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American Program Bureau Speaking to the world for over 50 years

Deborah Perry Piscione

Best-Selling Author & Business Thought Leader


Deborah Perry Piscione is the author of Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World and the co-author of Unfinished Business: The Ten Most Important Issues Women Face Today. Secrets of Silicon Valley has been called a "must read for anyone who wants to learn from Silicon Valley's success" and her speaking style has been described by one executive as "summer camp for smart people." As an expert on Silicon Valley, its management, and creating entrepreneurial ecosystems, Piscione shares Silicon Valley secrets with governments, businesses, and organizations around the world, suggesting ways other entities can achieve a similar alchemy.

Piscione is a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur in digital and traditional media who fell into entrepreneurship after a cross-country move from Washington, DC, to Silicon Valley. She built three companies in six years: BettyConfidential, a leader in the content and ecommerce space; Alley to the Valley, a network of the world's most influential women; and Chump Genius, an educational gaming company for kids. Prior to her move to Silicon Valley in 2006, Piscione spent 18 years as a policy staffer in the US Congress and the White House and as an on-air commentator.

Deborah Perry Piscione has won numerous awards, including the Silicon Valley Woman Business Owner of the Year in 2009, a Gracie Allen Award, and a distinguished award from The White House Project.


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.

Based on her forthcoming book, RISK!: Why Every Company Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters and the Occasional Spectacular Failure, Piscione shares fascinating stories of pioneering leaders and companies, providing insightful lessons of how a particular area of risk accelerated their business value. Offering a practical ‘how to’ on adopting similar practices, and tailoring her presentation to your specific needs, Piscione explores risk practice areas including:

  • Personal Risk
  • Leadership
  • Talent Development & Employee Benefits
  • Work Environments
  • Decision-making (collaboration)
  • Innovation
  • Marketing/ Business Development
  • Supply Chain and Distribution
  • Pivoting
  • Customer Service
  • Social Responsibility

Unlocking the Secrets of Silicon Valley

The economy is shaky, unemployment is high, and everyone's worried about our nation's ability to compete. But in one small corner of America, business is booming, employers are hiring, and things have never looked brighter. That corner is 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.

Piscione shares Silicon Valley's key factors for success: a culture of collaboration, a high tolerance for risk, a welcoming approach to immigrants, and a willingness to share the bounty and give everyone a sense of ownership.

Drawing on case studies from leading Silicon Valley innovators, Piscione shows that Silicon Valley's secrets can be shared and that its remarkable success can be replicated around the world.

Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Why do governments around the world continuously send delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? In a time of economic downturn, what can Silicon Valley teach the rest of the world about entrepreneurialism and innovation?

The secret is in the synergy that creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione explains how different parts of the ecosystem come together as an interconnected web: the innovative approaches to business and finance, the collaborative ventures between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community, the networks, the commercialization know-how, the open attitude toward immigrants, and all the other extras that attract the creative class and boost the quality of life.

But then there's also that elusive spark: the quality of entrepreneurialism that is the region's signature asset - its sport, religion, and identity. As Piscione explains, there are six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate: passion, authenticity, love of ideas, appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. With the spirit of entrepreneurialism at the heart of the ecosystem, you create a distinct and extraordinary culture in which business is conducted not as cutthroat competition but as open inquiry and collaboration that nurture ideas, talent, products, and human potential.

Piscione's presentation captures the best of Silicon Valley so that others may create similar ecosystems and share in its success.

Igniting Innovation

Silicon Valley is world renowned as a center for innovation. Every five to ten years, someone in Silicon Valley creates something that inspires everyone else to follow. The culture of innovation in the Valley has spawned countless new companies, business models, products, and processes and has become a major driver for global development.

But what exactly is innovation and what role has it played in the region's extraordinary growth? Is it something that can be cultivated, imported, or purchased? Can other regions learn some of Silicon Valley's innovative tricks?

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.

So how do you create a culture of innovation? Is there a reliable, replicable way to generate it?
Piscione explains that a culture of innovation can be embedded within organizations through deliberate strategies and structures. It can mean giving people more space and time to be creative - like Google's famous "20 percent time." It can mean loosening formal structures. Sometimes just being willing to do things differently can open the door to innovation.

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.

The Alley to the Valley Method takes place at multiple locations during the year and has built a vast online community accessible to all participants. It is now being requested by Fortune 500 companies around the world that want to develop leadership capabilities, foster collaborative thinking, and create structures for the sharing of resources.

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