Microphone for speech, with blurred background

Michelle is available for speaking opportunities both locally and abroad.


Tell Me About Yourself

Audience: All career levels
Length: This should be at least 60 minutes, but can vary based on audience size and engagement.
AppearancesSoCalCodeCamp 2018

Almost every interview has a version of the request, “Tell Me About Yourself.” People often have trouble articulating their journey and how it has made them a great employee. After my recent experiences having to answer it myself innumerable times as well as mentoring others at all career levels, I have developed tips for turning vague stories into a polished pitch. This workshop starts with a presentation, but then quickly becomes interactive. This part is listening to audience member’s stories and giving them direct feedback. I have experience doing this both as 1-on-1 and in a group setting. I have received very positive feedback in both settings.


How to use data to get your next raise

Audience: Early/Mid Career
Length: 30-45 minutes, including Q&A
AppearancesPyData Los Angeles 2018
ROI Tracker
Video: PyDataLA 2018

Most people dread the annual review process. It is difficult to remember everything you have done and summarize it in a concise, clear way. As engineers, there is the additional factor of translating technical achievements into a format business folks can understand. I propose a solution for tracking and reporting achievements in a way that’s simple and easy for stakeholders to understand. This talk will consist of two main parts. After outlining the difficulty of annual reviews with a real life example, I will explain the manual solution of success statements. A success statement is a sentence that explains a single achievement and how it contributes to the bottom line. This is a great place to start, but can be tedious to add up all the information for reports. The second part is about the app I created and how you can use it to store and automatically summarize the data multiple ways. I’ll get into the different ways to manipulate the data and how to deploy the app to have a personal ROI Tracker.

How Coding is like Baking A Cake

Audience: All levels
Length: 3-10 mins lightning talk
AppearancesGirl Develop It Leadership Summit 2018, WordCamp LA 2018
SlidesGoogle Slides

This talk is about how I learned a better way to write code using my love of baking. Coding is putting the cake in the oven. Beforehand, you ascertain the goals (we want a chocolate cake!), discuss alternatives (what about cupcakes?) and whiteboard the tech (we’re going to use this recipe). That way, there are no surprises and everyone gets the cake they want.

Creating a Triple-A Team: Next Level Management

Audience: Mid-career, New management
Length: 15-30 minutes, including Q&A
MediaSimple Leadership Podcast

Many engineering teams struggle with hiring senior engineers, keeping them motivated and still maintaining a diverse and inclusive team. I will discuss a management success story where a team was able to hire only entry level developers, yet create some of the best employees in the company. It’s based on the three principles of Autonomy, Accountability and Advancement. It’s about teaching the developers how to strive for constant improvement, both on their own as a team. How to track their own skills and knowledge growth, and a standard metric for advancement so no one feels like they are stuck. By having clear goals for advancement it reduces the bias of “promoting your friends”. This creates a culture of efficiency, creativity and self-sufficiency that follows these team members throughout their time at the company.

Success Statements: How to Document Your ROI

Audience: All audiences
Length: 5 minute lightning talk

A success statement is a method of documenting your accomplishments so all stakeholders (especially non-technical ones) can quickly see your value and help get you bonuses/promotions.


Michelle is available for panels and excels in the following topics

  • Tech leadership
  • Being a woman in tech/startups
  • Job interview preparation
  • Career change

Breaking Class Barriers

Audience: Early career. Experience with working, but trying to get first white collar job/promotion.
Length: 60 Minutes

Tech is trying to address its diversity problem, but one area you do not often hear about is class. Managers often do not think of their class bias. There are not “wrong” and “right” ways to act, but when one acts out of the accepted range for a class it can alarm a manager and peers. This is often coded as “not culture fit”, when it is a learned skill that can be taught. The goal of this panel is to give job/promotion seekers the tools to present themselves in the acceptable way. Hopefully these tips will help with code switching to ease people into their next job and help them communicate so their talents will shine.

Getting the job

  • How to look for a job.
  • Which jobs to apply for.
  • How to match your skills to a posting.
  • How to dress for an interview.
  • How to research a company.
  • Questions to have answers for.
  • Questions to ask to discern whether you want to work there.

Working at the job

  • When and how should I ask for help?
  • If I disagree with an assignment, how do I bring it up to a lead?
  • How do I prove I deserve a promotion?
  • How do I tell someone I found a mistake in their work?