Category Archives: Meeting Summary

Melody Klemin at our May 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Melody Klemin at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Melody Klemin is a digital fundraiser at Cal Poly, overseeing online giving, crowdfunding and Cal Poly’s annual Day of Giving. A singer/songwriter who performs at wineries and weddings, Melody loves playing music, especially on the rare and spectacular occasion she gets to play in a local, all-women 80’s cover band called The Betrothed. In addition to helping form a SLO Chapter of Lesbians Who Tech, she also runs a local queer wedding blog, Central Coast Gay Weddings, and is starting a podcast called Queer SLO where she plans to interview local LGBTQ business and community leaders around SLO County.

Melody shared her insights on digital fundraising, the LGBTQ community in SLO,  and the need for mentorship in many different areas and methods. Catch up on anything you missed, or relive the action by listening to her insight interview below: 

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Julie Workman at our April 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Julie Workman at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Julie is a lecturer at Cal Poly in the department of Computer Science, and the co-advisor for the Women Involved in Software and Hardware (WISH) Club.  She is passionate about teaching in general, but especially about recruiting and retaining women in computing!  She has supported growth in the number of women (9% to over 30% in the last decade), due in large part to the tremendous effort of the women of WISH and of the other dedicated faculty in the CSSE and CPE departments that she is so proud to be a part of.

Julie has a masters degree in computer science from Cal Poly and have lived in the San Luis Obispo area since 1992.  Her consulting work includes writing GPS software for Trimble Navigation, writing software for experimental robots with iRobot, and working as an intellectual property consultant.  She co-founded the SLO-OP climbing gym with Paul Hatalsky and Yishai Horowitz.  Her other passions include riding motorcycles and hiking around this beautiful area we live in!

Julie shared her insights on women and the need for mentorship, consulting, as well as her passion for climbing. Catch up on anything you missed, or relive the action by listening to her insight interview below: 

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Intellectual Property Rights from Tom Lebens

Tom Lebens is our resident legal expert when it comes to tech and the business world. Recently he provided us with a much needed update on Intellectual Property Rights for any current or aspiring business owner.

Intellectual property is the core source of value and competitive advantage for many businesses as we navigate our knowledge economy. Much has changed in, for example, the patent law since Tom last spoke with SOFTEC, both in the legal landscape, with the adoption of the American Invents Act and the first to file patent system, the creation of the provisional patent application, changes in how software patents are viewed by the courts, and changes in enforcement options for small and medium-sized businesses.

At the same time intellectual property remains the constraint that drives creativity in many instances. At the same time, the process and cost of preparing intellectual property documents are changing with the introduction of new technologies that assist (and sometimes replace) attorneys, agents, and technical writers. Tom will share how these technologies are being deployed in his office and his thoughts as to what this means for the future.

Tom is a veteran presenter at TechBrew, and also has a long history of participating with Softec.

His slidedeck for his presentation can be found here:
What is Intellectual Property — Small Business IP Strategy 2017-11-13

Amanda Radakovich at October’s Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Amanda Radakovich at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Amanda Radakovich is the Director of Customer Success at Dozuki, a software company based in San Luis Obispo that caters to manufacturers around the globe. As a part of a small leadership team within the company, Amanda has been responsible for building the customer success programs and scaling the support team as the company continues to grow. 

Amanda shared her insights on the software as a service (SAS) world—from communicating technical problems to determining how to best serve different client bases. She shared her story and her love of horses. Catch up on anything you missed, or relive the action by listening to her insight interview below: 

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Lorelei Sibet at September’s WIT Breakfast

First off—a quick apology for the lack of previous post from our summer WIT Breakfasts—we had some truly inspirational speakers. While we haven’t been able to keep up posting here, you can relive the adventure by heading over to our Facebook page. There you will find recaps from our wonderful guest speakers: Shannon Pileggi from Cal Poly’s Statistics Department, Jen Rushing from Central Coast New Tech High, and Erica Thatcher from SLO Library.

We’re back in the swing of things here, and should be posting all the rest of our recaps here on the blog. Which brings me to this month’s WIT breakfast recap!


We had a great time getting to know Lorelei Sibet at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Lorelei Sibet has more than 25 years experience as an entrepreneur and business owner. In addition to her agency, One Siren Productions, Lorelei is involved in several businesses, products, and community interests.

One of those businesses is SLO MakerSpace — a 24/7 community tool and craft shop. In the last year she’s expanded Ceramics, Woodturning, Summer Camp, Blacksmithing, Leathercrafting, and the MiniMakers Specialty Program in partnership with Inspire Charter Schools. MiniMakers has 50 homeschool children attending SLO MakerSpace 10-hours a week during the school year for a state curriculum driven and immersive project-based learning specialty program. Lorelei is now focused on expanding SLO MakerSpace’s resources and support for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Lorelei also runs the SLO County Women Entrepreneurs Meetup Group and  Facebook Group for women entrepreneurs and business owners meet, network, share resources, and promote to the community to help grow their businesses. 

After 24 years in the Washington, DC area, two years ago Lorelei moved to San Luis Obispo with her husband and business partner, Dharmesh Patel, to specifically support SLO MakerSpace and grow their other new businesses and products.

Hear all the action and follow along at home by checking out link below for Lorelei’s insights on being starting a new venture, supporting women entrepreneurs, what it means to be a maker, pie factories, and all the delicious details of the SLO MakerSpace: 

Follow us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events, hear from other local women in tech, or nominate a speaker.

Bridget Benson at February’s WIT Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Bridget Benson at this month’s WIT breakfast. Bridget is an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Cal Poly. Her research interests span computer engineering and aquatic sciences, focusing on selecting and developing technologies to advance marine science research.  

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Bridget’s insights on electrical engineering, marine science, and women in tech: 

Apologies for the background noise. These interviews are done in an informal, coffee shop setting. We’re working on engineering a better audio setup, so stay tuned!

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker. 

Students make Robotics Great (Again)!

Last month over 700 people chose to invest in students instead of watching the presidential debates. Adults and kids alike enjoyed robotic creations and learned how to solve real world problems with technology – there was no accusations about 33,000 lost emails, missing tax returns, or negative jabs. Just passionate debates over battery technologies and construction materials.

SLO MakerSpace

From school robots to commercial drones, this event is designed to inspire creative technologies and encourage kids who have a talent for engineering. Grants are given to existing robotics teams and key connections and seed money provided to form new high school teams. Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

RMD Robotics and Drones

Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

Instead of going toe-to-toe on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs come face-to-face with real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers. Many teams have a marketing officer, treasurer, and HR director to account for the thousands of hours, ten of thousands of dollars, and relationships with sponsors. More than STEM – club robotics create opportunity for students of all talents teaching lessons more valuable than a typical child’s ‘first job’.

VEX Arena

Instead of a debate on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs create a real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers.

Softec and our sponsors take direct action to invest in our local economy. As a local non-profit software and technology trade association, we work to build and promote local events for our sponsors, and we focus this annual event as an investment in our students – where we create a multi-generational experience for all ages. And that is the truth – no fact checkers needed!  😉

20-years of Softec

Throughout the last 20-years, we have worked hard throughout the community to bring technology and businesses together, hosting awesome events and creating what we call ‘Softec Moments’.

Let’s look at some of the highlights of Softec’s history and while we do – let’s not forget the amazing (and sometime hilarious) technology and cultural headlines at the time.

To get our bearings, let’s start out in the mid-80’s – before the birth of Softec.

The first cell phone was available to the public in 1984 weighing in at 2.4 pounds and was the size of a shoebox, New Coke was introduced in 1985 and CD-ROMs were released in 1989.

In 1994 56k modems were considered screaming fast, Netscape was the latest thing, and 4MB of RAM was a huge.  It was also at this time that the original idea of Softec came to be, not as a non-profit but as a local Technology VC fund.

And in 1995 while beanie babies became the current Internet sensation being sold all over the newly launched auction site, eBay – Softec transformed into a technology networking group.

The following year Softec officially launched as a 501(c)(6) and held their first Technology symposium with local celebrity Eric Schwefler giving the Keynote.

In 1997, local startup Xing Technologies sold to Real Networks for $75 million – creating an influx of cash and talent in the local tech community.  And 12x speed CD-ROMs were the norm.

Who remembers what happened in April 1998?  – I’m sure you have seen it on YouTube and if you haven’t don’t you dare google it now – At COMDEX Bill Gates was demonstrating Windows 98 and the computer crashed during his presentation

In 1999 shelves were emptied as IT departments worldwide stocked up on supplies of caffeine and frozen pizza in preparation for Y2K.  But we survived and mankind has learned learned so much leaving me confident that we are prepared for Y3K, even if beanie babies make a comeback.

By the year 2000 – Softec held 5 annual Technology Symposiums and the IT departments all across the country were quickly burning through their caffeine stockpile as they busily worked the clean all those computers infected from the ‘I LOVE YOU’ email virus.

Not to be outdone, the following year Dutch programmer, Jan de Wit, released and email virus purportedly claiming to contain pictures of Anna Kournikova.  Soon after, obviously frustrated by the lack of Anna Kournikova pictures in those fake emails, programmer Bram Cohen releases bitTorrent – one of several distributed file sharing programs available at the time.

Also in 2001 Softec had the first TechBrew meeting and the ‘Softec Moment’ was born when Ed Stevens and Sean Collier met at a Softec open house which blossomed into shopatron.

Concerned for the environment and our landfills filling up too quickly – No More AOL CDs.com launched trying to stop AOL’s CD Marketing campaign flood.  Obviously AOL’s efforts paid off – because by 2002 they reached their peak of 27 million subscribers.  People were so busy checking their aol.com email, they didn’t have time to vacuum and iRobot capitalized on this releasing the Roomba.

Also in 2002 local business CustomFlix was launched and the first local high school robotics team was started at Atascadero high School by John Mirron

We saw wireless get faster in 2003 with 802.11g quadrupling wireless speeds to 54 megabits per second – this extra speed was perfect timing to allow everyone faster access to news of the dotCOM bubble bursting.  Gone were my dreams of early retirement and a personal chef.

In 2004 the Spirit land rover explored Mars with wheels and other key components made by San Luis Obispo’s own NextIntent.

Softec Launched the IMPACT awards program in 2005 recognizing Andrea Seastrand for her contributions to the community and Mark Wright for his work in the technology industry.

Twitter launched in 2006 and by July of that same year it is estimated that AOL shipped 1 billion CDs, but at that time I was too busy anticipating the release of Nintendo’s Wii to notice!  As a matter of fact, I was so distracted, I also missed Softec’s first Women in Tech dinner and the launch of CEO Roundtables – thank you Bob Dumouchel.

In 2007 people were leaving MySpace in droves to this new website called FaceBook, Netflix introduced streaming video, and everyone was talking to their friends and colleagues on their motorola flip phone about this amazing new product – the iPhone.

The sound of the bursting housing bubble made all the noise for the next two years until 2010 when Starbucks announced free wifi in all their stores.

By 2011 Android outsells the iPhone and Apple responds by introducing Siri.

2014 is remembered by the ice bucket challenge – any participants in the room?  Again, if not, please don’t do it now.

By 2015 – the big local news was the IPO of MindBody and the Shopatron merge to create Kibo

By then Softec has given over $30,000 in grants to local High School robotics

launched our fastest growing interest group ever – Women in Tech

So we are celebrating 20-years of Softec with still much to look forward to in the rest of 2016 and the years to come as we continue to live out Softec’s mission to help align local businesses, individuals and educational resources in our community to produce a thriving hub of innovation on the Central Coast.

Let’s keep the momentum – check out our upcoming events

And finally thank you to our sponsors – your financial support empowers us to give back directly to the community and your involvement with our events has created so many unique experiences for our members – from Open Houses at MindBody and Rosetta – to dinners with great networking and a never-ending variety of interesting topics at TechBrew – we thank you.

20-years! A Softec moment to remember

Words cannot express how great I feel about last night’s celebration.  It was an amazing gathering of some amazing people.

Over the past few years being involved with the Softec Board, I have heard the name, Greg Biggers, and last night I got the pleasure of meeting him.  We took some great pictures (to be posted soon) and heard of the growth and positive influence of Cal Poly’s Tech Park.

Of course, let’s not forget the food and prizes!  So many drawings and winners and so much fun.  It is a privilege and my pleasure to serve as president for such a fine group of people.

Thank you all for attending and thank you to several who worked hard to make this event possible:

  • Brittany McCrigler – hard work with handling the Catering
  • Robin Mitchel-Hee – event promotion and marketing
  • Fred Dyste – for the killer slideshow
  • Katie White – for providing the PA system
  • Stewart Morse – who is an amazing VP filling in the gaps and sending me reminders.
  • All the people who showed up early and stayed late!

Let’s keep the momentum!  I hope to see you all at the SLO Airport and ACI Jet Open House!