Fremont Womxn in Technology (FWIT)


The Fremont Womxn in Technology group hosts quarterly networking events at the HQ of Tableau Software in Fremont, Seattle for people working in technology, specifically women, trans*, gender non-conforming, and all those who support them, to socialize and learn about new technology projects, roles, practices and trends.

At each event we host a 20 minute tech talk by a diverse background of distinguished tech practitioners from local software companies to educational institutions with time before and after for networking over wine and appetizers. Some previous tech talks have been around data analysis – building a classification algorithm, building a free technology product offering, building data stories (for the Seattle Times), understanding social media analytics and understanding data security. See below for more information about talks hosted by FWIT.

Upcoming Events

Data, Evidence & Gender

Feb 13th - Saara Romu , Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - RSVP here

The experience of women is often different than their male counterparts. Data and evidence are important to convince policy makers of the need for different approaches - Saara will go over examples of where evidence has been and can be used to advance the lives of women and girls.

Saara is the Senior Program Officer of Gender Data and Evidence for the new Gender Equality team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; she has been at Gate's for 9 years where she has worked in each of the four global divisions focused on approaches to reduce inequality. She has a bachelors of biology and an MBA.

Previous Events

Software Career Success: The Lean Startup Way

Sept 19th - Mei Lu , Founder and CEO of Jobfully and Geekology - RSVP here

Lean startup is a method for developing businesses and products to shorten product development cycles, reduce the market risks, and avoid the need for large initial funding and expensive product launches and failures. In this talk, Mei will discuss how you can apply the lean startup principles to plan your career growth, reduce the risk of career missteps, and maximize your effort to create a successful career in tech.

Mei caught the startup bug after working at M.I.T. and several startups with successful exits, such as MicroStrategy, and QPass. Her favorite conversation topics include: jobs, careers, and anything geeky. Mei received her M.S. in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania and her M.S. in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Mei is one of the board members of Seattle Women in Tech org and also a member of the steering committee of Digital Eve Seattle, a non-profit-organization focusing on promoting professional growth of women (and men) in technology.

Professionals in Tableau Panel : Ask us anything!

June 29th - RSVP here

This informal talk and discussion will focus on answering the technical and non-technical challenges to support and empower women in technology. A panel of seasoned professionals in Tableau will share their stories, career achievements and challenges through your questions. We will discuss a variety of questions ranging from career growth, technical learning opportunities, connecting with male allies, and ofcourse balancing career and family.

Meet the moderator
Elizabeth Walkup has been coding since the 1980s. Paid software gigs have included pre-processing infrared sensor data from the IRAS satellite, analyzing static timing in microchips, VLSI-CAD circuit layout, analysis of genomic data, and now, at Tableau, visual data analysis. She can almost always be tempted by: roasted vegetables, long trail runs, graph theory problems, and water with bubbles in it.

Meet the Panelist
Anushka Anand is a Senior Product Manager helping launch a V1 product in the data preparation space. She was a Senior Research Scientist at Tableau where she focused on the intersection of statistical learning methods and information visualization to provide guided visual analytics. On the side she serves on the Program Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology and applies her analytical skills towards mastering the wind and water through sailing.
Ellie Fields leads the Self Service at Scale Strategy Area at Tableau. Her team is responsible for delivering capabilities that help customers scale their analytics deployment, including mobile, collaboration, data driven alerting and more. Previously, she built the global Product Marketing team at Tableau from one person to more than 30 as Tableau grew from about $10 million in revenue to more than $650 million. She joined Tableau in the early stages of the company in 2008 and has helped launch Tableau Public, Tableau Online, and Vizable, and has been responsible for core messaging and positioning, as well as for developing Tableau’s robust customer community. Before Tableau she worked in product management at Microsoft and in late-stage venture capital. She has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Engineering from Rice University.
Zaheera Valani is a Dev Manager on the Project Maestro Team at Tableau, a v1 product that will make it possible for more people to easily prep their data with a direct and visual approach. Zaheera has been working in the tech industry for 14+ years. The constant theme throughout her various positions is her passion for data and enabling others to use data to solve difficult problems.She started out her career as a software engineer on the Excel team at Microsoft. Before joining Tableau, she was Engineering Director at Caradigm, a Microsoft GE-Joint Venture focused on building software for population health analytics. She has participated in various speaking engagements over the years across a variety of topics at both technical conferences such as the Tableau Conference, Microsoft TechDays and non-technical conferences such as Google's IWD Summit in Seattle. Zaheera was born in Nairobi, Kenya, grew up in Toronto, Canada and currently lives in Bellevue, WA with her husband and six year old son. As a family they love participating in and watching sports (Go Hawks! Go Canucks!).
James Randolph is a Systems Software Engineer at Tableau. He has been in the industry for over 10 years and has worked in various roles like Technical Support, Programmer and now Release Engineer. He has worked in various companies like, Moody’s Analytics, Louisiana Department of Labor, and a tiny gaming company called Nerjyzed. He did his Bachelors in Computer Science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion @ Tableau Representative Council and advisory board member of iUrbanTeen. He also adds – ‘In most cases I'm simply referred to as "Lilly and Joseph's Dad" ‘.
Reena Kawal leads the Product Management team of the Sharing Insights Strategy area at Tableau and also hosts our internal hackathons. She previously was a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft on research and lab products like Envisioning Center/Home of the Future and an early Kinect/Xbox product. She has worked as a software engineer, product manager, and interaction designer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science /Vulcan and Comcast media platform. Apart from being a geek, she loves to bike and has an educational background in Urban Design and Planning, Mathematical Economics, and English. In her spare time, she loves photography (fun-fact: this is picture is her self-portrait for a photography class she took a while back!)

How to apply diversity & inclusion

March 7 - Cynthia Tee, Executive Director @ Ada Developers Academy - RSVP here

From engineering to running a coding academy for the underrepresented, Cynthia will be sharing the most important lessons she has learned are about how to apply diversity and inclusion and its impact on building sustainable, inclusive teams.

As Executive Director of Ada Developers Academy, Cynthia is responsible for training women from diverse backgrounds for software development jobs and expanding Ada's programs. She joined Ada from Microsoft where she spent 20 years building and managing highly effective teams in program management. Cynthia earned her Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cynthia was born and raised in the Philippines, and currently lives in North Seattle with her husband and 2 children. She is an avid aerial hoop and pole dance instructor.

Startup Journey: infinut

Dec 6 - Ana Redmond, Founder and CTO @infinut

This informal talk and discussion will focus on the technical and non-technical challenges of building a company: infinut, and lessons learnt from it. infinut started when Ana built a game at a hackathon in Seattle to teach her daughter (then in Kindergarten) basic math concepts... come to the talk to hear the story of 5 years of building infinut. Ana will share the journey, the ups and downs that brought us to where we are today. She will highlight some of the key lessons learnt, things she wished she had learnt when she was working, things she thinks she did right, and things she is continuing to learn and fix.

Security and Privacy for Augmented Reality Systems

Sept 22 - Franziska Roesner, Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering @University of Washington

Augmented reality (AR) technologies -- which overlay digitally generated information on a user's perception of the real world -- are at the cusp of commercial viability, appearing in platforms like Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens, and automotive windshields. Though these technologies bring great potential benefits, they also raise unforeseen computer security and privacy risks. In this talk, I will explore the new security and privacy research challenges that arise with AR systems and describe the work our group is doing to tackle those challenges.

Generating Geeks, 101

June 21 - Lauren Bricker, Geek Generator @Lakeside School

On January 30, 2016 the White House announced a new initiative: Computer Science For All (#CSforAll). Lauren Bricker will explain why everyone should learn computational thinking in grade school, how we as technologists can support that learning, and how she became a geek generator at Lakeside School in Seattle.

Achieving Maximum Business Impact

March 24 - Amy Forstrom, Senior Product Manager @Tableau

Amy Forstrom is a Senior Product Manager at Tableau Software with 15 years of experience in the industry. She is also an instructor of Data Analysis and Data Visualization with the continuing education program at UW. She does not like baseball.

Data + Design

December 10, 2015 - Trina Chiasson, Product Manager of Mobile @Tableau

Last year, more than 80 data and design professionals from 14 countries collaboratively wrote a free, 300-page open source e-book to explain data and visualization concepts in simple language. Their goal was to create a conversational, in-depth resource for learning about information design in a world where most data analysts aren’t trained in design, and most designers aren’t experts in math or statistics. The project is ongoing, with volunteer contributors now working on new chapters and translated versions of the book. In this session, Trina will give you the inside scoop on what it was like to coordinate a large open source writing project on a technical subject matter. We'll also discuss some of the key topics in the book, including core design principles that you should keep in mind when building data-driven stories.

Understanding Feature Space in Machine Learning -- Video lecture

September 9, 2015 - Alice Zheng, Director of Data Science @Dato

Machine learning derives mathematical models from raw data. In the model building process, raw data is first processed into "features," then the features are given to algorithms to train a model. The process of turning raw data into features is sometimes called feature engineering, and it is a crucial step in model building. Good features lead to successful models with a lot of predictive power; bad features lead to a lot of headache and nowhere. This talk aims to help the audience understand what is a feature space and why it is so important. We will go through some common feature space representations of English text and discuss what tasks they are suited for and why. Expect lots of pictures, whiteboard drawings and hand-waving. We will exercise our power of imagination to visualize high dimensional feature spaces in our mind's eye.

Product Management: The Next Step in Your Technology Career?

July 1, 2015 - Linda Merrick @PivotalPM

You love your job as a techie, and... you're intrigued by the business side of your company; you wonder how marketing works; you'd like to be closer to actual customer conversations. Maybe - just maybe - you want to someday start a business of your own! In this session, we'll explore how the role of product management can leverage your technical know-how and be a stepping stone to achieving your professional vision.

From Physical to Digital

February 11, 2015 - Martina Welke, Co-founder & CEO @Zealyst

Martina Welke will explore the design challenges and key learnings gleaned from transitioning her company, Zealyst, from an events service to a data-driven digital application.

Behavioral Product Design

December 4, 2014 - Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Scientist @Microsoft

The internet is a powerful force for changing behaviors and yet we often design our products without thinking about the basic human motivations that drive the behaviors we are looking to disrupt. Behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert will talk about the science behind behavioral design and demonstrate some simple techniques for overcoming our biases and creating behavior changing products.

Visual Analysis Best Practices

October 9, 2014 - Amanda Pype, User Researcher @Tableau & Kate Hotler, User Experience Designer @Tableau

Are you doing the most for your data? Learn about the cycle of visual analysis and some of the best practices for communicating with data. Then put it all into action in a fun, interactive session: Extreme Makeover: Viz Edition See how to turn a good viz into a great viz! Participate in making use of visual best practices to turn confusing chart junk into works of analytical art.

A/B Testing Framework: Build or Buy?

June 12, 2014 - Bridget Frey, VP of Seattle Engineering @Redfin

A year ago, Redfin realized we needed an A/B testing framework to support our efforts around rapid experimentation and optimization of our web site. The big question: “Do we use a service or do we build our own?” In this talk, we'll show you how we evaluated our options and share how the system we use now is performing in the real world.

The good, the bad, and the ugly truth about hacking: What you should know about hardware, software & wetware security

March 20, 2014 - Karen Howe, Director of Marketing @IOActive

What do Target, the Federal Reserve, Neiman Marcus, Sarah Palin and Yahoo all have in common? As you know, they’ve all been hacked. In this session we’ll cover why hardware and software security has grown into $67 billon dollar market that’s on track to being $87 billion in 2016. We’ll trace the anatomy of a hack and discuss attack surfaces, exploits, social engineering, and zero-day disclosures.

Visualizing Social Data

November 20, 2013 - Sasha Pasulka, Senior Manager of Product Marketing @Tableau

Tired of looking at the same old social media metrics from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Ready to punch the next person who asks you how to measure the impact of social media? It’s time for a new way of presenting social data. By blending multiple data sources—data from social media, online advertising, events, sales, and more—and visualizing the results in an interactive data dashboard, you can tell a unique, compelling and actionable story about your brand’s social media. This talk will discuss why data visualization is so impactful, review best practices for presenting data visually, and walk through the process of visualizing and blending social data, using real-world examples.

Launching a new consumer online service: Tableau Public

August 21, 2013 - Ellie Fields, Senior Director of Product Marketing @Tableau

More than three years ago, Tableau had a big vision: what if we put our technology online, for anyone, for free? And so was launched Tableau Public, a free product that lets journalists and bloggers analyze public data. In this session we'll go under the hood with Tableau Public, looking at how to bring out a new product in an established product company, to how to get early usage from beta adoption, to how to learn to run a cloud service. We'll look at what we thought would happen and what really did happen.

Storytelling with Data

April 24, 2013 - Cheryl Phillips, Data Enterprise Editor @The Seattle Times

A Visual Analytics Classifier

January 30, 2013 - Anushka Anand, Research Scientist @Tableau