Deborah Perry Piscione is a serial entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, speaker and innovation process expert. She is a Principal and Co-Founder at Vorto Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based boutique-consulting firm dedicated to enabling companies to innovate and grow. Deborah is the architect of the new innovation methodology, Improvisational Innovation™, which engages all of the organization’s talent in bottoms up innovation.
In addition, Deborah is the Co-Founder and CEO of Desha Productions, Inc. (parent company of BettyConfidential and Alley to the Valley®), a content production studio, which creates content and community for the coveted female audience. In addition, Deborah is a New York Times bestselling author of Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and her most recent book, The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters and the Occasional Spectacular Failure (St. Martin’s Press, 2015). She is also is the co-author (with Dr. Julianne Malveaux) of a Washington Post bestseller entitled Unfinished Business: a Democrat and Republican Take on the 10 most Important Issues Women Face (Perigee, September 2002).
As a television and radio commentator, Deborah has appeared as a guest on the Today show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Politically Incorrect, among others. She has been featured in leading women’s magazines such as MORE, Ladies’ Home Journal, and in print publications including the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fast Company and Forbes. Early in her career, Deborah served as congressional staffer for then U.S. Senator Connie Mack, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and a political appointee for President George Bush (41st president), and specialized her legislative and executive career in foreign policy.
Deborah 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 femaleentrepreneurs, 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).
The brothers take kid users on an interactive, story-driven journey and educatethem through assessing and solving challenges, deciphering puzzles, constructing gadgets, utilizing tools, and exploring tactics as the kids strive for “Supremius Genius” status. In the process, kids will be taught subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry, robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI) and aeronautics. In addition, the software will monitor the children’s progress for parents. Chump Genius’™ first product will be a video game for cross-platform applications, expanding into an app series, traditional and comic books, merchandise, and treatments for television.
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 strategicpartners across multimedia platforms including companies such as Electus (IAC), Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and Meredith Corporation, among others. Built on a proprietary content management system, BettyConfidential® was designed for easy usability for non-technical users, moving content rapidly in a 24/7 news cycle. 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 websites, and min’s Editorial Excellence award in 2010. In early 2012, Deborah worked to diversify revenue streams and drove the expansion of the BettyConfidential® brand into e-commerce flash sales of style and beauty products, and a soon-to-be launched social platform for designers and style and beauty bloggers.
In November 2010, Deborah created Alley to the Valley® for the purposes of deal flow among leading women in entrepreneurship, venture capital, corporateexecutives 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 expandingglobally 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.
In 2014, Deborah wrote The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure and in 2012, Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World, 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. The book was published by Palgrave-MacMillan, draws on examples and interviews leading people and companies in Silicon Valley, including technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and service providers to show how freedom and collaboration (including collaboration between public and private institutions) produce high-quality, forward-looking, socially conscious and profitable enterprises, and show’s how these factors can be applied in other cities, communities and business cultures to produce similar results. Deborah explores why the unique culture of innovation and progress in Silicon Valley represents our best hope for the future, and how it avoids the pitfalls of more traditional corporate culture in areas as varied as creativity, gender equity, speed to market, etc.
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.
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 SiliconValley 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 herundergraduate degree in communications from Florida State University. An avid runner, outdoor enthusiast, and international traveler, Deborah lives in Silicon Valley, CA with her husband, twin boys (ages 9) and daughter (age 6).