Fanning Flames & Breaking Biases
An International Women’s Day Fireside Chat
Teaming up this International Women's Day, the Microsoft Reactor and Tech Inclusion bring you this virtual fireside chat to discuss experiences of being in the gender minority in tech, and how workplace culture has a huge impact.
We'll have plenty of time for audience questions, so come along and join the discussion, and poll the wisdom of our fantastic fireside guests.
Your Hosts - Tech Inclusion's Own CEO and COO
Beside teaching and tech she loves swing dancing, cats, and having a ridiculous number of plants
Alex is a Software Developer at Atlassian where she works on architectural features that keep Atlassian's biggest customers running. She also works with the Atlassian Foundation team to support education not-for-profits including FIRST Australia and The Purpose Project, providing them with talented and passionate volunteers.
Alex is also a passionate leader in the women in tech scene, she is the Coordinator of the Girls' Programming Network Sydney, and is also at the forefront of the initiative to spread the GPN program around the country, by training and visiting up-and-coming GPN nodes. She loves teaching the next generation of girls that tech is really for everyone, and one of her passions in life is creating inclusive, welcoming and supportive spaces where anyone can be themselves to explore new and interesting concepts without fear of failure or judgement holding them back. This passion lead her to co-found Tech Inclusion, where she is the COO, and is working on her dream to see programs like GPN spread all corners of Australia so that every girl has the opportunity to learn programming in an inclusive environment.
Alex collects new hobbies like it's going out of style. If it involves technology and making things she's probably tried it, from e-textiles to 3D printing and everything in between. She loves exploring the intersection between creativity and technology.
Our Fireside Guests
Shiva is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft where she develops community-centered strategies that will empower learners around the globe to love and fulfil their learning aspirations through docs.microsoft.com. Previously, she was a Community Program Manager for Microsoft’s top technical community leaders and thought leaders in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
She launched and delivered Australia’s first enrichment-focused professional learning program, which saw over 900+ school teachers transforming their pedagogy and inspiring their students to pursue an interest in STEM subjects.
Before coming to Australia, she was responsible for cultivating alliances and partnerships that resulted in passing two landmark pieces of legislation that mandate the use of renewable energy and biofuels in the Philippines.
Dr Nicky Ringland is a Product Manager at Google, working on Open Source Software tools. She is passionate about advocating for the user and driving consensus while solving gnarly problems.
A recovering academic with a background in Computational Linguistics, Nicky completed her PhD at the University of Sydney. (Her thesis involved thinking hard about the names of things, then training a computer to do the thinking for her.) She went on to co-founded Grok Learning, an edtech startup teaching hundreds of thousands of students to solve problems with code, and the Girls' Programming Network Australia, which runs free workshops introducing coding and computer science to school students across Australia. Named one of Australia's “Superstars of STEM” and 2018 AFR Women of Influence, Nicky is passionate about teaching the next generation the skills they need to become the creators of tomorrow.
Alex works on the Red Team at Atlassian, helping test their security by trying to break in exactly like a real hacker would, then sharing how it was done. Their blog, https://mango.pdf.zone, has stories that take people along for the ride of how they've hacked things. One of the blog posts is titled "When you browse Instagram and find former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's passport number".
On the side, they volunteer to teach computer science to students, and organise purplecon, a pastel-purple, gentle, slightly mysterious information security conference. purplecon tries to give more of a voice to marginalised groups, by making sure half the tickets go to people from these groups, as well as trying to be open and encouraging of everyone's diverse perspectives.
Their hobbies include getting overly into things unprompted and picnics.
Lavender is currently a senior software engineer at MongoDB in Sydney, building out a new migration tooling and data modeling product. Her passions lie in mentorship, and she has been involved across many such programs, including one at MongoDB, aimed at supporting underrepresented groups in their early career.
Lavender’s journey in software began in her student years as an intern at Google, before becoming a graduate engineer at Atlassian. In her spare time she likes all things in the great outdoors, especially rock climbing and hiking. When not outside, she is an avid cook and loves discovering and trying out new recipes!