Conference Program

Keynote Speakers

Maria Alvarez – Microsoft


Maria Alvarez is a technical leader with over 20 years of experience in software development with an excellent track record of building large cross-functional teams and delivering results. Alvarez joined Microsoft in June 2011 as a chief of staff of the Advertising platform group. Currently, she manages the Shared Engineering Services Group in the Information Platform Group. Her organization provides multiple services such as: Privacy, Security, accessibility and compliance services, capacity management, design and content experiences, strategic projects augmentation and business operations for a large organization. She also serves as the Chief of Staff to the Corporate Vice President.Alvarez started her career as a programmer at Symantec Corporation and was promoted through various management positions at HP, CoCreate Software, and Yahoo! Prior to Microsoft, Alvarez served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Panda Security where she led both product and technology teams for the first cloud computing antivirus security company in Spain.Alvarez has a B.S. in Information Technology and a M.S. in Computer Science from California State Polytechnic University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Claudia Melo – Thoughtworks

Dr. Claudia Melo is ThoughtWorks’ Global Head of Strategic Capabilities Development and former Director of Technology for America Latina, where she supported 300 ThoughtWorkers in 5 different offices to deliver excellent software and build a strong agile community. She is also research fellow with the University of São Paulo, conducting research on software innovation and entrepreneurship based on companies from Israel, US, and Brazil. She has been working in the software industry for over 16 years, delivering software to different industries (e.g. Financial, Media, Government), teaching grad/undergrad students, and also conducting research on software innovation, organizational design, team productivity and dynamics, motivation, and trust. Claudia received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of São Paulo, in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Besides contributing to scientific publications, books, and industry reports, she received the USP Outstanding Thesis Award 2015. Claudia Melo

Career Talk

Goranka Bjedov – Facebook


Known for her technical achievements and her refreshing wit, Goranka Bjedov works as a capacity engineer at Facebook where she is responsible for making sure there are enough servers to handle everything Facebook users want to post, upload, find or otherwise engage with. Most of her time is spent analyzing performance and assessing risks. Her industry career also included a performance engineering position at Google, Network Appliance and AT&T Labs. She is a frequent keynote speaker at performance related conferences and workshops.

Prior to joining industry, Goranka was a tenured faculty at Schools of Engineering at Purdue University, teaching mostly programming classes and conducting research in large-scale computer parallelism. She co-authored two textbooks and numerous papers, and was a publication chair for Frontiers in Education conference for a decade. In that role, she co-wrote the software for the first complete Web-based conference proceedings production in 1995. She has served on Anita Borg Scholarship committee while at Google and has been 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration Software Engineering Track Co-Chair and 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration Career Track Co-Chair.

Entrepreneurship Workshop

Manish Singhal

Manish is an entrepreneur and an angel investor with deep technology background. He brings in over 23 years of operating and advisory experience across different sectors. He has been actively involved in the startup eco-system in India for the last few years. He co-founded and led it to become the leading marketplace for startups & early stage investors in India (enabled 15 startups raising their rounds) within a very short span of time. He is a keen mentor of startups and loves working with them as an advisor and an angel investor. Recently he was rated as one of the top angel investors in India by VC Circle. He is on the boards of several startups.

He is also a founder-mentor for an initiative called Women Entrepreneur Quest, which is an annual event for recognizing and rewarding women entrepreneurs in India. This initiative was founded in 2010 and will be hosting its fifth later this year.

After doing his engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1992, he has been instrumental in building several products and teams in different startups and established organisations like Sling Media, Ittiam Systems and Motorola. He has contributed to the standardisation of MPEG-4 standard as well and holds couple of video technology patents to his name. He has experience in building hardware standalone products as well as cloud enabled software products.

He is a keen sports enthusiast and a published wild life photographer.

Manish Singhal_2

Jagruti Bhikha – ThoughtWorks


Born in Mumbai, India, Jagruti Bhikha moved to the United States at the age of fifteen, a journey that instilled in her the kind of insight that can only come from calling two different countries home. Having studied Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from NYU-POLY, Jagruti’s career has followed the path of technology.

She is currently working at Thoughtworks, in San Francisco as an Associate Consultant People Lead. Previously she has worked with promoting women in tech in US and India. When not working she spends her time working with leadership for Women in tech, Women Entrepreneurs and Women Angel Investors​ globally. She lives with her ​two ​daughters in Saratoga, California. Her message for all the women everywhere, Dare, Dream and Do because this world desperately needs your genuine self!

 Conference Program

Monday – Nov. 9th
Auditorium Room 1
8:00 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:45 ST1 AF1
9:45 – 10:45 Student research talks: SR1 – SR6 ED1
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break by Women Techmakers
11:00 – 11:45 SP1 ST3
11:45 – 12:00 WELCOME – Auditorium
12:00 – 13:00 Keynote – Maria Alvarez
13:00 – 14:30 Lunchtime
14:30 – 15:15 Career Talk – Goranka Bjedov ID1
15:15 – 16:15 SP2* Workshop – Manish Singhal / Jagruti Bhikha
16:15 – 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:15 N/A ST5
17:15 – 18:00 AF3 ST7
18:30 – 19:30 Opening Reception

*Student Panel 2 duration: 45 min (15:15 to 16:00)

Tuesday – Nov. 10th
Auditorium Room 1
8:00 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:45 SP3 ST9
9:45 – 10:45 AF5 ED3
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break by Women Techmakers
11:00 – 11:45 ID3 ST11
ID4 ST12
12:00 – 13:00 Senior Technical Women Panel
13:00 – 14:30 Lunchtime
14:30 – 15:15 SP4 ED5
15:15 – 16:00 ST13 AF8
ST14 AF9
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:15 ID6 ST15
ID7 ST18
17:15 – 18:00 AF10 ST17
AF11 ST16
18:30 – 20:00 Movie – CODE: Debugging the gender gap

Academic track

Full presentations (15 min. talk + 5 min. questions)

Student research talks (5 min. talk)

Industry track

Regular talks (15 min. talk + 5 min. questions)

Extended talks (25 min. talk + 5 min. questions)

Society track


Talks (15 min. talk + 5 min. questions)

Entrepreneurship Workshop

“Getting started on the entrepreneurship journey”

Latinity is proud to invite you to the entrepreneurship workshop on November 9th led by Manish Singhal, a renowned entrepreneur and an angel investor, founder-mentor of Women Entrepreneur Quest held annually during Grace Hopper India, and Jagruti Bhikha, Associate Consultant People Lead at Thoughtworks, who has worked with promoting women in tech in US and India..

If you are new to entrepreneurship, this workshop is for you.  Some of the discussion points will be:

  • I want to explore the entrepreneurship world. Is this for me?
  • I have many ideas, where do I start? How do I know which idea has good potential?
  • What considerations should I keep in mind in early stages of an entrepreneurship project? (from a financial, legal and tech perspective)
  • How do I set up a realistic goal for my start up project? (learning about exit strategies)
  • How do I prepare a powerful pitch to present my idea to potential investors?
  • I want to grow the team, how do I identify the right skills needed?
  • How do I attract talent and reward them accordingly? (equity, salary, etc.)
  • Since it may take some time to monetize my project, how do I survive in the meantime?
  • Lessons learned from successful projects vs. failed attempts


Product Visioning #LatinityChallenge

“Discovering tech-driven innovative solutions to support women around the world”

Latinity is happy to invite you to participate in a 6-8 hour challenge that spans across 2 days where teams will organize around the below challenges to find tech-driven innovative solutions to support women around the world through technology. The challenge will be based on a product visioning workshop that will provide some guidance on how you can approach the challenge while learning the core essence of prototyping techniques.

Each category will have a subject matter expert available to answer questions and provide more context if necessary. Moreover, within each category, a 200 USD prize will be awarded to the winning solution. Winning solutions will be selected by a panel of judges, and more information about requirements and logistics will be announced 2 months prior-to the challenge.

Twitter: #LatinityChallenge


  • A solution to unite and strengthen the voices speaking out on behalf of girls and women around the world.
  • A solution to assess and enhance their career skills about a specific area such as programming, finance etc.
  • A solution to track the impact of individual women leaders that can be shared with a larger global network and inspire the world around them.


Teams must be a maximum of 5 team members (at least 3 members should identify as female participants). Teams must be present to pitch to our judges and receive their prize at the awards ceremony.

Judging Criteria

  1. Design
  2. Fulfills the challenge
  3. Potential for impact


  • Non-transferability: #LatinityChallenge is by application only. Your invitation is non-transferrable. Please notify the event organizer if you can no longer attend so that we can accommodate wait-list attendees. Additionally, due to limited space, attendees will not be allowed to bring guests to this event.
  • Team size: Maximum 5 members per team to be eligible for the prizes.
  • No harassment: #LatinityChallenge is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, or religion. We will not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form, including overly sexualized or demeaning comments during talks or anything that threatens personal safety. #LatinityChallenge participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference at the discretion of the conference organizers.
  • Teams must be present to pitch to our judges and receive their prize at the end of the Day2 session.