Discover Leadership, Aspire to Inspire!


  • Workshop 1: Intro and Advice for PhDs Interested in Consulting
  • Workshop 2: Understanding your Personal Negotiation Style and How Best to Navigate Conflict in the Workplace
  • Workshop 3: Speaking Up Without Freaking Out
  • Workshop 4: Keeping the Fire Lit without Burning Out: Resourcing for Well-Being
  • Workshop 5: Lab to Startup: Playbook to spin out your technology, start a company and find your first investor
  • Workshop 6: Career Option B: Pivoting when Your First Choice Does Not Work
  • Workshop 7: How to Assess and Communicate your Value to Drive Career Advancement
  • Workshop 8: Transition CV to Resume: Leading with skills for the marketplace
  • Workshop 9: Getting to Yes: How to Successfully Communicate Your Ideas

1. Intro and Advice for PhDs Interested in Consulting

Matthew Cook, PhDY2E2 – Room 101

Matt is currently Executive Director of Strategic Projects and Chief of Staff to the CEO at Gilead Sciences. Matt started in Corporate Strategy at Gilead and then moved into R&D Strategy before his current role in the CEO office. Previously, he was a Project Leader in the San Francisco office of the Boston Consulting Group where he focused entirely on healthcare projects encompassing pharma, biotech, and medtech topics in R&D, commercial and medical affairs. Before BCG Matt worked in two difference postdocs at UCSF with a year-long stint at an education tech company, Udacity. Matt earned his PhD in Cell Biology from Duke University in 2010.

2. Understanding your Personal Negotiation Style and How Best to Navigate Conflict in the Workplace

Brenda Berlin, JD Huang – Room 306

Brenda is the Ombuds for Stanford University. In this role, she provides one-on-one coaching to individuals on campus who are experiencing a conflict or issue on campus that is interfering with their work or academic experience. She also is a trained mediator that provides informal mediation services to individuals and groups that are in a dispute. Brenda is a frequent trainer and speaker on negotiation and how to effectively self-advocate and manage conflict in the workplace setting. Prior to joining Stanford in 2018, Brenda was on the faculty of Duke Law School and has expertise in civil rights, disability, education law and in negotiation, counseling and mediation. She earned her law degree from Stanford and her B.A from Duke University.

3. Speaking Up Without Freaking Out

Matt Abrahams, MA Huang – Room 305

Matt is a passionate, collaborative and innovative educator and coach. He has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. Matt recently published the third edition of his book Speaking Up Without Freaking Out, a book written to help the millions of people who suffer from anxiety around speaking in public. Additionally, Matt developed a software package that provides instant, proscriptive feedback to presenters. Prior to teaching, Matt held senior leadership positions in several leading software companies, where he created and ran global training and development organizations. Matt is also Co-Founder and Principal at Bold Echo Communications Solutions, a presentation and communication skills company based in Silicon Valley that helps people improve their presentation skills. Matt has worked with executives to help prepare and present keynote addresses and IPO road shows, conduct media interviews, and deliver TED talks. He is currently a member of the Management Communication Association (where he received a “Rising Star” award) as well as the National and Western States Communication Associations. Matt received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford and his graduate degree in communication studies from UC Davis.

4. Keeping the Fire Lit without Burning Out: Resourcing for Well-Being

Donnovan Somera Yisrael, MA Shriram – Room 108

Donnovan is a health educator with Health Promotion Services (a.k.a. iThrive at Stanford), a unit of Vaden Health Center. He formally joined the staff at Vaden (formerly known as Cowell) in 1998, where he had been involved as a teacher, presenter and consultant on health issues starting in 1993. Donnovan brings a Positive Psychology (a.k.a. “The Science of Happiness”) perspective to all of his teaching. More specifically, his courses and teaching include powerful skills/practices such as emotional intelligence, mindfulness, gratitude and compassion (for self as well as others). All of this to help his audiences answer the question: “What skills must I practice and turn into habits of mind in order to be resilient and live an inspired and fulfilling life?”. Additionally, Donnovan is a grief educator and volunteer with Kara in Palo Alto and is deeply committed to teaching people that grieving is a learnable skill that enables us to cope with all losses from disappointment to death.

5. Lab to Startup: Playbook to spin out your technology, start a company and find your first investor

Celestine Schnugg Shriram – Room 104

Celstine is the founding General Partner of Boom Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on frontier technology. We love writing the first investment so a founder can build a company with just an idea or technology. We specialize in working with deeply technical, under-networked individuals that are often PhD’s. We offer a unique community of various founders, researchers, domain experts, and Fortune 500 partners to help them grow their teams and companies. Boom was the early backer of Mammoth Biosciences, A-Alpha Bio, Swarm Technologies, System1 Biosciences, Shiok Meats, Fauna Bio, Galileo and others. Boom also operates a dark network of secretive, underground Collectives that bring together the smartest, most curious individuals across multiple fields. Some of the Collectives already established are in the following domains: Aerospace, Braintech, Engineered Cells, Clean Cuisine, Synthetics, Computational Health, Pharma, and Mathematics. Prior to Boom, Celestine was at Apple and Eric Schmidt and Dror Berman’s venture firm Innovation Endeavors. She collects Atlases and lives with her family in Woodside.

6. Career Option B: Pivoting when Your First Choice Does Not Work

Stephanie Eberle Huang – Mackenzie

Stephanie is the assistant dean of the BioSci Careers at Stanford University. She began her tenure there, when it was the School of Medicine Career Center in 2008, developing curriculum and resources for all biosciences trainees to explore and define a path toward their own careers of choice. Prior to that, Stephanie was part of Stanford’s central campus Career Development Center (now BEAM), counseling and developing career development programs for graduate students and postdocs from various disciplines across campus. They have written on passion and on managing career advice overload for Inside Higher Education, co-written a textbook chapter, taught multiple sector-specific courses, consulted on diversity issues at companies and organizations throughout the country, and held numerous counseling and program development positions in their over 20 years of professional experience. They are faculty for the University of San Francisco’s Marriage and Family Counseling program and vice chair of the National Postdoctoral Association’s Board of Directors. Stephanie holds an MEd in community agency counseling, and a BA in psychology and sociology, both from Ohio University.

Finding and following your desired career path depends on many factors – your interests and skills, job availability, timing…. As such, planning a future career often comes down to “what is possible” as much as “what is my passion.” This presentation provides a realistic perspective on the career planning process by debunking common myths, replacing these with new perspectives, and giving practical next steps for those times when “option A” is just not possible right now.

7. How to Assess and Communicate your Value to Drive Career Advancement

Robin ReshwanY2E2 – Room 111

Robin Reshwan is the founder and president of CS Advising and Collegial Services. She and her team enable thousands of professionals to advance their careers through their advice, career coaching and recruiting efforts. As a Careers writer for, her professional development tips are used by additional media outlets including Yahoo, Business Insider, Fast Company and Monster. An experienced entrepreneur, business executive and Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Robin also serves on the Alumni Board for UC Davis. Nationally recognized for her strategies in support of personal and business brand building, Robin is one of nine coaches LinkedIn engages to participate in national pilot programs as they explore new services for members. Robin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and as a Regents Scholar from University of California, Davis. Robin serves as professional development instructor for Saint Mary’s School of Economics and Business, a career coach with Stanford University, UC Berkeley Haas Business School, and UC Davis’ Alumni Associations.

8. Transition CV to Resume: Leading with skills for the marketplace

Mary McHaleY2E2 – Room 105

Coaching people through change has been the keystone of Mary McHale’s career. Mary’s career began in career development, leadership development and administration at four universities across the US. Mary transitioned to the corporate arena assisting organizations through large scale change as an executive coach, speaker and workshop facilitator in tech, manufacturing, finance, telecommunications, healthcare and biotech industries. As a Senior Manager for Accenture’s tech clients, Mary provided leadership for strategic change management programs including executive coaching to C-Suite executives during large-scale change initiatives including mergers & acquisitions and business transformation. Today, as a Career Coach with CS Advising, Mary enjoys assisting her clients transition into new jobs and industries. Mary is one of nine coaches selected by LinkedIn nationwide to pilot new coaching programs. Mary received her Master of Education from the University of Vermont in Higher Education Administration. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Davis in Human Development and Communications.

9. Getting to Yes: How to Successfully Communicate Your Ideas

Amy Aines and Roger D. Aines, PhD Huang – Room 304

Amy Aines has a knack for translating complex technical concepts to make sure they are understood. She is a messaging strategist, speaker coach and reputation builder. The first twenty years of her career she served as corporate spokeswoman and provided communications counsel for T1 multiplexing, telecom and wireless communication companies. After directing communications for the Vodafone AirTouch merger, Amy launched Damianakes Communications to help leaders drive results through effective communications. Her consulting client roster includes start-ups and global giants such as Cisco, FirstNet, Genentech, Gilead, Global Blood Therapeutics, McKesson, Polaris Wireless, Verizon, Vodafone and Zymergen. Over the past 30 years, Amy has helped scientists and technologists communicate new ideas on topics ranging from remote network management to anti-angiogenesis, wireless location and sickle cell disease. Amy received her BA in Communications Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a certified Human Capital Strategist. Today, she continues to consult with tech and biotech leaders to keep employees inspired and build success cultures. With the recent publication of the book she co-authored with her husband Roger Aines (Chief Scientist of the Energy Program at LLNL), Amy’s focus has broadened. Now she spends time teaching graduate students and career scientists how to be better communicators. When she’s not on her laptop, Amy enjoys hiking, cooking, singing with the Stay at Tone Moms, and volunteering as an advisory board member to Carbon 180 and the Livermore Science and Society Center.

Roger Aines develops climate and energy technologies, working for 30 years in the US national laboratory system. He has delivered and endured countless scientific presentations – recognizing the value of effective communication. Applying his principles for championing science, Roger has helped dozens of funders, collaborators and peers to support his work. He regularly coaches colleagues in the art of communicating their ideas effectively. Since 1984, Roger’s work at the lab has spanned nuclear waste disposal, environmental remediation, applying stochastic methods to inversion and data fusion, managing carbon emissions and sequestration monitoring and verification methods. Roger received research funding from the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, a number of corporations and private foundations to address future climate challenges. He received one of the early round of ARPA-E grants to study carbon dioxide capture. Roger takes an integrated view of the energy, climate, and environmental aspects of carbon-based fuel production and use. His current focus is on efficient ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and safer methods for producing environmentally clean fuel. He holds 12 patents and has authored more than 100 publications. Roger holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carleton College, and Doctor of Philosophy in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. With Amy Aines he authored Championing Science, a comprehensive book to teach scientists essential communication, influence and relationship-building skills they need to compel decision makers to support their work.