Girl Geek Dinner - Definitely Does Compute

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners – Definitely Does Compute

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #79: Sponsored by Twilio

27.11.2014 (3:33 pm) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Twilio is a telephone API that powers the future of business communications by enabling phones, VoIP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop, and mobile software.

Join us on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm at the Twilio Girl Geek Dinner as we explore some of the tech industry’s biggest questions: What’s it like to move from an enterprise company to a startup? And how do you start a diversity or social impact program in your company?

Join us at Twilio as we sip cocktails and mocktails, mingle over appetizers, and share our experiences about working in the tech and software industries.

Twilio Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

6:00pm – 6:45pm Doors open, heavy appetizers and cocktails/mocktails served!

6:45pm – 7:00pm Welcome and Intro by Natasha Whitledge

6:45pm – 7:15pm Panel Discussion: “Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life”

Panelists: Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator), Coleen Coolidge, Lynda Smith, Nisha George, Renee Chu

7:15pm – 7:30pm Q&A and discussion

7:30pm – 8:00pm Panel Discussion: “From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up”

Panelists: Gina Hernandez (moderator), Dominique DeGuzman, Danielle Leong, Emerald Maravilla, Erika Murdock Balbuena

8:00pm – 8:15pm Q&A and discussion

8:15pm – 9:00pm Networking and mingling

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #TwilioGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @Twilio @BayAreaGGD

Twilio Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Panel #1: Moving from Big Enterprise to Startup Life: What is it like to leave a big company to work for a startup? Is the promise of an exciting, fast-paced, “do-it-yourself” startup worth leaving an established organization? Learn about how these women made their decisions to move from large enterprise companies to smaller, more agile startups, and the lessons they learned along the way.

Annie Benitez Pelaez (moderator)

Annie is a Product Manager at Twilio, where she works on voice connectivity products, defining product roadmaps, and specing out new features and product enhancements. Previously she was Sr. Executive of Technology Solutions at Oracle, and before that the VP of Engineering at Acme Packet. She has a MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from London Business School.

Coleen Coolidge

Coleen is the Director of Information Security at Twilio. She has served in leadership positions at traditional, larger enterprises in Southern California, such as First American Title Company and Corelogic. Her work centers on advancing the security culture past “just having the infrastructure people do it” to creating a comprehensive program where everyone participates and improves the company’s security posture. One of her goals is to educate others on good security practices to ensure that security is considered earlier in all areas of the business. Coleen decided to leave Southern California and executive grooming to have a larger impact in a smaller company. She earned her BA in English from SDSU and currently lives in San Francisco.

Lynda Smith

Lynda brings over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management across a diverse set of industries. In her capacity as SVP Marketing / CMO for a number of companies including Genesys, Nuance, Genpact, Jive, WeVideo and now Twilio, Lynda has been responsible for end-to-end marketing responsibilities. Lynda grew up in Joliet, Illinois and earned her BA in Liberal Arts from Simpson College, and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is on the faculty of Stanford University where she serves as a lecturer in Global Entrepreneurial Marketing and Professional Education programs.

Nisha George

Nisha is a Voice Product Specialist at Twilio. She graduated with an Engineering degree from Harvey Mudd and has worked at NASA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, The Daily Muse and now Twilio. She gravitates towards roles where she can be a bridge between multiple teams, focusing on improving communication and building out better tools and processes to increase efficiency. When she’s not adding notes to her work journal, Nisha likes to hike, bake, build things with power tools and go on international adventures. Follow Nisha on Twitter @negeorge.

Renee Chu

Renee is a Software Engineer at Twilio, where she works on services to onboard, test, and manage phone number inventory. Previously she was a Support Engineer at Twilio, and before that an Account Representative at Google Adwords.

Panel #2: From Passion to Grassroots Movement: Creating Employee Resource Groups from the Ground Up: How do you take your passion and turn it into a reality? For this panel, it’s all about dedication, support networks, and a whole lot of hard work. Join this group’s discussion about how a passion for increasing diversity in tech lead to the creation of the Twilio’s first diversity and employee resource groups.

Gina Hernandez (moderator)

Gina is the Inventory Manager here at Twilio, and a member of the Business Operations team. Gina graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she was a teaching assistant for Bettina Aptheker. While teaching her section of Introduction to Feminist Studies she realized that education was her calling. She would later graduate from Mills College with a Master’s degree in Education. While at Mills, Gina founded Californians Against 8 and with a small group, led the largest anti Prop 8 protest in California alongside Christine Chavez. The launch of sparked Gina’s interests in Twilio and she joined the team shortly after. She recently celebrated her one year anniversary as a Twilion, and has loved every minute.

Danielle Leong

After graduating from UC Irvine and working in marketing for several years, Danielle taught herself to code and joined Twilio as the company’s first female engineer. She’s passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in tech, and is a co-founder of Skittles, Twilio’s diversity initiative. In her spare time, she teaches public high school students how to code through the non-profit organization Mission Bit, and volunteers at Level the Playing Field Institute hackathons. In her spare spare time, she’s enjoys long rides on her motorcycle, following cute puppies on Instagram, and fiercely competing in Fitbit competitions. Follow Danielle on Twitter @tsunamino.

Dominique DeGuzman

Dom is a self-taught software engineer with a background in enterprise desktop hardware support. As a Cloud Services engineer at Twilio, she focuses on development pipeline, infrastructure monitoring, and internal communications tools. Alongside development, Dom is one of the founding members of Skittles, the diversity and inclusion initiative at Twilio. She travels around the globe speaking about the importance of diversity and inclusion, how to overcome impostor syndrome, and encouraging more women and LBGTQA to pursue a future in STEM. Follow Dom on Twitter @itshella_dom.

Emerald Maravilla

Emerald is a manager on the Customer Engagement team here at Twilio, where she focuses on making sure that Twilio’s customers have the tools they need to build best-in-class Twilio applications. Emerald joined Twilio as the first woman on the Sales team. She is currently co-chair of Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group, Twomen. Prior to Twilio, Emerald worked at Box, served as a founding team member of Strive for College, and blogged for Newsweek. She is passionate about issues of diversity and inclusiveness, the Golden State Warriors, and her Schnoodle, Splash. Follow Emerald on Twitter @dlaremej.

Erika Murdock Balbuena

Erika is the Community Engagement Manager and head of, where she works across departments to increase the company’s social impact. She is a co-chair of Twomen (Twilio’s women-identified Employee Resource Group), which partners with Level the Playing Field Institute (LPFI), Women Who Code, and to help support women and underrepresented minorities advance in STEM. Erika is also currently the Vice-Chair of the board for R.O.C.K. SF. Prior to Twilio, she sharpened her community management skills at TaskRabbit and consulted for large and small nonprofits, including The Campaign for UCSF Medical Center. Erika is a proud San Francisco native, foodie and adventurer. Follow Erika on Twitter @Erikadmsf.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #78: Sponsored by IXL Learning

17.11.2014 (9:02 am) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

IXL Learning is an educational technology company like no other.  Our team is full of smart, motivated people with a passion for creating the best educational technology possible.   We leverage cutting-edge technologies to solve seemingly intractable problems in education.  Millions of users count on us to make learning as effective as can be, and we’re looking for exceptional people who are committed to solving the real-world challenges faced by students and teachers around the world.  

Join IXL on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm to learn about how IXL is shaping the future of education.  Our line-up will include a fantastic girl geek panel on the ups and downs of an educational technology company, the positive impact our work has on society, and the what it’s like transitioning from the classroom to the Edtech space.

IXL Learning Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:30PM – 6:30PM – Registration, Dinner, Mingling, Demos

6:30PM – 7:30PM – Panel Discussion

7:30PM – 8:30PM – Dessert, More Mingling, Demos

Twitter Hashtag for the event: #IXLGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for hosts: @IXLLearning @BayAreaGGD

IXL Learning Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Kate Mattison copyKate Mattison (Director of Products)

After getting her start at IXL as a product analyst, Kate now leads IXL’s product management team. She is passionate about providing exceptional user experiences and superb educational content. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a PhD in mathematics from Stanford.




Debbie Chang copyDebbie Chang (Product Manager)

With over 5 years of product development experience under her belt, Debbie has strong demonstrated expertise and an unwavering passion for improving education through technology.  Focused on delivering a high-quality product and delightful user experience, Debbie is responsible for leading the design and development of the IXL product.  She works closely with our engineering, content, marketing, and user support teams to grow and improve our popular online learning program, found at  She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and health policy from Harvard University.



Megan Elmore copyMegan Elmore (Math Product Analyst)

Formerly a middle school teacher focusing on algebra and physical science, Megan is now an integral member of our math content development team.  As a math product analyst, Megan utilizes her educational insight to drive the success of the IXL product by creating engaging online math problems and collaborating with our engineering and visual design teams.  She is involved in all aspects of the content development cycle, including brainstorming, design, testing, and support.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology and a masters of arts in education from Stanford, with credentials in biology and foundational-level mathematics.



Suzanne Pelz copySuzanne Pelz (Engineering Development Manager)

With over 10 years engineering experience at IXL Learning, Suzanne has played a pivotal role in shaping the IXL product and developing our current engineering team.  She now leads a dedicated team of engineers who focus their efforts on creating the code modules and supporting libraries that generate the math and language arts questions (soon to include science and social studies!) that millions of students in over 190 countries answer every day.  She holds a bachelor’s degree and a masters of arts in mathematics from UC Santa Cruz.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #77: Sponsored by Yelp

05.11.2014 (12:18 am) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

Yelp Girl Geek DinnerYelp Girl Geek Dinner on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm in San Francisco will be a great opportunity for women interested in tech culture to network, meet with others who share the same interest, and see influential women in the field sharing their experiences.

Yelp Engineering is very excited to host this event and we’re looking forward to meeting everyone and having a great time!

Three of our lovely engineers will be presenting on various topics ranging from career advice to what it takes to launch Yelp in a different country! Join us for an unforgettable night of mixing and mingling!

Enter to win a FREE ticket to the Yelp Software Girl Geek Dinner!

- Deadline to enter the lottery is MIDNIGHT Thursday, November 6th -

We hope you can make it and look forward to meeting you soon!

Yelp Software Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:30pm – 6:30pm — Registration & Dinner
6:30pm – 7:30pm — Presentations from Yelp Girl Geeks
7:30pm – 8:30pm — Networking

Twitter hashtag for the event: #YelpGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for the hosts: @Yelp @BayAreaGGD

Yelp Software Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Tasneem Minadakis (Yelp Engineering Manager, Ads)
Tasneem Minadakis is an Engineering Manager at Yelp working on the Ads team. Ads is the primary source for Yelp revenue. She is responsible for ensuring that we provide the most relevant experience for the user, while maximizing opportunity for an advertiser and hence make Yelp more money. Before Yelp, she worked at Microsoft on products like Windows, Surface and Bing. She has more than seven years of experience as a manager and leader. She is passionate about mentoring and coaching young women.

Talk Abstract: Often times we tend to take our careers as they come and tend to go with the flow. This talk will share some insights on how to manage your career, stay passionate about your work and continue to grow through the journey.

Rachel Zhao (Yelp Software Engineer, Internationalization)
Rachel Zhao is backend Engineer at Yelp. Originally from Beijing, she has been enjoying working on Yelp’s international product for the past three years. When Rachel is not coding, she is most likely to be eating, taking pictures of food or on her way to food.

Talk Abstract: Yelp has recently launched in Hong Kong, the city with the most skyscrapers in the world and one confusing language situation. This talk is about how we launch our Hong Kong site, what’s involved in our country launching process, as well as some fun facts about Yelp Engineering in general.

Jenni Snyder (Yelp MySQL DBA)
Jenni Snyder has been a MySQL DBA for 10 years, and has spent the last three and a half here at Yelp. She loves how easy it is to start with MySQL, and the Open Source Community around it that welcomes new members. Her favorite aspects of DBA work are optimizing slow queries, eliminating deadlocks, and helping developers. After graduating UCSD with double majors in Computer Science and Sociology, she returned to the Bay Area and worked at, Aggregate Knowledge, and Cisco before coming to Yelp. A new mom, her daughter is an early crawler, and keeps her busy.

Talk Abstract: Jenni will speak about Yelp uses MySQL, the open source tools her team uses to administer it, and some good resources available for those just starting out with MySQL.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #76: Sponsored by Tableau Software

21.10.2014 (11:26 am) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

BAGGD_tableauJoin some of Tableau Software’s geeks on Thursday, October 30th, 2014 for an evening of mingling, demos, cocktails, desserts, and more! 

Tableau Software is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the world, with nearly 100% annual sales growth. Our mission is simple: we help people see and understand their data.

Tableau makes a data visualization tool that empowers individuals to explore and analyze their own data, and then to share it with others in the form of dashboards and compelling stories. We believe in using data to make a difference in the world. We are passionate about our product and our mission. Our culture is casual and high-energy. We value work/life balance, efficiency, simplicity, freakishly friendly customer service, and making a difference in the world. Tableau offers exceptional professional and financial growth potential.


Enter to win a FREE ticket to the Tableau Software Girl Geek Dinner!

- Deadline to enter the lottery is MIDNIGHT Wednesday, October 22nd -

We hope you can make it and look forward to meeting you soon!

Tableau Software Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:00PM – Registration
5:30PM -6:30PM – Reception and Demos
6:30PM – 7:15PM – Tech Talks (Dave Story, Terry Roberts, Stephanie Nicholson, Vidya Setlur)
7:15PM – 8:00PM – Raffle, Meet and Greet


  800 El Camino Real Suite 400
Menlo Park CA 94025







Twitter hashtag for the event: #TableauGirlGeekDinner

Twitter handles for the hosts: @Tableau @BayAreaGGD

Tableau Software Girl Geek Speaker Bios

Dave Story (VP of Mobile and Strategic Growth)

Bio: Dave Story is the Vice President of Mobile and Strategic Growth at Tableau Software and is responsible for driving strategy for Tableau’s mobile products. Dave has more than 14 years of executive level management experience leading some of the world’s best-known product lines. Prior to Tableau, he served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at LucasFilm where he led technology for all of the company’s divisions. He was also CTO at Move Inc., the operator of, Vice President of Product Development and Product Management at Adobe Systems, and CTO for Intuit’s Small Business and Personal Finance Group.

Talk Abstract: Dave will kick-start the event by introducing what Tableau is about and its mission. He will also introduce Tableau on mobile, where iPads and Android tablets provide users the ability to explore, analyze and visualize data using touch gestures, such as tapping, squeezing or swiping through content.

Terry Roberts (User Experience Designer)

Bio: Terry Roberts is a User Experience Designer with experience in several domains.  She began her career working on the Xerox Star, the first commercial windows-and-mouse personal computer (predecessor of the Macintosh).  Subsequent adventures took her to U S WEST Advanced Technologies doing telecommunications, Sun Microsystems doing tools for programmers, PeopleSoft doing enterprise data warehousing systems, and Intuit creating tools for accountants who support small businesses.  Terry has been at Tableau for a year, primarily designing features that let people clean up their data prior to analysis.  Terry has a Ph.D. from Stanford in Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction.

Talk Abstract: Terry will give an end-to-end demo of the Tableau data visualization product: connecting to data and reviewing what it looks like, exploratory data visualization, analysis, and turning the results into a “story” to tell others.

Stephanie Nicholson (Software Engineer)

Bio: Originally from Portland, OR, Stephanie relocated to Stanford University for college. After earning a BA in Psychology and MS in Computer Science, she joined Tableau as a desktop UI developer. Outside of work, Stephanie loves playing with her cats, Stanford football, spending time with friends, and collecting sloth-themed loungewear.

Talk Abstract Tableau’s mission is to help people see and understand their data, and one of the best ways we can do that is by telling stories. In our 8.2 release, Tableau unveiled its “Story Points” feature. Story Points allows users to assemble sheets and dashboards into an interactive narrative arc that tells a story with their data.  In this talk, I’ll discuss the development of the feature, demonstrate creating and presenting a story, show off a few examples created by our user community, and discuss future directions recently demonstrated at our customer conference.

Vidya Setlur (Scientist)

Bio: Vidya Setlur is a research scientist at Tableau Software. Previously, she worked as a principal research scientist at the Nokia Research Center for 7 years. She earned her doctorate in Computer Graphics in 2005 at Northwestern University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of natural language processing (NLP) and computer graphics, particularly in the area of iconography and content retargeting. This offers her a unique perspective in an R&D team focused on data visualization. You can find out more about her research at and follow her on twitter @vsetlur

Talk abstract: Being part of research at Tableau is unique to begin with. Unlike other research labs, the research team is part of the larger development organization. This has two advantages. First, as a research scientist, one is closely in sync with the product roadmap and the feature teams. Second, it opens up opportunities to collaborate with other engineers on topics of mutual interest. In this talk, come learn about some cool research we are doing here at Tableau.

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #75: Sponsored by eBay

07.10.2014 (9:30 pm) – Filed under: Girl Geek Dinners ::

eBay Inc builds technologies that enable superior commerce experiences for individuals and businesses to buy and sell online. The company is proud to present that 42% women and 58% men bringing technologies that build the global economy.

Join eBay and Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at eBay Town Hall (North Campus) San Jose, California to see first-hand how eBay’s technologies are guiding your commerce experience.

Enter to win a FREE ticket to the eBay Girl Geek Dinner!

- Deadline to enter the lottery is MIDNIGHT Thursday, October 9th -

eBay Girl Geek Dinner Agenda

5:00 p.m. onwards – Registration
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Networking reception and technology demos
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Keynote and panel discussion
7:30 – 8:15 p.m. – Post-event reception

Twitter hashtag for the event: #eBayGirlGeekDinner
Twitter handles for the hosts: @eBay @BayAreaGGD

eBay Girl Geek Dinner Speaker Bios

Sri Shivananda, VP, Global Platform & Infrastructure
Keynote Topic: Technology driving Commerce at eBay

Product and technology leader with experience in large scale transaction platforms and web applications. A hands on leader with a passion for innovating on technologies, building effective teams and a focus on delivering competitively superior technology solutions to the business while growing people in the organization and creating high performance teams. Executive supporter of eWIT, ‘eBay’s Women in Technology’ group. Follow him on Twitter at @srishivananda.

eBay Girl Geek Dinner Panelist Bios

Supriya Gurjar, Technical Education Specialist, Learning and Knowledge

Supriya joined eBay Marketplaces two years ago in the newly formed Technical Training Team. She led many training projects as the program manager, notable among them the New Hire Program as well as soft skills programs to equip eBay’s brilliant engineers with the arsenal of public speaking and presentation skills. Recently, she transitioned into her new role as the Owner of the Talent Development track as well as Product Management Training track for eBay Marketplaces. In her former career, Supriya served the Indian Air Force (IAF) for ten years and retired as a Squadron Leader. As an IAF Transport Pilot, she holds the record of being the first IAF woman pilot to captain an aircraft to the highest airfield in India. When not working, you can find her cultivating a variety of interests such as aviation, volunteering, languages, and as a certified group fitness instructor teaching spinning, circuit training, Bombay Jam ®, and step aerobics at Bay Area gyms. Follow her on Twitter at @sugurjar.

Namrata Mummaneni, Director of Quality, Commerce Experience

Namrata is a senior leader with over 16+ years of experience and proven track record for successfully leading, building and managing talented Quality Engineering teams. She joined eBay’s Mobile team in 2009 as the first QE leader and built the team, processes & products from scratch and helped in transforming eBay mobile into the largest m-commerce player. Currently, Namrata is responsible for Quality Engineering in Commerce Experience for Mobile Web, Payments, Ads and Monetization and Native apps feature integration team. She is passionate about quality, mentoring & Women in Technology and loves to catch up on Bollywood movies in her spare time.

Manju Thomas, Director, UI Engineering

Manju is a seasoned application engineering leader with over 14+ years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Manju is leading the Marketing consumer and Growth application engineering team at PayPal, delivering world class products that drive major business KPI through engineering leadership. Focused on building a really strong application engineering team moving global marketing and product applications to node.js with an adaptive/ Responsive design strategy. For 14 years, Manju has focused on Application engineering: creating products in Web consumer sites and applications and building high-performing user interface engineering teams integrating business requirements with best technology and processes.

Mausami Dave-Shah, MTS 1, User Interface Engineer

Mausami joined PayPal as a prototyper and quickly grew into leading the front end on engineering teams for consumer onboarding, the latest redesigns of the account overview and most recently, Global Marketing. Over the last three and a half years at PayPal, she has been a part of a design and engineering revolution, motivating her engineering teams to work closely with Design and Product in lean cycles to bring beautiful experiences to life. She is passionate about Craftsmanship, mentoring team members to up their skill levels, bridging the gap between Design and Technology and creating awesome Experiences. She is also an alpha mom to two Siberian Husky rescues, soon-to-be mom to a beautiful baby girl, loves going on hikes with her huskies and traveling around the world.

Aruna Susarla, MTS Architect

Aruna is a Senior Architect at PayPal with over 15 years of industry experience. She is currently one of the lead Architects in the retail engineering team and is responsible for building scalable, high performance innovative solutions that PayPal can deploy at mobile as well as traditional Point of Sale systems. Aruna cares deeply about performance and reliability and has been striving to redefine payment experience that delights customer and also make sense for our bottom line. She loves hiking and running and recently finished her first half marathon.

Snezana Sahter, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Architect

Snezana joined eBay in July 2004 as an engineer and over the span of decade has grown into marketplaces architect role. She has led and been major contributor to complex business critical initiatives, including the feedback system re-design, seller standards, identity verification and entity resolution, to name a few. Besides working on solutions for eBay Trust business domains, she is also part of the Commerce OS team co-authoring standards for designing and building API and services. Born and educated in Serbia, she is now accustomed to living in the Bay area appreciating multi-cultural diversity while passing some of the Serbian heritage to her two kids.

Panel Discussion
Every company has a strategic vision, a brand and a purpose, and whatever we do in our roles ultimately impacts this brand and the vision. Whatever be our roles, expertise, team sizes or experiences, each of us can do our part to align with this vision and bring it to live within our own scope of work. Our panel discussion will focus on important traits, skillsets, and networks that you as a professional should develop to demonstrate ‘impact’ through your role in the organization. Eventually, you should feel proud of the product and the brand that you created. Your passion would influence others to follow suit and join you in your vision!