About Calibrate

Founded in 2015, Calibrate is a yearly conference for new engineering managers hosted by seasoned engineering managers.

Calibrate is a not-for-profit, break-even event. We (Angela, Jared, Rob, Shivani, Sonya) are professional engineering managers who care deeply about people and people management. Our aim is to host an event that we wish we could have attended during our transitions to engineering leadership. Our success comes when you connect with other engineering managers in a similar position, learn together and form a support network you can carry with you along your journey.

Your speakers are also greatly concerned about the craft of engineering management. The experience level of the speakers ranges from new engineering managers all the way through senior engineering leaders with over twenty years of experience in the field. They have been in your shoes and they are excited to share what they’re most passionate about.

Each Calibrate session aims to communicate lessons and techniques that can be taken back to the office and immediately put into action, in one of two forms:

  1. A practice, process or technique with a clear takeaway: e.g. giving difficult feedback, crafting an onboarding experience, understanding how to manage your time and prioritize, etc.
  2. A framework for analysis and decision making regarding a specific topic: e.g. “How do I think about compensation when people ask for raises or present counter offers?”

To get an idea of what you'll see at Calibrate, feel free to peruse prior years' speakers, programs and content.

2019 - Our Final Year!

We’ve loved making this fantastic space for smart, motivated, collaborative, generous, thoughtful people to talk about how !*$% hard it is to shift from engineering to people management. You won’t be surprised to hear us say it’s been a passion project. After five years, we’re ready to move on to new things.

The Long Version

Calibrate started as an intimate fifty-person gathering in 2015. We met in support of one another, sharing candid conversation and content about moving into engineering leadership. At the time, there was little else in the way of formal community building or content on engineering leadership.

As 2019 rolls on:

  • There is a massive Slack group for engineering leadership discussion - the Rands Leadership Slack which has 9,457 members as of this writing! Link
  • There are several folks that have fully dedicated themselves to furthering the craft of engineering leadership education at both the group and individual levels, including a handful of your speakers and workshop hosts: Lara Hogan (wherewithall.com), Marcy Swenson (startuphappiness.com), Jean Hsu (coleadership.com), Edmond Lau (coleadership.com) and Cathy Chen to name just a few.
  • Plato (the company) has been dedicated to the improvement of engineering leadership via connecting leaders to mentors for the past several years (disclaimer: Slif and Shivani are volunteer mentors there) Link
  • Christian McCarrick's "Simple Leadership" podcast recently broke past Episode 60. It is focused exclusively on technology leadership. Link
  • Long-time Calibrate attendees Jen Bunk and Rob Allen have a career coaching company, The People Stack. Their mission is to help technical managers build thriving high-performing teams, command premium salaries, and claim their dream careers (without working their butts off 50+ hours/week). Link
  • Michael Dearing at Harrison Metal, who teaches a “management for non-MBAs” multi-day workshop. While not targeted specifically for engineers, we share in the idea that formal management education is needed! (disclaimer: your organizers have all attended and greatly enjoyed the content) Link
  • Jerry Li and the San Francisco Engineering Leadership Community have been going strong for several years now holding large monthly events with terrific speakers and content for hundreds of attendees. Link
  • Since 2012, Oren Ellenbogen has been curating a must-read weekly mailer of engineering leadership content, now at 339 weeks! You can now find many of these sorts of curated weeklies, though personally Slif enjoys Oren’s ;) Link
  • Larger and growing engineering leadership events:
    • The Lead Developer, which is an amazing conference in New York, Austin and the UK that we cannot recommend enough! Link
    • SFELC Summit, hosted by the SFELC Link
    • Elevate Summit, hosted by Plato Link
    • Engineering Leadership Summit, hosted by Code Climate Link
    • CTO Summit, hosted by Peter Bell Link
    • ...and many more we’re sure!
  • We’ve had a number of phenomenal books published recognizing the challenges of moving in to leadership (technical or otherwise):
    • Managing Humans (Michael Lopp) Link
    • The Manager’s Path (Camille Fournier) Link
    • Resilient Management (Lara Hogan) available as of June 11, 2019 and the first review is up! Link
    • Scaling Teams (David Loftesness) Link
    • First 90 Days (Michael Watkins) Link

We’re glad to see increased investment here, both because of our excitement for leadership development and as managers who consume the material! The critical need for a conference like Calibrate is no longer the case. There’s so much content and conversation regarding the transition to engineering leadership, and we’re sure this is just the beginning.

We’re thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the engineering leadership community these past five years. Thank you so much to all of our speakers who volunteered their time and wisdom to share with us their hard-won learnings, and thank you to everyone who attended (and who will attend in 2019!) for making this such a terrific and rewarding experience.

We’re thrilled to retire Calibrate with a bang this fall. See you in September!

Applications & Ticketing

Starting in 2017, we’re asking everyone to fill out an application form with short answers about your background and experience. We continue to strive for a diverse event with people from many backgrounds, including those who are generally underrepresented in tech. We intend to use the application process as a means to ensure diversity to the group of attendees of this conference.

We don't evaluate applications based on how accomplished or successful a person is. A big part of Calibrate is the peer networking, and we are looking for people who care about managing their team well, and want to talk to others who have the same goal.

Thanks to AndConf and The Lead Developer Conference for their thoughtful and inspiring work to build application processes and website language that encourages inclusivity.

If accepted, you will receive an email from calibrate@sharethrough.com , so please whitelist that email address (perhaps by adding it to your address book) so that emails from us don’t get lost!

  • The first wave of tickets will be made available in the middle of June.
  • If accepted, you will receive an email with a link to purchase a ticket.
  • Tickets are not reserved - they are on a first come first served basis.
  • We’ll wait a few days between waves, to give folks a chance to purchase.

We can accommodate food requirements and mobility accessibility although please contact us with any specifics just to be sure!

Since 2018, we've been able to arrange a lactation room! This wasn't possible with previous venues and we're excited to be able to create a space at the GGC. We are unable to provide daycare. If you have other accommodation questions or concerns, please contact us @ calibrate@sharethrough.com

Diversity Scholarships

We are excited to offer a number of diversity scholarships for Calibrate this year! A scholarship will pay the full price of a Calibrate ticket, which also includes breakfast, lunch and snacks.

If all of the following hold true:

  1. You identify as part of a group underrepresented in tech
  2. You are a new engineering manager
  3. You aren’t in a position to have the conference ticket paid by your company

...and you’re interested in a scholarship, please email calibrate@sharethrough.com and include the following:

  • Your name
  • Confirmation of the above three points
  • LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)
  • Why you'd like to attend Calibrate (what you hope to learn, etc.)
We can't wait to hear from you!

Code of Conduct

Calibrate is an event intended for networking and collaboration in the tech community.

We value the participation of each member and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees.

To make clear what is expected, all attendees, speakers, organizers, and volunteers are required to conform to the following Code of Conduct and Event Terms. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event.

By RSVP'ing or attending this event, you signal that you have read, understand, and agree to the following.

The Basics

Calibrate is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form, nor do we tolerate any behavior that would reasonably lead to another event participant being made to feel unsafe, insecure, or frightened for their physical or emotional well-being.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any presentation.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate at this event.

Each event guest is entirely responsible for their own actions.

Attendees violating these rules will be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the event managers.

Thank you for helping to make this a welcoming, friendly space for all.

Contact Information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact organizers on-site (wearing a pink name badge), event security, or by emailing calibrate@sharethrough.com.

Any conference organizer will be happy to help participants contact security or local law enforcement, escort to safety, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

The longer version (please read it)


Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Offensive jokes are not appropriate and will not be tolerated under any circumstance at this event.

If a participant engages in behavior that violates this code of conduct, the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event or conference with no refund (if applicable) (it usually isn't).


In order to participate in Calibrate, you represent that (a) you are at least 21 years old, (b) you have the requisite power and authority to enter into these Terms, and (c) you have read and understood these Terms.


The Calibrate conference or its partners sometimes take photos and videos. By participating or attending, you agree that you may appear in some of these photos and videos, and you authorize Calibrate to use them. On the flip side, if you take any photos or videos of attendees and provide them to us, you authorize us to use them in the same fashion, and represent that the attendees that appear in your photos and videos have also consented to such use.


(a) Assumption of Risk. Although we try to create a safe environment at Calibrate, accidents or other bad things happen, even to good people. We ask that you do your part to help limit the possibility that you might get injured at our event.

You agree to carefully consider the risks inherent in any activities that you choose to take part in and to take reasonable precautions before you choose to attend or participate at Calibrate. For example, you should ensure that you are in good physical health before engaging in any physical activity at Calibrate, and you should always drink responsibly given the risks associated with drunk driving and participating in activities while your judgment is impaired. It's always good to remember that other event guests may be less responsible than you, and may themselves create additional risk to you despite their best intentions.

In short, you understand that your attendance and participation at Calibrate is voluntary, and you agree to assume responsibility for any resulting injuries to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

By the same token, you agree that the organizer of Calibrate is not responsible for any injuries or accidents that you might sustain at any events that Calibrate doesn't organize or control.

(b) Release of Liability. You (for yourself, your heirs, personal representatives, or assigns, and anyone else who might make a claim on your behalf) hereby release, waive, discharge and covenant not to sue Calibrate and its respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, partners, shareholders, members, agents, employees, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers from any and all claims, demands, causes of action, damages, losses or expenses (including court costs and reasonable attorneys fees) which may arise out of, result from, or relate in any way to your attendance at Calibrate or related event, except, of course, for any gross negligence or willful misconduct on our part.

(c) Indemnity. By the same token, you agree to indemnify and hold Calibrate, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives harmless, including costs, liabilities and legal fees, from any claim or demand made by any third party due to, related to, or connected with your attendance or conduct at Calibrate or a related event.


While we hope not to, the Calibrate organizers may prohibit your attendance at Calibrate at any time if you fail to abide by this Code of Conduct and Event Terms, its Terms of Service, or for any or no reason, without notice or liability of any kind. Section 4 will continue to apply following any termination.


California law will govern these Event Terms, as well as any claim, cause of action or dispute that might arise between you and Calibrate (a "Claim"), without regard to conflict of law provisions. FOR ANY CLAIM BROUGHT BY EITHER PARTY, YOU AGREE TO SUBMIT AND CONSENT TO THE PERSONAL AND EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION IN, AND THE EXCLUSIVE VENUE OF, THE STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS LOCATED WITHIN SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA.


You agree that you will not represent yourself as an employee, representative, or agent of Calibrate (unless, of course, you are actually employed by the Calibrate Conference). We reserve the right to cancel any event at any time, for any reason, and without liability or prejudice. Any failure on Calibrate’s part to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these terms does not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of these terms is found to be unenforceable or invalid, that provision shall be limited or eliminated to the minimum extent necessary so that the Event Terms shall otherwise remain in full force and effect and enforceable.

This Code of Conduct was forked from the example policy from the Geek Feminism Wiki, created by the ADA Initiative and other volunteers which is under a Creative Commons Zero license.