Calibrate Conference 2019

You’re a great engineer. Become a great leader.
A conference for new engineering leaders hosted by seasoned engineering leaders.

September 27, 2019 - Conference

September 26 - Workshops

2019 will be our final event!

Join us for one more terrific day of engineering leadership content this fall.

Welcome! We suggest starting with our About Page for information about the event, and having a look at videos and presentations from previous events via the links above. News and information can be found in #calibrate on the Rands Leadership Slack and at @calibratesf on Twitter (but mostly in the Rands Leadership Slack #calibrate).

Why Calibrate?

As fast as we're growing our engineering teams, we're also creating engineering leaders and it's often learn-as-you-go. Engineering leadership has a specific set of challenges with respect to the intersection of people, technology and process, and almost no reference material or developmental community surrounding it.

Let’s change that.

We’re bringing together accomplished engineering veterans to address the unique needs of newly minted engineering leaders. We’ll share what it’s like to grow from an engineer to a leader, and offer advice on what to learn in your first few years of leadership. You’ll take away tactics and frameworks for decision making you can put to work immediately.

Who Attends?

Calibrate is aimed at practicing engineering managers, responsible for the people on their team. New people managers will get the most out of this day. As you decide if this conference is for you, know that this event includes people from varying experience levels:

  • most attendees are new to management
  • some people haven’t yet started their first management role
  • a few are managing ... without the title
  • and a small group are veterans (including our speakers)

These are the people you will be meeting, networking with, eating lunch with, talking about hard problems with.

What does good engineering leadership look like? Gain valuable insight and useful techniques to put into action.


It was invaluable for someone with my odd background and path to software engineering to connect with people from such diverse and impactful companies as you had in attendance.

Robert Edwards

Still processing @CalibrateSF - definitely the most densely beautiful conference I’ve been to. Thanks to the organizers for your hard work!

Andrew Bredow

The talks were amazing, but lunch might have been my favorite part. As an aspiring manager, talking to several people at different stages in their career and different fields was really interesting.

Adam Coulter

At Calibrate I learned that management is not a set of commits. It’s different for everyone and really, really hard. But the speakers at Calibrate made me even more excited about being an engineering manager. I made invaluable connections to other people in my shoes, and got something tangible out of every single talk.

Sonja Broach

This was my first year at Calibrate and, with all the lessons, questions, and friends it left me with, it won't be my last! So glad I went.

Jordan Degner

Spending a day with thoughtful and inspiring leaders is just what the doctor ordered. Calibrate SF is exactly that place. Whether you've been leading teams for decades or just getting started, you'll most definitely learn something new, I certainly did.

Bruno Miranda


These are the people we wish we worked for!

Michael Lopp

Michael Lopp

Slack, VP of Engineering

Michael is a Silicon Valley-based engineering leader who builds both people and product at companies such as Borland, Netscape, Palantir, and Apple. While he's not worrying about staying relevant, he writes about pens, bridges, people, poker, and werewolves at the popular weblog, 'Rands in Repose'. He currently works as the VP of Engineering at Slack in San Francisco.

Lara Hogan

Lara Hogan

Coach and Trainer

(Lara is hosting a workshop as well! See below) Lara is an author, public speaker, and coach for managers and leaders across the tech industry. As a founder of Wherewithall, Lara and her team run workshops, roundtables, and trainings on core management skills like delivering great feedback and setting clear expectations. Before Wherewithall, Lara spent a decade growing emerging leaders as the VP of Engineering at Kickstarter and an Engineering Director at Etsy. She champions management as a practice, building fast websites, and celebrating your achievements with donuts (and sometimes sushi). Her latest book, Resilient Management, is here to help those who find themselves responsible for supporting a team of people.

Kwasi Ohene-Adu

Kwasi Ohene-Adu

Goodwater Capital, VP of Engineering

Kwasi is the VP of Engineering at Goodwater Capital, where he indulges his passion for entrepreneurship by contributing to finding and building the very best consumer technology companies. He serves by offering his diverse skillset in leadership, entrepreneurship and engineering. Previously, Kwasi was founding engineer at Highfive, where he built and led teams in backend infrastructure services. Prior to Highfive, Kwasi was founding engineer at Color Labs, where he built and and led the Android team. Prior to startups and venture capital, he had a successful engineering tenure at Google, where he was one of the first members on Google's then new Google+ social initiative. He is happiest when building high performing teams as well as technology.

Nidhi Gupta

Nidhi Gupta

Experience Engineering Executive

Nidhi Gupta is former Chief Product Officer at Hired, a marketplace that matches tech talent with the world’s most innovative companies. At Hired, Nidhi led the company’s global product, design, engineering, and operations teams. Nidhi is a skilled engineer and product executive who is passionate about building and growing thriving product and engineering organizations that deliver world-class products at scale. Prior to Hired, Nidhi was Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering at Tophatter and Upwork. Previously, she was instrumental in leading mobiTV and Ning through hyper-growth and expansion.

Alexandra "Ale" Paredas

Alexandra "Ale" Paredas

Code Climate, Head of Engineering

Ale is the Head of Engineering at Code Climate where she helps engineering leaders with data insights. With over 9 years of technical experience, she is passionate about growing an inclusive team and help foster an environment where everyone can grow their skills, do their best work, build resilient and scalable systems and deliver impactful solutions. Also, Ale is one of the founders of Latinas in Tech NYC.

Billie Sue Chafins

Billie Sue Chafins

Head of Hulu Seattle, VP, Software Development

Billie Sue Chafins has spent 18+ years shipping world-class consumer and enterprise software for large consumer technology companies, with over 12 years of experience managing teams. She is currently VP of Software Development at Hulu, where she leads all client development across mobile, web, and living room devices (like Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Amazon FireTV). In this role, she manages a team of 130+ developers, technical program managers, and QA team members, responsible for delivering the best experience for our viewers across all devices. Billie Sue is also the Head of Hulu’s Seattle Office, where she is responsible the decision-making and operations of the company’s office in Seattle. Prior to Hulu, Billie Sue spent 14 years at Microsoft, leading several teams responsible for products like Windows UX and Office. She holds a BS and MS from the University of Kentucky in Computer Science.

Kathleen Vignos

Kathleen Vignos

Twitter, Director, Platform Engineering

Kathleen Vignos is a Director in Platform Engineering at Twitter, where she heads Twitter’s public cloud strategy and core infrastructure automation teams. She also leads Twitter’s internal engineering manager training program. Previously, she was Director of Engineering at Wired where she built the team that scaled the website to 1 billion page views a year. Over 20+ years she’s worked at two startups (one of which she founded), taught business software programming at the university level, won a hackathon, and developed dozens of websites. She regularly coaches engineering managers and female engineers on confidence and leadership. She serves on the Ambassador’s Council for local San Francisco non-profit, New Door Ventures.

Jean Hsu

Jean Hsu

Co-founder, Co Leadership

(Jean is co-hosting a workshop! See below) Jean is a co-founder of Co Leadership, a leadership development company for leaders in tech. She is passionate about sharing her people-centric leadership style with teams from small start-ups to larger companies. Having worked at Google, Pulse, and Medium before moving into leadership coaching and development, Jean brings a wealth of experience in both engineering and coaching to bridge engineers to the lives and careers they dream of.

Edmond Lau

Edmond Lau

Co-founder, Co Leadership

(Edmond is co-hosting a workshop! See below) Edmond Lau is the co-founder of Co Leadership, where his mission is to transform engineers into leaders. He runs leadership experiences and courses that teach people powerful tools and frameworks to bridge them from where they are to what's possible in their lives and careers. He's also the author of the book, The Effective Engineer — now the de facto onboarding guide for many engineering teams. He's spent his career leading engineering teams across Silicon Valley at Quip, Quora, Google, and Opixoyala. His work and writing have been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Time, Slate, Inc., Fortune, and Wired.

Cathy Chen

Cathy Chen

Founder, Capriole Consulting

Cathy Chen currently leads an engineering team at Google, and previously has managed people at startups. With Capriole Consulting, she specializes in coaching tech leaders enabling the development of their own skills in leading teams. With her masters degree in Organizational Psychology from Teacher's College at Columbia University and a BS in Electrical Engineering Computer Science from UC Berkeley, she has the background of a hands-on geek, with expertise in research-backed organizational theory.

Tara Ellis

Tara Ellis

Netflix, Engineering Manager

Tara Ellis is an avid tinkerer and has been since the early days of the world wide web. As a critical and creative thinker, she is a relentless problem-solver skilled at applying critical thinking, analysis, and technical skills. Tara is a strong believer in “Peopleware” and because of that has a keen understanding of building and managing engineering teams that deliver. Tara currently has the privilege of leading a team of engineers at Netflix where she has focused on continuously improving the sign-up and non-member experience to bring in the next 100 million Netflix members globally. Prior to joining Netflix, she lead engineering teams at Disney; if you’ve been to Disneyland or Disneyworld in the last decade, you’ve interacted with some of her teams’ software. She honed her engineering skills in the fast-paced, ever-changing environment at Amazon, learning lessons she still uses today. Outside of work, Tara loves to spend time with her family, cooking, and travelling. When not performing bedtime stories for her daughter, she is a passionate collector and player of board games and an aficionado of American bourbon.

Program & Schedule

Coming soon!


Workshops are $1,200/seat and include a light breakfast and lunch along with tea and beverages throughout.

Demystifying Management

When you switch from an individual contributor role to a manager role, you might find yourself floating in a sea of uncertainty. What does success look like as a manager? How do you know if you’re doing a good job or not, with such a long feedback loop between your actions and their outcome? How do you set the right tone and expectations for your team?

Lara Hogan Coach and Trainer

Building Alignment

What if you could get at the heart of what was important to your coworkers and stakeholders? What if you could navigate difficult conversations and get buy-in on the things you cared about? You'd be able to break through the friction and miscommunication that slow everything down. You'd be able to build alignment on shared goals, even when there's conflict. You'd be able to lead, even without authority.

Learn more about the "Building Alignment" workshop @

Jean Hsu Co Leadership, Co-founder

Edmond Lau Co Leadership, Co-founder


Calibrate and preceding workshops will be held in San Francisco, at the beautiful Golden Gate Club located in the historic Presidio district, a stone's throw from the Golden Gate Bridge.

135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco, CA 94129

Request Invite

In order to have an enriching experience for all conference attendees, we have an application process to keep the event open to people from all backgrounds and circumstances. For more information about the application process and diversity scholarships, please see our About page.

Workshop attendance is not application-based and purchasing a workshop ticket does not affect your application.

Ticket Pricing

  • $599 - Early Bird Special Plus (10 available)
  • $699 - (Now through 7/31) Early Bird Special
  • $799 - (8/01 through 8/31) Summer Sale
  • $899 - (9/01 through 9/20) Full Price Ticket