sarahSarah Milstein
Conference Host

Sarah Milstein is CEO and co-founder, with Eric Ries, of Lean Startup Productions, a media company that teaches people how to build and scale high-growth startups. She is also co-author, with Tim O’Reilly, of The Twitter Book, and she writes regularly about race, gender and merit-based decision making. Her career has spanned the tech and media sectors, including hosting influential conferences like Web 2.0 Expo and Tools of Change for Publishing (TOC). During the first wave of the commercial Internet, she was a regular freelance contributor to The New York Times, among other outlets. Before that, she founded Just Food’s CSA in NYC program and helped children’s musician Laurie Berkner launch her record label. She blogs at, contributes to other sites, and splits her time between New York and San Francisco. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a BA from Rutgers University. Bonus fact: She was the 21st user of Twitter.

Contact Sarah at [email protected]


ericries-130x170Eric Ries
Conference Host

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business, published by Crown Business. He graduated in 2001 from Yale University with a B.S. in Computer Science. While an undergraduate, he co-founded Catalyst Recruiting. Ries continued his entrepreneurial career as a Senior Software Engineer at, leading efforts in agile software development and user-generated content. He later co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup. In 2007, BusinessWeek named Ries one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech. In 2008 he served as a venture advisor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers before moving on to advise startups independently. Today he serves on the board of directors for Code for America and on the advisory board of a number of technology startups and venture capital firms. In 2009, Ries was honored with a TechFellow award in the category of Engineering Leadership. In 2010, he was named entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School and is currently an IDEO Fellow. The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., Wired, Fast Company, and countless blogs. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Tara.


heathermcgough-130x170Heather McGough
Executive Producer

Heather McGough is an Executive Producer for Lean Startup Productions’ various events including The Lean Startup Conference, Office Optional and Quick Consulting series. As the founder of Urbanity Events, her focus is on education-based entrepreneurial conferences across sectors, startup pitch events and launch parties. She is known for honoring commitments, a genuine interest in the goals of partners and sponsors, leadership in the global educational entrepreneurial community, and ability to meaningfully connect people. Having deep roots in the non-profit sector, she has created multiple programs for underserved youth living in low-income housing, as well as programming for adult English language learners. She has inspired hundreds of volunteers, is a mentor to two young women and serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Global Lives Project. She has always been one to look at the challenges facing those in the world around her, and to take action to help improve conditions of her fellow human beings. In her spare time, she works on a startup called Adoptful.

Contact Heather at [email protected]


mel-130x170Melissa Z. Moore
Executive Producer

Melissa Moore is an Executive Producer for Lean Startup Productions, overseeing logistics and operations. She has managed and produced dozens of technology and entrepreneurship conferences over the past 3 years in San Francisco, New York, and London. Prior to event production, she worked in advertising sales and startup operations. Melissa has worked remotely for the past 5 years and is an avid world traveler. Her “office” has been wherever her travels have taken her, from a charming patisserie in Paris, to a beach-side bungalow in Maui, and a high-rise condo overlooking the mean streets of Bangkok.

Contact Melissa at [email protected]


michkimble-130x170Michele Kimble
Social Media & Livestream Coordinator

Michele Kimble is the social media and livestream coordinator for Lean Startup Productions. Formerly an editor for O’Reilly Media, Black Sparrow Press, and Red Wheel Weiser Press, Michele now writes for corporate marketing departments and runs social media programs for various clients. Though she now resides in California, she grew up in Canada and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Western Ontario. Like other members of this team, Michele loves to travel and values the ability to take her office with her, wherever she goes!

Contact Michele at [email protected]


debbieDebbie Pfeifer
Public Relations

Debbie Pfeifer handles media relations and communications for Lean Startup Productions. As a consultant, she has managed corporate positioning, media and analyst relations, and internal communications for a number of start-ups and established companies, including Innovacyn, Lascaux Co., Gene Network Sciences and Game Ready. Previously, Debbie worked in-house heading up PR for Wesabe, Popular Power and PowerBar.  She did her time started her career at a Los Angeles-based public relations agency. Originally from Nebraska, Debbie now calls Seattle home and lives with her husband and twin boys.

Contact Debbie at [email protected]