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Track: Optimizing Yourself: Human Skills for Individuals

Location: Seacliff ABC

Day of week: Wednesday

Becoming a better human isn't as easy as posting a question on Stack Overflow and it's definitely not a few lines of code that you can cut and paste into an IDE. There's real work that's involved in becoming a more engaged teammate, a thoughtful leader, or a more caring friend. Becoming aware of a brand new set of skills and perspectives to help you and the people around you grow is a great place to start.  

Our speakers will share insights and experiences across the realms of strategic thinking, inclusive protocols for teams, a ton of lessons learned, and of course: Empathy. Come join us on our journey to awesomeness and Get Optimized!

Track Host: Harry Brumleve

VP of Product and Technology @FixdRepair

Currently VP of Product and Technology at Fixd Repair, Harry Brumleve brings over 20 years of software engineering experience from around the globe. He's helped build solutions of all types: from the frivolous and fanciful to the life-saving and mission critical. His recent work focuses on helping people create rewarding cultures and deliver products that delight their customers.

10:35am - 11:25am

Optimizing Yourself: Neurodiversity in Tech

The difference between a programmer and a software engineer is their understanding of soft skills. The problem many of us face is that as members of neurodiverse communities, we must find different ways to build these skills. In this session, Elizabeth will talk about the issues she has faced as an autistic individual in the industry. She also talks about ways that you can help others in the industry. 

Elizabeth Schneider, Consultant @Microsoft

11:50am - 12:40pm

Creating Balance Between Product Managers & Engineers

Product Managers and Engineers are like the Yin and the Yang in Chinese philosophy.  Both functions bring complementary strengths and  are critical for shipping a good product.  It is thus more important than ever to create and maintain a harmonius and balanced relationship that produces the best outcomes.  

In this talk, Vidya Nagarajan will share her story from the experiences she gained from her 19 years of working in the Tech industry. She will talk to the lessons she learned along the way, what she wished she had known and how she uses various techniques from her tool-kit to keep everything in balance.

Vidya Nagarajan, Heads Product Management for Identity-as-a-service product (Cloud Identity) @Google

1:40pm - 2:30pm

Optimizing You Panel: Path to Awesomeness

Our panel will discuss their own choices and events from their histories that propelled their careers, improved their circumstances, and generally helped them achieve awesomeness in one or more areas of their lives. Come listen to the group and feel free to bring a question or two yourself … perhaps we can help you on your path as well.

Christie Wilson, Software Engineer @Google
Daniel Bryant, Independent Technical Consultant
Justin Ryan, Playback Edge Engineering @Netflix

2:55pm - 3:45pm

5 Simple Tools to Unlock Innovation

Customer needs are ever evolving, as is our technology landscape. In this talk you will receive 5 tools to help ignite innovation and expose unspoken customer needs. These tools come from each phase of the design thinking framework.

In this talk, Sarah will share her experience with these tools used on her engineering teams at companies big and small. These tools are applicable to all roles and types of engineering teams who are craving ways to spark innovation and increase creativity in their work. Even if you have a large backlog of needs defined, these tools can transform the way you build those solutions. You will learn methods for connecting with your customer and tap into insights they wish they knew how to express. This is the session your customer and inner innovator wants you to attend to spark creativity and joy in your work.

Sarah Shewell, Director of Engineering @GravityPymts

4:10pm - 5:00pm

Six Things I've Learned as a Manager I Wish I Knew Before

I am a software developer with almost 15 years of experience. But I also was an engineering manager for 3+ years. And you know what? While being a manager I've learned some things I wish I knew in the beginning of my career. 

When you are a developer, it may seem that writing good code and building reliable architecture is the only thing you need to do if you want to succeed at work. However, it turns out that this is only a part of what makes one a good developer (and then senior, lead, principal etc.). This may be obscure to you at first, but if you get lucky and can take a manager's point of view for a while, the missing bits will reveal.

I was a manager, and recently I switched back to engineering. And I want to tell other engineers what they may change in their work to be more successful. This will be a talk full of personal stories about my own mistakes and achievements, with a grain of some valuable insights I've learned along the way.

Georgiy Mogelashvili, Lead Developer @bookingcom

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