(l-r): Carrie Stett, Nora Kirkpatrick, Samantha Gorman, Nicole McDonald, Tanya Leal Soto, Lily Baldwin, Aya Tanimura, Anne Marie, Janie Fitzgerald, Jenn Duong

On Friday, June 1st, Free The Bid, our Innovation Ambassador Nicole McDonald (VR/Interactive Director), and Julia Sourikoff (EP, VR/AR, Tool of North America) hosted “Women Directors Telling Groundbreaking Stories in VR/AR,” a West Coast gathering of all-star women working within the VR, AR, new media and innovation space.

We were lucky enough to get together at the Baume House in Malibu, where guests were treated to scenic ocean views and tasty treats courtesy of Impossible Burger. The highlight of the day was a panel discussion between four luminary women representing tech companies who are excelling in innovative storytelling.
Moderated by Free The Bid’s Executive Director Emma Reeves, the panel consisted of Julia Hamilton Trost (Head of VR/AR Content and Partnerships, YouTube), Sam Reich (Director of Marketing, Microsoft), Sasha Samochina (Immersive Visualization Specialist, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab), and Manjula Nadkarni (Head of Content and Innovation #Studio, Twitter). The audience had the opportunity to learn insider information about incredible new projects, gain tips on emerging trends in the fast-moving field, and afterwards, the women creators in attendance were able to connect one-on-one with the companies who are commissioning groundbreaking work. 
If you weren’t there, don’t despair – everyone has a chance to learn from our panelists’ insights thanks to director Carrie Stett‘s amazing livestream of the panel discussion, available to view over and over again on Free The Bid’s Facebook.
The brilliant Lauren Crew was on hand to document the whole shebang – check out her photos of the day below!
Sun, ocean breezes, and tech talk with some of the field’s best and brightest? All in all, not the worst way to spend a Friday! We had an amazing time and can’t wait for more opportunities to work on our base tan in the company of boundary-breaking women creators.
Special thanks to the Baume team, Starworks Group, and Impossible Burger for making this magical event possible! A sincere thank you as well to Carrie Stett, technical director George Barnes and the rest of the live team for making our livestream dreams come true.
For more information on the distinctions between the ever-evolving Innovation disciplines, click HERE to read our Innovation 101 guide. Visit our database to browse through the growing number of profiles for women creators working in the Innovation space!


Countdown to the livestream…



Sam Reich, Director of Marketing, Microsoft; Manjula Nadkarni, Head of Content and Innovation #Studio, Twitter



Julia Hamilton Trost, Head of VR/AR Content and Partnerships, YouTubeSasha Samochina, Immersive Visualization Specialist, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab



Livestream director Carrie Stett, hard at work


Some of the amazing creators who joined us included…



Jenn Duong; Janie Fitzgerald



Milica Zec; Lily Baldwin



Aya Tanimura; Tanya Leal Soto



Nora Kirkpatrick; Anne Marie



Annie Saunders; Samantha Gorman



(l-r) Mordecai & Melissa Moore of Innocean; Jenn Duong, Tyler Hicks



(l-r) Oge Egbuonu, Molly DeWolf Swenson



Julia Sourikoff, EP, VR/AR, Tool of North America & Free The Bid Innovation Ambassador



Free The Bid Executive Director Emma Reeves



Aya Tanimura (and some bird friends)