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Speaker Spotlight: Leeza Pesenson

Leeza Pesenson is passionate about the intersection of mindfulness, empathy, and designing great products. A few years after getting her master’s in Human-Computer Interaction, Leeza stumbled upon Compassionate Communication (aka NVC) which has allowed her to rethink the ways that we conduct user research and influence business decisions. She lives in San Francisco, CA and enjoys listening between the lines, finding the perfect metaphor for any situation, and buying more books than she can possibly ever read.

#inclusion

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Leeza will lead a workshop in user experience and design research: User Research one of the most effective ways to understand your user base. To know if your idea is worthwhile or to see if how you designed it would make sense for others! When things are natural and easy to use, people buy and use them more! Learn why knowing how to leverage user research can help you succeed in any technical role, from an engineer to a product owner or designer. We’ll start why why user research is important, explain a few different methods, and show you how to start conducting your own user research today!

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Speaker Spotlight: Carinne Johnson

Carinne Johnson is a user experience professional and content strategist working in the financial industry. In a previous life, she crafted digital experiences and online communications for higher education, nonprofits, and publishing houses. She received her Master’s in Information Management and Systems from the University of California Berkeley’s School of Information and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

#space

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Carinne will present on using this unique opportunity to build your personal brand: After 13 months, many of us are intimately aware of the pros and cons of working from home. One surprising benefit of the virtual workplace is how it levels the playing field. You can elevate your profile and build your personal brand without venturing too far outside your comfort zone.Public speaking isn’t nearly as scary when you’re sitting at your computer wearing bunny slippers and pajama pants. (Or a killer suit. I won’t judge your sartorial power source.)Use this unique moment in time to pitch an event, lead a meeting, organize a hackathon — in short, get noticed. Get your name out there and position yourself as an innovator, a thought leader, a connector, a culture carrier. When we return to the office in person, you’ll be seen as a linchpin your leadership can’t do without.

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Speaker Spotlight: Juniper Emnett

Juniper is currently a Product Manager at Wisetail, after spending the last five years on the Engineering side of the company (Engineering Lead, Engineering Manager, and Architect). She’s been in leadership positions for a majority of that time, learning through on-the-job trial and error, mentorship, and some great books. Her specific passion is supporting women, those who identify as non-binary, LGBTQ+, and introverts in technology spaces and in leadership.

#opportunity

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Juniper will speak on growing into a manager. For many in technology, your career path may bring you to a leadership/management role. When this opportunity arises, you’ll be able to make the best decision about your future if you understand the process, differences to expect, and pros and cons. In this talk we’ll explore some of the specific skills needed to succeed in a leadership role — this should offer value to those already in leadership looking to be the best leaders they can be, those who want to grow the skills that will set them up for a future leadership opportunity, and those who need to make a decision if a leadership career path is for them.

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Speaker Spotlight: Shana Hogg

I get it folks. Pain sucks the ever loving life out of you. Sometimes it effects your sleep. Sometimes it effects your energy at work (hello afternoon crash). It often draws your focus away from a “I got so much done today I nailed it” to a “I will get that done later” mentality, which leads to crushing overwhelm because you are so behind. It also takes the joy out experiencing your physical hobbies like skiing, hiking, climbing, and traveling. And face it, you work hard, so you must play hard stay sane. Does this sound familiar? I have been there. In 2010 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My body hurt, my brain hurt, I was taking constant naps (every afternoon), my hair was falling out, and my low libido was affecting my new marriage. I was missing client meetings from brain fog. I was fired from a new business opportunity because I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I was constantly overwhelmed and stressed out despite eating right and exercising daily. That was what I was told to do, what I was educated to do, only it didn’t work. Eating right and exercising regularly wasn’t the only healing strategy I needed. My issue was deeper and work and life stress was what put me there. It was time to change what I was doing and finally get results. Now I am on the other side, skiing down mountains, hiking up said mountains, building my own legacy, and humbly helping others do the same.

#space

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Shana will lead a workshop on habit-building: The courage to create stems from a place of healthy habits, foundational strength, and the ability to execute.

Part 1: Your goals are in the stars. How do you reach them? Learn how to set achievable goals by shifting your focus. When you recognize the smaller habitual behaviors you need to adopt in order to accomplish your goals you can then see the yellow brick road of achievement laid out before you.

Part II: Clean your lens…yours has smudges. How do you view your life? How do you view yourself? When you walk into your kitchen do you see a sink full of dirty dishes or used tools of nourishment?. By shifting your identity to align with the habits you are working to adopt, you prepare yourself to live in a totally new reality. You want to create? Then you have to clean up your lens.

Part III: To kick your own ass you must first move thy foot. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Are you ready? Are you open? What might be in your way? In order to achieve your goals, you must have awareness in your journey. Part three of the workshop will walk you through a series of questions that bring to light what might be in your way of achieving your goals. That way nothing will stop you…not even the Tampa Bay defensive line.

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Speaker Spotlight: Rachael Reimanis

Rachael Reimanis is a Senior Software Engineer at Workiva, living in Bozeman, MT. She has been working for Workiva since graduating with her Masters in Computer Science from MSU 6 years ago. Rachael is passionate about the Women in Tech community and has been a speaker at various events. In her free time she enjoys world travel, running, cooking, baking, reading, and partaking in all the wonderful activities the surrounding mountains provide.

#opportunity

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Rachael will speak on setting professional goals that align to your values. Learn what values-based goal setting is and how to apply it, including how to refine those goals into SMART goals that work well in a professional environment. Attendees will walk away with a framework and actionable steps on how to set goals for work.

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Speaker Spotlight: Caitlin Johnson

Caitlin Johnson is a Jr Data Scientist at Schedulicity, focusing on high-level business objectives, constructing data feeds, and talking data with non-technical folks on the regular. After studying Applied Mathematics, Caitlin spent years in customer service and support, learning just how much she enjoys connecting with humans. The combo of soft skills and hard landed her happily in analytics, which has proven a fantastic playground of numbers, strategy, and psychology. Caitlin believes that the best decisions are made by diverse groups; as a matter of fact, some machine learning algorithms are fueled by this exact sentiment! Few industries are more influential on society than tech and analytics, so Caitlin aims to encourage underrepresented people to join these arenas. Her ideal future is shaped by the valuable contributions of these differing perspectives.

#expertise

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Caitlin will teach us all about data: Data isn’t nearly as objective as we like to think it is. When you’ve invested a lot of resources to launch a new initiative, it’s only natural to optimistically expect the results to be epic. Your boss wants it to work. YOU want it to work. It’s gonna work. But the reality is… it might not work. No longer are you listening to the data for information, you’re seeking validation: “I know there’s good news in here somewhere.” When you’re tapping into the power of data to support and assist your efforts (which I can’t recommend enough!) adopting a few fundamental techniques can help you remain neutral and allow you to rigorously separate noise from signal. Regardless of whether or not you handle data in your role, I have no doubt that embracing these concepts will help you digest information and empower you to approach tasks strategically with long-term goals in mind.

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Speaker Spotlight: Laura Stanley

Laura Stanley is a passionate educator, researcher, and entrepreneur and have a zest for pushing boundaries with my technology inspired pursuits. She serves as a Computer Science Professor where she studies human-computer interaction, e.g. projects include immersive technologies for pain and anxiety management for children with cancer and mixed reality (e.g., imagine a hologram therapist) coupled with artificial intelligence to aid those with addictions and mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression). She is also the CEO and Founder of Immersive Reality Group, a digital health startup utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver personalized healthcare solutions.  Laura hold three degrees in engineering, a B.S. from Virginia Tech, M.S. and Ph.D. from Montana State University and have authored 80 peer-reviewed publications and acquired $16M in research funding. Additionally, she has served as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation where she helped to shape the nation’s research agenda. Inspiring Laura is the advancement of minorities in engineering and computer science; believing in the power of STEM to help others. Her research ideas often happen while fly fishing and wandering around Montana’s beautiful open spaces. 

#inclusion

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Dr. Laura Stanley, Professor of Computer Science and Founder of Immersive Reality Group, will dig into how immersive technology (virtual, mixed, and augmented reality) is playing a role in improving the lives of those suffering from mental health disorders. In this talk, she will explore the advantages of virtual and mixed reality for anxiety, addiction, and pain management while discussing the success of the implementation of this technology in clinical trials at Prisma Health in Greenville, SC. The talk includes an overview of her team’s National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Epic Games funded projects where her team is using immersive technology, physiological wearables, and Artificial Intelligence for pain and anxiety management for children with cancer and those undergoing surgeries; those suffering from opioid use disorder using mixed reality (e.g., imagine a hologram therapist); and virtual rooms coupled with artificial intelligence to aid those with anxiety disorders.

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Speaker Spotlight: Heather Urkuski

Heather Urkuski, SVP of Technology for Payouts Network, is an experienced leader and advocate with a passion for aligning people, processes, and technology. Before joining the Payouts Network team, Heather managed the technology for Yellowstone General Stores as well as hotels in West Yellowstone and Whitefish, Montana. She successfully built and led a high-performing regional team for Delaware North where she continued to take on progressive leadership roles within the Global Technology organization. During her first year with Payouts Network, Heather helped lead the technology team through a successful new product launch, onboarding a major financial client, migrating an airline client from a pilot program to a commercial agreement, in addition to building and growing the engineering team here in Bozeman. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Albright College, Heather has two decades of professional experience in the technology field span manufacturing, academia, hospitality, and now fintech. She is also a wellness advocate, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Registered Yoga Teacher, and former small business owner of Breathelight Yoga Studio.

#space

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Heather will speak about barriers and boundaries: Feeling stuck or bored in your career? Seeing a need for a change but not sure how or where to start? Experiencing burnout from lack of personal and professional boundaries? I have lived experience with all of the above and am happy to share what worked well for me, what I am doing now, and tangible steps I took to create balance for a happier and healthier life.

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Speaker Spotlight: Rollie Goodman

Rollie Goodman is a recovering economist, and currently a Data Scientist at Workiva. Originally from Bozeman, she now lives on the East Coast and misses the mountains (though she’s also starting to develop strong opinions on cheesesteaks and Wawa vs Sheetz). She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in tech spaces, and putting the “driven” in data-driven.

#inclusion

As part of this #CourageToCreate track, Rollie will present on her efforts improve her team’s hiring and interview process. Studies have shown that creating a more data-driven hiring process is good not only for the quality of hires, but also for diversity and inclusion. While this sounds simple enough in theory, figuring out how to implement this kind of process can be difficult in practice. In this talk, I’ll walk through my data science team’s experience building and test-driving a process that treats hiring like statistical hypothesis testing, and share what we learned along the way.

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