Startup Weekend Girl Scouts Greater LA

    Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Girl Scouts Greater LA

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018

Friday, April 6 - 8, 2018
Event starts at 5:30 pm

1450 2nd St
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Your idea in 54 hours

Are you a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout who likes to come up with big ideas, invent things, work with others, and learn skills that will help you with school, college, and a future job? Then Startup Weekend is for you!

During this exciting event, you will take an idea from nothing to something, pitch to product. Girls will pitch ideas, form teams around the top ideas, research their customers, and work intensely as teams to build a prototype that demonstrates the potential of their business. The event culminates in a “SHARK TANK” style pitch competition where teams present their business and demonstrate their prototype to a panel of judges, including the former CEO of Hot Topic, Inc. and the Managing Director of TechstarsLA!

Experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet and network with the very best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.  

Any Girl Scout interested in startups, launching a business, entrepreneurship, or creative problem solving is encouraged to register. Startup Weekend demands teamwork, creativity, and determination! External experts with business and technical experience will help mentor teams, however, girls will be challenged to push the limits of their comfort zone and learn new skills.  

We will have some interactive workshops throughout the weekend, but mostly the program is about working with your teams and mentors! While teams will be paired with an adult support coach, every team will be expected to manage itself to optimize time.  

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of passionate entrepreneurs with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower communities to launch revolutionary ideas. It is the largest community of entrepreneurs in the world and has hosted 2000+ events in 200+ countries since 2007. Global sponsors of Startup Weekend include Coca-Cola, 3M, Sprint, Intuit, Chase Bank, .CO, and The Case Foundation.


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Friday April 6th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

6:45 pm
Teamwork & Innovation Activity
Do a fun, crazy activity to learn how to take risks and make mistakes

7:15 pm
How to Pitch
Do a fun activity and learn about how to make a good pitch

8:00 pm
Go home!
Get excited about pitching on Saturday!

Saturday April 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

10:15 am
Attendees vote for the top pitches

10:30 am
Form Teams & Intro Workshop
Teams assigned and girls learn about weekend deliverable and tools

11:30 am
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

4:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

5:00 pm
Finished for the day

Sunday April 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:00 pm
Judging & Awards

5:30 pm
Celebration Dinner
Celebrate your hard work and chat with judges

6:30 pm
Wrap-Up & Go Home!


Joy Cho
Entrepreneur, Blogger, Author, Graphic Designer

Joy Cho is a graphic designer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of the blog and design studio, Oh Joy!, and is known for the whimsy, color, and unexpected twists on the everyday. She has authored three books and consulted for hundreds of businesses around the world. Oh Joy creates a wide range of licensed products including home décor, baby & nursery, pet, and furniture collections (most recently carried at Target). For two years in a row, Joy was named one of Time’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet and has the most followed  account on Pinterest with almost 13 million followers.

Event Judges

Betsy McLaughlin
Former CEO, Hot Topic, Inc.

Thru March 2011, Betsy McLaughlin was the CEO of Hot Topic Inc. (NASDAQ:HOTT).  The Company operated 3 concepts, Hot Topic, Torrid, and ShockHound with 900 stores in 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Betsy joined Hot Topic in 1993 when the company was in its start up stage and had 15 stores.  She became President in 1998 and was named CEO in 2000.  During Betsy’s tenure as CEO, the Company was included on the Forbes list of “200 Hot Companies”, Fortune’s “100 Fastest Growing Companies”, Business Week’s “Hot Growth Companies”, and Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for”.   Betsy was selected by Investors Business Daily as one of the “Top 5 Business Leaders of 2003” and "Top 10 CEOs with Vision", by Ad Age as one of the “Marketing 50”, and in 2005, was named by Institutional Investor as one of the “Best CEOs in America”.  In 2010, Hot Topic was #1 on Forbes’ list of “Most Trustworthy Retailers” and named by Fast Company as one of the “Most Innovative Companies”.

Betsy has a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California, Irvine, is a member of the Board of Advisors and Executive Committee of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a director of 5.11, Bark, Dolls Kill, Everlane, The Lazy Dog Café, Veggie Grill and PetSmart Charities.  Betsy previously served as a director of Kriser’s All Natural Pet from 2012 to 2017, Pinkberry from 2012 thru 2016, Noodles & Co from 2003 thru 2010, and on the brand advisory board of Silver Oak winery from 2011 thru 2013.  

Anna Barber
Managing Director, Techstars LA

Anna Barber is the Managing Director of the Techstars LA Accelerator. Prior to Techstars, roles included: advisor and coach to startup founders; founder and CEO of Scribble Press; VP Product at; corporate lawyer; McKinsey consultant; and co-founder of the US Air Guitar Championships. She grew up in New York City and is raising two boys in Los Angeles. Follow her @annawbarber

Mia Britel
Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Mia is a C suite advisor with a proven track record of selling and delivering strategic enterprise-wide capabilities for global Fortune 500 companies. With 25+ years of experience in Big Four Consulting working with a wide range of clients and industries, she brings deep experience in global sales, strategy, portfolio management, budgeting, contract and supplier management. Mia also has a passion for developing future women leaders and it is that passion that has brought her to the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Board of Directors.

Kathryn Nielsen
SVP Controller, Theatrical Division for Sony Pictures

Kathryn (Kathy), CPA and senior vice President, controller for Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures, chairs GSGLA’s finance/investment committee. She’s also a member of the fund development committee. Kathy served as board president of  Women’s Clinic and Family Counseling Center and volunteers her time and resources to Loyola Marymount University. 

Coaches and Mentors

Elana Shapiro
Associate Program Manager, Cedars-Sinai Accelerator

Elana Shapiro is currently the Associate Program Manager for the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars. In her current role, she oversees program operations and helps guide prospective companies through the recruiting and application processes in the off-season. Prior to starting with the program as an Associate in March 2016, Elana worked in a variety of non-profits, policy institutes and research organizations focusing on human rights and healthcare access before getting involved in the world of digital health. Elana is a graduate of Tufts University, where she studied International Relations and Community Health

Renee Van den Bosch
Founder & CEO, Codon VR

Renee Van den Bosch is Founder and CEO of Codon Inc.; a virtual reality development studio. With more than 10 years experience in e-commerce and software development, Renee launched Codon with the goal of increasing student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Prior to founding Codon, Renee launched two e-commerce brands with international distribution.  

Danielle Willard

As an eager 7-year-old, Danielle Willard quickly recognized an opportunity when her uncle's failed baseball card business resulted in a surplus of bumper stickers. Danielle took this opportunity to sell the stickers door-to-door, eventually profiting hundreds of dollars. At age 10, when she received a bracelet-making kit for Christmas, she created one of the first AOL teen chat rooms where she featured photographs of bracelets she hand made and collected e-mail addresses for direct email marketing purposes. Danielle soon began receiving cash payments in the mail from all over the United States. By the age of 10, she had experience with direct marketing, sales, and a keen entrepreneurial ability to recognize targets of opportunity and adapt accordingly. Danielle credits this mindset to skills she learned as a Girl Scout. These skills helped shape her future career and educational decisions. Danielle has held titles such as Career Planner, New Business Consultant and Director of Sales all while maintaining her small catering/event planning business on the side. With a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with concentration in Entrepreneurship and a Master of Business Administration soon to be completed, Danielle is excited to share her knowledge and experiences as a young female entrepreneur during Startup Weekend 2018.

Deborah Allison
Product Designer, Disney Technology & Digital

Deborah is an Product Designer that specializes in creating innovative digital experiences for native apps, mobile and web. She currently works for Disney’s Parks and Resorts Digital team, connecting guests with tools that enhance their vacation. 

Callie Tepper
Product Designer, Disney Technology & Digital

Callie is currently a Product Designer at The Walt Disney Company. She has the daily challenge of creating visually stunning and user-friendly experiences across a multitude of interfaces including native apps and web. She is passionate about new technology and understanding the behavior of digital users.

Marcelo Calasich
Product Manager, The Walt Disney Company

Marcelo is a Product Manager at The Walt Disney Company.  His focus is on supporting Disney Parks and Resorts commerce in North America with the the development of business cases, strategy, design, and delivery of digital features for web, native app, and hybrid experiences.  He has a passion for creating opportunities to solve his customers needs and accomplishing business goals through collaboration, data, and smart UX

Melissa Soto Flores

Melissa participated in the NFTE program and developed her own line of vegan lipsticks. She's excited to teach the girls how to create a great pitch!

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Girl Scouts Greater LA team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors


Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Los Angeles is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

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