunity to experience tiny home living by traveling with them and staying in Sierra. The Wood’s tiny home includes 13-foot ceilings, solar power and energy storage, a steam shower tub combination, composting toilet, and enough room to sleep six. Those who sign up to be members at WCS Talks at the event will be entered to win a night stay in Sierra.

Sponsors of the event this year include ABB, Bloom Energy, CSIRO, Engie, First Solar, Google, Lyft, Morrison Foerster, NEXTracker, OSISoft, Presidio School, Silicon Valley Bank, and Technica Communications.

Lyft is generously offering 20 percent off two rides between November 3-4, 2018 with promo code WCS2018. The event’s lanyards are sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank, lunchtime networking is sponsored by the Presidio School, and this year’s t-shirts are supported by ABB.

Doug Baer, President of Los Gatos Research at ABB says, “We chose to sponsor this meeting because we enthusiastically support women in cleantech and sustainability in Silicon Valley.”

Join WCS as these remarkable people share their personal stories on creating a cleaner future through new technology and ideas pushing the boundaries to what will someday be a new normal. Sponsors across the Bay Area are driven to be a part of this future. Our tenacious efforts for change is happening now, so we invite you to be an integral contributor to witness this path towards a cleaner future.

See you there!


Ready to inspire others with us?

Use #WCSTalks in what inspires you about Women in Cleantech and Sustainability and we will share this year’s discount code with you! Be sure to take a screenshot of your post and send it to

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