Write/Speak/Code 2016 Talks

Keynotes

Say It With Video!

Write/Leadership | All Tracks
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Annyce Davis

Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of video on YouTube and that number is steadily increasing. So how can you take advantage of video to help promote your personal brand and/or share your expertise? In this talk, I’ll walk you through the steps I took to develop my first video course, from outlining the initial structure down to actual video creation. Walk away with the tools you need in order to create short, informative video content for the web!

Slides

Shaving my head made me a better programmer

Write | First-year Track
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Alex Qin

How do perceptions and stereotypes affect those in software and on engineering teams? This talk tells the true story of how I hacked my appearance, by shaving my head, to change the way I was perceived as a programmer. This talk also serves as a primer on unconscious bias and stereotype threat, and their effects on individuals and teams. I will provide actionable advice on how to make engineering teams more inclusive, more diverse, and thusly more productive, successful, and attractive to potential hires.

Slides

Communication and Collaboration: Lessons from the Performing Arts

Speak/Visibility | All Tracks
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Julianna Rusakiewicz

Actors engage in a variety of training techniques; most importantly, they study the art of improvisation. Much like any form of communication, improvisation technique relies on the presence of two or more actors accepting their scene partner's ideas, adding to these ideas, and refraining from contradiction or deflection. Great improvisational actors do not plan ahead, they simply listen, recognize verbal and emotional cues, and respond. Great communicators do the exact same. I career transitioned into tech from the performing arts and, in the beginning, I felt out of place. Imposter syndrome aside, I felt like I was always saying "Yes, and" while I kept hearing "Nope!" In this talk, we will walk through acting exercises in specificity and behavior and I will demonstrate how being present and specific while remaining open can improve communication and collaboration.

Slides

It's not you, it's them: Reflections on being marginalized in STEM

Speak/Visibility | All Tracks
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Naomi Ceder

The Broken Promise of Open Source

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Coraline Ada Ehmke

Civic hacking: build your cred while doing good

Code | All Tracks
Fri, Jun 17

Fureigh

Want to make a real impact while building your open source portfolio? What better way to burnish your credibility and experience than by contributing to software projects run by, say, the White House? In this interactive session, you'll learn how you can get involved with civic technology projects at various levels of scale or start your own. Learn about the wide world of open source civic tech projects — including government ones, at all levels! — and opportunities to get involved, whether you're a developer, a writer, a designer or anyone else who wants to improve software that affects people's lives. Aspiring and current open source contributors will leave with an overview of the civic tech ecosystem, a few specific examples for inspiration, and clear next steps for how to get involved in existing projects and communities or start their own.

Diversity in OSS: Are We As Open As Our Code?

Code | All Tracks
Fri, Jun 17

Coraline Ada Ehmke

Write/Leadership | Wednesday June 15

Say It With Video!

Write/Leadership | All Tracks
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Annyce Davis

Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of video on YouTube and that number is steadily increasing. So how can you take advantage of video to help promote your personal brand and/or share your expertise? In this talk, I’ll walk you through the steps I took to develop my first video course, from outlining the initial structure down to actual video creation. Walk away with the tools you need in order to create short, informative video content for the web!

Slides

Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication

Leadership | Alumna Track
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Katherine Wu

Have you ever been told you’re “too direct,” or feel like you don’t understand what others want? Or on the other side, do you think others are often too confrontational? These are Ask vs Guess Culture differences. Ask folks believe it’s ok to ask anything, because it’s ok to say no, while Guess folks prioritize not imposing on others. It’s a culture clash that isn’t often recognized, yet causes quite a bit of tension and frustration. This talk will cover the nuances of these different communication styles, as well as strategies for bridging the gap. Gaining an understanding of these differences and learning specific tactics for a professional context will make you a drastically more effective communicator.

Slides

Shaving my head made me a better programmer

Write | First-year Track
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Alex Qin

How do perceptions and stereotypes affect those in software and on engineering teams? This talk tells the true story of how I hacked my appearance, by shaving my head, to change the way I was perceived as a programmer. This talk also serves as a primer on unconscious bias and stereotype threat, and their effects on individuals and teams. I will provide actionable advice on how to make engineering teams more inclusive, more diverse, and thusly more productive, successful, and attractive to potential hires.

Slides

Cassandra at the Keyboard

Leadership | Alumna Track
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Heidi Waterhouse

Cassandra was a prophetess doomed to be accurate, but never believed. In my role as a technical writer, I often have the information needed to make useful observations about development processes, communication problems, and other organizational troubles. The problem is getting people in power to agree with and act on the information I present. This talk is about various methods we can use to alert people to the problems we see without being ignored, shut up, shut out, or fired. Whistleblowing is just another word for organizational warning, and we should think clearly about how to present our case, how to follow it up, what the consequences may be, and when to cut our losses. Let’s discuss how to document and present organizational information, how to make a business case for change, and how to protect yourself from backlash.

Bio Mentoring

Write | First-year Track
Wed, Jun 15

Ashley Powell

Creative Self-Care Workshop

Leadership | Alumna Track
Wed, Jun 15

Kristina Vogt

Working hard is important and valuable, but sometimes the demands of our jobs can play a toll on our well-being. Practicing self-care is essential to making sure we have enough resources to continue doing all that we do in our work, relationships, and daily living. In this workshop, participants will explore how to create a sustainable self-care practice that attends to their physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual well-being. Participants will be invited to engage in mindfulness exercises and an art activity to examine what self-care means for them and develop their own symbols, ideas, and reminders for self-care. The focus will be on providing space, time, and materials to reflect, relax, create, and have fun.

Facilitated discussion of being a woman in a male-dominated field

Leadership | Alumna Track
Wed, Jun 15

Erin Obradovich

How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice

Write/Leadership | All Tracks
Wed, Jun 15 | 10:05 AM

Lauren Scott

From our first lines of code onward, we are bombarded with well-meaning advice on How To Tech Right. Often, this includes “owning your ignorance” and “squashing your ego” in order to embrace a learning mindset. But we also frequently tell people, particularly women and minorities in tech, to “own their expertise” and not be afraid to confidently stake their claim as a programmer. The fight between impostor & entitlement syndromes has left us with a confusing assortment of advice we dole out to beginners and vets alike: be humble but be confident, be a novice but an expert. So what can we do with this incongruity? Is there a way to find balance? Or do we need to rethink our guidance model altogether? In this talk, I’ll examine the impact our advice has on disadvantaged groups in tech and explore ways in which we can move the onus of change from the impacted individuals onto the community at large.

Slides

Writing for Developers Panel

Write | First-year Track
Wed, Jun 15 | 12:00 AM

Chiu-Ki Chan, Iris Amelia Febres, Tanya Schlusser, Lauren Scott, Annyce Davis, and Drew Williams

Join a diverse group of technical editors, publishers, and authors to discuss writing for professional publishers, self- publishing, magazines, and online course.

Slides

Speak/Visibility | Thursday June 16

Communication and Collaboration: Lessons from the Performing Arts

Speak/Visibility | All Tracks
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Julianna Rusakiewicz

Actors engage in a variety of training techniques; most importantly, they study the art of improvisation. Much like any form of communication, improvisation technique relies on the presence of two or more actors accepting their scene partner's ideas, adding to these ideas, and refraining from contradiction or deflection. Great improvisational actors do not plan ahead, they simply listen, recognize verbal and emotional cues, and respond. Great communicators do the exact same. I career transitioned into tech from the performing arts and, in the beginning, I felt out of place. Imposter syndrome aside, I felt like I was always saying "Yes, and" while I kept hearing "Nope!" In this talk, we will walk through acting exercises in specificity and behavior and I will demonstrate how being present and specific while remaining open can improve communication and collaboration.

Slides

It's not you, it's them: Reflections on being marginalized in STEM

Speak/Visibility | All Tracks
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Naomi Ceder

“Elemental SWOT”: Embrace your inner entrepreneur

Visibility | Alumna Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Julia Ovchinnikova

We will revisit a SWOT analysis as a model in the context of a modern day women in tech. We will explore how women of various tech professions can evolve their careers or complement with the right partners in business to achieve their career goals. We will also map the SWOT analysis with Elemental Leadership approach. We need to know what elements drive us and how to achieve balance in ourselves and how to improve your career in tech.

Slides

Rock That Q&A: Pro Tips for Speakers, Audiences, and Hosts

Speak | First-year Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Carina Zona

Q&A rocks! It’s an opportunity for listeners to clarify what’s they’ve heard and engage deeper with content. Speakers gain valuable interactive feedback, and learn which points are worth elaborating on next time. Yet many of us are wary of Q&A. “What if I mis-speak?” “What if there are hecklers?” “What if I don’t have all the answers?” They’re understandable concerns. Mastering the art of Q&A allows us to fearlessly embrace that uncertainty.

As developers, we’re constantly educating; as speakers, instructors, authors, mentors, team members, and event organizers. When we can deftly rock Q&A, we deliver extra value in all of those roles.

Productive Q&A arises from enthusiastic collaboration between speaker, audience, and host; in this talk, you’ll learn skills for each role. We’ll delve into setting expectations, selecting among various formats, keeping Q&A focused and on-time, dealing with complicated questions, counteracting attempts to derail, and using Q&A as excellent foundation for follow-up discussions, networking, and lead generation.

Branding is the most cringeworthy term you want to know about

Visibility | Alumna Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Neha Batra

From the moment you write your twitter bio, upload your first insta, and share your first fb article, you are building your brand. Upon entering the world of tech, you probably noticed there is a second world out there dedicated to your "tech profile" and it can be daunting. If you proactively manage your brand and what you want to represent, you can get ahead of the curve and put the content YOU CARE ABOUT in front of the public eye. We'll talk how to curate your image, how to grow your brand, and finding a strategy that works for you.

Slides

Conference Organizer's Panel

Speak | First-year Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Elle Meredith, LaToya Allen, Carol Willing, Chiu-Ki Chan, Tiffany Mikell, Naomi Ceder, and Sarah Mei

Hear how a handful of women conference organizers select speakers and gets tips for navigating the CFP process.

Slides

Talk Proposal Feedback

Speak | First-year Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Elle Meredith, LaToya Allen, Carol Willing, Chiu-Ki Chan, Tiffany Mikell, Naomi Ceder, and Sarah Mei

Challenging & Democratizing Algorithm Development

Visibility | Alumna Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Liz Rush

Algorithm Development is a term that leaves even the most experienced developers intimidated. Many of us have little exposure to algorithm development; most programmers without advanced CS degrees have never written their own algorithms. Because of how much influence algorithms are gaining over our lives, we must be prepared to ask tough questions about their development: who writes these algorithms and where is the accountability? Can we as front end developers make strategic choices about which algorithms we use in our apps? Are we exacerbating or solving social issues with algorithms? When we look at algorithm development with a critical eye, we start to notice how deeply impactful the creation of new algorithms are to us as a society. This talk will discuss the ethical and social implications of algorithm development using examples such as Google's infamous image tagging algorithm where an algorithm tagged a photo of Black people as gorillas. We also are seeing the impacts of algorithms in current events: Washington State recently announced that a bug in an assessment algorithm for parolees allowed over 3,000 inmates to be released early from their sentences over the course of 13 years. This algorithm, not made available to the public, included a known bug. This talk will propose the need for the democratization of algorithm development and implore developers of all skills levels and orientations (not just backend devs!) to begin writing, reviewing, and analyzing algorithms in their applications, data tools, and everyday interactions with computers.

Slides

From Ink to Pixels: The Story within Ebooks

Visibility | Alumna Track
Thu, Jun 16 | 12:00 AM

Iris Amelia Febres

Publishers have turned to ebooks as a platform for telling stories through digital means. For some, ebooks are an afterthought, but for others it's an opportunity to go beyond printed pages and further reach readers. While the core of an ebook is the content, what powers them is the same code that powers the web. How does code tell a story? This talk will briefly touch on ebook markup (HTML and CSS) and the ways publishers experiment with ebooks and their platforms.

Slides

Code | Friday June 17

Diversity in OSS: Are We As Open As Our Code?

Code | All Tracks
Fri, Jun 17

Coraline Ada Ehmke

Getting Over the Open Source Jitters

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Cora Hays-Magan

First time contributors to open source experience a set of jitters and I will demystify the process and exploring the issues involved in contributions. Yes, it's just a pull request, but it's a pull request with social implications. Jitters are involved in submitting one and we will go through getting over them.

Slides

Give Your Code the Documentation It Deserves: How Documentation Increases Code Quality

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Tripta Gupta

As technological products become more complex and require greater integration– the need for documentation and referenceable communication becomes critical. It’s more important than ever to understand how to effectively document your code, what to document, and why it increases the quality of your code and the collaborative nature of your organization. We have all come across that time when we started at a new company, got a copy of the codebase, and then realized that there is little or no documentation. On the flip side, we have also come across that situation when we are handed a new feature that relates to a feature someone built long ago, and are stuck spending 2-4 days figuring out how that old feature was implemented. Neither of these situations demonstrate high code quality nor collaboration. There will be demos, outlines on what makes quality documentation, and visions shared about how to create & sustain code quality through documentation. My goal is to encourage the culture of collaboration and high-quality code through documentation.

Slides

Writing Your First Ruby Gem

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Liz Abinante

Thanks to some lovely people in the Ruby and Bundler communities, creating your first Ruby gem is a lot more approachable than it used to be. Even with this helpful documentation, creating your first gem can be daunting: what are all of these files, and why are they organized this way? How do you test a gem? What are some basic best practices? During this talk, I'll walk you through creating a small Ruby gem and publishing it for others to use.

Slides

Civic hacking: build your cred while doing good

Code | All Tracks
Fri, Jun 17

Fureigh

Want to make a real impact while building your open source portfolio? What better way to burnish your credibility and experience than by contributing to software projects run by, say, the White House? In this interactive session, you'll learn how you can get involved with civic technology projects at various levels of scale or start your own. Learn about the wide world of open source civic tech projects — including government ones, at all levels! — and opportunities to get involved, whether you're a developer, a writer, a designer or anyone else who wants to improve software that affects people's lives. Aspiring and current open source contributors will leave with an overview of the civic tech ecosystem, a few specific examples for inspiration, and clear next steps for how to get involved in existing projects and communities or start their own.

OSS Mentoring

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Rachel Baker

The Broken Promise of Open Source

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Coraline Ada Ehmke

Introduction to Git and GitHub

Code | First-year Track
Fri, Jun 17 | 12:00 AM

Carol Willing

Self-Care & Career | Saturday June 18

Salary Negotiation for Women in Tech

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Ashley Powell

BDD: Baby Driven Development

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Allison McMillan

When I became a parent, I was amazed at how similar raising a newborn was to becoming a developer and the ways in which both experiences affect one another. I was also completely unprepared for the challenges of being so new to both journeys. After reaching out to fellow parent-developers, I learned that there are common challenges and opportunities that aren’t regularly spoken about in our community. We’ll explore the similarities between these two journeys through common approaches we use when coding and raising a child, and how we as a community can be more responsive and understanding of the large percentage of developers who are current or future parents. Whether you’re a parent or not, come discover these interesting and sometimes hilarious parallels and opportunities.

Slides

Addressing Emotional Labor in Your Tech Career

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Catherine Dugan, Lauren Fitzgerald, and Dannielle Del Rosario

As women and women of color, we find ourselves pressured to exhibit care and empathy as well as advocate for diversity beyond our written job requirements. In this discussion, the audience will reflect on their own experiences with this type of labor and focus on strategies to recognize, redistribute, and compensate it. Let’s tackle emotional labor!

Slides

Networking Forever

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Iris Amelia Febres

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. How do you get a job you want? Network, network, network. This talk will discuss the absolute necessity of networking and why everyone needs to do it, no matter what industry you work in. "Networking Forever" will cover practical, focused tips on networking strategies and provide resources on how to grow your networking skills.

Slides

Posture for Engineers

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Marylou Lenhart

I'm excited to give a lecture about how sitting all day is bad for you fun and nerdy! Let's talk about how, if you sit at a desk at all, some of your muscles are over-worked, and some are weakened, and how to change that. Let's learn the names of some yoga postures. Let's nerd out about anatomy!

Slides

Some Things I've Learned About Color

Self-care & Career | All Tracks
Sat, Jun 18 | 12:00 AM

Cate Huston

Burnout saps the joy from creating and leaves the world in shades of grey. What do you do when you realise your work is meaningless and you dread going in every day? As an engineer, you can analyse the system, determine what is missing, and inject some much needed color.

Slides

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