NextGen Summit Embraces Change at USPTO

The ChIPs Network NextGen Summit 2023, an inspiring professional development gathering of women in technology and law, took flight with the theme of “tailwinds.” The event was held on September 19 at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, VA.

Joan Toth, ChIPs Executive Director, and Jackie Wright Bonilla, Deputy Chief Administrative Patent Judge at PTAB, opened the summit with captivating addresses that set the stage for a day of thought-provoking discussions. They both challenged participants in the early stages of their careers to confidently and collaboratively navigate the uncertainties of their professions.

The summit began with an energizing fireside chat featuring Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and Melissa Samano Ruiz, NextGen Committee Co-chair and Attorney at Cherry Johnson Siegmund James, PLLC. Director Vidal ignited attendees with her call to create “tailwinds” of mutual support, encouraging women to embrace change together and flourish in their careers.


Keynote speaker Samantha Crowe, PhD, ACC, CDTLF, a Leadership & Transformation Coach, took participants on a journey through the dynamics of change. She guided attendees in crafting personal compasses to navigate uncharted territories, advocating for self-discovery by reconnecting with core values, strengths, and potential waiting to be actualized.

The ChIPs Network NextGen Summit’s skill-building session featured Brittany Amadi, Partner at WilmerHale, presenting winning techniques for effective oral argument. Complemented by a panel of judicial experts, including Jackie Wright Bonilla, Deputy Chief Administrative Patent Judge at PTAB; Melissa Haapala, Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judge at PTAB; Farheena Rasheed, Deputy Solicitor at USPTO; and Christa Zado, Administrative Patent Judge at PTAB, attendees gained invaluable insights into persuasive oral argument techniques and behind-the-scenes expertise.

Meredith Price, NextGen Committee Co-chair and Senior Director of Legal at NVIDIA, moderated a panel discussion focused on the art of winning pitches. The panel included Veronica Ascarrunz, Partner and Co-chair of the firmwide ITC practice at Perkins Coie LLP; Vanessa Bailey, Head of Patent Public Policy at Amazon; Danielle Coleman, Senior Director & Associate General Counsel at VMware; Heather Choi, Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Baker Botts; and Ariana Woods, Head of Intellectual Property at Coinbase. This lively discussion delivered practical advice and strategies for success in competitive fields.

Heather M. Burke, NextGen Committee Co-chair and Partner at White & Case LLP, facilitated an engaging panel discussion on creative career paths. The session showcased accomplished lawyers who embarked on diverse career journeys, featuring Victoria Luxardo Jeffries, Global Head of Competition Policy at Meta; Olga V. Mack, VP & CEO at CounselLink CLM – LexisNexis; Hope Shimabuku, Regional Director of the Texas Regional USPTO; and Eulonda Skyles, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Humans to Humans.

The summit culminated with an enlightening panel discussion on artificial intelligence (AI), moderated by Elena DiMuzio, NextGen Committee Co-chair. Expert panelists, including Alyssa Golay, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells; Jessica Nguyen, CLO at Lexion; and Lisa Nguyen, Partner at Allen & Overy, unveiled practical applications of AI in legal operations, providing valuable insights and actionable advice.

ChIPs Network is excited to watch the growth of our online  NextGen Community, designed to foster engagement and provide members with timely content and updates. Aspiring and early-career professionals in technology and law are encouraged to join this vibrant community.

Review our MCLE content and submit your MCLE forms for the NextGen and Global Summits (contact Monica Phillips if you need assistance). For information on future partnership and sponsorship activities, contact Bridget Johnson.