Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Reinvent: Speaker Panel

We are excited to have a great group of panelists joining us for our Reinvent panel this January!

Our panel is going to walk us through how they have "reinvented" themselves both professionally and personally in addition to guidance on how they themselves deal with attempting to balance these two aspects of their lives. All three of our panelists have pivoted and made significant shifts in their career trajectories. They will talk about their decision making process through their journeys of the past in addition to how they think about future decisions they will have to make. There will be a facilitator of the panel who will lead the discussion with pre-set questions and then will open up a Q&A session to the audience for continued dialogue with the panelists.

The panelists will be:
  • Vidya Subramanian, founder of DevOpsly
  • Coonoor Behal, founder of Mindhatch
  • Sara Abdelmottaleb, Product Manager in Azure at Microsoft
Read below for their full biographies and pictures!

Please register for the event at the following Eventbrite link here:

Vidya Subramanian

Vidya Subramanian is an entrepreneur with a passion for education and a technologist who believed in DevOps and pushed for it before the word was in existence. 

Her firm Devopsly LLC helps startups and enterprises alike with operational excellence strategies building road-maps to execute the technical solutions for transforming software teams to be DevOps centric through incremental architectural changes.

Vidya is results driven and customer oriented and her leadership skills has helped teams at Expedia, GE, Boeing to start their journey towards engineering and operational excellence.

Vidya has built and managed teams across the globe including Europe, China, India, Thailand and the United States. She believes that for any company to be successful in today's world, the technology and software teams must be able to function across various locations seamlessly. Her deep empathy and respectfulness towards local cultures and language barriers help technology teams thrive globally as one unit despite geographic distribution.

A computer engineer by education, Vidya started her career as a Software Development Engineer in Test in the Windows 2000 division of Microsoft. She has been part of the .com boom and bust in the late 90s and has been part of teams of founding engineers for many products including Egencia – Expedia’s corporate travel product.

Vidya provides mentoring through SWE as well as other organizations and she is most passionate about supporting women in tech and keeping women in tech. She is an investor in Seattle area startups and has advised Seattle area devops startups.

Besides technology constantly learning and growing as an adult is her most important life philosophy. Most recently, Vidya learnt to ski.

She is most passionate about supporting the needs of girls and women and works with a non-profit in India. In her free time, she loves to be a dance teacher for her daughter’s group or sail. She has a captain’s license as a sailor.

Coonoor Behal

Coonoor honed her creative problem-solving skills during her years as a strategy and innovation consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP. For part of her time there, she worked in the firm's Global Innovation Network, spearheading and managing open innovation challenges across more than 100 member firms, and was awarded the prestigious GovLab Innovation Fellowship. Coonoor was also a trained and sought-after facilitator of design thinking workshops, innovation cafes, and Deep Dive sessions during her time at Deloitte, and is an expert in designing sessions that encourage and inspire interactive and experiential learning.

Coonoor has delivered Design Thinking consulting and training projects, and facilitated workshops for a variety of clients, including innovation companies, international law firms, restaurants, multinational banks, consulting firms, and international monetary institutions. She is a graduate of Adaptive Path's User Experience (UX) Intensive and has studied product design with the Wharton School of Business.

Coonoor has designed and delivered Organizational Improv trainings focused on creativity, listening, team building, empathy, public speaking, customer service, innovation, leadership, and collaboration to a variety of clients, including international law firms, “Big 4” consulting companies, major universities, and strategic communications agencies. She is also a regular guest lecturer on “Improvisational Mindsets for Leadership” at The George Washington University School of Business.

With years of experience as an improv comedian and teacher, Coonoor brings levity, adaptability, and composure to every experience and is an expert in using improv techniques to enhance collaboration and ideation. Her Innovation Facilitation sessions are experiential and engaging, using creative stimulus to help clients get more of the best ideas faster. She is certified in “Creative Facilitation and Design” by Retreats That Work.

Sara Abdelmottaleb

My name is Sara Abdelmottaleb. I love to learn, and I live to help people.  

My current passion is technology, as reflected in my work as a Product Manager at Microsoft. I am married to a hardcore software engineer, and a mum of an adventurous six-year-old daughter. My life has been a journey of discovery and learning, which I intend to continue in the pursuit of Technology Management MBA.   

I was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At age 15, I returned to Cairo to earn my high-school and college degrees. I earned my BA in Hebrew Language and Literature with honors from Cairo University.

As a young woman, I developed an interest in competitive Archery. I earned a spot on the Egyptian national team and competed in both national and international championships over the course of 11 years.

The highlight of my Archery career was winning a bronze medal in the African Championship in 2010.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

2017 PSEC Awards - Call for Nominations from SWE PNW!

It’s time to recognize the accomplishments of our outstanding members!

The Puget Sound Engineering Council offers 7 annual awards; view details and past winners on their website:

Please help us identify deserving SWE members by December 1, 2017.

Submit your suggestions to with the subject "PSEC Award Nomination: Award Name" and include the following:
  • Your name/email
  • The potential nominee’s name/email (can be self-nominating)
  • A brief description of why the potential nominee deserves the award
Our committee will consider all submitted and nominated SWE PNW members, following up as needed to gather more information. We'll select one SWE PNW nominee per award and work with that nominee to complete the official PSEC Awards Packet. These awards will be presented at the PSEC Engineering Awards Banquet on February 10, 2018 at the Museum of Flight.

Friday, June 9, 2017

FY18 Section Election: FAQ on our Election Cycle, Part 2

You have questions, we have answers! Welcome to Part 2 of our Election Cycle FAQ! This FAQ, is grouped by the following topics:
  • Voting Period
  • Ballot
  • Review & Results

FAQ, Part 1, covered the following topics:
  • Candidate Slate
  • Elected Officers & Positions
  • Petition Period
  • Nominating Committee

You can find Part 1 here.

If you find that your question is not listed here, let us know! Contact information is at the end of this post. We hope that this helps you understand and participate in the FY18 Election!
Voting Period

Who is eligible to vote in the election?
Current SWE members affiliated with the SWE Pacific Northwest (PNW) Section, J003, are able to vote.

How can I check if I am a current member and that I am affiliated with SWE PNW (J003)?
Sign into the SWE Membership Portal and click on the “SWE Section Change” button. You should see a table that looks like this:
If it does not show J003, there is a button at the bottom you can use to change your section affiliation.

I had to change my section affiliation during the voting period. Will my vote be counted?
Eligibility for voting in the SWE PNW election will be verified at the point that the voting period closes. As long as the change is made and updated in the society membership database by that date, the Nomination Committee will be able to confirm your eligibility.

How do I vote?
Voting will be done via an online Survey Monkey form. Here is the link to the ballot:

A mailed (paper) ballot can be requested. Please contact the Nomination Committee as soon as possible if you require this.

How long will the voting period be?
Per our section bylaws, the voting period is at least 21 days. The ballots are sent out on day 1 and the voting polls will close on the 21st day or a specified date after the ballots go out.

For the FY18 Section Election, the voting opened on Thursday, June 8, 2017 and will close at midnight on Friday, June 30, 2017

What is SWE PNW using for the ballot?
SWE PNW is using Survey Monkey for our FY18 Voting Ballot. You can find the ballot here:

If you have having any trouble accessing the Survey Monkey form, please contact the Nomination Committee directly for help.

Why do I need to provide my SWE member number on the ballot?
Providing your SWE member number allows the Nomination Committee to verify your eligibility to vote in the section election. It is used to cross reference with the society membership database to confirm active membership status and that you are affiliated with SWE PNW (J003). Your membership number is only used for this purpose and nothing else.

Can I write in a candidate?
Yes, write-in votes for eligible candidates are allowed. The Nomination Committee is responsible for reviewing eligibility of write-in candidates during the review and results period.

I see “Abstain” as an option - what does that mean?
The voting survey is set-up to require an answer to every question. The “Abstain” option provides the ability to not vote for a particular position and still complete the voting survey.

How many people can I vote for in each position?
For FY18, members select only 1 person to vote for in each category.

In the past, there were multiple individuals elected to the Section Representative role. This was changed for FY18 and you can learn more about it in the FY18 SWE PNW Election & Section Rep Role Update blog post.
Review & Results

Who is responsible for tallying the votes?
The Nomination Committee is responsible for determining how votes will be collected and tallied.

What happens if there is a tie in the total number of votes for a candidate?
In the event of a tie, the election for that position shall be determined by lot, conducted by the Chair of the Nominating Committee. The exact method and determination of the tie breaker will be decided by the Chair and Nomination Committee if/when it is required.

How will the results be presented?
The Nomination Committee is required by the Section Bylaws to report the results to the President.

As a courtesy, the Nomination Committee typically notifies the Candidates via email ahead of any communication to the Section.

After that is complete, the formal results will be sent to the section via email, blog post/webpage, and/or social media.

When will the results be presented to the Section?
The Nomination Committee works hard to tally and review the votes as quickly as possible. The goal is to have the results posted as soon as possible, at a maximum within 2 weeks after the closure of the voting period.

I’m a candidate and I haven’t heard from the Nom Com regarding my status. What should I do?
If you haven’t heard, check the FY18 Section Election Central page for any updates or changes in status for the results announcement. If there is no information there, please contact the Nomination Committee directly.

This FAQ was compiled and reviewed by Theresa Krack and Elaine Reeves, FY17 Section Representatives. It is based on the information contained in the SWE PNW Bylaws and additional information relevant to the FY18 section election cycle.

Looking for FAQ on our Election Cycle, Part 1? Find that post here:

If you have questions on this FAQ (Part 1 or 2), please contact the Section Representatives at

If you have questions or feedback pertaining to the FY18 Section Election Cycle, please contact the Nominating Committee directly at

Thursday, June 8, 2017

FY18 Section Election: Ballot & Voting Period Announcement

Greetings SWE PNW!

The FY18 nomination committee is very excited to go live with the election survey for the SWE PNW officer election for the FY18 fiscal year. We have many highly qualified and talented candidates running this year! The final ballot is as listed below:
  • President (elect 1):
    • Grace Lefebure
  • President-Elect (elect 1):
    • Ann Mary Myers
    • Elaine Reeves
  • Treasurer (elect 1):
    • Ann Mary Myers
    • Sherrie Rippe
  • Secretary (elect 1):
    • Erin Kiselica
    • Marina Dannecker
  • Vice President of Professional Development (elect 1):
    • Marina Dannecker
    • Sonia Hingorany
  • Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach (elect 1):
    • Dana Day
    • Lynette Lopez
    • Sarah McDowell
  • Section Representative (elect 1):
    • Theresa Krack
    • Wendy Jenkins
    Voting is now live, and is open to all SWE PNW members. Please help us elect our section's next officers by voting! You can access the election survey at this link:

    Short biographies for the candidates are available on the SWE PNW section blog, Rainy Day Reads. Please take a look at the information about the candidates and all FY18 section election related blog posts here. And follow along with the latest information on our FY18 Section Election Central webpage here.

    The voting period is open as of Thursday, June 8, 2017 and it will close on Friday, June 30, 2017.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at

    Respectfully submitted,
    Cary, Kimber, Maria, and Tamaira
    SWE PNW FY18 Nomination Committee

    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    FY18 Section Election: FAQ on our Election Cycle, Part 1

    You have questions, we have answers! There have been some good questions we've received on our FY18 Section Election, so we wanted to collect them and provide answers in one stop. The FAQ is grouped by the following topics:
    • Candidate Slate
    • Elected Officers & Positions
    • Petition Period
    • Nominating Committee
    If you find that your question is not listed here, let us know! Contact information is at the end of this post. We hope that this helps you understand and participate in the FY18 Election!

    Candidate Slate

    What is the Candidate Slate?
    This is the listing of candidates that have been vetted by the Nominating Committee and are eligible to be elected officers should they be voted in. It includes listing each candidate for all elected positions:
    • President
    • President-Elect
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
    • Vice President of Professional Development
    • Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach
    • Section Representative

    What is the “Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach” - I thought it was just “VP of Outreach”?
    This is the Vice President of Outreach. Our Section By-laws call out the official position title as Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach, so it has to be listed on the slate that way.

    Why is there an election for President for FY18? I thought that the President-Elect became President?
    In FY17, the position of President-Elect remained unfilled. As a result, the President position is on the ballot again for FY18.

    I want to add a candidate to the slate - how do I do that?
    You can nominate additional candidates, provided that:
    • The member you want to nominate is eligible for the position;
    • The member you want to nominate has given written consent to being placed on the ballot;
    • A minimum of two percent or five of the voting members of the section, whichever is greater, have signed a petition or endorsed an email to place the candidate’s name on the ballot

    As of May 17, 2017, our section currently has 582 members on our roster. Two percent of that, rounded up to the next whole number, would be 12 members.

    All of required information list above must be submitted to the Nominating Committee before the closure of the petition period in order for a candidate to be considered for the final ballot.

    I heard that this was the last year for Section Reps. Is that true?
    Yes. You can learn more about how that impacted this election cycle in our blog post, FY18 SWE PNW Election & Section Rep Role Update.


    Elected Officers & Positions

    What is the eligibility criteria for the elected officers?
    Anyone who wants to run for an officer position must first be a paid SWE PNW member in good standing with the Society, Region, and Section. The president, vice president(s), and section representative(s) must be voting members of the Society. All other section officers must be voting members of the section.

    What are the terms for the elected officer positions?
    Section officers serve in a position for a term of one (1) fiscal year, to coincide with the Society’s fiscal year which is July to June.

    Can someone serve in the same position in back-to-back years?
    Yes, as long as they still meet the eligibility requirements for the position they are running for in the following year.

    The only exception is with President-Elect position. The person serving as the President-Elect will continue on to the President position the following year. In effect, the person filling the President-Elect role serves the section as an elected officer for 2 years, one fiscal year term each of President-Elect and President.

    Can an officer hold more than one position at one time?
    Yes! Officers may hold more than one office provided that there is a minimum of three elected officers of the section. However, no one may hold the office of president and treasurer at the same time.

    What are the duties of each position?
    Here are the duties per our section by-laws and including current operating expectations:

    • Represent the section before the public and preside at meetings of the section and its executive council
    • Appoint the chairs of all committees, with the approval of the executive council, except the chair of the Nominating Committee
    • Approve the appointment of all committee members, except the members of the executive council
    • Authorize the disbursement of the section funds within the budget approved by the executive council
    • Be an authorized signatory on all section accounts
    • Coordinate activities and execute the business and policies of the section between meetings
    • Review and approve the year-end section financial report
    • Perform other duties normally associated with the office of the president or as may be assigned by the executive council or the governance documents

    • Serve as president in the year following their term as president-elect
    • Assume the duties of the president if the president is temporarily unable to serve
    • Assist the current president with all duties

    • Maintain records of the section, record meeting minutes at all EC meetings, maintain and update bylaws as needed.
    • Support the virtual brand committee by maintaining connection between the virtual brand committee and the executive council.

    • Be responsible for the collection, distribution, and safekeeping of sections funds
    • Prepare, maintain, and report as directed on the financial position of section in relation to the approved budget
    • Submit a financial report to the Society in accordance with established procedures
    • Perform other duties normally associated with the office of treasurer or as may be assigned by the president, the executive council, or the governance documents
    • The treasurer manages and reports on SWE PNW’s budget, bank accounts, grants/donations and performs financial audits. If needed, a committee will also lead fundraising drives

    VP of Career Guidance/Outreach
    • This position leads explore engineering workshops, the University mentoring program, certificate of merit (COM) and COM scholarships, collegiate scholarships.
    • The committee funds and manages relationships the following organizations: Kids in Science and Engineering (KISE), Expanding your Horizons (EYH), community outreach booths (PSEC, schools, etc.)
    • Chair the Outreach committee
    • Coordinate activities of other committees that support the section’s Outreach goals
    • Perform such other duties as may be assigned by the president, the executive council, or the governance documents.

    VP of Professional Development
    • This position leads and manages technical talks and tours, skills development events, social/networking events, and the book club.
    • Assume the duties of the president if the president is temporarily unable to serve and if president-elect position is unfilled or if president-elect is also temporarily unable to serve
    • Chair the professional development committee
    • Coordinate activities of other committees that pertain to professional development of section members
    • Perform such other duties as may be assigned by the president, the executive council, or the governance documents.

    Section Representative
    • Represent the section as a voting member on monthly region conference calls and in person region meetings. Act as a liaison between the section and the region
    • Submit section reports to the region (3 per year)
    • Perform those duties expected of them as described in the region governance documents
    • Perform other duties normally associated with the office of section representative or as may be assigned by the president, the executive council, or the governance documents.

    Petition Period

    What is the purpose of the petition period?
    The petition period allows sections members to provide feedback on the candidates and section election process. This is also the time for members to ask question about the process.

    How long does the petition period last?
    The petition period closes 15 days after the slate is announced. For the FY18 election cycle, the petition period closes on May 30, 2017.

    What kind of candidate feedback is the Nominating Committee looking for?
    The Nominating Committees is looking for your feedback and/or concerns on the candidates list on the slate. This feedback should be focused on the requirements of the position and the mission of SWE.

    How will my feedback on candidates be used?
    All feedback will be assessed by the Nominating Committee and used to make any necessary adjustments to the slate before the ballot is posted for the voting part of the election cycle.

    I want to provide feedback on a candidate - how do I do that?
    Please email your feedback to the Nominating Committee at


    Nominating Committee

    What is the Nominating Committee?
    The Nominating Committee oversees the section election process. They are responsible for the following:
    • Soliciting interested candidates
    • Vetting interested candidate slate
    • Ensuring candidates meet the requirements of the position(s) they are running for
    • Reviewing and taking any necessary action on feedback provided during the petitions period
    • Presenting the final ballot
    • Conducting the voting period and tallying the results

    Can members of the Nominating Committee be on the slate/ballot?
    No. Per our section by-laws, members of the nominating committee may not become candidates during their tenure of service on the Nominating Committee.

    Who are the members of the Nominating Committee that are overseeing the election for FY18 officers?
    The members serving on the Nominating Committee in FY17 to support the FY18 election cycle are:
    • Tamaira Ross (Committee Chair)
    • Cary Kaczowka
    • Kimber Hinson
    • Maria Barna

    How can I get involved in the Nominating Committee activities in the future?
    The call for Nominating Committee members typically goes out mid-fiscal year, in the December/January time frame. Look for specific calls then.

    Alternately, let one of the officers know and they’ll make sure to keep you name in mind when the call does go out next year.


    This FAQ was compiled and reviewed by Theresa Krack and Elaine Reeves, FY17 Section Representatives. It is based on the information contained in the SWE PNW By-laws and additional information relevant to the FY18 section election cycle.

    If you have questions on this FAQ, please contact them at

    If you have questions or feedback pertaining to the FY18 Section Election Cycle, please contact the Nominating Committee directly at