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Keynotes and Presentations



Leadership Guide for the Reluctant Leader

Regardless of the technology you know or the job title you have, you have amazing potential to impact your workplace, community, and beyond.

In this talk, I'll share candid stories of my career failures… I mean… learning opportunities. We'll start by debunking the myth that leadership == management. Next, we'll talk about some of the attributes, behaviors, and skills of good leaders. Lastly, we'll cover some practical steps and resources to accelerate your journey.

You'll walk away with essential leadership skills anyone can develop and a good dose of encouragement to be more awesome!

Note: I've given this talk several times as both a keynote and a presentation.
Video | Slides

You. Are. Awesome.

You may not realize it, but you are awesome. You have the power to change the world. Whether you are a student, professional, or "family engineer," I firmly believe you have amazing potential to impact the people around you in powerful and meaningful ways. My goal is to help you realize the awesomeness you already possess and be encouraged to unleash it!

Note: This is the keynote I have given for conferences such as That Conference, DevReach, and NDC Oslo.
Video | Slides

Unlock Your Potential

Regardless of your job title or the technology you use, you have amazing potential to impact your workplace, community, and beyond in powerful ways. I want to share with you some of the essential skills you can develop to maximize your awesomeness!

JavaScript: Past, Present, and Future

Ah, JavaScript! Like it or not, it's a "tragically important" language that is "eating the world." Hate it? Love it? Avoid it? Embrace it?

This talk is a parade of face-palm JavaScript fails, the bizarre history of JavaScript, why it is the way it is, how it's getting better, and bad jokes sure to get an eye-roll from everyone! Along the way, we may even learn a few mistakes to avoid and tips to make our JavaScript less terrible!


JAMstack: Web Apps at Ludicrous Speed

If you're a web developer, you may have heard of "JAMstack." JAMstack isn't a solution to prevent clogged printers, something to eat on toast, or a way to make music. Instead, it's an architecture for designing super-fast web applications that easily scale.

In this talk, we'll cover the JAMstack architecture, the numerous benefits of the JAMstack approach, and tools you can use to implement a JAMstack web application. You'll walk away with a clear understanding of JAMstack and resources to quickly build your web app at ludicrous speed!


The Illustrated Guide to Electron

In the current web and mobile-first applications world, there’s still a solid case for building desktop applications. You may already be using popular Electron apps such as Visual Studio Code, Slack, Figma, and Postman! With Electron, you can create cross-platform desktop applications quickly and easily using your existing knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Node.js.

Get ready for a fun and engaging introduction to Electron, where you'll discover its strengths, learn how to get started, and gain valuable insights from my experience building Electron apps. Elevate your developer skills and create amazing desktop applications with Electron!

Video | Slides

Software and The Art of Delivery

Engineering, DevOps, IT, Marketing, name it, there is a constant battle between going fast and doing it right. Add to the mix that coordination across teams and departments comes at a high transaction cost. How can we minimize friction?

During my time at LeanKit, we continuously strove to improve our processes across the entire organization. Along the way, we developed FSGD, which distills many of the core lean (and agile) principles into an easy-to-remember and easy-to-communicate thinking tool to make better decisions about your work.

In this talk, I'll share the challenges we faced as we scaled, how we struggled, what we learned, and how we evolved. The goal is to walk away with tools and practical processes to impact your team's success.

Note: I have given this talk as both a keynote and presentation.

The Illustrated Guide to Node.js

Node.js is a compelling platform for building all types of applications for startups to enterprises. Node.js strategically unites developers through the universal language of JavaScript. Or TypeScript! Why should you learn Node.js, and where do you start?

You will walk away from this fun introduction to Node.js having learned its strengths and the tools you need to be productive. We will cover a typical workflow of creating and debugging a web application. We'll also look at popular frameworks, libraries, and learning resources to give you the best start.

Video | Slides

Public Speaking without Barfing on Your Shoes

Sooner or later, it's going to happen. You're going to have to speak. Out loud. In front of an audience. Public speaking is scary!

I have spoken at conferences, user groups, and meetups for many years. However, as a shy introvert, this does not come naturally to me! If I can do it, so can you! In this fun and light-hearted talk, I want to share what I have learned from my hard-won experience. You will walk away with practical tips on preparing and giving effective presentations.

Video | Slides

Take Back Project Sanity: The Kanban Journey

Kanban is just sticky notes on a whiteboard, right? There's more to this methodology than you might think. Kanban harnesses the power of visual information to turn your team's work into brain candy. However, visualization is only the beginning.

Whether you work in software development, operations, or professional cat wrangling, Kanban can help you continuously improve your process (yes, you have one!). That can help your team boost delivery speed, predictability, and quality.

In this fun and entertaining talk, you'll learn Kanban's core principles and practices and how to maximize its potential to evolve how you, your team, and your organization works.


Sketchnotes: How Drawing Can Supercharge Learning

Have you ever sat in a presentation where an artist captured a summary on an artboard using graphics and word art? It's fascinating to watch! You might think,

"Wow, I wish I could do that!"

Well, you can! Visual note-taking, or "sketchnotes," is a fun and powerful way to learn, think about information, and solve problems.

Regardless of your artistic ability, you can add simple illustrations to your notes to help you remain engaged and focused and increase your learning.

In this talk, I want to share techniques to improve your note-taking system. You will walk away with the tools and resources to radically transform and improve how you learn, process information, and communicate ideas!

Visual Storytelling: How to be a Superhuman Communicator

Who says communication has to be dry, dull, and boring? Simple, hand-drawn illustrations are a compelling and fun way to engage, inform, and win your audience of readers and viewers!

Drawing is a skill that anyone can learn. There's no such thing as "bad" art! You can make a huge impact with some fundamentals and practice, and have fun doing it!

Drawing has become an essential part of everything I do. I would love to share my bag of tips and tricks I've learned to create illustrations for presentations, articles, videos, and more!


Leadership Guide for the Reluctant Leader Workshop

(4- or 8-hour workshop)

Does the idea of being a leader terrify you? Do you feel leadership is not for you or feel you need to lead more effectively? This workshop is for you!

SPOILER ALERT: You don't need to be in a leadership position to be an effective leader!

In this workshop, we will explore the critical ingredients of good leadership. We'll bust some myths, learn to lead ourselves, and recognize areas where we can take responsibility and action. Along the way, we'll explore strategies for common tough subjects such as conflict resolution, influencing others, running effective meetings, and public speaking!

You will walk away with a fresh perspective on leadership, excited about your potential, and equipped with tools to help you reach your full potential and have a lasting positive impact on others!

The Illustrated Electron Workshop

Many organizations are turning to Electron.js to build amazing desktop applications that run on Windows, Mac, and Linux using web technologies. This entertaining, hands-on workshop will guide you through the fundamentals of building desktop apps with Electron. You will walk away with a solid framework for building and deploying your applications!