Missed our Elevate 2019 virtual conference? All 15 sessions as full videos are now available!

April 30, 2019

Over 2500 tuned in live to hear from senior tech leaders & engineers as the Girl Geek X Community came together to celebrate International Women’s Day with over a dozen talks, interviews & panels at the Elevate 2019 virtual conference. Everyone at Girl Geek X had a blast learning, laughing and sharing with our speakers, and we’re excited to share the videos with everyone who couldn’t make it!

Transcripts will be released in the coming weeks, so if you prefer to learn by reading, be sure to sign up for the Girl Geek X Newsletter, where we’ll be sharing them as they become available. (And if you’re a reader, you’ll also want to check out our Spring Reading List & Book Giveaway!)

Enjoy the talks below! If you are looking for a new job or career opportunity, check out these open roles at our Girl Geek X Trusted Partners: Grand Rounds, Intel AI, Palo Alto Networks, U.S. Digital Service, Netflix, The Climate Corporation and Guidewire!

“Being Unapologetically You” – Sandra Lopez (Intel Sports Vice President) Keynote

Not only has Sandra Lopez been named one of the 50 most powerful women in tech by the National Diversity Council and one of Latina Style’s Top 10 Latina executives, she’s also the VP and GM for Intel Sports. In other words, #boss. In this Girl Geek Elevate 2019 session, Sandra Lopez shared the advice she shares with the women she mentors on being unapologetically you, being kind, and networking while prioritizing support over competition. Read the transcript or watch on YouTube.

“Always Ask For More” – Leyla Seka (Salesforce EVP) & Jennifer Taylor (Head of Product at Cloudflare) Fireside Chat

The driving force behind Salesforce’s $8.7M commitment to closing the gender wage gap, Leyla Seka built AppExchange from its earliest days, served as GM of Desk.com and is now EVP of Mobile and one of the most senior female leaders at Salesforce. Tune in to this rare interview along with Cloudflare’s Head of Product, Jennifer Taylor, and get Leyla’s advice on how to always ask for more, help others, and scare the crap out of yourself at least once a year.

“Building High Performance Teams” – Panel Discussion with Nupur Srivastava (Grand Rounds Vice President), Citlalli Solani (Palo Alto Networks Director of Engineering), Colleen Bashar (Guidewire Vice President)

You think the transition from IC to a manager is the hardest part of your career – until you become a manager of managers. From advancing your hiring skills to their worst hiring and management mistakes, join these amazing women as they share their learnings as they’ve evolved from managers to leaders.

Speakers include: Nupur Srivastava (Grand Rounds Vice President of Product Management), Citlalli Solano (Palo Alto Networks Director of Engineering), Colleen Bashar (Guidewire Vice President) and the talk is moderated by Gretchen DeKnikker (Girl Geek X Chief Operating Officer).

“Data Science & Climate Change” – Janet George (Western Digital Chief Data Scientist)

For the very first time in our history, we can collect incredible amounts of data at scale. Modern data infrastructure enables the documentation and recording of billions of species and data science allows us to collect, analyze, predict and slow down the speed of extinction. Western Digital Chief Data Scientist Janet George walked us through her extensive research and shared tips on infrastructure stacks and strategies for processing massive amounts of information.

“Tech Leavers and Tech Stayers” – Lili Gangas (Kapor Center Chief Technology Community Officer)

In 2017, the Kapor Center published the first-of-its-kind Tech Leavers Study why people voluntarily left their jobs in tech. In this session, Kapor Center Chief Technology Community Officer Lili Gangas will walk us through the findings, shattering the myth that women leave to spend time with their family among others, and will provide some ideas for how you can ensure an environment where all employees feel valued, appreciated, welcomed and heard.

“Intersectionality and Systemic Change” – Heidi Williams (tEQuitable Chief Technology Officer)

As we journey into fourth-wave feminism, join tEUitable CTO Heidi Williams for this important session on intersectionality and systemic change. Navigating the challenging terrain to ensure that as we gain seats at the table, that the voices of all women are heard. She’ll share tips on how to engage allies and advocates, recognize privilege, and lead both up and down the organization.

“The Gendered Project” – Omayeli Arenyeka (LinkedIn Software Engineer)

When you think of the word “superhero” what do you imagine? Language reflects and reinforces social norms; ungendering language is a vital part of interrogating sexism. However, there’s no dataset of gendered words. This tech talk is about data – where to get it and how to create it if it doesn’t exist. In her talk, LinkedIn software engineer Omayeli Arenyeka creates the dataset for The Gendered Project, showing how to view unavailable data as an opportunity rather than an obstacle to answering questions.

Grand Rounds Coffee Break Panel!

During this Grand Rounds Coffee Break at Elevate 2019, we heard from Jayodita Sanghvi (Director of Data Science), Megan Marquardt (Engineering Manager), Mary Reynolds (Senior Product Manager) and Stacy Vorkink (Senior Director, Employee Experience) about what they are working on at Grand Rounds.

“Office Manager to CPO in 1356* Steps” – Shawna Wolverton (Zendesk SVP Product Management) Keynote

Shawna Wolverton is a self-proclaimed nerd for good product design. Starting at Salesforce in 2003, Shawna worked her way up to SVP Product Management, influencing $30M/yr in revenue before she left to do it all over again as CPO at Planet and now SVP Product Management at Zendesk. Don’t miss this session as Shawna shares the lessons she learned both personally and professionally in her 25 year career.

“Every Day is Important in the Life of a Strawberry” – Sheri Bernard Trivedi (USDS Content Strategist)

Documentation is just a mirror held up to a product. If you think of government services as some of the most crucial products we encounter at the United States Digital Service, then user-centered documentation becomes all the more interesting.

In this talk, Sheri Bernard Trivedi tells a story about writing docs for farmers, one of her favorite projects in her career thus far. She is an Instructional Content Strategist at the United States Digital Service (or USDS for short). Watch on YouTube or Read the USDS Transcript.

“Creating an AI for Social Good Program” – Anna Bethke (Intel AI for Social Good)

Data scientist Anna Bethke had approached management with a new position – to become the head of AI for Social Good to bring in new positively impactful projects to the group and company as a whole. Since then, she has created the role at Intel and the AI for Social Good program ever since. Anna shares her story and lessons learned along the way.

“A/B Testing with Open Source” – Dena Metili Mwangi (Sentry Software Engineer)

Quick experimentation in your application can turn feelings-driven development into data-driven wins. Beyond blue buttons or red buttons, A/B testing can answer key questions on how best to serve your users by offering sometimes surprising insights into how they interact with your product.

In this talk, Dena Metili Mwangi will get the first experiment up and running with PlanOut, a Python-based open-source framework. It’s cheap & easy to begin A/B testing with open source.

“Unconventional Journeys in Tech” – Panel Discussion with Rosie Sennett (Splunk Staff Sales Engineer), Shanea Leven (Cloudflare Director) and Farnaz Ronaghi (NovoEd Chief Technology Officer)

The tech industry is full of misfits. Contrary to the myth, not everyone has a computer science degree and went to a fancy university. Hear from ambitious women who built tech careers on their own terms by leveraging their strengths and creating opportunities for themselves to succeed in roles from sales and engineering to product management, from entrepreneurship to corporate ladder climbing.

Girl Geek X CEO Angie Chang speaks with Farnaz Ronaghi (NovoEd CTO & Co-Founder), Rosie Sennett (Splunk Staff Sales Engineer), and Shanea Leven (Cloudflare Director of Product Management) in this exciting panel discussion at Elevate 2019.

“Coding Strong at Age 60” – Akilah Monifa (ARISE Global Media SVP)

At age 40, Akilah Monifa stopped practicing law to do what her younger self had wanted to do: become a full-time writer. She received an Amazon Echo as a gift and made another pivot at age 60. This time, she decided she would learn to build for voice. Her motivation: give voice to a subject dear to her heart and build an Alexa skill called Black History Everyday.

“Enterprise to Computer (a Star Trek Chatbot)” – Grishma Jena (IBM Software Engineer)

Personality and emotions play a vital role in defining human interactions. Enterprise to Computer (or “E2Cbot”) was created with the premise of adding a personality to a chatbot. This helps in making it appear human-like and contributes to a better and engaging user experience.

Developed as an Amazon Alexa skill, E2Cbot uses neural networks to capture the style of Star Trek by incorporating references from the show along with peculiar tones of the characters. In this talk, Girl Geek X CTO Sukrutha Bhadouria interviews Grishma Jena, a Cognitive Software Engineer working on IBM Watson and applying Machine Learning to chatbots.

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