Meet our panelists

Meet the panelists for Marco Polo's first public event, "Moms, how are you really doing?"
Mental Health
Friends & Family

Vlada Bortnik, CEO and co-founder Marco Polo

Vlada Bortnik is co-founder and CEO of Marco Polo, the popular video chat app that brings authenticity and everyday joy to your closest relationships. An immigrant from Ukraine in the former Soviet Union, Vlada’s path to Silicon Valley is one of determination and steadfast passion for building technology that brings people together. Vlada is a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in computer engineering. After five years at Microsoft, where she helped design and launch the first content publishing platform for Office Online, she and her husband, Michał, co-founded Bortnik Labs, a consulting firm specializing in startup strategy, product management, and design. In 2012 they founded Joya Communications, the parent company of Marco Polo, combining their skills and experience to create a better way to help people stay close, no matter the distance. Vlada’s approach to life as a busy mom and tech CEO is grounded in mindfulness and meditation, and her philosophy of working joyfully and purposefully is built into the culture at Marco Polo. Vlada and Michał Bortnik live in Palo Alto, California with their two daughters.

Libby Ward, Diary of an Honest Mom

Libby is a digital creator, speaker, and advocate for moms everywhere. With a following of over 2+ million across platforms, Libby's content reaches millions of women around the world each week and is changing the motherhood narrative. She's been featured on The BBC, Good Morning America, The Tamron Hall Show and is a member of the inaugural Hello Sunshine Collective, Reese Witherspoon's media company on a mission to change the narrative for women.

As a thought leader in today's complex experiences of motherhood, Libby dreams of a world where moms see their value and the rest of society does too. Her best-selling guided journal The Honest Mom Journal has sold thousands of copies worldwide. Join the free Journal with Libby Challenge May 13-17th here. Find her on social media @diaryofanhonestmom at and on her website and fall in love with her authentic content sure to inspire and entertain you each day.

Erica Djossa, CEO and founder of Momwell

Erica Djossa is a registered psychotherapist specializing in maternal mental health with over a decade of experience. As a mother of three rambunctious young boys, Erica understands first-hand the challenges of motherhood. Perfectionism, pressure, and loss of identity fueled her battle with postpartum depression, and she realized how difficult it is to seek care. She founded Momwell to set a standard of care for providers and ensure mom-centred specialized mental health support at any stage of motherhood. Erica has been featured in media publications including Time Magazine, Washington Post, USA Today, The Toronto Star, Breakfast Television, and Scary Mommy. For more, visit

Sheena Vogel, Embracing.Extra

Sheena Vogel and her husband, Paul, have four young boys, two of whom have Down syndrome. She shares her insights, support, and a glimpse into her daily life through her Instagram account, Embracing.Extra, fostering a virtual community of understanding and solidarity. She works full-time and is active in the local Down Syndrome Association, raising funds and supporting families facing similar challenges. She is also a member of the First Call Committee, the first point of contact for families navigating the news of a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Recognizing the need for more personal and real-time connection, she started a Marco Polo group for moms in the local Down syndrome community. The chat helps normalize some of the nuances of her family dynamics and provides space to grieve, share, and learn. This group of women has become Sheena's every day!

She invites anyone grappling with similar experiences to reach out, reminding them that they are not alone and that together, they can navigate life's challenges and joys.