Encouraging and engaging conversations about the intersection of faith and the marketplace.

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Technology, Life and Love

Featuring Guest Speaker: Vanessa Russell, ex-Cisco Systems, now founder & director of Love Never Fails

We had a great time hosting Vanessa Russell with moderators Michael Griego and Ana Gonzalez of Connect Silicon Valley.

Vanessa shared her compelling story of family brokenness and how she rose up in the technology ranks at Cisco Systems here in the Silicon Valley. How she even got into the business community is a dramatic story unto itself. Her personal Christian faith journey leading to her active Love New Fails ministry of rescuing victims of the sex trafficking industry is both encouraging and powerful.

Vanessa’s interview with Mike and Ana uncovers her personal journey and the active role and impact of her Christian faith.

Watch the recording to learn how she expanded her vision and experience to bridge those in need with those in the technology marketplace.

What is engage?

A quarterly gathering (now virtual) featuring marketplace speakers sharing in conversation their faith journey while working in the Silicon Valley marketplace.

why do we do these engage events?

With or without faith, Silicon Valley can be intimidating and all-consuming as we work to survive and successfully operate in a challenging business community and marketplace. But we are surrounded by real people with real lives and stories that can encourage and uplift us and help us realize that we are not alone or unique in our journeys. Sometimes we just need to hear these stories and understand that there is a common bond between us all in that intersection of faith and the marketplace.

what does engage provide?

  1. LEARNING – Every quarter we conduct conversations with Silicon Valley marketplace leaders. Learn how these people started both their workplace journey as well as their own personal faith journey. Learn how do they manage their business and life pressures, personal doubts, challenges, wins and losses in this competitive arena. Learn how other respected people in this Silicon Valley marketplace manage the spiritual dimensions of their lives. 
  2. ENCOURAGEMENT – We can all use encouragement in our own lives. When we hear about the honest struggles and journeys of others we are uplifted and reminded that others go through the same issues and challenges we do as well. It’s encouraging to know how other people address the questions of faith and the integration of their faith in their everyday lives. Regardless of their titles or position in the world. 
  3. NETWORKING – We offer a time for interaction and response to the speaker’s comments and conversation with our hosts. This may be in our Q&A time or in some cases we’ll have an opportunity to place ENGAGE attendees in small virtual groups to share personal responses to what the speaker has shared. Either way, we are leveraging a community that has already been built and now extending it in ways that will broaden your own contacts and network in this Silicon Valley business/marketplace community.

Past Speakers

vanessa russell

founder & director of love never fails

Ana Gonzalez


Dr. Tom Bradicich

VP, Hewlett Packard, Global Head of Edge & IoT CoE & Labs

Pedro David Espinoza

Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Ted Talk Speaker & Author

Tolu Odulesi


Michael Halloran

NES Financial

Carol Novello
President, Silicon Valley Humane Society & Founder, Mutual Rescue

Nicholas Brathwaite
Founder & Partner, Riverwood Capital

Olatunde “Tunde” Sobomehin
Co-CEO & Lead Servant, StreetCode Academy

Sue Warnke
Director of Infrastructure Documentation, Salesforce

Becky Pomerleau
Senior Finance Manager, PayPal

Charlie Strouss
Senior Vice President, CBRE

Jonathan Liao
Portfolio Manager, 500 Startups, Inc.

Brian Martin
Medical Device Engineer & Entrepreneur

2016 Speakers
  • November 9, 2016 — Andrew Laffoon, Co-Founder & CEO of Mixbook
  • September 21, 2016 — Robert Valiton, Officer at Atmel Corporation
  • May 18, 2016 — Ellen Luttrell, Global Marketing Executive
  • February 17, 2016 — Larry Grotte, Co-Founder/President of Rident Park, Inc.
2015 Speakers
  • September 30, 2015 — Ken Churchill, Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley
  • April 15, 2015 — Bobby Evans, VP Assistant GM, SF Giants
  • January 21, 2015 — Ryon Paton, Trinitas Partners
2014 Speakers
  • November 5, 2014 — Isaac Sundarajan, Strategy & M&A Executive
  • September 17, 2014 — Michael Chang, Entrepreneur (former SVP, HP Autonomy)
  • May 7, 2014 — Jerry Shen, Silicon Valley software developer and entrepreneur
  • January 22, 2014 — Dave Evans, Co-Founder, Electronics Arts
2013 Speakers
  • November 14, 2013 — Brent Dusing, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Lightside
  • September 18, 2013 — Dr. John Dearborn, Co-founder, Dearborn-Sah Institute for Joint Restoration
  • May 1, 2013 — Kevin Compton, Venture Capitalist, Radar Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers
  • January 30, 2013 — Sanjay Poonen, President and Corporate Officer, Technology Solutions and the Mobile Division at SAP
2012 Speakers
  • September, 2012 — Kirk Hoiberg, Principal, Trinitas Partners
  • May 24, 2012 — Michael Yang, Founder, Become, Inc., and Founder/CEO, mySimon.com
  • January, 2012 — Milo Medin, Vice President of Access Services, Google;  and Founder, @Home Network