Microphone for speech, with blurred background

Michelle is available for speaking opportunities both locally and abroad.


Perfecting Your Pitch

Audience: All career levels
Length: This should be at least 60 minutes, but can vary based on audience size and engagement.
AppearancesSoCalCodeCamp 2018, Diana Initiative 2019

Slides: Download
Worksheet: Download
Video: Not Yet Available

Whether you are pitching a company or pitching yourself for a job, it is critical to highlight your strongest skills in a way that makes your audience excited about you. People often downplay their accomplishments or talk about every single thing they’ve ever done. During this workshop, we’ll go over a series of strategies that can be used to help articulate and refine your story for different audiences. We’ll work together on questions designed to help you figure out how amazing you are and what you excel at. By the end of the workshop, you will have a bank of stories and the confidence to give the best pitch at any time.


Serverless App Starter Kit: How to choose a cloud provider

Audience: Early/Mid Career
Length: 30-45 minutes, including Q&A
Appearances: Kansas City Developer Conference
GitHub: AWS Serverless TemplateAzure Serverless Template, Google Serverless Template

Video: Not Yet Available
Slides: Download

Serverless apps are everywhere these days, but how do you get started? How do you decide which provider to go with? I’ve done the work for you. I have created a simple app with AWS, Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure. I’ll compare how each one from an idea to a professional production pipeline. Everyday it seems like Amazon, Google & Microsoft cloud tools are getting better and offering ways for engineers to get things done more easily and cheaply. However, most engineers rarely work with more than one. There is a steep learning curve for each and it’s almost impossible for an entrenched app to move from one to another. But when you’re making a new app, how do you decide? You need to know how much it will cost at the prototype stage, but also when you have a million users.

In this talk I’ve created the same Python based app with all 3 services, AWS, Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure. I’ll discuss the various tools I used, how hard it was to find answers and what scaling would looks like. I’ll compare the costs in both engineering time and money. I will provide my code as a boilerplate as well as all the best tutorials, so the audience can try them all out themselves. At the end of the talk the audience will have a basic understanding of starting an app in each service and a framework for deciding which one to use for their next project.

This talk is for engineers that have heard about serverless apps, but haven’t used them yet or have only used one of the cloud providers. In general I like to speak on topics that help people get projects done faster and easier. The array of technical options for any project can be overwhelming and I like to help explain options in ways everyone can understand. I try not to make assumptions on technical knowledge and make sure to define terms so everyone can follow along. I do expect the audience to have some basic knowledge of APIs and/or scripting, but everyone should be able to follow along. At the end of the talk the audience will have a basic understanding of starting an app in each service and a framework for deciding which one to use for their next project.

How to use data to get your next raise

Audience: Early/Mid Career
Length: 30-45 minutes, including Q&A
AppearancesPyData Los Angeles 2018Scale 17X
ROI Tracker
Video: PyDataLA 2018Scale 17X

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.

Serverless Level 2

Audience: Early/Mid Career
Length: 30-45 minutes, including Q&A
Appearances: AWS Anaheim Summit 2019
AWS Serverless Template

I will be going over the basics of a serverless microservice (API Gateway, Dynamo DB, Lambda). I will then take it to the next level to go over how to use it in a production environment, including provisioning your infrastructure as code, CI/CD and security.

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?