Speed mentoring

Tuesday 3 December, 2013

Codess in an Engineering Forum for women sponsored by Skype, established to explore ways to challenge some of the gender diversity issues in the field of engineering.   Our mission is to ensure women have the support they need throughout their technical career and have a place where they can gain advice on approaching their own professional development. 

Codess Seattle is an evening event for mid-level industry women in engineering. The session begins with networking and refreshments at 6pm on Tuesday 3rd December, followed by roundtable discussions with principal and partner level engineers within Microsoft. You will have the opportunity to sign up for the topics/speakers that interest you the most.   The evening will finish off with a chance for more mingling to meet other like-minded women.

A sneek peek at your choice of topics...

  • Making the Jump in People Management
  • Mentoring vs Sponsorship
  • Leading Change
  • Decision Making
  • Big Data
  • Women Are Not Worth Less
  • Changing Mindsets to Attract, Retain and Grow Women in Software Engineering
  • Designing for Diversity
  • Beyond Work/Life Balance - Thriving in a 24/7 World

How to get to the event: The venue is a couple blocks from the Westlake light rail station, or if you are driving, there are many public parking lots in the area.  There are two on the corner of 3rd and Virginia and one across the street next to Bed, Bath and Beyond. 

Looking forward to seeing you at this unique Codess event!


Reena Agarwal

Principal Development Manager - Bing

Reena Agarwal is Principal Development Manager in Bing. Her current responsibilities are leading Quality and Measurements of Local Data in Bing. During her 17 year career at Microsoft, she has worked at Bing and Windows in various teams and roles. Common to all is her passion for pushing the boundaries of the current state of the art by delivering innovative software that brings lasting business and customer value. She has a wide range of experiences applicable to the spectrum of shrink wrapped and services engineering. Being in the Search business for 9 years has been a fascinating place to develop, learn and apply emerging technology, and build world-scale services that meeting the needs of variety of end users. Her current interests are in exploring data and building metrics that tell the story on user perceived quality; while generating those metrics from Big Data mining and analysis and finding ways to improve the quality of the data. She completed her Bachelors in Technology with Honors in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.

Gail Evans

Studio Services & Operations

Gail Evans leads Microsoft Studios’ Services and Operations team. She is responsible for leading the Studios’ transformation to Entertainment-as-a-Service. She is focused on incubating, operating and deploying new technologies and processes, while building an agile culture to launch world-class services that delight Studio’s customers.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Gail led the HP.com team of over 400 technical members to deliver the most ambitious website redesign project in the history of HP. She and her team introduced a new design, a new technology stack, operations/services and a new operating model to build a world class HP.com site.

Gail also led the Global Consumer and Small Business Banking eCommerce Application Development team at Bank of America. In this role, she was responsible for managing a global team of more than 300 associates to deploy innovative customer experiences to grow online services, mobile sales and provide more efficient agile development processes that leverages the speed of the web channel.

Gail began her career at Eastman Kodak Company where she was actively involved with Eastman Kodak Company’s digital transformation and web first strategies. Gail held several senior management positions including General Manager, EasyShare Software, Director WW eBusiness (B2B, and B2C) CIO , Digital Consumer and CTO, Kodak.com.

Gail earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Nazareth College, and a MBA from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester.

Of her professional achievements, Gail is most proud of receiving the 2011 Egretha Hamilton Award for African American women who believe in hard work, community service and education, her involvement with NPower providing IT solutions for non-profit organizations in the Charlotte, NC, her nomination for the Athena Award, her panel session at Stanford She++, and receiving the 2007 Jane Lanphear award for her commitment to the community and women growth. She was also the cover story – EVE Magazine “Voice of Western New York Women.”

Carol Hedly

Leadership & Development Consultant

Carol is responsible for increasing leader effectiveness through designing and managing the Senior Leader Bench, Microsoft’s differentiated development program for senior leaders. Carol is passionate about helping leaders increase their influence and impact through engagement; as well as scaling and thriving in a 24×7 service world.

Carol has held several interesting roles at Microsoft; including talent management, staffing, and workforce consulting; where she developed a customer/partner internship program designed to increase customer connection. Carol is a certified Action Learning Coach and frequently supports other Microsoft Leadership Development programs through coaching, and consulting.

Prior to Microsoft, Carol was the Office of the President, Microsoft Operations Manager, for a global leader in workforce management and human resources solutions. In this role, Carol and her matrix team of employee relations, recruiting, and operations professionals built the largest line of business in their company’s western region.

Carol is a contributing author to Coaching for Leadership: Writings on Leadership from the World’s Greatest Coaches, Goldsmith, M., Lyons, L., and McArthur, S. (2012); and Lessons in Contemporary Leadership (2010) a collection of authentic leadership stories of senior Microsoft leaders.

When not enjoying her amazing job at Microsoft, Carol enjoys scuba diving, torturing (ahem) spending time with her children on family trips in National Parks, and volunteering in her community.

Dalibor Kukoleca

Principal Development Manager, Lync

Born and raised in Croatia, graduated Computer Science in 1995, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Zagreb, Croatia. In 1996. fulfilled long dream to come to work in the United States. Worked for various small to medium size companies in Silicon Valley, including my own startup company. Although it was financially unsuccessful, running own startup was great learning experience to transition from heavily technical to balanced technical and business oriented way of thinking. Joined Microsoft in 2004, Live Communication Server team where I am working today as Development Manager in Media Services Team, managing teams in Redmond, Stockholm (Sweden) and Tallinn (Estonia).

Shannon Loftis

GM, Xbox Entertainment Studios

Shannon Loftis is the General Manager for Xbox Entertainment Studios, focused on the creation of interactive television using Microsoft’s unique capabilities and communities.

The youngest in a large family, Shannon has long valued inclusion and connection. Technology’s ability to connect and to divide humans has been a passion and a fascination for Shannon throughout her career.

Shannon studied computer science and mathematics at Duke University. She joined Microsoft in 1993 and quickly migrated to the Games group. Her earliest work focused on the creation of online card-playing games, utilizing the emerging consumer potential of the internet and social game design. As publishing producer, Shannon was responsible for multiplayer games across PC, Xbox, and Xbox 360, including the Madness series (Motocross Madness, Monster Truck Madness, and Midtown Madness), Project Gotham Racing, Fable, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, and many others. In total, Shannon contributed to more than 30 games.

Shannon has built and managed many global teams at Microsoft. In 2007, Shannon started a European games publishing unit in the UK, focusing on creating market-appropriate content for European consumers and integrating acquired studios. In 2009, Shannon created the Good Science studio from the ground up to explore the potential for, greenlight, and ship Kinect including creating core technology and many Kinect games. Most recently, she was instrumental in the establishment of Xbox Entertainment Studios, with offices in Santa Monica, Vancouver BC, and Soho, London.

In her free time, Shannon enjoys travelling, hiking, running, spending time with her husband and sons, and attending family reunions.

Shilpa Ranganathan

Senior Test Lead

Shilpa Ranganathan, is a Senior Test Lead at Microsoft. She has worked in the Unified Communications space for nine years and helped ship multiple versions of Microsoft Live Meeting and Microsoft Lync during her career at Microsoft. She is passionate about working on innovative techniques to improve software testing and helping create and ship high quality products. Shilpa has represented Microsoft at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in growing women in STEM. In addition, she was co-founder of Bytewise organization formed in 2011 by women on the Lync Test team with the purpose of establishing a culture that encourages women in software engineering. She is part of the women’s committee at Microsoft and is passionate about growing, attracting, and retaining women within the company. She has partnered with MS research on various events and forums that helps reinvent technology for the next generation. In her free time she wrote a Think Week paper on “Trust and Gender Differences.” Shilpa has a bachelors and master’s degree in Chemical engineering and is presently focused on improving the test process through automation, new testing tools and techniques.

Tara Roth

CVP of Testing in the Office Client Services Group

Tara Roth is corporate vice president of Testing in the Office Client Services Group, responsible for the Microsoft Office system, an integrated suite of information worker applications, servers and services. Tara is directly responsible for test teams and test engineering in the Office Group. She has additional responsibility to drive engineering standards and methods with other leader across the broader Microsoft community.

Outside of work, Tara enjoys snow skiing, waterskiing, spending time with her husband and two children, and volunteering in local nonprofit work.

Gurdeep Singh Pall

CVP of Engineering - Skype

Gurdeep Singh Pall is a 23 year Microsoft veteran. He has worked on many breakthrough products in his tenure, starting with LAN Manager Remote Access Service, the first version of Windows NT 3.1 in 1993 as a software design engineer, all the way through Windows XP in 2001 as general manager of Windows Networking. Pall co-authored the first VPN protocol in the industry – Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) – which received the prestigious Innovation of the Year award from PC Magazine in 1996. He authored several documents and standards in the networking area in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards body in the mid-1990s. Gurdeep was the corporate vice president for the Office Lync & Speech Group until 2011, overseeing the vision, product strategy and R&D for the Microsoft Lync family of products and Microsoft Tellme services. He was named one of the “15 Innovators & Influencers Who Will Make A Difference” in 2008 by Information Week. He co-authored “Institutional Memory Goes Digital,” which was published by Harvard Business Review as part of “Breakthrough Ideas for 2009″ and subsequently presented at the World Economic Forum 2009 in Davos. Pall has more than 20 patents (in process or approved) in networking, VoIP and collaboration areas. He was involved in the Skype acquisition from the first MSFT conversation at the Executive/Board level, through the announcement, and early strategic planning.   Since mid-2011, Gurdeep was the corporate vice president for the Information Platform & Experiences org, overseeing the vision, product strategy, and R&D for a new Bing Information Platform, publicly announced in June of 2013, delivering innovative NUI and Data capabilities to products and services across Microsoft including Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone, and Office.  In November 2013 he was announced as the corporate vice president of the Skype organization. He is on the board of trustees of Ashesi University.

Dan Strader

Principal Service Engineer, Cloud Services, Lync

Daniel Strader is currently a Cloud Operations leader at Skype, focused on developing high performance teams and new managers for one of the world’s largest communication platforms that millions of people rely on to communicate daily. With four years of management experience and ten years of engineering experience in Microsoft and Skype he still remembers what it was like to take the leap into a management role.

Matt Wallaert

Behavioral Scientist

Matt Wallaert is a behavioral scientist who works at the intersection of technology and human behavior. After two successful startups, he joined Microsoft and created the Bing for Schools program, which works to promote digital literacy through a combination of hardware, teaching, and environment in schools.  A proponent of dual process theory, Wallaert is a passionate advocate for a methodological approach to behavior change using technology. In his spare time, he advises startups and creates socially-focused side projects like GetRaised.com, a free service that helps women ask for, and get, pay raises to close the gender wage gap.

Photos from event

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