• May 8- 9, 2020
  • ·
  • The Wright Museum, 315 East Warren Street, Detroit

Kathleen McMahon: Accessibility-flavored React components make your design system delicious!


Design systems are a popular way for teams to flavor their design and development workflow. However, an often-missing ingredient in many design systems is a focus on accessibility best practices — especially when component libraries are involved.

In this talk, we’ll take a look at how you can mix some commonly-used components with the ingredients of accessibility. Pair this with best practices guidance in your documentation, and you’ll have the recipe for a delectably inclusive design system.

About Kathleen McMahon

Kathleen works at O’Reilly Media as a Senior Software Engineer and Tech Lead for the O’Reilly Design System. Her deep industry experience as both a designer and developer fuels her passion for making apps beautifully accessible. In her spare time, she is the Creative Director for the CXsisters network, and the best lanterne rouge cyclocrosser you’ll ever meet.

Pujaa Rajan: AI for All: Accessible and Inclusive Artificial Intelligence


Artificial Intelligence is developing faster than ever, but are we are we making it accessible and inclusive ? AI can empower people with disabilities to live, learn, and work. An example application is Google's Project Euphonia’s Personalized Speech Recognition, which helps people with speech impairments communicate more easily. We'll talk about how this works and what other applications of AI for accessibility exist. AI needs to be more inclusive as well. Facebook's Portal camera was discovered to have uneven representation for skin tone and gender presentation when examining its dataset. We'll talk about how to check your data for bias and improve dataset representation. All in all, this talk will open your eyes to accessible and inclusive artificial intelligence projects, and how you can help make sure AI is being created for everyone.

About Pujaa Rajan

Pujaa Rajan is a deep learning engineer at, an artificial intelligence start up. She is also the USA Ambassador and the founder of the San Francisco chapter of WomenInAI. Previously, she worked at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager with $6.84T in AUM. She also has experience working as a quantitative analyst at Deutsche Bank and data scientist at Hudl, a sports analytics company. She holds a BS in Information Science from Cornell University, where she researched computational social science.

Eva PenzeyMoog: Designing Against Domestic Violence


The reality of domestic violence doesn’t disappear when people enter the digital world. Abusers use technology to exploit and control their victims, meaning that technologists have a responsibility to ensure that users of our products are empowered to protect their safety. How can we prevent people with violent intentions from forms of abuse and control that are digital, such as exploiting online banking software to control a partners finances or tormenting them with smart home devices? How can we recognize points of possible intervention where we might be able to help a user who is experiencing domestic violence? How can we make it harder for stalkers to find their victims? While there’s no simple answer and ultimately no way to ensure our users’ safety in all situations, thoughtful considerations and small changes while designing and building products can and does result in meaningful contributions to people’s safety. This talk will help the audience get into the right mindset for thinking about safety and provide a framework for building technology against domestic violence.

About Eva PenzeyMoog

Eva PenzeyMoog is a Principle Designer at 8th Light. She works to ensure that digital products cannot be be used as tools of abuse, with the goal of reducing harm in the world through centering the safety of victims of domestic violence. When not designing, coding, or mentoring people new to tech, she spends her time thinking and dreaming about the zombie apocalypse and playing with her pitbulls, Hamlet and Horatio.

Ayodele Odubela: How Bias in Machine Learning can be Life or Death for Marginalized people.


Artificial Intelligence is a the heart of so many consumer tech products, but it shouldn't be a black box. Google Photos saw great adoption by not limiting storage capacity for photos and saw droves of new consumers. As they rolled out new features, they were careless in implementing biased machine learning algorithms that impacted many users. While under the guise of a helpful additional features, Google Photos also labeled many of its African-American customers as gorillas. In this talk I will highlight some extremely harmful as well as miniscule ways biased models impact marginalized people.

About Ayodele Odubela

Ayodele Odubela is a Data Scientist at Mindbody with a passion for explainable machine learning models and human-friendly visualizations. She got her start in tech by doing marketing for startups and is passionate about using data to improve the lives of marginalized people. She is an avid hockey fan, dog-lover, and believes code is best written on a beach.

Cassandra H. Leung: How to Benefit from Being Uncomfortable (Again, and Again)


Many of us face discomfort, anxiety, and other typically negative feelings in our daily lives and work. Sometimes, those feelings can even hold us back and stop us from achieving the goals we strive towards, or doing the best job possible. But what can we do about this? I propose that we use discomfort to our advantage, and learn to benefit from being uncomfortable. That’s exactly what I’ve done for many years, and I want to show you how you can do it too.

This will be the third iteration of this talk, with the first 99-second version given in 2016. I want to return to the stage with a progress report on my journey of self-improvement through embracing discomfort, and show you how you can benefit from your own empowering journey of discomfort and self-improvement.

In most sessions, speakers tell us about their own experiences and give advice on things we can try. But we rarely get to see them in action, doing the things they're suggesting to us. This talk will be different. During this session, I’ll make myself uncomfortable once again, in front of a live audience, so you can see for yourself that I practice what I preach, and that nothing bad will happen if you do the same.

Join me for this exciting, personal, and practical session, to learn how to actively make yourself uncomfortable, and benefit from it in ways you might never have imagined.

About Cassandra H. Leung

Cassandra describes herself as a tester and UX enthusiast, with previous roles including product owner, business analyst, recruiter and international account manager. She uses her varied knowledge and experience to help her in all aspects of testing.

Cassandra is very passionate about diversity and inclusion, and tries to raise awareness of various social issues relevant to technology. To this end, Cassandra launched a new collaborative blog series, Identity Stories, in 2019 to amplify the voices of others and shed light on other people’s experiences and perspectives. She has spoken at various conferences around the world and hopes to inspire others to share their stories too.

Miro Cupak: How we're searching the world's genetic data


The sensitive nature of genetic data causes a major concern in genetics - a lot of life-saving information, despite having been collected, is inaccessible. Data discovery and sharing has long been believed to be the key making new breakthroughs.

In this session, we tell the story of developing a standard for search of genetic data and its implementation in the form of the world’s largest search and discovery engine of human genetic data today. The effort is a result of years of collaboration between developers, researchers and scientists on a global scale, and the flagship project of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, a coalition of over 500 institutions focused on standardizing sharing of genetic data.

We’ll go from challenges, architecture and technologies behind this open-source project, through the development of a standard for genetic data search, to fun statistics capturing what people are searching for in the system.

Come and learn about the technical decisions that allowed us to scale and disrupt the perception of genetic data!

About Miro Cupak

Miro is a Co-founder and VP Engineering at DNAstack, where he builds a leading genomics cloud platform. He is a Java enthusiast with expertise in distributed systems and middleware, passionate about genetics and making meaningful software. Miro is the creator of the largest search and discovery engine of human genetic data, and the author of a book on parallelization of genomic queries. In his spare time, he teaches Java, blogs and contributes to several open-source projects.

Ryan Cromwell: Making the Leap to Tech Lead


You’re a solid developer. You’ve built software people use, and it works well for them. Now, you want that next step—to lead a team that builds software.

In this talk, I’ll share the traits, skills, and experiences that shape a successful Tech Lead. We’ll talk about how a Tech Lead empowers and unlocks a team through communication, leadership, technical skill, and impact. We’ll look at what it means to manage yourself and the vital role a Tech Lead plays in building the right thing. We’ll also look at opportunities to grow your Tech Lead skills before you make the jump and how to show your boss that you’re ready.

About Ryan Cromwell

Ryan Cromwell is the Technical Director at Sparkbox with nearly 15 years of experience delivering solutions ranging from real-time customer loyalty systems and elegant user experiences to streamlined statistical process control software. Having worked with passionate, high-performing teams, Ryan ventured into the world of training and Agile coaching to replicate those amazing experiences. Ryan’s passion remains delivering software others enjoy using. He is co-founder of Dayton Clean Coders, co-organizer of Southwest Ohio GiveCamp, and all around software community ally. You can find Ryan at and on Twitter as @cromwellryan.

George Mandis: More Than Music with WebMIDI


Did you know there's a well-supported browser API that allows you to interface with a wide variety of hardware, including some you can build yourself? Wonder no more and meet the WebMIDI API! We'll look at how MIDI — a niche protocol from 1983 designed for electronic musical instruments to talk to one another — JavaScript and "tiny computers" like the Arduino, Espruino and RasperryPi can be used to build interactive, non-musical experiences that straddle the line between the web and physical world.

About George Mandis

George Mandis is a Google Developer Expert in Web Technologies and senior developer/consultant at SnapTortoise based out of Portland, Oregon. He speaks all over the world on JavaScript, programming & creativity through code. Besides code his interests include digital nomadism, speaking functionally terrible Serbo-Croatian and basketball analytics. He has spoken and led workshops at many conferences including Microsoft Build, RuhrJS, Webcamp Zagreb, C'T WebDev, HolyJS and FullStack London.

Jigyasa Grover: Opening Doors to Open Source


The alluring world of open-source is incontestably attracting budding developers to contribute & enrich this sphere, but unfortunately there seems to be a highly skewed sex-ratio which is perturbing nonetheless. According to a recent survey by Github, only 4% of open-source participants, developers and ideators are women and/or non-binary. The percentage of female users tends to decrease as the number of contributions & repositories recorded go up and user activity increases. This disconcerting disparity can - and should - definitely be blotted out.

This might be due to the fact that women especially find it intimidating to get started with contributing to open source. The speaker wishes to back them up solidly by answering questions, throwing light on the issues that they usually have. It aims at introducing the audience to the world of FOSS and elaborate the vast range of opportunities ranging from coding to documentation, design, outreach and research. The speaker shall converse her involvements and experiences in Open Source with a handful of organisations and its impact on her tech crusade so far. A special emphasis shall be on the dearth of women in technology. It aspires to inspire budding girl developers and showcase women who’ve made significant contributions to technology.

This talk targets females, other underrepresented groups and supportive men, open source enthusiasts/ developers in university and colleges, to-be graduates, and/or recent graduates, academicians and thought leaders. The main agenda of the talk is to view the open source world beyond the perspective of coding. It also aims to encourage fellow female to dive into developing and discuss the vast range of opportunities available.

About Jigyasa Grover

Red Hat Women in Open Source Academic Award Winner 2017, Google Summer of Code alumna and currently a Machine Learning Engineer at Twitter Inc., Jigyasa Grover is an ardent open-source enthusiast on a quest to build a powerful bunch of girls and boys alike in the world of technology.

Doug Bradbury: The Secrets of Great mentors


How do the best mentors operate? What makes them so effective? In this talk, we will explore some counter-intuitive techniques that great mentors use in helping their apprentices learn fast and achieve extraordinary results.

We will explore how mentoring is fundamentally different than teaching. We will also look at some psychology and brain science to understand what makes learners tick and how they respond when we give them feedback. Warning: Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid may also make an appearance.

About Doug Bradbury

Doug Bradbury started 8th Light’s mentorship program in 2008. He continued to evolve and enhance that program as 8th Light grew and he served in many roles including Director of Consulting, Director of Studio, Managing Director, and COO.
Doug recently left 8th Light to start One World Coders, an offshore software development consultancy that aims to take that mentorship across geographic and cultural borders to build affordable, world-class software teams.

Doug has personally mentored more than 40 Software Crafters and writes and speaks about mentorship to companies and groups across the globe. He authored the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship and remain a part-owner of 8th Light.

Jamie Tomasello: Understanding cognitive capacity and preventing burnout.


In information security, we are focused on ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our data and systems. We often monitor systems and services health for overutilization, packet loss, and swapping, but we do not do the equivalent for people. When we attempt to measure people, we expect that they operate at full capacity all the time, hitting KPIs without considering the personal cost. Do we blame the server when it's overloaded or has too many services running on it, competing for the same resources? No. We don't give the engineers and analysts maintaining our infrastructure and products the same level of consideration that we give our critical systems. This session will propose ways to monitor people availability and cognitive capacity, ensure psychological safety, and proactively avoid burnout.

About Jamie Tomasello

Jamie Tomasello is the Head of Trust and Compliance at Duo Security. She has been combating internet abuse and addressing security and compliance issues for over nineteen years at internet service providers, security companies, law firms, and non-profits. Jamie is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US and CIPT). A former music major, Jamie is completing her degree in psychology with a focus in trauma psychology and behavior analysis.

Andrew Ek: What I learned about code review from teaching 8th grade poetry


Writing code is a logical and analytical activity, but is also a creative activity. Developers have their own voices and styles (and quirks!). We explore code reviews (and more broadly, feedback on code-in-progress) through the lens of teaching creative writing and performance. What practices from the classroom can we bring over to our code reviews, and what opportunities do they afford us? How do we honor the voices of our developers?

We will discuss building a shared language, naming the heart, opening for experimentation, and building trust.

About Andrew Ek

Andrew Ek is the Development Director for Unabridged Software. At work, he helps his coworkers and clients solve problems; some of that work involves writing code with Ruby, Elixir, and Javascript. Before becoming a software developer, Andrew taught poetry, writing, math, and computer science to middle school, high school, and university students across the midwest.

He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his really awesome spouse, their remarkably neat kiddo, and their very adequate cat.