Hosted jointly with Hi-Tech Women.
An unapologetic celebration of things we've learned and accomplished in the past year as women in tech. We'll mingle and take some time to highlight professional accomplishments.
Thank you to our sponsor Spreedly for providing space and refreshments!
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The recruitment, hiring, and promotion process can feel like a mystery. Whether you’re looking to get hired or advance within your workplace, hear from local HR professionals to learn what they are looking for in new candidates as well as those looking to advance internally. This is your chance to ask candid questions and get real answers!
Anya Fisher, HR Operations Manager at Smashing Boxes
Anya is an HR Operations Manager at Smashing Boxes, a next generation software development company with a goal to inspire and impact clients, employees, strategic partners, and the overall community. Anya began her career in HR with a background in Psychology, and gained her first 6 years of experience working within a fast-paced heath care industry before transitioning into the Tech universe, which she has called home for the last 2 years. Her passion and expertise includes recruiting, employee relations, conflict resolution, and improving processes and procedures. Anya believes that a positive interview, and new hire on-boarding experience is essential to create a strong foundation for employee happiness, and retention. Outside of work, Anya enjoys cooking, baking, watching a good movie, and hiking with her husband and their Weimaraner, Marty.
Dana Kuhn, People and Strategy Leader at Personify
Dana has over 10 years of experience in executive people operations in SF Bay Area tech startups such as Location Labs, Jawbone, and hi5 Networks. In her professional experience, she has scaled companies from 50 to 200+, and managed leadership teams through exit events. Dana holds a J.D. from UCLA Law School and an LLM from UC Berkeley School of Law specializing in employment law and organizational development. Her post-graduate work focused on organizational culture and commitment in high performing technical firms. She is currently the Head of People, Strategy, and Partnerships at Personify, where she advises multinational clients on best practices in hiring, retention, and diversity initiatives.
Leslie Neitzel, VP, People at Pendo.io
Leslie has over 15 years experience driving innovation and change within the HR landscape. Leslie recently joined Pendo as VP, People after 10 years in HR leadership roles supporting global scale and growth within the Bay Area tech industry, including, ServiceMax and SuccessFactors. Her experiences have helped drive a successful IPO and acquisitions for both organizations. Prior, Leslie held a variety of talent development and HR leadership roles at Model Metrics, Tribune Media and Bank of America. Leslie holds an MBA from Loyola University and BS in Finance from NC State University.
Fela Powell, Global Talent Acquisition at Red Hat
Naya Fela Powell is a dynamic HR professional and Certified Business and Wholistic Lifestyle Coach. She holds an accomplished career of over 15 years of experience in HR Consulting, Talent Acquisition and Entrepreneurship. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and the College of Executive Coaching; as well as, a native of Virginia Beach, VA; currently residing in Durham, NC.
Naya Fela is a member of Red Hat's Global Talent Acquisition team . She has been a strategic partner in driving diversity and campus initiatives for the company; specializing in HBCU collaborations. Naya Fela is the Vice-Chair of BUILD (Blacks United in Leadership & Diversity) at Red Hat.
Naya Fela founded: The Utopia Living Brand (A Wholistic Lifestyle Co.). Naya Fela and her companies have been featured in various publications to include: Upscale, Best-Self, and Rolling Out magazines; and have serviced celebrity clients to include: P-Diddy, Martha Stewart and Angela Bassett. Naya Fela continues to use her drive for diversity, community engagement, professional development, coaching and corporate wellness to empower others to live their most passionate lives on purpose...wholistically!
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October 18th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Open to Durham Women in Tech members and their female guests. Membership is free!
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Grace Ueng, CEO and Founder of Savvy Growth, shares her passion for channeling fear, embracing failure, and taking targeted action to live a better life. Her talk highlights original research on happiness and failure, in partnership with Harvard Business School, her personal story, and interviews with successful professionals about how they have learned from fear and failure.
Special thanks to event sponsor Ticketmaster for providing food, drinks, and space.
As the founder of a successful business and an alumnus of MIT and Harvard Business School, “failure” isn’t the word that crosses most people’s mind when they think of Grace Ueng. But make no mistake, Grace is an expert on failing.
A classic American-born Chinese overachiever, Grace spent her entire life trying to be successful. As a daughter, student, mother, executive, and entrepreneur, she set nearly unreachably high standards for herself. But in pushing herself to succeed in every endeavor, she learned that it isn’t success that brings happiness; it’s embracing fear and failure. She wished someone would have given her this message years ago, and she knows there are millions of others who can benefit from her sharing it today.
Despite the outward appearance of a highly-accomplished and highly-energetic professional, Grace’s life has been marked by one setback or failure after another. Her most publicized failure was when she learned how to ride a bicycle as an adult, then went plummeting off Sonoma Mountain Road in a horrible cycling accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injury that damaged her short-term memory and left her babbling in Chinese, a language she had forgotten many years prior. It has taken her nearly 20 years to figure out dating success after a failed marriage left her suddenly single with a one-year-old. Her close relationship with her parents has kept her on her toes and provided challenges for a long time as well, with her mother battling serious mental health issues. Along the same lines, Grace’s genetics give her a predisposition to struggle with maintaining her happiness.
Grace is far from alone. Many people struggle to find balance between success and happiness. They unintentionally diminish their quality of life by constantly comparing themselves to others and going after the goals that other people set for them: that job title, exclusive degree, or acceptance in a certain social group. This obsession with success and belonging used to be a problem that plagued adults, but it’s becoming prevalent with young people today as well. The onset of depression has dropped in the past five decades from 30 to 14.5 years old. This attests to why the course on how to be happy is the most popular course at Harvard. When people constantly focus on future goals that will show they are good enough, they always think happiness is on the horizon. Once they do XYZ, then they will be happy; but it doesn’t work that way.
In the years after her accident, Grace pored herself into an intensive literature review of positive psychology. She found that being happy isn’t a “fluffy” topic—it’s rooted in science. She started writing a happiness journal, and she soon found firsthand that happiness is a choice and a state of mind you create for yourself. She developed seven steps to help her refocus her life and reclaim her happiness. This was the birth of Project Peak, Grace’s thought leadership on embracing failure and climbing the ups and downs of life.
As she began sharing her story and these steps through speaking engagements and coaching, she found that it resonated with a wide range of people. Being an Ivy League alumnus and successful executive-turned-entrepreneur, Grace’s background garnered respect from executives and intellectuals. Her life challenges and traumas, combined with her openness and vulnerability resonated with everyone, frequently bringing her audience to tears.
Grace is a recognized expert in the areas of marketing strategy and entrepreneurial growth. She consults for clients that range from start-ups, to scale-ups, to Fortune 1000. Grace has a passion for success and shares this desire with her clients. She is now writing and speaking on Project Peak, Climbing the Mountains of Life: Business and Beyond, in which she espouses her 7 theories that intertwine the tenets of positive psychology with fear, failure, and stories from her life.
Grace founded Savvy Marketing Group in 2013 and rebranded a dozen years later to Savvy Growth, offering management consulting and executive coaching in addition to its core marketing strategy services. The company has had more than 100 projects and dozens of long-term clients, with several achieving successful exits. The founder of one client described Grace as their “secret weapon,” and the president of another called Grace their “corporate therapist.” Grace’s firm also has a China practice, helping companies maneuver opportunities in the world’s second largest marketplace.
After graduating from Harvard Business School, Grace worked for brand leaders at General Mills and Clorox before embracing the tech startup world, where she led product management, business development and marketing. She was a key leader in one IPO and four solid exits, including one to Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful of Shark Tank.
While at MIT, Grace was elected 3 terms as her class President, spoke at her commencement, and worked summers at Coca-Cola, IBM, and Bain. In her senior year at MIT, Grace was chosen as one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women. Grace was one of five percent of college seniors accepted into Harvard Business School’s deferred admit program. Upon graduating MIT, she returned to Bain, then left this coveted management consulting firm to take a shot at publishing at Sports Illustrated and Time Asia.
From her journalism days in NYC where she was a freelance writer and started The New Asian Times, Grace has continued to serve as a correspondent for publications including those of City Business Journals and McClatchy. Grace’s writing and speaking topics have included: conquering fear and failure, women in business, entrepreneurial marketing, doing business with China, leadership, entrepreneurship, and balancing a career with parenting.
Grace was named one of Audrey’s Top 8 Asian-American Women of Influence and inspires audiences around the world. She has served as adjunct faculty teaching entrepreneurial marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler as well as at Fudan in Shanghai in joint venture with MIT Sloan School.
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Let's remind ourselves of how strong we are and learn how others draw their strength. The anti-diversity memo at Google followed by the frightening violence of white nationalism has so many of us on edge.
If you've found yourself stress-eating cake, eyeballing your dwindling alcohol stock, or wondering about the values of those around you, please join us. This event is designed to help us strengthen ourselves and each other. We can, together, build deeper resilience.
We'll begin with a brief reflection and writing workshop focused on moments where we've overcome a hurdle or difficult time. We'll follow with an open mic-type session where we'll share our reflections and what helped us get through our challenges. Proxy speakers will be available for those who either wish to remain anonymous or who feel uncomfortable speaking in public.
Please join us to be heard and to get inspiration from other strong women.
Moderators: Hao Nguyen (DWIT Founder), Saphfire Turner (Ticketmaster)
Pizza, drinks, and space provided by new sponsor Spreedly!
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Have ideas about how to make Durham Women in Tech (DWiT) events even better? This is the meeting for you! This hands-on, working meeting will set goals for DWiT events and projects for 2018. We are looking to decide the best mix of panel vs. single speaker vs. social events for 2018, best meetup day/time, meetup topics, sponsorship strategy, and volunteer outreach. We'll also discuss potential projects.
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Finding the right ‘fit’ at a company is a critical element of any job search especially when tech cultures can vary widely. Learn where to look to discover what life will really be like once you are no longer a candidate but an actual employee.
Whether you are actively hunting for a new role, comparing life at other companies, or interested to influence your current working environment, join us for a talk by Ursula Mead as she walks us through handy resources for your job search as well as tech industry culture trends.
Food and drinks provided by Transloc.
InHerSight founder and CEO
Ursula Mead is the founder and CEO of InHerSight, a full-time working mom, and a believer in the power of data and transparency to drive real change. Ursula created InHerSight to help women find the workplaces where they can succeed, and to amplify the voices of women in the workplace through anonymous company reviews. Prior to starting InHerSight, Ursula was the head of product at financial media company The Motley Fool. She earned a BA in Political Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and a MA in International Relations and Affairs from George Washington University.
July 20, 2017
Our bodies reveal what we're feeling, especially during difficult conversations. Learn how to decode body language with mediation expert DiShon Cain. He'll share tips on recognizing when feelings differ from what's said, how to de-escalate, and using your own body language to convey messages.
Food and drinks provided by Ticketmaster.
About DiShon Cain
DiShon Cain is the founder of Factor Consultants and an employee of the NC Department of Public Safety (DPS). He has nearly twenty years of experience as a mediation expert and consultant. In his career, he has managed over a thousand various conflicts and disputes, including ones with high potential for violence. Cain has worked in school systems, nonprofits, and even as security for events. In his current role at the Department of Public Safety, he helps counsel those within the court system at risk of incarceration. Reading body language is what keeps him and others safe in the confined spaces.
June 21, 2017
We're all told networking and mentorship matter to career growth, especially as women, but what does this mean, exactly? Our panel of female executives will discuss their own experiences with mentorship and networking and how it helped lead them to where they are today. Join us in this open, candid discussion.
Founder and CEO at Orora Global
Founded in 2014, Orora Global,Inc. (www.ororaglobal.com) is a social enterprise that focuses on eliminating the problem of energy poverty in developing countries. Recognition for Orora includes 2016 Global Influential Emerging Leader by AACSB, One of the 30 Best Worldwide Projects by Gifted Citizen, Top 8 Coolest College Startup in North America by Inc Magazine. Additionally, the Clinton Foundation, Harvard University, and Babson College have also recognized Orora's work. Savitha Sridharan holds an MBA from Babson College, MS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from NCSU, and B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Business Productivity and Success Coach/Speaker
Lori runs her own consulting service (http://loribruhns.com/) as a professional speaker and trainer. She focuses on coaching leaders and professionals who are seeking greater productivity, and fluid work/life fit. Lori was a middle school Spanish teacher for ten years. During eight of those ten years, she led the World Language Department and served as a mentor to new teachers. Lori is active with the National Association of Professional Organizers of North Carolina (NAPO-NC). She is also the head of a tightly run household and a mother of twin boys.
Dawn Ohaver Moyer
Co-Founder of Potential Essential (www.potentialessential.com)
Potential Essential's mission is to serve as the catalyst for gender equality in the workplace, starting from the ground up. They provide training programs that equip and empower women with fundamental leadership skills, and effective approaches to leveraging those skills that benefit both the individual and the performance of the organization. Dawn is a results-oriented leader with a diverse background spanning marketing, sales, and training who uses her ability to inspire, lead, and empower individuals to realize exceptional performance. She has launched several highly successful multi-million dollar products and is the recipient of multiple marketing and sales excellence awards, including two Effie Awards for advertising.
Director of People Operations
Erin Miller is the Director of People Operations at TransLoc, Inc, where putting people first is a top priority. Erin is a former sales and advertising executive who turned her love of people and relationship-building into a successful career in people development and performance optimization. She has a knack for connecting with people and building trust, and loves the challenge of bringing different people together and turning their connections into meaningful outcomes—increased company revenue, high employee engagement, and workplace productivity. Her 9 years of experience at The Motley Fool prepared her well for the work she is doing at TransLoc, Inc. She is focused on keeping the unique culture and people-first approach thriving and moving forward. When Erin's not working, she's enjoying her family. Her husband, Don, and her enjoy live music together and doting on their rambunctious three year old boy and sweet little 6 month old girl.
May 17, 2017
Ever wanted to be your own boss? Learn what it means to become an entrepreneur and the resources specifically available to area women in tech. Reagan Reynolds, as program manager of Soar Triangle and an entrepreneur herself, discusses the joys and trade-offs of running your own tech business. She'll also discusses the common challenges and available support.
About our speaker
Reagan “fell into” the NC startup community when she was looking for a way out of a series of mundane office jobs after college. She partnered with a high school friend to build a controversial, exciting tech startup. It was during her time building that startup that Reagan made the connections at NC IDEA and within our startup ecosystem that lead to her role as Program Manager for SoarTriangle.
Reagan graduated from UNC –Wilmington in 2011 and is currently finishing her MA degree in English Literature through Northern Arizona University. She is a wife and mother, and also runs a creative floral design business “on the side.”
Reagan has had the privilege of being mentored and coached by startup experts such as Thom Ruhe, John Austin and Lauren Whitehurst, as well as branding guru Jonathan Prinz, PR executive Esther Campi, as well as many many others.
April 19, 2017
Couldn't make it to the event?
Meg will discuss many of the financial implications of working in the tech industry: working for a startup versus a more-established company, your ability to take on financial risk--which can help determine the jobs you take and how you are paid, and receiving equity in your company.
She also will cover some basics of prudent financial planning, when you might need to worth with a professional...and how to find the right one for you. Meg will provide resources so you can further educate yourself, which is essential whether or not you work with a financial planner. There will be time for questions, so please bring them!