Tech executive Demetria Menard, who learned how to write computing code as a high-school student and later became the chief operating officer for one of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing companies, will speak Nov. 6 at the Wisconsin WOMEN reception in Madison.

The reception, which is open to men and women, will begin 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the J.H. Findorff & Son headquarters, 300 S. Bedford St. It is a precursor for the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, which will be held Nov. 7-8 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. Both events are produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Click here to register. The event will end well before Election Day polls close at 8 p.m.

The cost is $25 for Early Stage Symposium registrants, $25 for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin participants, $10 for students and returning veterans, and $50 for general admission. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be served.  Sponsors of W•O•M•E•N (Women Opportunities Mentors Entrepreneurs Networking) are Findorff, Perkins Coie and Promega. Additional support is provided by the Doyenne Group, Tingalls Graphic Design and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin.

Menard has more than 15 years of experience in the tech industry, working as a programmer, manager and executive. She uses these experiences to help others understand how to use technology to build their careers. Menard will discuss the value of science, technology, engineering and math education; building agile and inclusive workplaces; and how learning to write software code changed her life.

Until moving on recently to launch another venture, Menard was the COO for SwanLeap, a Madison firm that was No. 1 in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the United States when it was published in September.

“We’re thrilled to hear from Demetria, not only because of her business success, but because of how her passion and background led to personal success and will help lift up another generation of young people,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

The annual Early Stage Symposium will feature presentations by 40 companies and an “Investor Intro” session that will generate hundreds of speed dates between entrepreneurs and investors. Other conference highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Aaron Kennedy, founder of Noodles & Co., and serial entrepreneur Kelly Fitzsimmons.
  • Panel discussions and workshops featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • The 5th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation and luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 7 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.


Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean Consulting, Accuray, ACS, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, Barb Luhring Graphic Recording, BDO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, BMO Harris, Boardman & Clark, The Burish Group – UBS Financial Services, Capital Newspapers, Carroll University, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University, Cresa Madison, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, DXC Technology, Enbridge, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Exact Sciences, Findorff, First Business Bank, Fluno Center, Foley & Lardner, Functional Biosciences, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, JP Cullen, M3 Insurance, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Merchant & Gould, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, MOD Media, Morgridge Institute, Murphy Desmond, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Northwestern Mutual, OneNeck IT Solutions, Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Red Arrow Production, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, River Valley Bank, Skyward, Square 1 Bank, Sun Mountain Kegonsa, Tech Council board member Susan Healy, TASC, Technology Innovation Center – MKE, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, University Research Park, UW-Green Bay, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, WEA Trust, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Health & Educational Facility Authority, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Software and Ziegler.

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