OWN IT Summit Recap

On the morning of Saturday April 15th, 150 men and women gathered at the International Center to attend the first ever OWN IT Summit brought to UC Davis. Months priors to the event, Davis Women In Business was hard at work, vigorously planning, marketing, and designing this outstanding leadership conference. The goal for many of the master minds behind OWN IT is to cultivate an exceptional learning experience to help foster and encourage young women to pursue their wildest dreams. As you will soon see, OWN IT was a tremendous success. As an organization that values the importance of empowering young women, we strive to bridge the leadership gap between men and women and ultimately shatter the glass ceiling that prevents young women from obtaining their biggest goals and aspirations. We want to share some of our behind the scenes moments with you, as well as provide an overview of what exactly went down at OWN IT!

Breakdown of our Agenda

9:00 am - Registration

10:00 am - Welcome Address

10:15 am - Keynote Presentation by Venita Sivamani: Co-Founder & CEO at Dermveda

10:30 am - Panel 1: Women in Business

11:20 am - Breakout Session #1

12:05 pm - Panel 2: Women In Tech with Facebook Infrastructure Team

12:55 pm - Lunch

1:55 pm - Panel 3: Women in Science & Engineering 

2:45 pm - Breakout Session #2

3:35 pm - Panel 4: Women in Activism 

4:20 pm - Closing Remarks 

Setting up

The day began at 7 am for many of our members including Disha Bahl (the OWN IT Director), the OWN IT team, and several DWIB committee members. Everything from transporting food, setting up banners, balloons, and swag bags were all a hectic yet smooth portion of prepping for OWN IT. All hands were on deck as each individual was assigned a duty from arranging breakfast, setting up the panelists stage, and running through technical checks for the day. Efforts were streamlined from all DWIB members and volunteers who helped create fluid transitions for each planned event. Lindsay Chan (a member of the OWN IT Board) stated that, "one of the main tasks for the OWN IT Board the day-of was to ensure that all the speakers were greeted, given their name badges, and were situated at our venue. As an inaugural summit, I think we were able to successfully execute the event with the help of all our volunteers, friends and DWIB members!" 

Check out our slideshow to get a glimpse of how our morning began!

After breakfast, it was time to hear from our Keynote speaker and panelists!

Takeaway From our Panelist Speakers

During our Women in Business panel, panelists Laurie Lavaroni, Jyoti Sarin, Shujan Bertrand, Brenda Dulger-Sheikin, and Kristy Nguyen Junio took on the stage with confidence and grace. They spoke about their challenges of being the only woman within a male-dominated team, facing challenges in the office head on, and finding a culture and community that not only supports women but also provides you with the resources to become an advocate for change. One of my favorite takeaways from this panel were 3 strong statements from Jyoti Sarin, a Senior IT Manager at Cisco Systems. She stated the following:

1. Honor your craft (be good at what you do and OWN IT)

2. Support the women in your network

3. Act, don't react

The remainder of the day continued with breakout sessions and panels from our Facebook Infrastructure Team, Women in Science & Engineering, and Women in Activism. Each panel delivered rich knowledge, inspiration and occasional laughs. It was evident that all attendees had a wonderful experience at our Summit! 

Being involved in the execution and participating in DWIB’s OWN IT Summit was not only fulfilling to me as a member of this empowering organization but also as a first-generation Iranian-American UC Davis undergrad that is striving to advocate more female leadership and empowerment within the workplace. I personally enjoyed every aspect of the OWN IT Summit, from listening to the panelists and breakout session speakers talk about the challenges they faced and being reminded of how focusing on your goals and staying true to yourself play such an important key in shaping your success. I am sincerely proud to be part of Davis Women in Business and not only was inspired by the stories of the OWN IT Summit panelists and breakout session speakers, but also by the attendees and DWIB members I got to meet with during breaks. We discussed the challenges we faced, our personal inspirations, and how our friends, family, and daily connections shape our decisions and drive to help others and ourselves to reach our greatest potential. As my last year at UC Davis, I am so pleased that I got to experience OWN IT and have the opportunity to receive so much advice and motivation through the stories of unique female leaders and also learn so much from the future leaders who attended the event that I will forever cherish.
— Sahar Forouzanfar (Member of Marketing and Design Committee)
My experience at OWN IT was incredibly inspiring. Being a part of Davis Women in Business and the OWN IT Board gave me the opportunity to be involved in something that I will always cherish. OWN IT brought together leaders from a diverse range of fields and created a unique platform for these professionals to connect with participants, and it was amazing to experience the dynamics of empowerment throughout the day. Meeting so many incredibly motivated women who were passionate about their work was a big takeaway from the summit. Hearing their stories of persevering through and overcoming challenges was inspiring, and knowing that many of them were once in my shoes provided me with a perspective I really resonated with.
— Lindsay Chan

We couldn't have done it without our Directors and Committee Members!

This event would not have been possible without the help of our wonderful Directors, Committees, and participants! We want to thank you for your hard work, relentless dedication, and your outstanding commitment to helping us create such a successful event! 

We want to give a huge shoutout to all of our sponsors!


Thank you to our amazing sponsors:


Fisher Investments

UC Davis Graduate School of Management

Club Finance Council

UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Dawson Co.

California Hydronics Corporation

Student Recruitment and Retention Center

UC Davis Women's Resource and Retention Center

UC Davis Principles of Community 

Peets Coffee & Tea

Red Bull












Written by: Grace Chung

Photography Credit: Eric Ruperto

Davis Women in Business