September 17th and September 24th, 2020

CHIWITCON 2020 is virtual this year!

CHIWITCON™ is an inspiring gathering of technologists from Chicago and beyond. Open to all genders across all platforms and technologies, the CHIWITCON™ brings the achievements, aspirations, and career interests of inspiring individuals in technology to the forefront. Listen to exciting speakers with plenty of discussion time and enjoy a fireside chat. Stay for the fun, relaxing networking opportunity following the conference.


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Agenda (2019)

  1. 08:30 AM - 09:30 AM : Registration and Networking
  2. 09:30 AM - 09:45 AM : Intro and Opening Remarks
  3. 09:45 AM - 10:30 AM : Morning Keynote- Alida Miranda-Wolff

    Achieving Equity and Inclusion through Self-Advocacy and Sponsorship

    The gender double bind is real: Women who don’t speak up miss opportunities and those who do are ignored. We know that diverse companies are more profitable, scalable, and sustainable in the future, especially those who invest in female leadership. To achieve strategic business objectives and gender equality in the workplace, we must bridge the gap between diversity and inclusion through practices and procedures that create a level playing field. In this keynote, we will tackle what equity and inclusion really mean, and how to achieve a deeper understanding of both, and how women can become advocates for themselves and empower those around them to sponsor them as they pursue advancement.

  4. 10:40 AM - 11:10 AM : Track Talks
    • Navigating your Career: Marina Malaguti
      • Maximum Productivity Outcome
      • This talk will discuss practical approaches to getting things done personally and professionally. In this day and age, we are constantly bombarded with information and tasks on multiple platforms. In addition, we are increasingly merging our personal and work lives and having to prioritize these two against each other. During this talk Marina will give the audience a hands-on approach on how she set-up her life, both personal and professional, in order to get the most important things done and more. She is going to walk through the various methodologies that she has studied/read about and merged into a practical approach that works for her.
    • Cross-functional Collaboration: Jacqueline Potts
      • Software Engineering and Mental Health are Not Mutually Exclusive
      • Software development can be an incredibly powerful and rewarding experience. We as developers have the ability to create and design systems that power businesses and make technology more accessible to the community at large. Let’s face it, we as technologists are pretty cool people.
        Though there are many highs in the software field there can also be many lows and a lot of times the mental health of engineers is overlooked. Mental health and burn out of software developers is something we need to take seriously, especially as more and more company cultures glorify the move fast and break things and hacker type mentalities. The point of this talk is to help raise awareness to signs of burnout in yourself and others, discuss the importance of self care, and discuss some things we can do to help alleviate our own stress and pressure to keep our community healthy and thriving. Healthy software developers leads to healthy, robust software and happy businesses.
    • Showcasing your Tech: Taranjeet Kaur
      • Making Security part of Enterprise DNA
      • With changing paradigms, the security of applications is no longer considered just an IT issue; now it is also a boardroom issue. IT teams are considering how security fits in from the start to ensure that it is not an afterthought, but rather a part of the enterprise DNA. This talk will discuss the methodologies used by application teams to build robust and reliable products. Attendees will also walk away with the knowledge of building cognitive security for critical enterprise applications using AI and machine learning. 
  5. 11:20 AM - 11:50 AM : Track Talks
    • Navigating your Career: Christine Stone
      • Diapers & Data Centers
      • An authentic, funny, practical talk – stories, tools, life hacks and results in both career and family. As Stone gives advice, she finds that she gives advice that would have shocked her own mother – life hacks that bend traditional rules, but work well. She also shares tools that she and her husband used to help them share duties and do long term planning.
    • Cross-functional Collaboration: Joanna Burgraf + Donna Claire
      • Opposites Attract: A Three Act Play in Creative Collaboration
        Donna Claire and Joanna Burgraf have transformed Enova’s creative department from a service organization to a 16 person digital agency and strategic partner. These two work in harmony and support each other in achieving the vision of this team. What may not be so obvious is just how opposite they are – one is a strategic thinker and the other a doer, one loves ideas the other loves process, one a mentor the other an eager student. Rather than change who they are, they support each other in being the best version of their professional selves.
        They lift each other up all while working to bridge the gap and establish partnerships between tech and creative teams. They’ll share the inside scoop of their professional relationship and how they utilize their individual and combined skills to deliver websites that are inclusive and designed for the customer. Attendees from this talk will walk away with: the value of having a partner on the team, how to identify and utilize the strengths of your team members, and an understanding of what it takes to adopt new technologies.
    • Showcasing your Tech: Amy Arambulo Negrette
      • Traditionally Serverless
      • The cloud computing landscape is rife with buzzwords and Serverless is one more of them. For more traditional application engineers, especially those with a few years under their belt already, these trends are known to come and go. It can be hard to get excited if you don’t see the staying power of Serverless, even more if you’ve already lost time and energy to a trend that never quite got adopted. This talk will go over the most common arguments that Traditional Application Developers will drum up and open a path to Serverless Adoption.
  6. 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM : Lunch
  7. 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM : ARA Panel

    Rise Up: Conversations that Inspire, Actions that Make Change

    Once again, ARA joins forces with ChiWitCon to host a panel discussion that won’t leave anything off the table. From making uncomfortable conversations comfortable to empowering male allies to turning off your “Evil DJ” and finding your own voice to cultivating sponsors while being your own champion – a lot will be covered in a short amount of time, so be ready to take notes, ask questions and learn from inspiring leaders and rising stars in our community. To mix things up, at the end of the panel, we’re going to do a speed round of questions, including topics such as: How to ask for a raise; How to address conflict; How to rise others up; How to be your authentic self. Regardless of what stage you are in your career, you will walk away with ideas to help yourself and those who surround you. The time to make change is NOW.

    • Moderator: Leslie Vickrey
    • Speakers
      • Yemi Akisanya
      • Shaelyn Otikor
      • Jamie Gilpin
      • Matt Pulley
  8. 02:10 PM - 02:40 PM : Track Talks
    • Navigating your Career: Camille Jamerson
      • Leadership and the Imposter Syndrome : Am I successful or am I really a fraud?
      • Constant change and adaptability in the field of technology will leave you feeling behind the moment you get caught up. Add to that the social pressures of perfectly curated social media feeds that cause you to compare your professional and personal life to someone’s else highlight reel. The moment it doesn’t, you feel you are a fraud and that EVERYONE will find out that you are winging it. Truth is, everybody is winging everything… Motherhood… Work… School… Relationships… Eyeliner… EVERYTHING. You are not a fraud, but the imposter syndrome is palatable enough to cause you to cower back, doubt yourself, and discount your abilities! We are going to cover 5 major keys for defeating this syndrome once and for all. Interlaced with humor, practical examples, heart to heart stories, data, stats, and tactics- Get ready for a session that will shift paradigms in your leadership abilities!
    • Cross-functional Collaboration: Kristen Cho
      • Your Marketing & Tech Teams Need to Communicate Better: Here’s How
      • With varying priorities, attitudes, and backgrounds, it’s easy for a company’s marketing and product/engineering teams to exist in silos. While some tension between product and marketing is natural and healthy, ultimately these teams need each other to succeed, making effective communication essential. In this session, Reverb’s Chief Marketing Officer Kristen Cho will discuss proven tips for better communication and collaboration between product and marketing teams.
    • Showcasing your Tech: Miriah Peterson
      • Teaching Golang Beginners
      • We were all new to Go once. We all had to learn the syntax, the error handling, the interfaces. We all work with people new to go. It is inevitable. We want our gophers to be productive. Do we need to take different approaches to different levels of development experience? Let Peterson tell you how!
  9. 02:40 PM - 03:00 PM : Short Break
  10. 03:00 PM - 03:30 PM : Track Talks
    • Navigating your Career: Laura Janusek
      • Raising Our Hands: The Power of Self-Advocacy for Women in Tech
      • The session will explore the barriers preventing women’s self-advocacy, drawing on research as well as the personal experiences of the speaker, a former teacher and now EdTech executive who learned to “raise her hand” and advocate for herself in the traditionally male-dominated field of technology.
    • Cross-functional Collaboration: Alice Zhao
      • What I’ve Learned From Advising 100+ Data Science Projects
      • Over the course of Zhao’s career, she has advised over a hundred data science projects. She’s seen some succeed and others fail, and during this talk, she will share her top three lessons learned on the skills and mindset needed for a stand-out project.
    • Showcasing your Tech: Amanda Hinchman-Dominguez
      • Mind Over Matter: The Mentality of a Software Engineer
      • Success in engineering has nothing to do with how well you can code, how many years of experience you have, or whether you have an education. It’s not even about finding the answers. The journey to engineering often starts with asking the question: “What if I can make this […] easier?”
        Tech is hard, but getting in (and staying) in tech is a lot harder. This is a talk where together, we’re going to beat down imposter syndrome, gas each other up. This is a talk where we refuse to be beat down, but we enjoy the struggle and flail. This is a talk where we gain the convictions and confidence necessary to be a software engineer. Whether you wish to become more technical in writing, speaking, or coding, this is a talk on why tech needs women to be themselves, unapologetically.
  11. 03:40 PM - 04:25 PM : Afternoon Keynote- Helen Sun

    Advancing in an AI Driven Economy

    In this talk, Helen will share how she is advancing her career in using data analytics, machine learning, and AI to drive business growth. She will discuss skill set needed as well as resources that can be leveraged to succeed in this new career discipline.

  12. 04:30 PM - 06:30 PM : Happy Hour

Presenting Sponsors



Chi Women In Tech Conference