Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author,
Womens Issues and Public Policy Speaker
Deborah Perry Piscione is a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur in digital and traditional media whose experience spans the operations, content and e-commerce sides of digital media. Deborah co-founded Chump Genius™, an educational gaming company, and Desha Productions, Inc. the parent company of BettyConfidential®, a leading content and e-commerce site, and Alley to the Valley®, a community of the world’s most influential female entrepreneurs, investors, an corporate executives for deal flow. Prior to her move to Silicon Valley in 2006, Deborah spent 18 years in Washington, DC as a staffer in the U.S. Congress and The White House in addition to serving as a lobbyist. Deborah is also a bestselling author, on-air commentator, and public speaker and guest lecturer on topics including the Silicon Valley ecosystem and culture in addition to growing regional economies through innovation, entrepreneurship, and public policy issues.
In 2012, Deborah created and co-founded Chump Genius™, an educational gaming company that will teach 21st century science and math education to kids, ages 8 and up. Co-founded with 3D illustrators Mark and Lee Fullerton, the Chump Genius™ brand franchise is based on humorous, time travel adventures of twin boy characters, Drake and Dominick (Deborah’s real life sons).
Deborah is also the co-founder and CEO of Desha Productions, Inc., a company that owns and operates BettyConfidential.com® and Alley to the Valley®. Under her leadership, BettyConfidential® has become one of most recognizable lifestyle brands on the web for women (ages 18-49). Since 2007, Deborah has managed the operations (P&L), strategic planning and corporate development, and has worked with strategic partners across multimedia platforms including companies such as Electus (IAC), Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and Meredith Corporation, among others. The site reached #7 in comScore’s Beauty & Fashion category, and has received awards including AlwaysOn’s OnHollywood 100 list of World’s Top Private Companies in Digital Entertainment, Forbes Top 100 Women’s web sites, and min’s Editorial Excellence award in 2010.
In November 2010, Deborah created Alley to the Valley® for the purposes of deal flow among leading women in entrepreneurship, venture capital, corporate executives and government officials. Alley to the Valley® is often described by many of the country’s leading women as the most powerful networking group ever and “summer camp for smart women.” After a move to Silicon Valley from the East Coast, Deborah found the need to bridge highly accomplished women across the country, and provide a platform for dealmaking. In doing so, she trains highly-accomplished women in the Alley to the Valley® method to act upon their “asks” and simultaneously bring their “offers” to the table so that their businesses have an opportunity to rise to the next level. Organized around the country and expanding globally in 2013, Alley to the Valley® offers intimate in-person summits (50 women per summit), and continues dealmaking methods through its online community, making Alley to the Valley® the most productive ROI time spent outside of the office. Alley to the Valley® participants include entrepreneurs such as Jean Chatzky, Christina Brodbeck and Dr. Taryn Rose; venture capitalists such as Heidi Roizen, Nanon de Gaspe Beaubien-Mattrick, Amy Banse (Comcast Ventures), Rachel Lam (Time Warner Investments) and Barbara Corcoran (cohost and investor, NBC’s Shark Tank); corporate executives such as Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Robin Pringle (Liberty Media); and other leading women such as U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.
Books and Publications
In December 2014, Piscione released her groundbreaking new book, The Risk Factor: Why Every Company Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters and the Occasional Spectacular Failure. In the book, Piscione outlines how companies must support risk-taking. She explores those enterprising risk takers, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and technologists, and the role risk-taking and failure tolerance play in their success. In 2012, Piscione released Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World, which covers the characteristics of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, the history of how the culture came into being, the future of innovation and exponential technologies, and whether Silicon Valley can be replicated.
Deborah is also the co-author (with Dr. Julianne Malveaux) of the Washington Post bestseller entitled Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face (Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Putnam, September 2002).
Prior to moving to Silicon Valley, Deborah spent over a decade as a television and radio commentator on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and National Public Radio. As a television and radio commentator, Deborah has appeared as a guest on the Today Show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, The McLaughlin Group, The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Politically Incorrect, and has been a featured guest on PBS, BET, and National Public Radio programs including Justice Talking, Public Interest and The Tavis Smiley Show. She has been featured in leading women’s magazines such as MORE and Ladies’ Home Journal, and in newspapers including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News. Earlier in her career, Deborah served as a lobbyist at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson and Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, working on financial derivatives and education issues. Deborah was appointed as a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC. She has also been a guest lecturer at Stanford University. Deborah served as a congressional staffer for then-U.S. Senator Connie Mack, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (now Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), and a political appointee for President George Bush (41st president), and specialized her legislative and executive career in foreign policy. As a legislative assistant for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Deborah spent much of her focus on the Refusenik issue of Soviet Jews and Israel’s eventual absorption of Soviet scientists and engineers. She worked on legislation and traveled to Israel to oversee and monitor U.S. loan guarantees that assisted in housing and services for the Soviet Jews upon their arrival to Israel.
Awards and Accolades
From these positions, Deborah gained a breadth of writing experience in op-eds, political speeches, and press releases, and later became a freelance writer for magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal and National Geographic Traveler. She has won numerous awards including the 2009 Silicon Valley Women Business Owner of the Year, a Gracie Allen Award for her participation in a debate for NPR’s Justice Talking, and a distinguished award from The White House Project
Deborah created Drake and Dominick Giving, a foundation named after her twin boys and their interest in the well-being of foster children. Drake and Dominick Giving has partnered with the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program to provide financial support for foster kids’ college readiness, and in the past has worked with the National Heart Gallery to encourage greater adoption rates of foster children.
Deborah received her graduate degree in liberal studies, with an emphasis on international affairs and economics from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree in communications from Florida State University.
RISK!: Why Every Company Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters & the Occasional Spectacular Failure
A key leadership tool, risk is the newest and fastest growing area in management research, with Deborah Perry Piscione paving the way. Imperative for professional and business success, risk is often seen in negative light—that something valuable may be lost—when, in fact, it should be viewed as a tremendously positive force for change or innovation.
Unlocking the Secrets of Silicon Valley
In this keynote, best-selling author and speaker Deborah Perry Piscione reveals the secrets of Silicon Valley. She traces the history of the Valley back to its earliest days as a sleepy agricultural area filled with orchards and flowering trees and outlines the initial steps that set the region on its course to becoming the center of the electronics and semiconductor industries, the breeding ground for a vibrant venture capital culture, and the epicenter of high-tech innovation.
In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione sheds light on this critical factor in the remarkable success of Silicon Valley and corrects a few misunderstandings. Innovation is not the same as invention. It doesn't have to be a revolutionary new process or a breakthrough product. It doesn't have to be disruptive. It can be a small improvement or refinement that simply pushes a product or process to the next level. It can be a return to the basics. Piscione explains what types of Silicon Valley industries lead the way in innovation and which strategies helped put them ahead.
Collaboration: The Alley to the Valley Method
Starting out as a matchmaking summit between the world's most powerful women in entrepreneurship, venture capital, and private equity, Alley to the Valley has grown into a unique and groundbreaking method for promoting successful deal making and "deal flow" on a multitude of levels. All attendees have something they want to achieve in the areas of investment, strategic partnerships, exit strategies, corporate board seats, and connections. They may also be looking for a book deal, branding and public relations advice, or executive coaching. Alley to the Valley helps participants with anything that takes their business to the next level. Led by Alley to the Valley creator and speaker Deborah Perry Piscione, the process begins with participants seated around an open table, publicly sharing their most important "asks" and "offers." The next stage involves a series of structured group meetings and one-on-one engagements that create opportunities to leverage networks and resources. By the end of the session, more than 90 percent of participants say their "asks" have been met.