2021-2022 President’s Letter

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There’s a famous proverb, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” If you were asking me, I’d say this sums up the past year pretty, pretty, pretty well (channeling some Larry David for those fellow Curb Your Enthusiasm fans – new season starts October 24th!) Larry David? Why mention Larry David in a NIRI President’s letter? Well, after I started writing this I saw that HBO is teasing the new Curb  season with the line, “the world has changed, he hasn’t”. Those that know the show can already imagine how funny the new season and plot lines will be.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

I doubt Investor Relations makes it into any episodes, but if it did they could focus on how so much has changed, but yet as IR Professionals we still find ourselves in a very similar place to where we were a year ago. Will we be going back to the office? Will investor days and conferences move back to in-person or is virtual the best way to always do them? What does a successful hybrid IR event really mean? Will big investors ever be willing to take meetings again in their offices? How many COVID tests will be required to execute a successful NDR or HQ investor visit? Most importantly, when will we move out of our virtual Zoom cocoons?

We are now entering another year knowing that Zoom will continue to replace most business travel.  Investor conferences will likely need to change in profound ways to lure participants back. Social distancing will remain an on-going consideration for the in-person IR meetings. The past year has been challenging, there’s no doubt. But organizations like NIRI and chapters like Silicon Valley exist and can thrive despite the challenges we all face. How you might ask? Well, for starters it is important in times like these to avoid self-isolating. It might feel easier and the path of least resistance, but it won’t help you meet new people, learn new things, and improve how you execute your job and meet the challenges ahead. Without a doubt, we can all benefit from improving our existing relationships, meeting new people, and learning from one another…even if that has to still happen virtually at times. Our chapter is starting out this year using our virtual platform for a fun Speed Networking event this week, but we expect to see our activities translate to the real-world soon with plans for an in-person Holiday Party in December already underway.

A year ago, when I took on the responsibility to be President of this great chapter, I re-examined our Mission to see if any significant updates were required to reflect today's reality. There weren't any then and there still are not any today. Our Board spent last year more tightly aligning our plans and objectives around our Mission and we are continuing to do the same for this year ahead.

Mission: The NIRI Silicon Valley Chapter was formed to advance the practice of investor relations within the local business environment. In keeping with this mission, the Chapter focuses on IR education, mentoring, and networking with the broad professional community. Our goal is to further the skills of our members, to expand their business opportunities, to increase Chapter membership, and to foster an environment that promotes IR learning for all.

Personally, this marks my seventh and final year on the NIRI Silicon Valley Board. I remain grateful to those Board members who came before me and laid the groundwork and structure for our chapter. Between NIRI Silicon Valley and NIRI NorCal, we have ~150 members and new ones signing up every month. We've decided to keep our theme for the upcoming year of "Cutting Through The Virtual Noise" as it still feels exceptionally relevant to the state of affairs we all manage every day.


There continues to be more high-quality IR educational content created in today's virtual world than any one IR professional or IR team can consume. As a result, our Board has decided not to focus on creating even more educational content. Instead, we will direct our energy towards curating and driving discussion and engagement around the excellent content that is already out there while focusing a lot of energy and efforts around networking and mentoring opportunities that happen when our chapter can facilitate engagement. We remain very focused on collaborating with other chapters and IR organizations. All of this supports our core value of communicating and fostering discussions and engagement amongst chapter members. This is where we believe the NIRI Silicon Valley Chapter can provide unique value to our members. It begins this Friday with our first event (details below).

  • 10/15 – Friday – 12pm: NIRI Silicon Valley Speed Networking – This event is all about engagement and meeting new people. Meet new IR Professionals in a casual low-stress and efficient way. Join us for the fun, you won’t regret it. Registration closes on Thursday, 10/14.

When it comes to the way I see the Board's three overarching goals this year, it is unchanged:  

  • Calling your attention to the best IR educational content from partners and sponsors via direct emails, social media, and our NIRISV.org website.
  • Providing informal Zoom chats and events (like the one above) where members have the opportunity to speak and meet new people in a casual and easy setting. We will continue to work with NIRI San Francisco this season by collaborating around the calendar, working closely with each other to ensure we don't overlap, and cross promoting each other's programs.
  • Focus efforts on informing and sharing ideas within our IR community and driving more dialogue via surveys, social media, and our website.

The NIRI Silicon Valley Board represents a diverse group of IR professionals across industries, market cap, and tenure (listed on the next page). We look forward to helping all our members cut through the virtual noise, focusing on curation, collaboration, and communication! Please email any thoughts or ideas to us at board@nirisv.org and we hope to see you all virtually this Friday!  


Kevin Kessel

Kevin Kessel, CFA
President, NIRI Silicon Valley
Vice President, Investor Relations and Market Analytics at KLA

NIRI Silicon Valley 2021 – 2022 Board of Directors

  • Kevin Kessel, President, VP of IR and Market Analytics at KLA
  • Vern Essi, President Elect, Former Senior Director of IR and Corporate Development at Inphi
  • Kim Watkins, Treasurer, VP of IR at Intuit

Digital Content, Communications and Marketing Committee

  • Ben Lu, CFO at Archer
  • Katherine Chen, Head of IR at Eventbrite
  • Jennifer Zibuda, Director of IR and Communications at Prothena
  • Susanna Chau, Director of IR at Atara

Programs and Seminars Committee

  • Mary Turnbull, Managing Director and Head of Corporate Access at Raymond James
  • Mary Lai, VP of IR at NortonLifeLock
  • Shelia Ennis, SVP at Abernathy MacGregor
  • Chris Faralli, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Elaine Gaudioso, IR Manager at Box, Director at Large

Membership Committee

  • Bill Choi, SVP of IR and Strategic Finance at Zscaler
  • Alex Porter, Managing Director, Nasdaq’s Corporate Platforms

Sponsorship Committee

  • Traci Tsuchiguchi, VP of IR and Corporate Sustainability at Citrix
  • Kate Scolnick, CFO at Owlet, Director at Large

If you are interested in gaining important leadership skills and being able to work with a great group of people we have an opportunity for you! We are in the process of putting together our Board Volunteer committee. Please email us at board@nirisv.org or just reach out to any board members directly for more information.