Session 2

Building team culture

Understanding, creating and sustaining team culture 

November 2, 18:00 - 20:30 GMT
11am–1.30pm PT / 2–4.30pm ET / 6–8.30pm GMT / 7–9.30pm CET

November 3, 14:00 - 16:30 GMT
7–9.30am PT / 10–12.30am ET / 2–4.30pm GMT / 3–5.30pm CET

See session details

Meet our session contributors

HOST

Anjuan Simmons

Engineering Coach

Help Scout

Co-HOST

Jason Wong

Leadership Coach & Fractional VP of Engineering

JWong Works

SPEAKER

Dana Laswson

SVP of Engineering

Netlify

SPEAKER

Emily Nakashima

VP of Engineering

Honeycomb.io

SPEAKER

Jason Wong

Leadership Coach & Fractional VP of Engineering

JWong Works

Meet our session contributors

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Session overview

Culture determines how we treat people, how we respond to problems, and how we approach our work. And culture isn’t static, but something that changes with every new person that joins a team, and every new policy created. This session will focus on:

The importance of creating a culture of trust

How to create a fast, high-signal hiring process that selects for culture fit but still yields a diverse team

Mapping the unchangeable aspects of culture

Talk

Creating a culture of trust

When you’re responsible for a team, creating an environment where everyone feels safe to do their work without fear of retribution is vital. If engineers feel safe, they’re able to do their work more freely, to test and experiment more readily, all whilst feeling happier in the roles. 

So how can you build a culture of trust? And what do you do if you’re remote, or you’re inheriting a team where trust has always been low? 

In this talk, we’ll explore how to quickly build cultures of trust on engineering teams, outlining the benefits and giving practical advice.

Dana Lawson

SVP of Engineering

Netlify

Dana Lawson has over 20 years of experience as an engineer and engineering leader. She has worn many hats to complement a product’s lifecycle through her leadership roles at Heptio, InVision, New Relic, GitHub, and Netlify where she currently serves as SVP of Engineering. 

With a background in fine arts, she brings her creative vision to chart new waters and lead the engineering teams of the future.

Talk

Hiring for culture add, not culture fit

So often "culture fit" is a phrase tossed around when we're merely pattern-matching for people like ourselves or leaning into our biases. And yet, we really do want to find employees who will thrive in our team environments and embody the values unique to our company. 

How can we create a fast, high-signal hiring process that selects for culture fit but still yields a diverse team? 

I'll dig into how our hiring process has evolved at Honeycomb, including a number of iterations on incorporating values into our hiring process, letting candidates design their own interview process, and more wacky experiments with sometimes good and sometimes disastrous results

Emily Nakashima

VP of Engineering 

Honeycomb.io

Emily is VP of Engineering at Honeycomb.io. In the past, she's worked on javascript, web perf, and monitoring at companies like Bugsnag & GitHub. 

In her free time, she organizes an unconference called AndConf, makes many checklists, and likes to talk about disaster preparedness.

Talk

Culture change in a hostile environment

What do you do when you find yourself working in a hostile environment? Whether you’ve been sold a dream job that didn’t match reality or the company you loved has changed into a place you no longer recognize, there are many ways we can find ourselves fighting cultural toxicity and values mis-alignment. As leaders, how do you enact cultural change? How different can that culture be? And, how do you know when it’s time to move on? 

In this talk we’ll discuss strategies and tactics for seeding cultural change, creating environments for that change to grow, and what are the limits to those changes.

Jason Wong

Leadership Coach & Fractional VP of Engineering 

JWong Works

Jason Wong is a proven engineering leader, diversity & inclusion consultant, and doughnut enthusiast.

With over two decades of experience in building and scaling web applications, he has worked in a range of industries from academia to online media and e-commerce. He helped establish web development and administrative computing at Columbia College, led development of premium video streaming services at Yahoo! Sports, and spent seven years at Etsy leading their Infrastructure Engineering team.

He currently works with executive teams and engineering leaders to improve their engineering management practices and establish inclusive cultures.

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