From Startup to IPO: Executive Perspective from Women in Leadership

Mountains of data have shown that the presence of women on founding teams or in the C-Suite is correlated with increased financial performance. Why are these companies thriving? What is unique about women’s approach to governing boards that leads to business growth? What can we learn to further support emerging women business leaders in our lives whether they be our co-workers, wives, sisters, daughters or ourselves?

Join us for a panel presentation featuring some of our region’s most accomplished C-level executives representing high-growth startups to public companies. Learn about their unique journey, hard-earned wisdom, and vision for how to shepherd the next generation of fearless women executives and entrepreneurs.


  • Dr. Krisztina (Kris) Zsebo, Theragene Pharmaceuticals
  • Shelley Zalis, Founder & CEO, The Female Quotient
  • Lizzie Francis, Founder, Managing Partner, Brilliant Ventures
  • Janet Garufis, President & CEO, Montecito Bank & Trust


Vanessa Ting, Salty Girl Seafood

About the Speakers

Krisztina (Kris) Zsebo, Senior Vice President, Theragene Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Zsebo has extensive experience in the biotechnology industry. Adept at marketing companies and ideas to the analyst, press, and investment communities; raising capital; and negotiating, closing, and managing licensing and strategic alliances. She has been a biotechnology executive with extensive operations and R&D experience in health care, with >$200M raised to support development operations and public and private company experience.

Dr. Zsebo is an accomplished biopharmaceutical executive with 31 years of experience leading the discovery, development, and successful commercialization of breakthrough technologies and products, such as, NEUPOGEN and STEMGEN. She has been recognized for her research, development, and manufacturing efforts for leading biopharmaceutical firms (Connetics, ALZA, Amgen, and Cell Genesys/Xenotech (predecessor of Abgenix one of the most successful biotechnology startups). She also has experience leading basic and preclinical research in gene therapy, immunology, small molecule, and protein therapeutics and vaccines for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and other conditions.

Dr. Zsebo received her PhD in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley and has contributed over 113 biotechnology publications.

Shelley Zalis, Founder & CEO, The Female Quotient

Shelley Zalis has always gone against the grain, throughout her career, to create new opportunities. In 2000, she pioneered online research by creating OTX (Online Testing Exchange); nine years later, it became one of the largest, fastest-growing research companies in the world.  As the first female chief executive ranked in the research industry’s top 25, she changed the game, brought feminine leadership qualities to the boardroom and devoted herself to being a mentor and friend to other female industry leaders.

Now the founder and CEO of The Female Quotient and the creator of The Girls’ Lounge, Shelley is on a mission to build stronger, more – successful businesses by working to advance equality and equal opportunity in the workplace. The Female Quotient is dedicated to improving a business’ Return On Equality (ROE) and by doing so create new solutions and a significant competitive advantage.  In 2013, The Female Quotient began organizing signature Girls’ Lounges at industry events after Shelley realized a real need to create a destination for attendees to gather in a female-friendly setting to discuss pressing issues facing women in business.

Lizzie Francis, Founder, Managing Partner, Brilliant Ventures

Lizzie’s career has been focused on launching and developing consumer brands and products, with particular focus on innovative and digital marketing strategies to scale and build brands. She has had a long passion for entrepreneurship and marketing and has worked at great companies including (sold to Experian Interactive), Fox Interactive and was a founding partner at Intelligent Beauty, where she held titles of CMO and President of (Fast Fashion).  Most recently she was CMO of (sold to Hudson Bay).

Lizzie has a BA from Cornell University and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Alan Hoffman, their son and two dogs, Brinkley and Franklin.

Janet Garufis, President & CEO, Montecito Bank & Trust

Janet A. Garufis has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Montecito Bank & Trust since September 2006. Ms. Garufis began her banking career over 30 years with Security Pacific Bank, now Bank of America. She has experience in retail banking, business banking, commercial banking and private banking. Ms. Garufis serves as Chairman of Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She serves as a Director for the Santa Barbara Symphony and a Trustee for the Sansum – Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic. She is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from California State University Northridge.

This program will be moderated by Vanessa Ting, CEO, Salty Girl Seafood. 

Vanessa Ting has worked in the consumer goods and retail industry for nearly two decades. Her career has spanned retail buying, consumer marketing, new product development and brand strategy for companies such as Target Corporation and Johnson & Johnson. At Target, she was a senior-level retail buyer managing $500+ million P&Ls with category experience in Personal Care, Seasonal and Toys. Since leaving Target, Vanessa has founded or co-founded three CPG-driven startup companies, including one natural foods snacks company distributed broadly on the east coast. Her other ventures include a B2B online portal connecting retail buyers with consumer product entrepreneurs and a retail distribution strategy consultancy that has advised clients such as Honest Company and other nationally distributed brands.
Vanessa is currently CEO of Salty Girl Seafood, a female-founded, sustainable, traceable seafood company based in Santa Barbara.
She holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Georgetown University.

Event Registration:

When:  Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA 93103


  • Student $15.00
  • Regular (Online pre-registration only) $30.00
    SIGN UP BY Mon., April 17 to receive the online discount ($10 off General walk-in/at door rate)
  • At the Door $40.00
  • Parking $4.00 – $6.00 (separate; paid at lot)


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Registration includes appetizers and refreshments.

If you miss the early-bird registration, not to worry! We welcome walk-in guests to register at the registration table in the lobby of the venue.

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