Women@DockerCon 2019: Issues and Opportunities Facing Professional Women Today

 

This week, I attended the Women@DockerCon Summit, a private forum for women in tech to connect, discuss, and engage with each other, at Moscone West in San Francisco. This Summit preceded DockerCon, a 3-day technology conference organized by Docker, Inc., and brought together women (and a handful of curious men) in tech in a space where they could freely discuss the issues and opportunities facing professional women today. The event included a workshop and two panels complete with a stage full of lady bosses.  

Women@DockerCon allowed attendees to share their success stories, voice their concerns, and ask for help in a room of supportive strangers. Everyone—from pioneers in the modern women's movement, to the software development directors, to the participants in the audience—had something impactful to say about their experiences while working as a woman.

Communicating with Presence

“Half the people have Imposter Syndrome, the other half don’t know what they’re doing.”

Have you ever felt like a total fraud and that at any moment everyone around you was going to realize how little you know? Good news—you’re not alone! Francine Gordon, a professor at Santa Clara University has spent years working with women who consistently doubt their abilities, a sure sign of imposter syndrome. She explained that, like a duck swimming, you see the movement, but not the vigorous peddling underwater—everybody is working equally as hard, you just don’t see it!

Francine’s workshop began three questions:

  1. What situations trigger your feelings of being a fraud?

  2. What have you held yourself back from because you felt like a fake?

  3. What has been the most effective way of managing these circumstances?

One participant shared that she makes sure to speak up within the first 10 minutes of a meeting. She uses this tactic to hold herself accountable and ensure that she doesn’t succumb to self-doubt. Another shared that she was hesitant to ask the dumb questions in an important meeting, but she wished she had after Bill Gates came in confidently asking all the “dumb questions” she was thinking.

Investing in an Inclusive Future

Next were the panels where a wide range of fields were represented, such as venture capital, human resources, insurance, and more. They spoke on best networking practices, how to handle awkward situations in the workplace, and what they’re excited about going forward in their careers.

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XFactor Ventures Investment Partner Erica Brescia focused on investing in companies with at least one female founder. She built her network by leveraging supportive communities like the Female Founders group on Facebook.

Angel investor Susan Kimerlin shared the best way to learn about your industry: finding somebody doing something interesting and seeing how you can help.

Backstage Capital Director Brittany Davis is excited about seeing a positive trend in female founders at the companies she’s investing in.

Working While Female

CloudBees Senior Director of Global Human Resources Ellen Thorne explained that surrounding herself with a highly technical team allowed her to build important skills that wouldn’t have evolved otherwise.

New Relic Senior Director of Customer Marketing Cynthia Hester shared her best kept secret, “saying ‘thank you’ is the best way to say ‘no’ without pissing anybody off.”

Cisco Vice President of Global Marketing Aruna Ravichandran mastered the art of calculated risk, even if it meant taking a demotion and leading her family to think she was having a midlife crisis.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Director Honey Williams recounted how working at Subway and later dropping out of the AirForce sounded like failures, but those experiences taught her that you can’t be scared to make the decisions that are right for you, even when everyone around you tells you otherwise.

Being surrounded by so many powerful, bold women at Women@DockerCon reminded me of how much we can accomplish if we join forces and help each other take the next right step.

 

How’s Your Data Game? An Inside Look at Strata Data Conference

 

If you are in an industry that touches data and engineering (who doesn’t these days?), there’s no doubt you’ve heard about O’Reilly events and specifically Strata Data Conference (@strataconf). If you didn’t have a chance to attend this year, we’re giving you an inside look at what went down this week when the cred team attended Strata Data at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Who was on stage?

Only the best and the brightest in the data space, including amazing fierce women leaders.

Amy O’Connor (@ImAmyO) kicked off the main stage content on Wednesday with her keynote on “The journey to the data-driven enterprise from the edge to AI.” As Chief Data and Information Officer at Cloudera, she talked about how the company “drinks its own champagne” by running Cloudera on Cloudera and what they’ve learned on their journey from the edge to AI.

On Thursday, former data scientist and product manager at Airbnb Theresa Johnson (@missjohnson) talked about how she organized uncertainty at Airbnb and why black box models are not helpful. She talked about the internal tools they built to drive an end-to-end metrics forecasting platform, leveraging machine learning, Bayesian inference, TensorFlow, Hadoop, and web technology.

Did it get technical? You bet it did!

On Wednesday, Sonal Gupta, Research Scientist at Facebook, taught us about natural language understanding in task-oriented conversational AI. She outlined a way to do more advanced compositional understanding, which can understand cross-domain queries, using hierarchical representations.

We love seeing our cred clients on stage, especially Manifold.ai CTO Sourav Dey (@resdntalien), who always brings his personality to very technical topics. He did two talks this week, I caught his second on Thursday where he talked about how to attack clustered data with Mixed Effects Randomized Forests (MERF).

Who wants some swag? Let’s check out the Expo Floor.

From professional headshots and massages to “techtris” and skee ball, the fun never stopped at the expo.

We were excited to stop by the Okera booth and congratulate them for their win for Most Disruptive Startup. Their platform tackles the hardest issues behind data access and governance across distributed environments.

Sippy cups are no longer just for babies—this one is for WINE! The team at Alteryx must have known cred was coming, this was winner of favorite swag grab of the day. We also learned a bit about the company, which offers an end-to-end self-service platform for data science and analytics.

We also snagged some cool socks and stickers from Talend, a recognized leader in cloud data integration and data integrity.

Last, but certainly not least, we chatted with our good friend Jonathan Symonds, CMO at Minio, about the company’s open source, enterprise-grade, Amazon S3 compatible object storage. Also got some pretty cool T-shirts to boot.

Should you attend Strata Data?

If you fall into one of the three categories below, we definitely recommend you check out the next Strata Data Conference or one of the other great upcoming O’Reilly events.

  • Work in data & engineering? This is a great opportunity to learn the latest and greatest tools in the industry, network with your peers, and potentially snag that next great job.

  • Company with a data science & engineering team? If you’re trying to recruit top talent in the data science & engineering space, Strata Data is the place to connect with prospective candidates.

  • Company looking to better incorporate data into your business? Attend sessions to see the many cutting edge ways data is being applied within companies across industries and visit the expo floor to meet some amazing companies who may be able to help with your data game.

Want to speak at an event like Strata Data? Get in touch and we’ll see if cred can help you get on stage. Also follow us on Twitter for more great event news and recaps.

 

Texas Forever: Celebrating Ideas and Innovation at SXSW 2019

 

As cred’s resident Texan, my home state is known for many great things—cowboys, the Alamo, and one of the best conferences in the world (in my humble, Austin unicorn opinion): South By, aka South by Southwest (SXSW)! An annual festival happening every spring in Austin, SXSW is part conference and part film and music festival, with the goal of bringing together leaders and thought provokers across all industries to share their knowledge.

Along with listening to talks from the likes of Stacey Abrams, Brené Brown, Kimberly Bryant, David Byrne, and Tim Ferriss, I was able to see cred speakers like Elizabeth Giorgi, Founder & CEO of Mighteor, Edith Yeung, Partner at 500 Startups, David Schwartz, CTO at Ripple, and Omar Tawakol, CEO & Founder at Voicea, take the stage and share their thoughts on the future of health, tech, politics, entertainment, and much more.

Here were some of my top three favorite talks:

Featured Session: Blockchain Beyond the Hype: The Ripple Effect

In front of more than 600 attendees, Ripple CTO David Schwartz spoke candidly about cryptography and the future of blockchain. Joined by Business Insider Editor-at-Large Sara Silverstein, David discussed his interest in bitcoin, the difference between XRP and Ripple, SEC regulation laws, and why XRP is not a security.

Keynote: A Cultural Crystal Ball

In front of a packed house, Bozoma Saint John, CMO at William Morris Endeavor, and Ashley Graham, model and host of the Pretty Big Deal podcast, discussed how to spot trends that will be the next big thing. The session dove into how being authentic has helped them navigate trends and how they have each developed or impacted the culture in their industries.

Filled with golden nuggets of wisdom throughout their talk, Bozoma’s message of “staying quiet and really paying attention to the world around you,” for new ideas and inspiration is something that I’ll be practicing.

Keynote: Shirley Manson & Lauren Mayberry with Puja Patel

Lead by alternative music powerhouses, Shirley Manson, Garbage frontwoman, and CHVRCHES vocalist Lauren Mayberry, this panel, moderated by Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel, discussed their experiences as women in the music industry, how growing up in Scotland helped shape them into the people they are today, how they stay creative, and how social media impacts them in both positive and negative ways.

Curious about where else cred has been so far? Check out our other event spotlights here!

 

Water for Peace: CreativeMornings Sacramento

 
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The third Friday of the month means one thing at the Urban Hive, home of our Sacramento office: CreativeMornings!

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series serving the creative community. Local chapters from cities around the world host monthly events to celebrate their city’s creative talent and open their space with like-minded individuals. The Sac chapter of this international event series features a rotating list of speakers, breakfast, and—of course—coffee. 

At today’s event, doors opened at 8:30 a.m. and attendees enjoyed breakfast burritos and fresh fruit from a local co-op and sipped on fresh local coffee. The main event began at 9:00 a.m., with an opening from CreativeMornings Sacramento host Rebecca Plumb. As always, she read the CreativeMornings Manifesto, which begins, “Everyone is creative,” and set the tone for the talk.

March’s theme, picked by the CreativeMornings Perth, Australia chapter, centered around water. Who better to speak to this than La Mission Por Vida Founder William Mendoza? Through his nonprofit organization, William works to bring clean water to developing countries and has impacted more than 1.5 million people globally.

William shared his story of addiction and how it led him to start the nonprofit. To William, “Water is hope, opportunity, progress, [and] education.” Through providing access to clean water, William believes he helps bring peace to communities.

The event wrapped up with Q+A from the audience. We left feeling inspired by William’s story and his work to improve the lives of people around the world. We’re proud to work with organizations and companies that share this same vision for social good—including fashion eCommerce site Olivela, which donates 20% of all its proceeds to support educating girls worldwide, and Cathay Pacific Airways, which was the first airline to invest in a biofuel company and has committed to reducing their net carbon emissions by 50% against 2005 levels by 2050.

Interested in learning more about CreativeMornings? Check out their website to find your local chapter, and maybe we’ll see you there!

 

Finding Innovation, Inspiration, and Investments at Startup Grind Global

Finding Innovation, Inspiration, and Investments at Startup Grind Global

Get s#*t done. Hustle hard. Employees at startups are no strangers to these slogans in their fast-paced work environments. Leave it to startups to understand the unique hustle and grind necessary to build their small company into a booming success—breeding the next unicorn under the spotlight.

An event fittingly named for this type of grind, Startup Grind Global, wrapped up its annual event last week and the cred team had the pleasure of attending.

Head in the Cloud: SaaStr Annual 2019

Head in the Cloud: SaaStr Annual 2019

These days, on every corner in the Bay Area you can spot a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company—B2B organizations firing up products through the cloud that impact the way we work and engage with one another.

Last week, more than 12,500 founders, entrepreneurs, senior executives, and VCs from the SaaS community gathered in downtown San Jose for the fifth iteration of SaaStr Annual 2019—the premiere SaaS conference in the Bay Area drawing in attendees from around the world. This was the  first year the conference took place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the outcome showed the event is growing more than ever.  

Reflecting on Illuminate 2019: How to Empower the Modern Workplace

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Last week, I attended Illuminate, a one-day people conference on a mission to make the manager-employee relationship better. Hosted by people management platform Reflektive, the event was filled with tactical takeaways to improve myself as a manager and contribute to the growth of cred’s culture and people.

Featuring speakers from Allbirds, Airbnb, Omada Health, AppAnnie, Pinterest, and 23andMe, Illuminate shined light on the employee journey and its expansion to include a company’s work environment, mission, values, culture, and wellness.

Omada Health CPO Jo Dennis and CEO Sean Duffy weighed the pros and cons of anonymous feedback before concluding their business is better off without it, opting for a transparent culture of feedback. Transparent feedback limits confusion, has ownership, and provides context. While not easy for anyone, giving constructive feedback does gets better with practice.

In addition to sessions discussing diversity and inclusion and coaching culture at scale, Illuminate offered attendees a chance to win a pair of Allbirds following the event. While I didn’t win the Allbirds giveaway, I walked away with a deeper look into what it takes to be a better manager and overall a better team.

More thoughts from the stage:

  • Fairness is the foundation of feedback. Create an equal playing field by offering tools and resources that ensure everyone is speaking the same feedback language.

  • Peer-to-peer feedback is just as important as manager-to-employee feedback.

  • No one quits because they received too much praise from leadership. Top communication issues that prevent effective leadership include failure to recognize employee achievements, offer clear directions, and carve out time to meet with employees.

  • People development and culture is a work in progress. It can be rewarding, challenging, messy and constantly has to be worked on.

  • For more, here’s Reflektive’s official event recaps.

Interested in continuing your learning and fostering a culture of #nobadmanagers? Check out these four books that stood out and were recommended by speakers and other attendees. I’ve added them to my reading queue, what about you?

Gathering Around Modern Campfires at TEDxSoMa

 

There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire sharing stories and creating conversation—but is it possible to recreate this warm and whimsical experience in a tech-obsessed city like San Francisco on a Tuesday night? TEDxSoMa thought so.

On January 15, about 700 attendees braved rainy weather to gather in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to receive inspiration from six hand-selected speakers, each with an idea worth spreading. The TEDx event theme? Modern Campfires. The TEDxSoMa website creatively elaborated on this theme of choice sharing, “The campfire has been a place for people to come together - a place to tell stories, learn from each other, and gain a sense of belonging and community.

A handful of us from the cred team had the pleasure of volunteering at TEDxSoMa. We loved interacting with other San Franciscans passionate about attending a “modern campfire” to create community and connection.

Ideas Worth Spreading

After months of coaching and training, six speakers took the TEDx stage for a night of modern campfire conversation. Here’s a recap of TEDxSoMa’s 2019 speakers:

  1. Juliana Delgado, an award-winning Colombian writer, spoke about the language hierarchy in the United States and how it limits a group’s access to opportunities and social acceptance.

    • “...staying up late to practice pronouncing words so the kids at school wouldn't make fun of me. I hated myself for not fitting in, not realizing that there was a hierarchy much bigger than me at play here. I felt I was the one who was wrong.”

  2. Mazin Jamal, founder and director of Holistic Underground, spoke about masculinity in today's culture and how to redefine what it means to "be a man."

    • “When I was hopeless, I was useless to everyone, and I was making things worse. And that’s what happens, men feel useless and hopeless so they double down on the problem. And everyone pays the price-especially women and transgender people.”

  3. fnnch, an artist who believes art is for everyone, spoke about how street art is art for the masses. He shared the importance of looking for canvases everywhere, taking back public spaces, and investigating your town's local regulations around public art.

    • “Public space is our space...our way to communicate with each other. To express ourselves. To be heard. To listen. To inspire each other. To comfort each other....And you do not need to be a professional artist to join in….”

  4. Chief Sylvia Moir, a California native who serves as the Chief of Police in Tempe, Arizona, spoke about mindfulness.

    • “There was plenty of Resistance. To some it meant that by encouraging the practice of mindfulness, I was softening policing. The science and research suggested that building resilience to trauma and toxicity was hard work, and changing culture and climate is tough.“

  5. Dr. Yoni Alkan, a professional cuddler, sexual educator, and consultant, spoke about the power of platonic touch.

    • “Rejection feels so searing to us, that we try to avoid hearing ‘No’ at all costs and stop asking. Rejection is hard, but I’d much rather have an honest ‘NO’ than a ‘YES’ you don’t mean.

  6. Bishop William Swing, the former Bishop of San Francisco and current President and Founding Trustee of United Religions Initiative (URI), spoke about unity within community.

    • “I thought: ‘If the world has a United Nations, then most likely the world needs a United Religions. Someone should do something about that.  Why not me?’ The question captured my heart.”

Besides the original content coming straight from the lips of these six  speakers, the audience enjoyed an intermission filled with a meditation session and  dance performance from Vancouver dance troupe TWObigsteps Collective. The dance titled “Veils” was influenced by W.E.B. Dubois' theory of “double consciousness.”

Takeaways

The original and carefully crafted TED talks from these speakers did not fall on deaf ears. There was a full house and the audience was extremely excited to be there. One cred team volunteer even took a photo for a man in front of the stage who he said that being there was "a dream come true."

While the speakers and topics were diverse, TEDxSoMa 2019 had the resounding theme of mindfulness as the common thread–the consistent theme about reframing how we think about our everyday lives.