Women on the Rise: Lightning Talks

Join us for Women on the Rise: Lightning Talks to explore topics around career growth, leadership, work-life balance, mentorship, challenges & lessons learned with our experienced Pioneer alumnae.

Previous Events:

Nina Tran


Our first guest is alumna Nina Tran ('91), CFO of Veritas Investments, Inc. who joins the conversation with over 25 years of experience in building, leading, and managing finance and accounting teams.

Grace Henke


Our second guest is alumna Grace Henke ('13), who initially launched her career in the startup world after graduation before moving on to follow her passion by starting her own company: Mensa Mutts. Learn how she built her business from the ground up and how she successfully navigated and pivoted during the pandemic. Henke will also discuss work-life balance and juggling parenting responsibilities as she is an entrepreneurial mom to her young infant.

Niambi Clay


Our third guest is alumna Niambi Clay who has over 25 years of experience in education leadership, including 8 years as a secondary school math teacher in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area. As Senior Advisor at TEACH.org, she recently organized and moderated a panel on the impact and importance of Black teachers, and the strategies and supports needed to effectively increase a pipeline for Black teachers.

Terri Mead


Our next guest is alumna Terri Hanson Mead, multi-award winning author of Piloting Your Life, is President of Solutions2Projects, LLC, Managing Partner of Class Bravo Ventures, and an advocate for women through all of her platforms including her YouTube channel and blog. As an angel investor, Terri invests in startups that have products or services that expand the influence and power of women including health, consumer products, and technology. Terri is based in Redwood City, CA where she is also the mother of two teenagers and sometimes reluctant wife to her husband over nearly 25 years. In her spare time, Terri loves to cook, plays tennis, and fly helicopters around the San Francisco Bay Area, especially under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sabrina Washington


Our next guest is Sabrina Washington '05. Sabrina graduated from Cal State East Bay in 2005 summa cum laude with a B.A. in Mass Communications. Shortly after she began her career as a television news anchor and reporter in Oregon and then Massachusetts; where she won an Associated Press award for investigative reporting. Missing her home state, Sabrina moved back to California and received an Edward R. Murrow award and her first EMMY award while working in Bakersfield. She would go on to win another EMMY, and then five more while anchoring and reporting in Sacramento. When Sabrina left television journalism she used those skills to start her own video/marketing company — Luna Light Productions – in 2015. She has clients throughout the United States, and served as the media director for the CA State Fair from 2016-2019. Sabrina attributes her success to the education and hands-on experience she gained from Cal State East Bay.

Nia Samady


Our next guest is Nia Samady ('04), is Vice President of Partner Success at Salesforce and is responsible for enabling and supporting Architects build technical solutions for customers. In her role she is able combine her business acumen and technical background to help customers with their digital transformation needs. Hear about Nia's career journey and working at a Fortune 500 corporation.