lean startup

Diversity and Inclusion with Startups.

Today’s guests, Irma Zoepf and Cesar Teague, delve into the importance of having an open perspective. They discuss how it is imperative to be accepting towards input from many different sources at any stage in a company’s life, especially when it is just an early stage company with a very small team. We talk about both the problems and opportunities of culture and language training and the awareness of communicating with different groups of people around the world. These opportunities, however, are only available to those who really want to learn and listen to whomever they are trying to conduct business with.


Cesar Teague

Founder of RESONATE and the Accelerate Program based in San Francisco.

Experienced in training & coaching in the areas of value selling, presentations, and leadership.

He specializes in working with multicultural teams globally, being a multicultural professional himself, and volunteers at the S.F. RenCenter and Silicon Valley Ignite Academy to help entrepreneurs reach their dreams.

He is also a certified Master Trainer with the American Society for Training & Development.

Finally, he is completing his PhD in Organizational Leadership from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

He received his MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of San Francisco.

Irma Zoepf

Irma is a strategic and collaborative entrepreneur committed to creating and developing healthy cultures in both the workplace and the community.

She founded the ZBridge, a boutique coaching business specializing in leadership, diversity, and inclusion. Through ZBridge, Zoepf partnered with leaders in startups and social entrepreneurs.

Zoepf also founded the Lean In Latinas circle in San Mateo County, a business focused on supporting professional Latinas in the Bay Area. She is a board member at Upward Scholars, a foundation that empowers low-income adults to prosper through education. Zoepf also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Sonora, Mexico and an MBA from Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain.

She is also certified as a Diversity Executive by the Institute of Diversity Certification.

✔Pivoting as a Startup with Jason and Sergio Ep 9

Sergio and Jason are Serial Entrepreneurs who have founded several companies. In their life journey, they have had some great successes but many failures. Based off their life experiences, we decided to focus on the aspect of “pivoting” in a company: what it means, why you should do it, when to do it, how it impacts the team and investors, and more.


Sergio Smirnoff is a creative, out of the box positive thinker who has a background in both design and academics specialized in business. He was invited to be a speaker at the Latam Design Encounter for 3 consecutive years to share his experiences in the field. Some of his work are published in international specialized books.

He is also a serial entrepreneur who began his own journey over 20 years ago, funding his own marketing agency back in Argentina. From there, Smirnoff jumped into tech startups, a leap that brought him to Silicon Valley to plant his ideas in fertile soil.

Jason Nyeh is a Bay Area local who is also an Entrepreneur Evangelist. He believes in growing as a person, building meaningful relationships, and creating organizations aimed to make an impact on society. He couples the “Why” factor and his unique way of thinking to generate phenomenal results. 

He has held leadership positions in marketing, sales, business development, project management, training, and consultation in industries, such as Fintech, Healthcare, Medical IOT, and Travel & Hospitality. He is also an advisor and mentor who helps aspiring professionals, startups, and entrepreneurs to become top players in both the Silicon Valley markets and international markets.

Startup and office Spaces Ep 8

Carlos and Mary are top Commercial Real Estate Agents in Silicon Valley who have worked with companies at all stages to find them the perfect office space. We talk about the leases that startups typically enter and what startups should know when looking for a space. Some examples are where their employees live, ease of transportation, and proximity to companies for potentially new recruits. We also discuss about working with landlords and certain stipulations they might be flexible on. Make sure to tune into this podcast before signing a commercial lease.


A Real Startup Founder Ep 7

Maya is a founder at Wave.ai, a company that uses Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to allow people to personalize their own songs in less than 5 minutes. This company managed to revolutionize the entire music industry! We talked about the transition from being an academia to the founder of a company including the surprises, the excitements, and the challenges. We also talked about finding investors, a company’s growth path, the importance of who you connect with, and the next steps for Wave.ai and their beta test that is scheduled to launch.


Maya Bio and Info

Dr. Maya Ackerman, CEO and Co-Founder of Wave.ai, is a highly-esteemed computer science professor, a leading expert on computer creativity, and an opera singer. She is also the pioneer for an impending songwriting industry with AI-based technology, making songwriting more accessible to everyone. Dr. Ackerman’s research allows her to develop ALYSIA (www.withalysia.com), a machine-learning based system that allows anyone to create their own song in minutes.

By developing new AI technology to make songwriting more accessible, Dr. Ackerman and her team at Wave.ai strive to revolutionize the entire music industry, encapsulating all genres of music. Her team is currently organizing the world’s first opera set of solely computer generated songs.

Dr. Ackerman specializes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Computational Creativity with over 26 publications displayed in leading venues. She has been on the program committee for all leading AI conferences and journals and has won numerous awards for her research. 


Social Media and Startups Ep 6

Jock Breitwieser


Jock Breiwiser is the Senior Director Marketing Communications and Public Relations at StorageCraft with over 20 years of international communications expertise from working in agencies. In addition, he founded SocialSellinator (www.SocialSellinator.com) to help everyone leverage the power of social media for their business. Most recently, he was the lead for Corporate Communications at TriNet. Prior to that, Jock generated awareness for Dell SonicWall, Callidus Cloud, Hoffman Agency, Edelman, and Havas PR. His mission is to close the gap between marketing and sales by driving measurable results through a strategy that generates media awareness, wins customers, and impacts the bottom line for the business. Jock is a mentor at the German Accelerator located in Silicon Valley and launched a network security startup through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Jock also wrote a bestselling book on communications and won numerous marketing and communications awards. He holds an M.A. in contemporary history, law, and political sciences from the University of Bochum, Germany and studied in Tours, France with a scholarship in the European Union. In his spare time, Jock enjoys to travel internationally and competes in Triathlons.


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The Bay Area representative for Ukraine’s largest tech innovation park, UNIT.City, Matt Lewis, is a builder of bridges connecting Silicon Valley to Eastern Europe. He is an advisor for US firms seeking talented engineering teams in Ukraine. He also assists startups from Kiev and Moscow to set up in the Bay Area, secure customers, and attract venture capital. He has upwards of 15 years of experience investing in technology companies, including positions in equity research, private equity, and portfolio management. He is also an organizer for private meetings between Venture Capitalists and startups through the Bay Area organization Silicon Valley Planet. We discuss the many benefits of working with the resources between Ukraine and Silicon Valley and hint at how you can can your business the biggest advantage over other competitors.


Tour of UNIT.City





Startup Pitch and Presentation with Doris Pickering Ep4

Tune into this weeks episode to learn how you can enhance your communication style!

After leaving the Silicon Valley high tech world working at Hewlett Packard, LSI Logic, and Philips Semiconductors, Doris launched Silicon Valley Speaks. This organization provides a platform for people in the process of creating and delivering Startup Pitches, Elevator Intros, Speeches, and TED Talks.

Customized programs found on the website train professionals to deliver concise, compelling, and engaging presentations through 1-1 coaching, corporate training, and group workshops.

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