Best of ELEVATE 2024: From Non-Linear Paths to LLMs, Staff Engineering, Being Visible, & Human Impact

girl geek x elevate summer conference speakers speaking women in tech speakers

June, 5, 2024 – Girl Geek X: ELEVATE Conference and Career Fair for mid-to-senior women in tech hosted over a thousand women & allies globally, with 85% attendees interested in hearing about jobs, over two dozen speakers, & recruiting at virtual Employer Booths. Help a girl geek land her next job in tech!

Here are the most-watched 15 sessions from June’s ELEVATE 2024 Conference & Career Fair! Videos are publicly shared to Girl Geek X’s YouTube channel:

  1. My Non-Linear Path to Vice President of Engineering – Rashmi Channarayapattna (Salesforce Vice President of Engineering)
  2. Career Fair Kickoff: Employer & Company Introduction – Attentive – Katie Ledoux (Attentive Chief Information Security Officer), Neha Srivastava (Attentive Staff Software Engineer at Attentive), Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch (Attentive Director of Recruiting)
  3. LLM-Powered Agents: GenAI’s Next Frontier – Shelby Heinecke (Salesforce Senior AI Research Manager)
  4. 5 Practical Tips To Be An Effective Staff Engineer – Swathi Sundar (Benchling Head of System of Record Engineering)
  5. Connect to Thrive: The Power of Building Networks – Eirini Syka Lerioti (ASML Developer Relations Program Manager)
  6. Self Advocacy for Introverts – Shradha Doshi (Comcast Senior Product Manager)
  7. Be Visible: Overcoming the Queasiness of Self Promotion – Lade Tawak (UX Researcher)
  8. Reducing Bias in the Workplace – Boomie Odumade (Senior Director of Engineering, MIG)
  9. From SWE to Executive Director – Sweta Sinha (Executive Director, Data Products Platform, JP Morgan Chase)
  10. Responsible Use of Generative AI – Pratibha Rathore (Meta Tech Lead, Applied Research Scientist)
  11. From Code to Consequences: Software’s Human Impact – Christina Liu (Cisco Senior Security Engineer)
  12. Finding Your Voice in Tech as a Non-Technical Woman, Non-Binary Product Manager – Sowmya Subramanian (Development Seed Product Manager)
  13. Everything You Need To Know About Customer Facing Roles in Tech – Rosie Sennett (Splunk Staff Sales Engineer)
  14. Scaling Key-Value Stores: Adaptive Strategies for Diverse Access Needs at Any Scale – Vidhya Arvind (Netflix Staff Software Engineer)
  15. Create Your Own Custom GPT on OpenAI’s ChatGPT – Dimitra Charalampopoulou (Intel ML Engineer)

About Our Sponsor: Attentive® is the AI marketing platform for leading brands, designed to optimize message performance through 1:1 SMS and email interactions. Infusing intelligence at every stage of the consumer’s purchasing journey. Watch Attentive’s Employer Intro for insights on product, teams, hiring process, open remote & hybrid jobs.


Check out open jobs at Attentive!

If your company is looking to recruit more women this year, please don’t let them miss out on our next ELEVATE Virtual Conference & Career Fair sponsorship opportunity on June 5.

We also partner with companies monthly on Girl Geek Dinners in the San Francisco Bay Area, booking now for 2024 summer and fall.

Please email and we’ll be in touch.

Thank you in advance!

Angie Chang, Sukrutha Bhadouria, Amy Weicker, Amanda Beaty and the team at Girl Geek X


Check out these featured career opportunities from our mission-aligned partners, and visit our open jobs page to view even more opportunities!

Feel free to list “Girl Geek X” as your referral. Forward this to a friend — Help a fellow girl geek land her next job in tech!

Rashmi Channarayapattna ELEVATE June quote
Boomie Odumade ELEVATE June quote
Swathi Sundar ELEVATE June quote
Sowmya Subramanian ELEVATE June quote ()
Shelby Heinecke ELEVATE June quote
Margaret Wang Johnston ELEVATE June quote

Daniela Steinsapir ELEVATE June quote
Eirini Lerioti ELEVATE June quote

Manali Rane ELEVATE June quote

Sweta Sinha ELEVATE June quote

Christina Liu ELEVATE June quote

Nataliya Nadtoka ELEVATE June quote

Vandana Sharma ELEVATE June quote

Neha Srivastava ELEVATE June quote

Dimitra Charalampopoulou ELEVATE June quote

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Pratibha Rathore ELEVATE June quote

Rosie Sennett ELEVATE June quote

Vidhya Arvind ELEVATE June quote

Jessie Heng ELEVATE June quote

Shubhi Asthana ELEVATE June quote

Lade Tawak ELEVATE June quote ()

Chisom Nwokwu ELEVATE June quote

Shradha Doshi ELEVATE June quote

ELEVATE 2024 Career Fair Kickoff – Employer Intro – Attentive (Video + Transcript)

Katie Ledoux (Chief Information Security Officer at Attentive), Neha Srivastava (Staff Software Engineer at Attentive) and Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch (Director of Recruiting at Attentive) speak about the company, hiring, open roles, and more.

Attentive® is the AI marketing platform for leading brands, designed to optimize message performance through 1:1 SMS and email interactions.


Check out open jobs at Attentive!


Katie Ledoux:

Hi everyone. I’m going to introduce myself first. I’m Katie Ledoux. I am the Chief Information Security Officer at Attentive. Neha. You want to go next?

Neha Srivastava:

Yes. Hi, I’m Nehes Srivastava. I’m a Staff Engineer in the Product Engineering org at Attentive.

Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch:

And I’m Margo. I’m director of recruiting over here at Attentive. Cool. Katie, kick us off.

Katie Ledoux:

Yes. Little bit about who we are, attentive, really pioneered text message marketing, and let’s give you a little bit of the Attentive experience.

I’d love to invite you to text “Hire me” to the number 2 1 7 1 8 and Neha, you’re going to put that in the comments, right? Thank you. You should be getting a message back from us shortly.

You may have interacted with some of our customers on SMS before, maybe you get texted a coupon code from your favorite brands.

We work with companies like H&M, Wayfair, Reebok, Margot just watched me through the companies I was allowed to name yesterday, Urban Outfitters, I’m allowed to name them.

Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch:


Katie Ledoux:

Yes, and other funny ones that I can’t name, but just trust me, they’re funny in terms of where we are going as a company.

We’re really moving away from a world slowly, but over time we think marketing is going to move away from a world where our customers are sending massive messages to all of their subscribers or to big chunks of their subscribers and really moving towards one-to-one messaging.

I say slowly some of a lot of our customers are already doing this may be some more legacy customers, it’ll take them a little longer to move in that direction.

We really want to go to a place where we’re sending you as a subscriber exactly the right message from exactly the right brand that you’re interested in, at exactly the time that you want to make this purchase for an item that you are actually interested in buying instead of a link to a page of a billion different things that are on sale.

That’s the journey, and of course that’s powered by AI and ML and Neha. Maybe you can…

Neha Srivastava:

Yeah, absolutely. A little bit more. Yeah, absolutely. As Katie mentioned, Attentive Engineering’s biggest challenge right now is to deliver extremely personalized experiences to subscribers of our clients.

Now this isn’t very interesting problem if you really think about it because unlike others, we’re evolving from being a marketing tool to an active partner to the marketing departments of various companies.

We are doing lots of exciting things, which range from writing AI ML models to generating product recommendations and figuring out the best time to send a marketing text. And this is all driven out of the personalization. This is using AI and ML for the benefit of marketing to drive higher productivity, but also great experience for the end user.

Instead of getting a generic text that says, “Hey, Neha, come buy shoes,” and all the links that you get are all men’s shoes, which don’t even appear in my size, which leads to a frustrating experience, you would actually be directed to, “Hey Neha, you were checking out this great shoe at your favorite brand the other day. We found some other recommendations that you might like, which are in my size and available” and I can buy right now and potentially even in my budget.

Driving this life of type of personalization is a very complex engineering challenge and I’m very excited to be working on this. By the way, that’s my project, so that’s why I can talk too much about it.

The problems we’re looking to solve are ahead of the game, yet complex and challenging so that if you’re like me, someone who gets excited about solving complex problems for the business, you’d absolutely love it here.

Generally speaking, our product engineering orgs sits in a New York platform, is remote and AI ML teams sit in SF.

However, almost all of the projects are extremely cross-functional, so regardless of which location you’re in, you’ll end up working on the same projects and you’ll get a piece of the pie and problems that you would love to solve.

We’re hiring across the board and Margo will tell you all about that.

Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch:

Awesome. Thanks Neha. Alright, let’s talk recruiting. Our engineering org is about 230 people spread out across the US.

We do have offices in San Francisco and in New York. Our interview process for a standard software engineer is really consistent across all of our teams and locations.

It’s about a 3-week process starting off with a recruiter screen. Then, you move to a 60 minute interview with one of our senior engineers. That conversation is going to be really digging into past experience. What was your role? What was the complexity of the work?

You’ll do a backend coding challenge and then that will be followed up by a reverse architecture conversation.

Once that is complete, we invite you to meet with about four to five more members of the team. This includes coding challenges and architecture interviews, and then discussions with hiring managers.

Don’t worry, a recruiter will prep you for all of that beforehand, then we also do do team assignments at the debrief stage.

We try to really match you with a team that aligns with your experience and interests, and then we’ll get you set up with a few members of those teams so you can learn more about what your impact would be, what you’d be working on, all that kind of stuff.

We have two offices, so we have New York and San Francisco. New York is our headquarters, but the majority of the employees are remotely. I’m actually coming at you from Denver, so this is where I am, home base. My team is primarily in San Francisco, but I do feel super connected to everyone.

The company has a really good job of driving engagement, which brings me to our culture and talking about our employee engagement team, so we do a full company offsite, annually. We do engineering team offsites every year, but then we also do a lot of virtual engagement activities.

Our employee engagement team just hosted a few virtual events. My favorite was the how to make your spring, how to build your own spring roll. We had a floral arrangement class recently and then we also had a good one around understanding the anatomy of our anxiety to honor mental health awareness month.

Just a little bit about us. I know Katie Ledoux’s team is hiring, Neha’s team is hiring, so we would love to have you guys come stop by our booth and meet with us. And then a few members of our attentive Woman Engineering ERG group. Cool. We crushed it.

Katie Ledoux:

We did. Can we use our three minutes for questions?

Someone asked: If we hire entry level engineers, we do have an engineer two role up right now, but that’s the most junior role we have right now.

I can’t speak for every engineering team at Attentive, but it’s going to be important for us on some of these newer teams to make sure that we have the levels of leadership in place before we bring on brand new entry level people so that they have the mentorship that they need to be successful on those teams.

Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch:

A hundred percent, yes. We just posted, we have three software engineering roles just posted.

One is on our BI team, led by one of our engineering managers, and then we have two engineering twos, one that just got posted for remote employees, and then one that just got posted for San Francisco.

Hybrid – You’d be coming on site three days a week to our San Francisco office in the financial district. And then, Neha has teams mainly looking for some senior level engineers.

Katie Ledoux:

I saw one question. You definitely do not need a background in AI machine learning to apply. If you go on the career site, there’s a breadth of roles across infrastructure security. it it’s definitely not exclusively AI ML roles especially.

Neha Srivastava:

I have no experience in AI. I’m not an AI expert. Just to be clear, I am leading AI ML project and I have no experience on it because the way we think about this is it’s a product, right? A model is developed and then we pipeline it all the way to make it into a product.

I am a backend focused product engineer, so my job is to make sure that the model is delivering value as a product. I’m overseeing the whole thing and helping with the design and the architecture of it, but I’m not doing the modeling myself.

Margho Dunnahoo-Kirsch:

Answering a few questions interested in non-engineering roles. Would you be able to hold a conversation with me? Yes, a hundred percent. We are hiring and go to market g and a, and I also oversee those teams, so a hundred percent can talk to you about that.

We are only hiring in the US for engineering roles. Yes, for a few of our sales positions, we do hire in London as well as Australia. But just for engineering for now, we are primarily just us. We do support visas.


Check out open jobs at Attentive!

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