Tired of the 9-5 and wanting to be your own boss? Passionate about starting your own thing, but don’t know when or where to even begin?

On Tuesday, June 29 StartupSac is partnering with General Assembly, Fresh Brewed Tech, We Tha Plug,  Startup Grind San Diego, Sacramento Works, and Women Who Code Sacramento for California Female Founders: Dare & Take The Leap Into Entrepreneurship, a discussion on starting a business as a female founder, mental health, struggles and pressures of the industry, career journeys, standing out in a crowd, and so much more!

Each speaker will be sharing their importance and understanding of mental health, career struggles, and what it takes to start a startup.

Speakers include:

  • Christiana Russell, Partner & Chief Operating Officer, We Tha Plug
  • Kim Padilla Walpole, Co-Founder & CEO, Trials.ai
  • Mariah Lichtenstern, Founding Partner | Startup Advisor & Investor, DiverseCity Ventures
  • Janine Yancey, Founder & CEO, Emtrain
  • Cheryl Beninga, Co-Founder @ FourthWave.io | Managing Director @ Beninga Advisors, Member Of The Board Of Advisors @ Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 29, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Register Now!


About the Speakers

Christiana Russell

Christiana Russell, M.Ed is the owner of Mendedwing Consulting, LLC an agency that focuses on strategic planning and process management for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Christiana’s early years began in South Central LA, but later relocated with her parents to Tucson, AZ where she earned her BA & M. Ed at University of Arizona & Northern Arizona University. She spent the next 9+ years working in the Mental Health & Prevention Education industries operating as an advocate and servant leader with a mission to combat social justice issues. Most recently, she has found herself in the tech and innovation space becoming partner with Luis Martinez at We Tha Plug, to build a strong ecosystem that ensures Early Stage Pan African, Latinx and other underrepresented entrepreneurs and startups leverage every opportunity to advance from ideation, pre-seed and series A funding. We believe creating a safe environment that fosters support and empowerment is key to sustaining present and future founders.


Mariah Lichtenstern

At the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital, Mariah Lichtenstern accelerates positive social, economic, and environmental impact through entrepreneurship. An alumna of UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA, she is the Founding Partner of DiverseCity Ventures and launched the Sacramento, CA chapter of the Founder Institute, which was recognized in Forbes Magazine as the 3rd most gender diverse chapter in the world.

She serves as an advisor for the California Clean Energy Fund’s CalSEED initiative, Berkeley Skydeck, Village Capital Finance Forward, FourthWave female founder accelerator, HaydenAI AI Ethics advisory, and Yale University School of Medicine’s Digital Innovation and Diversity Initiative. She serves on the boards of FourthWave, StartupSac, and the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of UCLA Ventures and an Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellow (Win ’20), where she developed the Tech Funding Equity Project to advocate solutions to the tech industry funding gap.

A multi-faceted “connector,” Mariah works with amazing people she feels incredibly fortunate to know and strives to build bridges between those with privilege and those with valuable, but too-often-excluded, perspectives. She is driven to empower founders and filmmakers of all backgrounds, inclusive of those underrepresented by virtue of “otherness,” including (but not limited to) gender/identity, culture, geography, and socio-economic status.


Janine Yancey

Emtrain founder & CEO Janine Yancey is a pioneer and visionary in healthy workplace culture, including online education in harassment, ethics and diversity+inclusion. Prior to founding Emtrain, Janine was a partner at Employment Law Partners where she specialized in solving labor and employment problems for high tech firms, served as Board Member of the Northern California Human Resources Association and a former partner with an employment law firm whose clients included Google and Intuit. Janine is a sought-after speaker and has been published and interviewed in the mainstream media including The Washington Post, Fast Company, USA Today, Bloomberg Business, TechCrunch, and CNN.


Cheryl Beninga

Cheryl is an experienced Venture Capital investor, Board Member and Advisor for technology companies in strategy, financing and M&A for over twenty years. She has experience building high growth and adaptive learning organizations in clean technology, mobile software, medtech and enterprise software and services companies . She is the Co-Founder FourthWave Accelerator Program for leading female founders and Managing Director of Beninga Advisors an advisory firm.


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