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Women in Tech: Fostering Innovation


Tuesday, October 13, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Women in Tech: Fostering Innovation

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After Work by WIE is an intimate salon series that highlights the work of inspirational men and women, and engages them in a lively Q&A and general discussion around their career journey and industry. Sign up to our mailing list at

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About the speakers

Soraya Darabi is the co-founder of, a shopping platform and lifestyle destination for the next generation of consumers who care about the origins of the items they purchase. What Whole Foods has done for the organic food movement, ZADY will do for sourced products. ZADY is amongst the first online retailers to seamlessly integrate commerce, rich media content and social media to provide customers with a dynamic shopping experience. On Zady, customers can learn about the conscious consumer movement and purchase beautifully-constructed goods that were created with craftsmanship and artisanship – qualities that have been sacrificed in a world of cheap prices and fast production.

Having begun her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, Soraya quickly became recognized as a thought leader with her finger on the pulse of today's ever-changing digital landscape. While at The New York Times, Soraya positioned the global news leader on networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, partnered with startups large and small, and established award-winning campaigns. She was also tasked with teaching journalists and chief executives alike how to best use and leverage social media. Renowned Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits Darabi as being "the only reason why he has [millions] of followers on Twitter."

Following her tenure at the Times, Soraya served as Product Lead for, a real-time online sharing, collaboration, and presentation service (acquired by Facebook). She then went on to co-found the mobile application Foodspotting, named by Apple and Wired Magazine as an “app of the year” before being acquired by Open Table. Soraya was recently featured on the cover of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” issue, and Brandweek’s “Hot Digital” issue, and was named one of Inc. Magazine's "30 Under 30," and included in AdAge’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter.” Soraya received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Georgetown University.


Rachel Weiss is an award-winning digital professional and recognized thought-leader with vast experience in emerging technology and digital marketing practices.  Currently, she is responsible for creating digital marketing and innovation strategy focusing on mobile, social, content and disruptive technologies across L'Oréal USA.  She is also responsible for new digital business ventures and partnerships at the company.  Weiss leads relationships with VC firms and entrepreneurs to identify first-to-market opportunities for the beauty industry.   Weiss is the founder of one of L’Oréal USA’s key initiatives – Women in Digital.  This program supports women in the digital space by identifying and celebrating female entrepreneurs advocating digital and IT careers for women along with mentorship programs and testing opportunities.   Weiss started her career at L'Oreal USA six years ago, in the Professional Products division where she worked on such brands as Redken, Pureology, Kérastase and Matrix.

Prior to L'Oréal, Weiss was Vice President, eBusiness, at Citi Cards where she developed New Customer Acquisition strategies via emerging digital opportunities for all Consumer portfolios.  While there she was responsible for creating the first mobile and social platforms.   Previously at Wiley Publishing, Weiss oversaw online consumer marketing, brand optimization, advertising revenue development and online retail marketing programs for the publisher of Frommer’s, Cliff’s Notes and For Dummies.

Weiss is a self-taught digital maven who began blogging to promote a stand-up career in comedy in the mid 90s.   She initially shared her thought essays on her first blog Weissworld.   Weiss currently blogs and podcasts Beware of the Babylon ( and was a founder of the New York City Podcasting Association.   She is a contributor to The Huffington Post and other blogs. Having held creative positions at Sony Pictures and Miramax films, Weiss features a rare blend of solid digital, brand and entertainment experience. Weiss is a featured speaker on msnbc, OMMA (Online Media, Marketing & Advertising), Internet Week, Adtech and has participated in many other conferences and events as both a speaker and panelist.  In 2013 she was named one of Brand Innovator's Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing and most recently one of Ad Age’s Women to Watch 2014.


Brooke Hammerling is the Founder of Brew Media Relations and has over 18 years of experience in technology PR and communications, both in-house and at agencies. She started Brew in the living room of her NYC apartment nine years ago determined to bring a different style to the PR world. With the help of Dena Cook, the CEO of Brew, and an incredible team, Brew has grown to be a company that provides the unique blend of communications that Brooke had always envisioned, which focuses on relationships and transparency. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Brew works with some of the most interesting, innovative and successful companies in tech all around the world.

Brooke Hammerling is based in NYC and is a lover of Spotify on her Sonos, cheese and charity: water. She is a graduate of Rollins College where she actually did learn a lot despite the tropical location.

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