GHC 19 Mentoring Circles Topics

Before you meet with organizations in the Expo Hall, be sure to attend our Mentoring Circles. This interactive mentoring session is a great opportunity for you to receive tips on job searching, interviews, and furthering your career. Taking place in a large room with about 50 tables, each table is hosted by a mentor focusing on a particular topic. Attendees choose a topic, sit at the corresponding table, and chat with a mentor for 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes, attendees switch tables and chat with another mentor on a different topic.

The Mentoring Circles session will occur Wednesday, October 2 from 11:30 a.m.—12:40 p.m. and 1—2:15 p.m. Mentors and topics are the same for both sessions.

Check out what topics will be available below, and click on each topic to read a full description.

Career Opportunities

Future-Proof Your Career: A Pathway to Machine Learning
Mentor: Kesha Williams, A Cloud Guru

By 2025, we’ll lose over five million jobs to automation. As technologists, what skills do we need to learn now in order to remain competitive in the future? What will new technology jobs require? This dialog discusses the skills of the future and places an emphasis on machine learning, which is one of the most in-demand skills. Attendees walk away with a practical pathway to machine learning.

Inspire Inventors with a Career in IP
Mentors: Gail Alverson and Ellen Wong, Microsoft

Only 12% of recognized inventors on U.S. patents are women, yet intellectual property (IP) is in high demand and incredibly valuable. Come join us to learn how you can impact the world of IP. Be an inventor yourself. And, if you’re looking for something a little different, learn how you can leverage your technical knowledge to branch into an exciting career as a Patent Engineer or Attorney.

Program Management Practices in the Agile World
Mentor: Nikita Chhabria, Amazon

Large-scale technology projects are complex and technically challenging. Such projects are even harder to implement using agile methodologies that involve rapid and continuous delivery of a product/service. Dividing the project into phases can lead to various program management challenges. This will be an encouraging and interactive dialog to exchange ideas and practices of program management.

Transitioning into Product Management
Mentors: Preeti Shekar and Katie Le, Box

Looking to start a role or transition into product management, but don’t know where to start? This dialog will give attendees catered advice to landing that first PM role, outline popular product interviewing techniques, and discuss resources to enhance knowledge about product strategy and development. Lastly, attendees will be given a 30/60/90-day plan to be successful once they land the role.

Woman Seeking Work: Putting Your Best Self Forward in the Job Search Process
Mentors: Jennifer Xu and Wendy Lucas, Bentley University

Searching for the right job is an exciting yet daunting experience. How do you succeed in getting your foot in the door, or preparing for the interview? Each step can be an emotional roller coaster. There is so much that is beyond your control, but also so much you can plan for and manage. The goal of this mentoring circle is to help you develop a job search plan that puts you in charge of the process.

Mastering the Behavioral Interview
Mentor: Dawn Wright, John Deere

Now that you have landed the interview, it can be kind of intimidating to start prepping for that interview. You might ask yourself questions like, “Where do I start?”, “What makes a good example?”, or “What is the STAR format?” This dialog will share tips and ideas for preparing and landing the position of your dreams. Attendees will feel energized and prepared to take on their next interview.

'Soft Skills' and Tech: We Don’t All Need to Code
Mentor: Penelope Brooks, Capital One

The software developer role is heralded in the tech industry, but several non-developer roles are vital when building successful teams. A tech background can enhance roles like Project/Product Manager, Scrum Master, and Designer which are foundational to the success of the overall team and offer viable career paths. This session will identify core skill sets and strategies for career path planning.

Pursuing Entrepreneurship or Corporate Intrapreneurship
Mentor: Zhiling Wan, LinkedIn

Starting a career in a global corporation or owning your business can be difficult. During the dialogue portion, participants will share experiences about the similarities and differences between being an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur including rewards, dependencies, risks, and operation. Attendees will be inspired to incorporate an entrepreneurial spirit in whatever endeavor they pursue.

Navigating Your Career Overseas – Introduction to International Relocation
Mentor: Sofia Zaks, Amazon

As software engineers, we have a huge advantage of understanding at least one global language (for example, Java, which is the same everywhere). This gives us a unique opportunity to work practically at any part of the planet. But how to do that? We will talk about reasons for moving to another country, how to find a company to sponsor your move, and how to look at a relocation contract.

Beyond Computer Science: Making an Impact as an Interdisciplinary Technologist
Mentors: Jacquelyne Thoni Howard, Newcomb College Institute; Jaelle Scheuerman, Tulane University

An interdisciplinary approach to computer science problems is crucial as algorithms guide our decisions in fields such as the humanities, social sciences, and healthcare. This mentoring circle will help participants from both STEM and liberal arts backgrounds to identify and solve problems with an interdisciplinary approach, find relevant career opportunities, and succeed on interdisciplinary teams.

I’m a Woman in Tech — Now What?
Mentor: D'Yanna Craighead, The Walt Disney Company

You are about to embark upon the next chapter of your life as a woman in technology, but have you wondered what that even looks like? Many students go through years of college working hard to earn their degree but may have no clue what a technology career looks like and how they may fit into one. Learn what options may be available and that a career path may not always be straight.

PM, UX, or Eng – Which Career is Right For You?
Mentor: Margret Schmidt, Google

Not sure which you’d enjoy more: Product Management, User Experience, or Engineering? Margret Schmidt, Senior Director of PM & UX for Google Chrome and former Vice President of Engineering at Intuit has done all three! Discuss differences — including how you’ll spend your day, what problems you’ll get to solve, and the kinds of interactions you’ll have — to figure out which roles are a good match for you.

Data Science or Data Engineering? How to build a career in the world of Big Data?
Mentor: Manisha Sule, Capital One

The field of big data analytics is diverse in terms of roles and responsibilities demanded in the job market. While “data scientist” and “data engineer” are seen as high-demand roles, there are several other skill sets that are in equal demand. The goal for this mentoring conversation is to shed light on skill sets required in this field and advise on avenues of building a successful career.

Stay Technical or Become a Manager?
Mentors: Chandrika Gokul and Catherine Spence, Intel and Client Computing Group

As you progress in your career, you may question whether to stay technical or move into management. Technical advancement involves deep subject matter expertise and contribution. Advancing as a manager requires people skills and business acumen. Both require strong leadership and communication skills. This circle explores technical versus manager, led by two senior women who chose different paths.

You can be a Software Engineer++
Mentors: Kylie Taitano and Parul Seth, Intuit

Are you looking for practical software engineering skills that go beyond knowing how to code? Do you find it hard to ask for help or speak up? Are you tired of staying with the status quo? If yes, attend this mentoring circle to learn how to be Software Engineer++ who can push boundaries, overcome challenges, and fearlessly contribute to the entire software development life cycle.

Building Confidence as a Software Developer
Mentor: Dagna Beida, Mindful Dev L.L.C and PassportLabs Inc

The infamous “Imposter Syndrome” often haunts junior software developers. Oftentimes, they start their programming career adequately skilled, yet lacking confidence. This session will provide insight into building up confidence within all types of work environments: from startups to the corporate world, and from participants who are looking for their dream software job to those who have already started their career.

Within Your Grasp: How You Can Transition into a Career in Software Development
Mentor: Sarah Mogin, Work & Co

Transitioning to become a software engineer can be daunting and filled with unknowns. Lead Developer Sarah Mogin — who started a career in marketing — knows firsthand the challenges and rewards of successfully breaking into the field. This mentoring session will provide actionable guidance to those who seek to become developers but may be unsure how to translate those skills into a new field.

Women Pioneers in Cybersecurity, Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice
Mentors: Diana Lovati and Na'Kaila Sandidge, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

There is a large push for people to get STEM degrees and there still isn’t a clear path for women interested in cybersecurity. How exactly are women able to network and gain mentorship opportunities in a male dominated field? Unfortunately, women will only represent 20% of IT by the end of 2019. This mentoring circle is about women in cybersecurity, and finding your voice in your career.

Job Search/Interviewing

Strategies to predict a company's culture
Mentors: Hena Teinzer and Baerbel Haenelt, SAP SE

“How can I tell the company’s culture?” is a question that most students have when applying for a job. “Which questions can I ask to find out about the corporate culture? What are the methods to interpret the interviewer’s answers?” In this session, we will advise students and early talents on how to get the information they seek in interviews and will also raise awareness about alarming answers.

Make the Most of It: Negotiation & Self-Advocacy
Mentor: Lusen Mendel, DangoorMendel

Everyone deserves to make the most of their career opportunities, but it can be difficult to ask for a raise or negotiate an offer. Lusen provides context and concrete takeaways for these difficult conversations. Bring your questions and concerns to this mentor circle, and walk away with information and confidence to more effectively advocate for yourself and fully explore your work opportunities.

Zooming in on Your First Job
Mentors: Katherin Nos and Stephanie Schmitt, SAP SE

Finding your first job can be daunting. There are so many options in front of you. Where do you start? Just like in photography, you need to: 1. Look at where your talents are. 2. Zoom in on the right subject. 3. Practice your technique. The session is designed to help you come away with solid tools to assess your strengths and preferences and narrow down your options. Time to get started!

New Country, New Graduate. Execute Your Job Search Algorithm with the Utmost Precision
Mentors: Steffi Dsouza and Ilisha Ramachandran, Oracle

When kickstarting a new career, everyone experiences a myriad of emotions, from excitement to apprehension. Now imagine adding the stress of adjusting to a new country into the mix. It can get overwhelming. This conversation will be a platform for participants to share their concerns and gain insight into how best to navigate the daunting process of applying for jobs as an international student.

Why Choose a Career in Consulting?
Mentor: Salina Um Greenwalt, eBay

College graduates enter the workforce with little experience in the job that they have accepted. It is a huge commitment that could set the stage for the rest of their career. A career in Consulting is worth exploring because it provides flexibility in sampling out different roles at various client locations and opens opportunities that may have otherwise not been explored or available to them.

Insider Secrets: What Recruiters Want to See on Your Resume
Mentors: Jessica Kuhl and LaCinda Clem, Robert Half

Ever wonder what happens to your resume when you apply for a job? It may feel like it goes into a black hole, but there’s a great deal going on behind the scenes. Learn what stands out to a technology recruiter when they’re reviewing a resume and how to get past screening software. You’ll go over two IT resumes (from real applicants), leaving with examples and improvements for your own resume.

From Finance to Fitness to Tech; How Career Transitions Help You Define Yourself and Your Purpose
Mentor: Alice Tian, PwC

Fear of failure and of the unknown during career transitions can be both scary and paralyzing. This session is aimed at providing the tools and fostering the mindset necessary to navigate these periods in ways that will lead to valuable experiences, learning opportunities, and fulfillment on both professional and personal levels.

Acing the software developer interview
Mentor: Susan Galbraith, Smartsheet

Developer interviews are notoriously nerve wracking. Interviewers can ask about any number of areas, and then there’s whiteboard coding. This session will cover tips for technical screens and full interviews, as well as post interview follow up. You’ll leave this mentoring session with a fundamental understanding of how to prepare for and succeed at developer interviews.

How to Get the Job When Your Skills Are Not an Exact Match to What the Employer 'Thinks' They Need
Mentor: Shelly Westman, Ernst & Young

Don’t be one of the many women who will only apply to jobs if they meet 100% of the job requirements. Find out how to have the confidence to apply and obtain roles where you have only some of the listed requirements. In this session we will discuss how to sell yourself and apply the skills you have for any job situation. Come and discover the confidence that is within you.

Dispelling Your Negative Inner Monologue to Unleash Your True Potential
Mentor: Stephanie Ginos, Ernst & Young

Learn how to navigate a potentially negative inner monologue that can lead to self-doubt and ultimately stop you from achieving your career aspirational goals. This discussion is to help individuals to understand that your difference is your value. Turn “I can’t” into “Why couldn’t I?”

Internships Jumpstart Careers: Learn the Game Plan to Get One!
Mentor: Mayoore Selvarasa Jaiswal, IBM

What are benefits of internships besides paychecks and free perks? What do you need to do to land on an internship for this summer? Come learn answers to these questions and hear research data and personal stories from a mentor who was in your shoes not too long ago. Internships can help you break through barriers in jobs where women are historically underrepresented, so let’s get started!

Research/Graduate Studies

Is an MBA Worth It?
Mentor: Kate Hanpachern, Google

Many engineers debate whether to continue down a purely technical route or seek management opportunities. An MBA can be helpful in growing management and leadership skills. But MBAs are very expensive — often resulting in significant debt, lost income, and delays in reaching personal goals. I will help attendees consider “why” they want an MBA and what type of MBA might be most appropriate for them.

Experiment & Transition: What Graduate School has to Offer
Mentor: Kanika Khosla, Wayfair and Carnegie Mellon University

The decision to go to graduate school is always a challenging one. This session sheds light from gathered data of first-hand experiences of what to expect from graduate school, specifically pursuing Human Computer Interaction or Experience Design. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how graduate school may or may not add value to their decision as compared to working in industry.

CRA-W: What Are the Options? How Do I Get There?
Mentors: Deb Agarwal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Nancy Amato, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What does a research career in computing look like? What are the options in academia, industry, or government? What can you do to best prepare yourself for one of these careers? How do you successfully apply for them? Come chat with researchers in academia, industry, and government about these questions and more.

CRA-W: Is Graduate School for You?
Mentors: Susan Rodger, Duke University; Yerika Jimenez, University of Florida

Is graduate school in computer science and engineering for you? What benefits do you get once you have a graduate degree? Come chat with students and professionals from industry and academia who will help you understand what it’s like to be in graduate school, and the options you’ll have when you finish. Bring your questions.

CRA-W: How to Successfully Apply to Graduate School
Mentors: Maria Gini, University of Minnesota; Minq Lin, University of Maryland at College Park

How do you choose the right graduate school for you? Is there anything you can do during college to improve your chances of being admitted? What if you’ve been out of school and working for a while? How do you apply? What is the time line? What about letters of recommendation? Funding? Come talk with professors about how to apply successfully to graduate school.

CRA-W: How to Be Successful Post-Bachelor’s
Mentors: Ayanna Howard, Georgia Institute of Technology; Maria Jump, Northeastern University

You are well on your way to earning a bachelor’s degree (congratulations!). What’s next? Should you consider graduate school? A full-time job? What are the pros and cons of these career decisions, and how can you set yourself up to be successful post-bachelor’s? Come chat with professionals about the types of doors that are open with a bachelor’s degree in computing. Bring your questions.

CRA-W: Master's or Ph.D.?
Mentors: Bushra Anjum, Doximity; Diane Woodbridge, University of San Francisco - Data Science

Considering either a master’s or Ph.D.? Not sure about the difference? Come chat about the main differences in career options and in graduate studies between a master’s and Ph.D. degree. Topics include realistic goals and expectations for each degree and various strategies for deciding which degree to pursue. Bring your questions.

CRA-W: What is Computing Research? How Can Undergraduates Participate?
Mentors: Jeannie Albrecht, Williams College; Sheila Castaneda, Clarke University

Interested in computer science research, but not sure what computer science researchers do? We will talk about the world of research to help you decide if it’s for you. We will also describe the different ways you can obtain a research experience during your undergraduate career, and the doors that these experiences will help open. Bring your questions.

Tips & Skills for Success at Work

Exercise Your Voice to Reach Your Goals
Mentor: Alicia Jay White, Bank of America

Each attendee already possesses the most important tool needed to reach their goals: a voice! This dialog will encourage participants to name their goals using their passions as a guide, share their goals with potential supporters, and ask for their support. Talking about your goals with others (not just keeping them to yourself) and asking for help is key to implementing your success plan.

Don’t Become a Dinosaur within Five Years of Graduation
Mentor: Anita P. Rao, Paypal

Technology changes about every five years. What do you need to stay relevant? Are the skills you learned in school enough to ensure you stay employed for the rest of your career? What can you proactively do to ensure you do not become a dinosaur? Come listen to advice on how you can stay relevant for the rest of your career. This prescriptive session will help to be successful for the long term.

3Ps and 3Cs for Success at Work — Power Branding
Mentor: Pooja Sund, Microsoft

A distinctive brand at work helps define and successfully communicate your unique personal and business attributes. Why not bring the whole “you” to workplace? The sky is the limit for “growth mindset” people. Fuel yourself with an arsenal of power tips. Once put to practice, your three Ps (Passion, Presentation, and People) And three Cs (Clarity, Communication, and Confidence) will lead you to success at work.

Got Mentors? Why it Takes More Than One to Succeed
Mentor: Rachelle Helton, NetApp, Inc

Isolation. Annual Review. Failure. Anger. Envy. Working in tech is tough. We shouldn’t try to do it all alone! But where do you get the good advice you need? It takes multiple mentors to succeed in tech. We’ll share tips on how to recruit your contacts to become mentors so you can grow your skills. Walk away empowered to engage your network so you can master your own career!

How to #HumbleBrag Effectively
Mentor: Shailvi Wakhlu, Salesforce

Many women are shy of accepting praise or highlighting their professional achievements to the detriment of their own career success. The reasons why they are uncomfortable advocating for themselves could be gendered, cultural, or societal. In this dialogue, I hope to highlight the specific ways to phrase your wins and position your thinking, and to not get left behind due to a lack of perceived value.

Technical Review 101
Mentors: Alicia Tang and Samira Tasharofi, LinkedIn

In engineering, a lot of feedback is given through technical review processes. Beginner engineers are likely to receive a lot of comments in their code and designs, and may have to go through multiple iterations and reviews. While receiving feedback can be daunting at first, it’s a key driver for growth. This dialogue will share tips on embracing and providing open and constructive feedback.

Your Amazing Capabilities: Discover Them Now
Mentor: Johanna Rusly, Independent Consultant

We are all most productive when we truly enjoy what we do. However, not many people know which area to start exploring, or how to recognize that they are blessed with some great capabilities. In this session, attendees will learn several ways to discover their very own amazing capabilities and further manage them by applying a quality tool: the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act).

From a 'Boys Club' to an Inclusive Brigade: Women supporting Women @ the Workplace
Mentor: Kanika Sharma, PwC

This mentoring circle session looks at how women can build a network of supportive, positive relationships in the workplace to help their personal growth and pave the way for other women. We explore the underlying reasons for women not being able to or not choosing to support other female colleagues historically, and share a framework to help participants evaluate and alter behavior patterns.

Build Your Side Hustle With the Experts: (Social) Entrepreneurship Beyond the 9-5
Mentors: Annapurna Vadaparty, Oracle; Neha Kulkarni, Microsoft and

Channel your entrepreneurial drive into something bigger outside of work: a side hustle. Work with seasoned side hustlers to outline a social impact initiative, an extra income stream, or a startup. You’ll walk away with: 1. A network of ambitious, entrepreneurial women 2. A concrete plan and next steps for your hustle 3. A community of side hustlers to follow through on those next steps with you.

Successful Transformation from Example to Role Model
Mentors: Vineetha Menon and Letha Etzkorn, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Sometimes you were the only woman in your Engineering/Computer Science class, whether undergraduate or graduate. It is not unlikely that you might be the only woman on your technical team, in your department, or organization. Team dynamics are different in resolving adversities. Attendees will examine methods for professional success when they are the only “example” of a woman at workplace.

Owning your Work Environment: How to Tackle New Challenges and Ask for Help
Mentor: Julia Kieserman, Palantir Technologies

In the professional world, you are often faced with challenges you don’t immediately know how to solve. Despite collaborative work environments, getting help can be difficult or intimidating. With the right set of techniques, those early in their careers can learn when and how to ask for help to optimize productivity, maximize learnings, and develop meaningful relationships with coworkers.

Power Your Career: Transcending from Writing Code to Building Products
Mentor: Snehal Khandkar, Rubrik

Building products that customers love requires taking a step beyond writing great code. Join Snehal to discuss how to build and cross the bridge from writing great code to building successful products! What goes into productizing a technology? At a startup, at large companies, for consumers, for enterprise clients? In this circle, Snehal will share practical tips to build this mindset and use it to power up your career growth. Learn why should you start thinking about this today and discuss how it powers your value add to a company and accelerates career growth.

Navigating Your Career: From Entry Level to C Suite
Mentor: Rinki Sethi, Rubrik

What are the skills that will take you from a technical rockstar to boardroom executive? How do you find mentors and cultivate sponsorship? Rinki Sethi, Rubriks Chief Information Security Office, will share her career journey and how she leveraged her technical skills to gain leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies and some of the Valley’s hottest tech startups.