nice to meet you
I’m an engineering leader with a deep technical background who loves building teams and creating diverse engineering cultures that foster developer growth. Twitter is the quickest place to see what I'm up to right now: @jewelia.
I'm currently the Director of Infrastructure Engineering at Slack. Infrastructure is one of our four engineering organizations; my team is focused on building the highly available, fault tolerant, large scale distributed systems that power Slack. I report directly to our Vice President of Engineering: Michael Lopp (aka @rands).
I sit on several advisory boards for early stage startups as well as large nonprofits, and actively mentor mid career engineers and engineering managers. I often speak at conferences and private corporate events about building high performing teams, scaling engineering organizations, and the technical complexities of building distributed systems at scale.
I was the CTO of Tindie up until the acquisition by Hackaday/SupplyFrame in August 2015. At Tindie I was the first employee and built the engineering team from the ground up (you can read about it in WIRED and TechCrunch). Started in 2012, Tindie is a community marketplace for hardware creators and enthusiasts with thousands of products bought and sold by makers in over 96 countries.
I’ve held roles in Engineering and Product at venture-funded startups in Silicon Valley, as well as at IBM Almaden Research. At Almaden I was part of the User Experience Research (USER) group, where I published 8 original research papers at top-tier human computer interaction conferences and obtained several patents in the areas of consumer product research and email filtering.
I have a BS with Honors and MS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where my research focused on both distributed systems and human computer interaction. In late 2014, I was invited back to Chapel Hill as part of the Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series, where I spoke on Lessons From the Real World: Software Engineering (slides, video).
I sit on the NextGen Advisory Board for the Computer History Museum as head of the Growth and Engagement Committee, leading the effort on use data to quantify and improve awareness about the museum among young professionals. I have also moderated and led panel discussions, as well as organized events in the museum's "Future History Makers" event series, which have included the founders of startups such as Uber, TaskRabbit, Eventbrite, Airbnb, Getaround, CloudFlare and many others.
I also sit on the Industry Advisory Board for the California Polytechnic State University's Computer Science Department, helping to shape the computer science curriculum for the next generation of engineers. I'm proud to have also helped create a mentorship program connecting industry board members with women studying computer science.
Having been on the founding team of 2 startups, raised venture capital investment and grown an engineering team, I occasionally advise other founders and CTOs on fundraising, hiring, technical decision making and other aspects of building a company. If you are interested in this, please contact me. I also am an advisor to several startups, so if you are interested in having me sit on your advisory board, let's talk.
While in undergrad, graduate school and during my early years as a software engineer I lacked strong technical female role models. It is therefore important to me to help ameliorate this for the next generation of female engineers. I occasionally mentor and coach women studying computer science at Stanford, California Polytechnic State University, and my alma mater: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Women that I have mentored have accepted offers at companies such as Square, Buffer, GetSatisfaction, Trulia, Etsy, Apple, and GoDaddy. Some have attended The Recurse Center and a few have even started their own companies.
In 2012-2013, I mentored at the Hackbright Academy software engineering fellowship program. My role with Hackbright has now shifted to giving occasional tech talks and career advising.
I am a former collegiate rower and avid runner (my favorite distance is the half-marathon). It is important to me to stay very active: I always have my FitBit, use a standing desk, and prefer to take all meetings and calls while walking.
I am married to Luis Cheng-Guajardo and live in Silicon Valley, California.