SIGMOID CAREERS

Conference 2020:
Exploring Career Paths in Software

Hosted by Jackie Lee
Founder of Recruit My Friends, Co-Founder of Masks for Covid, and Angel Investor

19 - 21 December, 2020
10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST

Day 3 has ended! Click here to access recordings! Learn about the speakers

Nine speakers. Three days online. Zero cost.

Hear from senior Engineers and Executives from Oculus/Facebook, Google, Zynga, Snapchat, Amazon, NetSpi and start-ups in AI and Healthtech.

Sat, 19 Dec - 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST

Which Software Path Is for You? Individual Contributor, Manager, or Product?

Sanjeev Dhanda

Senior Staff Engineer, Staff Technical Manager, Google

John Szeder

CTO, Moonbeast; former Director of Engineering, Zynga

Connie Kwan

Chief Storyteller, VP of Product, Product Maestro, Atlassian

Sun, 20 Dec - 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST

The Future is Now: Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence

Nabil Hannan

Managing Director, NetSPI

Vassili Skarine

Former Engineering, Oculus/Facebook, Snapchat; former VP Engineering, Addepar

Sheldon Fernandez

CEO, DarwinAI; former CTO, Infusion Development

Mon, 21 Dec - 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST

What to Look for in Engineering Leadership through Founding, Scaling, and Exiting

Uzair Khan

Software Development Manager, Last Mile/Amazon; VP of Engineering, Connected Labs

Michael DiBernardo

Engineering Leader; former VP of Engineering, Wave

Stanley Chan

VP of Engineering, Tellapart / Twitter; Founding Developer, Symphony Commerce, Carrot.co

The Host

Jackie Lee

Founder, Recruit My Friends; Co-Founder, Masks for Covid

Featuring interviews with mentors that will help guide your career

What is it like to spend 11 years at Google?

Are you interested in a career at Google? Learn from Sanjeev Dhanda who spent the last 11 years working at Google and is now working at a well-known electric vehicle company as a Senior Staff Engineer. Sanjeev will tell his story of starting on the team that created Chrome and share his journey to becoming a Technical Manager and Staff-level Engineer.

Sanjeev Dhanda


Software Engineering '09

Sanjeev is a UW Software Engineering 2009 grad who joined Google straight out of school, working his way up to a Senior Staff Engineer and Tech Lead Manager. Sanjeev’s career path allowed him to hone his software skills as well as his people skills. His current role at a well-known electric vehicle company has him focused on making certain electric vehicles the most fun way to transport yourself.

Learn about the other speakers
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What does a career in gaming look like?

Learn from gaming expert John Szeder, former Director of Engineering at Zynga and serial gaming entrepreneur who worked with the founders of Diablo and EA. John will give you an overview of mistakes he made along the way,, as well as highlight some successes so you can direct your own career!

John Szeder


Computer Science '98

John is the CTO of Moonbeast, a new studio founded by industry veterans that creates exciting games with innovative business models. He has been a strategic executive consultant with clients including Samsung, Activision/Blizzard and The Clorox Corporation. John was formerly a Director of Engineering at Zynga on Zynga Poker, as well as the Vice President of Engineering and Global Operations at hi5 Networks, Inc., a leading international social network for games.

John also held many exciting mobile roles over the years, including being the cofounder and CEO of Mofactor, a small boutique mobile publisher with many internally developed titles and very efficient porting technology. Mofactor developed and published Duckshot, an AIAS nominated title for game of the year, and many other original and branded mobile titles. John was also an early staff member at RIM and one of the founding staff members of Digital Chocolate.

Learn about the other speakers
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How do you go from Engineering to Product?

Learn from Connie Kwan, an expert in Product Management who launched the world’s second largest app store driving over $200 million in revenue per year at Atlassian. Connie studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo and worked as a developer and product manager before becoming an executive. Based in Silicon Valley, Connie works with high growth startups and mentors product managers. Connie will give us insights into what strategic moves she’s made in her career, and how to plan your own career strategically.

Connie Kwan


Computer Engineering '03

Connie Kwan is a University of Waterloo grad and executive from Silicon Valley with 16 years of Product Leadership Experience spanning blockchain, digital health, energy, hardtech and software (Atlassian, MSFT, CY, SPWR).

She is an entrepreneur, advisor, and an active speaker on the topic of product storytelling. She is the VP Product and Marketing at a blockchain company and was previously the CPO at a Khosla-funded startup. She now advises CEOs and Product Leaders at Seed and Series-C startups on building product-led organizations and solving product strategy and execution challenges. She has founded 2 startups, and helped many founders craft and deliver their product visions.

She is a master at engaging different audiences through powerful narrative. Telling a great story starts with knowing your storyteller type. Find your storyteller type here.

Learn about the other speakers
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What does a career in cybersecurity look like?

Learn from Nabil Hannan, a security expert and Managing Director of NetSpi. Nabil is a University of Waterloo Computer Science grad from 2007 and worked as a software developer and product manager before becoming a security expert. Now at the peak of his game, Nabil will give us insights into what he does and tips on specializing in this field.

Nabil Hannan


Computer Science '07

Nabil is a Managing Director at NetSPI. He leads the company’s consulting practice, focusing on helping clients solve their cyber security assessment and threat & vulnerability management needs. His background is around building and improving effective software security initiatives, with deep expertise in the financial services sector.

He has over 13 years of experience in cyber security consulting from his tenure at Cigital/Synopsys Software Integrity Group, where he has identified, scoped, and delivered on software security projects (architectural risk analysis, penetration testing, secure code review, malicious code detection, vulnerability remediation, mobile security assessments, etc.).

Nabil has also worked as a Product Manager at RIM/BlackBerry and has managed several flagship initiatives and projects through the full software development life cycle.

Learn about the other speakers
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How do you decide between startups and large companies?

From Qualcomm, to numerous successful startups exited to Google and IPO, to Snapchat and Facebook (Oculus), Vassili has held numerous leadership and individual contributor roles. At numerous points in his career, Vassili has had to decide between a hot new startup and leadership roles at large companies with special projects. He’ll walk us through his decision making matrix and provide key insights into the struggles and successes of his career.

Vassili Skarine


Computer Engineering '09

Vassili Skarine attended the University of Waterloo for Computer Engineering and graduated in
2009. Starting his career at Qualcomm, he quickly moved into the world of start-ups building Addepar with famed entrepreneur Joe Lonsdale, where he became VP of Engineering. Vassili then went on to numerous start-ups that exited and IPO'd like Firebase to Google and Snapchat. Most recently, Vassili had been working at Facebook on the Oculus team as a Senior Engineer.

Learn about the other speakers
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What is the future of AI?

Are you interested in the future and how Artificial Intelligence is impacting our world? Sheldon Fernandez is a serial entrepreneur, CEO of DarwinAI and former Co-founder and CTO of Infusion Development, which he grew to over 600 people and was sold to Avanade. Sheldon studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo and started Infusion as a student! He’ll touch upon what it takes to be a student entrepreneur and highlight things you should look for in your career, as well as what he believes the field of Artificial Intelligence holds for humanity.

Sheldon Fernandez


Computer Engineering '01

Sheldon is a seasoned executive, startup veteran and respected thought leader in the technical and enterprise communities. Throughout his career, he has applied emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to the enterprise. Prior to joining DarwinAI as its Chief Executive Officer, Sheldon founded Infusion Development as its CTO and helped grow the company to 700 before its acquisition by Avanade. In addition to his BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo, he completed a Master’s degree in theology at the University of Toronto with thesis work in neuroscience and metaethics and also pursued creative writing at Oxford University.

Darwin’s unique technology facilities edge and explainable AI and is being leveraged in numerous industries including autonomous vehicles, consumer electronics, and aerospace, and announced a strategic collaboration with Lockheed Martin in May and Honeywell earlier this month.

The company was named a cool vendor in Gartner’s October 2019 Cool Vendors in Enterprise AI Governance and Ethical Response report, and was also selected by CB Insights for its AI 100 annual list of the 100 most promising private AI companies in the world.

Learn about the other speakers
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What makes a great Engineering Manager?

Uzair spent many years as a mobile developer, eventually leading mobile teams at fast growth start-ups. Along the way, Uzair honed his managerial skills to amplify his team members’ effectiveness, to eventually become VP Engineering at Connected Labs. Uzair will give key insights into Amazon's Engineering culture and his team the Last Mile.

Uzair Khan


Software Engineering '07

Uzair is a Software Development Manager in the Last Mile organization with Amazon. He leads a mobile development team that works on features for the Amazon Flex app on iOS and Android, which is used by Amazon delivery drivers across the world.

He has over 15 years of software development experience and over 10 years in mobile development working on products for the likes of Facebook, Ford, Bose, CNN, Starz, Rogers, OpenText as well as many others. Uzair also ran his own app development consultancy called AppFlex working on mobile apps for clients on a part-time basis.

From this experience leading his own part-time firm, in 2015, Uzair decided to move into Engineering Management full time and has been managing a wide range of development teams since. One of his biggest achievements is growing and leading the Engineering team at Connected from a 20 person team to a 120 person team in 3 years. Through his experiences, Uzair hopes to share what he has learned since being a manager and to discuss what it takes to be a great manager.

Learn about the other speakers
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Should you do a Masters? A PhD?

Mike will give us an overview of his career starting at Google Research as a software developer to numerous successful exits where he built engineering teams from scratch.

Mike DiBernardo


Computer Science & Bioinformatics '05

Mike is a University of Waterloo Computer Science & Bioinformatics grad from 2005 and obtained a Masters in Computer Science at UBC. He started his career at Google Research and joined numerous successful startups in their infancy, and was integral to growing the teams to successful exits like Platespin to Novel, and, most recently, Wave Accounting to H&R Block for over $530 million.

Mike is passionate about developing people and is a well-known developer and community leader.

Learn about the other speakers
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How do you grow a team rapidly and organically?

Stan will give an overview of his days at Waterloo in Mechatronics all the way through to his exit to Twitter. Along the way, Stanley honed his software skills as well as his managerial skills and will share how he came to be an Engineering Leader holding various titles such as VP of Engineering at Tellapart.

Stanley Chan


Mechatronics Engineering '08

Stanley Chan is a UW Mechatronics Engineering grad from the inaugural class of Mechx 2008. After graduating Stan started as a Software Developer in Canada and quickly moved to LA to work at CBS Digital on their innovative products. He then joined Tellapart as one of the first developers and grew with the team till their exit to Twitter for almost $500 million USD which is Twitter’s largest acquisition to date. Stan then helped to start Symphony Commerce where he grew teams of engineers and also helped start-up HealthTech company Carrot that helps people quit smoking. Stan is now a Fractional Executive with numerous heavily funded start-ups and enjoys advising developers across North America.

Learn about the other speakers
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Jackie Lee


Science '06

Jackie graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2006 and obtained an Honours Science Degree with a minor in Psychology. She was a member of the Women’s Varsity Tennis team and was a student fundraiser, raising over $1 Million dollars for scholarships and students in need.

Jackie founded Recruit My Friends while a student at the University of Waterloo. Recruit My Friends is a top talent, referral-only recruitment agency in the technology industry. Her passion lies in cultivating top performance in individuals and groups. Recruit My Friends is 15 years old and specializes in working with fast-growth software companies to attract and retain top performers. Recruit My Friends clients are based in San Francisco, San Diego, LA, New York, Toronto, Waterloo, and London UK with plans to expand to Hong Kong and Singapore in 2021.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 Crisis, Jackie co-founded a non-profit organization called Masks For Covid with other UW Alumni that created a reusable N95-equivalent mask from scuba gear with a 3D-printed adapter, to aid surgeons and other frontliners working with COVID-19 positive patients. The mask is now in clinical trials at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto with sponsors like Canadian Tire, the Canadian government and private donors.

Learn about the other speakers
Click here to access recordings!

SIGMOID CAREERS

Conference 2020:
Exploring Career Paths in Software

Hosted by Jackie Lee
Founder of Recruit My Friends, Co-Founder of Masks for Covid, and Angel Investor

19 - 21 December, 2020
10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST

Day 3 is over! Click here to access recordings!
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