Watch: How Women Can Build Confidence in a Virtual World

Annie Burford

Annie Burford is dot.LA's director of events. She's an event marketing pro with over ten years of experience producing innovative corporate events, activations and summits for tech startups to Fortune 500 companies. Annie has produced over 200 programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City working most recently for a China-based investment bank heading the CEC Capital Tech & Media Summit, formally the Siemer Summit.

Watch: How Women Can Build Confidence in a Virtual World

The latest edition of our dot.LA Convenes series, devoted to empowering women in tech, focused on "Building Confidence in a Virtual World."

dot.LA Convenes: Building Confidence in a Virtual Worldyoutu.be



As movements such as Times Up and Me Too gain in popularity, examples of women using their voices in the workplace have taken center stage. With all this attention on these issues, why is it that we still struggle with self assurance to stand up for ourselves? Why is it more difficult to find the same confidence our male counterparts easily exude in workplace interactions — especially in male-dominated industries like tech?

Challenges around self-censorship have only increased during the pandemic with financial security at stake and working from home making it more difficult to have authentic interactions. We seek to foster an honest dialogue and discuss specific strategies to combat them.

Esports One COO and Co-Founder Sharon Winter, Vurbl Media Co-founder, CEO Audra Everett Gold, and Valence Head of Partnerships Victoria Tinsley held in in-depth discussion on the topic, led by dot.LA Chief Host & Correspondent Kelly O'Grady.

Victoria Tinsley, head of partnerships at Valence

Victoria Tinsley, Head of Partnerships at Valence

Victoria Tinsley is the Head of Partnerships at Valence, a new tech platform and community incubated by Upfront Ventures focused on connecting Black professionals with mentorship, career opportunities and capital. The company's mission is to unlock the global combined power of Black professionals to create massive economic wealth and social progress that impacts current and future generations. Valence was founded in January 2019 and has a thriving membership of thousands of Black leaders across the nation. Valence also partners with a variety of organizations such as PledgeLA, Netflix, Facebook, USC, The Gathering Spot and Silicon Valley Bank.

Prior to joining Valence, Victoria served on the marketing senior leadership team at AAA as vice president, consumer insights & data analytics. In this role, she led the analytics center of excellence that supported four divisions (Insurance, Membership, Travel, A3 Labs) representing over $4 billion in annual revenue.

A traditionally trained CPG marketer, Victoria also previously worked at General Mills managing product development and marketing strategy for the Annie's Homegrown, Immaculate Baking Company and Pillsbury brands. Prior to earning her MBA at the Michigan Ross School of Business, Victoria held a variety of marketing roles during her 7 years at Active Network, a tech startup that had a successful $1 billion IPO and sale.

Audra Everett Gold, co-founder and CEO at Vurbl Media

Audra Everett Gold, Co-founder and CEO at Vurbl Media

Audra Gold has dedicated her entire career to building first to market and scaled mass media digital products. Her passion for product management and her ability to identify new and emerging product trends has led to her reputation for developing novel, cutting-edge products across gaming, streaming video, digital media, enterprise SaaS platforms, in various business verticals.

Today, as the founder of Product N, a product management consulting and recruitment firm, Audra and her team work with early-stage ventured funded start-ups in various verticals to create, launch and grow their digital products. The team also works in partnership with the VC firm Alpha Edison, helping AE portfolio companies in need of product management expertise to either create, expand or pivot their digital product lines.

Prior to Product N, Audra has spent years leading Product teams at Rubicon Project, The Mighty, Pluto TV, Fourthwall Studios and Defy Media (formerly Break Media). She also held senior product roles at WeddingChannel/TheKnot, Viviendi Universal's online division, and IGN.com.

Sharon WInter, COO and co-founder of Esports One

Sharon Winter, COO and Co-Founder of Esports One

Sharon Winter is the COO and Co-Founder of Esports One, the first all-in-one all-in-one fantasy esports platform with real-time predictive data. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Sharon previously worked at IBM's Watson division before becoming CEO and Founder of Hotpoint App, a CRM and data company for the entertainment and hospitality industries with over 2500 clients from Live Nation, Patron, Hakkasan, Wynn, and others.

Sharon has experience building community-centered products within data-rich platforms. She's on the mission of bringing esports to the Olympics by bridging the gap between esports and sports, and the endemics and non-endemics of the gaming world.

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🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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