Executive search firm execs speak at Silicon Valley summit hosted by Stanford

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 441 views 

Two Northwest Arkansas executives spoke at a recent Silicon Valley summit hosted by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB).

Denise Natishan and Beth Pittman with Cameron Smith & Associates (CSA) of Rogers were two of several featured speakers at the Me2We2019 Conference. Natishan is a senior partner at the boutique executive search firm. Pittman is a partner.

Me2We is the capstone on-campus event for the GSB’s “LEAD” program (Lead, Engage, Accelerate, Disrupt). The annual event brings together over 400 Stanford LEAD GSB students and alumni from nearly 70 countries for three days at Stanford University. The conference features keynote speakers, Stanford GSB professors, Venture Capital bootcamps, design thinking workshops, expert panels, visits to prestigious Silicon Valley companies and networking opportunities.

Hundreds of executives from companies like Google, Airbnb, Oracle, Intel, Tesla, Walmart, Amazon, Apple and LinkedIn attended the event. The conference was co-organized by Northwest Arkansas tech executive Bill Akins, a former Rockfish/VML executive and now chief of staff, director of data planning and communication for Walmart Labs. Akins is a recent graduate of the Stanford LEAD program and MIT’s Entrepreneurial Bootcamp.

Natishan and Pittman were invited to lead an interactive session discussing the issues around attracting and retaining top diverse talent, especially women.

“Promoting gender diversity has been a passion for both Denise and Beth for many years,” said Cameron Smith, the founder and president of the eponymous firm. “They were instrumental in launching our gender diversity board seat initiative back in 2015. Since that time they’ve become experts in the challenges and value of attracting, retaining and inspiring diverse talent.

“In view of the fact they were invited speakers to such an important conference, to say I’m extremely proud of them would be an understatement.”

Bill Groves, Walmart’s chief data officer, was also among the conference’s several speakers.

Founded in 1994, Cameron Smith & Associates specializes in placing consumer products professionals at all levels. The company was recently ranked No. 90 on Forbes magazine’s ranking of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms. It was the only Arkansas company on the list.