Community Manager, Kasten by Veeam
Columbus, Ohio, United States
Cassandra Faris is passionate about the human side of technology. She is the Community Manager for Kasten by Veeam, a Kubernetes data management platform. Her career has focused on supporting tech professionals through training, community outreach, open source, marketing, hiring, mentoring, and employee engagement. She is an international speaker who specializes in teaching people how to communicate, be more inclusive team members, advance their careers, and take care of their mental health. She is President of the Stir Scholarship for women pursuing technology degrees and President Emeritus of the DogFoodCon tech conference. She has an MBA in Organizational Leadership. When she's not busy with the tech community, she is an avid tabletop gamer, corgi mom, and soccer fan who travels as much as possible.
Area of Expertise
Gender Diversity Is Not Enough
Studies consistently show that diverse teams solve problems more effectively, yet software development teams frequently lack diversity. Thankfully, the tech industry is talking more about DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), understanding why these things are important, and making changes to include more people. These conversations often focus purely on gender when there is so much more that makes teams diverse. Let’s expand the DEI conversation beyond gender to include things like race, disability status, age, educational experiences, and cultural background. This interactive session will discuss different types of diversity and why they matter. It will dive into the aforementioned studies before focusing on real world examples of how to be more inclusive and equitable. Attendees can participate in this guided discussion and share their own experiences and challenges with fostering and increasing DEI in the tech industry. You’ll leave with a broadened perspective on DEI and new ways to foster these traits within your organization.
So You Want to Be an Influencer
The internet is full of influencers. They exist in technology, fashion, gaming, and almost every other industry you can think of. But what even is an influencer? Why would anyone share their life with strangers online? How do you get started? This workshop will answer all those questions and more.
To be a successful influencer, you need a purposeful personal brand. So we’ll start by discussing the professional and personal benefits of establishing a brand. With that understanding, you’ll work through exercises and discussions to create your brand and its purpose. You’ll evaluate social media, streaming, and discussion platforms to decide which best fit your brand. Then you’ll start creating content and growing your follower count. After this workshop, you’ll have a basis for your brand, the best platform(s) for it, content ideas, next steps, and more followers.
Business & Tech: A DISCussion Guide
Software teams and business teams can conflict with each other; but they don’t have to. One trick to reducing conflict is identifying and communicating shared priorities between teams. This interactive session teaches technical team members how to communicate more effectively using the DISC theory. DISC is a personality assessment tool that ties closely to how people interact with one another. After an overview of the different DISC personality types, you’ll discover how to communicate with each type. You’ll also learn how to apply your newfound knowledge when discussing technical solutions with business stakeholders. By discovering and discussing shared language, values, and priorities, you’ll create solutions that have business and technology working in harmony.
Failure is normal. It’s so normal that many software development teams encourage people to fail and fail fast. Failure is also scary. It makes us feel vulnerable. We may even worry that our jobs, relationships, or goals are on the line. Yet we hear countless stories of people turning failure into success in seemingly magical ways. This session will teach you what’s behind that magic. You’ll discover how to help yourself and others fail successfully. You’ll learn how to reflect on failures and apply those reflections in the future. Because success is hard to see in the midst of failure, we’ll also discuss techniques for surviving the challenging times. With this knowledge, you can use your failures as the building blocks of your own seemingly magical successes.
Connecting Accessibility, Mental Health, and Inclusion
Mental health and accessibility are two important aspects of daily life that help us not only live our lives, but also survive and thrive inside and outside of the workplace. By prioritizing our health, we can become the best versions of ourselves at work and at home. Having knowledge and resources to help you along the way is crucial to improving your mental health. In this session we will be talking about mental health and its relationship to accessibility and inclusivity. You'll learn why all of these things matter and some best practices. We’ll also highlight some things you can do to help with being the best you, you can be.
Emoji & Visual Communication
From cave paintings to modern photos, humans have always used pictures to communicate. Today we often communicate via text rather than verbally. This can make it hard to express emotion, tone, and nuance. Emoji, GIFs, and other visuals can help! But it’s tricky to know whether visual forms of communication are appropriate. This session will examine when and how to use them. We’ll discuss their application in professional settings. We’ll cover the challenges of relying on visual communication. Along the way, we’ll learn how ASCII art and smileys evolved into emoji and how they're changing. If you’ve ever wondered why it took so long to get a taco emoji or whether to send your coworker a silly dog GIF, this session is for you.
Career Growth Questions You're Afraid to Ask
There are so many job opportunities out there for technical professionals. Some even sound like super exciting things you’d like to do! How do you know if they’re actually right for you? Even if you’re not actively seeking a job, this is an important question that we all need to answer. Drawing on real-life examples, this session will walk you through the career change and opportunity evaluation process. It will cover topics including benefits questions, intellectual property concerns, and assessing company culture. Most importantly, it will help you identify your career growth priorities and whether that seemingly shiny new opportunity meets them.
Health: The Most Important Tech Tool
Working in the tech industry often involves spending long hours sitting down, staring at a screen, consuming copious amounts of pizza and caffeine. The work is mentally demanding and can be stressful. In the rush to get everything done, it can be easy to neglect our health. But a healthy body and mind are necessary for effective performance. Based on HR training, research, and personal experience, this session provides realistic suggestions for managing your well-being at work. It covers the connection between physical and mental health, as well as how to discuss these topics with your employer. You’ll leave with a better idea of how to take care of yourself and be a happier, healthier, more productive person.
Purposeful Personal Branding
If you have an online presence, you have a personal brand. Most of us didn't intend to create a brand when we made our first websites and social media profiles. They were just fun ways to share our lives meet people. Now, they're networking and career growth tools. In this talk, you'll hear about people whose brands helped them become respected developers, managers, and community leaders. You'll learn how to use your online presence to advance your career. You'll also pick up best practices, common mistakes, and tips for balancing professional and personal content. Intentional personal branding opens the door to endless opportunities. Come see how to make that happen!
Becoming an Effective Interviewer
Interviewing is stressful when you're looking for a job. It's also stressful when (surprise!) you're suddenly the interviewer. You want good team members, but how do you identify them? This talk distills lessons learned from recruiting and managing development teams. It covers the technical and non-technical considerations of identifying your team's needs and finding the people that fit them. By applying this framework to your own team, you'll be prepared to ask the right questions and know whether candidates will fit your team today and in the future.
Building an Effective Interview Framework
Growing your team is about more than just hiring the people with the strongest technical skills. The interview process is about making sure the people that join your team fit into the larger picture. In this workshop, you will learn how to identify the needs of your specific team. Through hands-on exercises and guided discussions, you will create a unique interviewing framework that considers your team’s technical and non-technical needs. This framework will compare those needs with the strengths and weaknesses of potential team members. Then, you will apply your framework to common scenarios to help make more informed and effective interviewing decisions. Finally, we will discuss how to take this framework back into the real world.
Charting a Course to Your Dream Job
As a technology professional, your career path can and probably will take many directions. The challenge is determining which directions are right for you. Are you no longer learning or growing at work? Do you want to change jobs but don’t know where to start? Do you feel stuck on a narrowly-defined path that doesn’t excite you? Whether you're just starting out or are the most experienced person on your team, this workshop will help you determine what's next in your career.
Through a series of guided exercises and discussions, you’ll examine your technical and professional strengths, preferences, and dislikes. You’ll reflect on your values and how they apply to your career. Along the way, discover how to do more of what you enjoy at your current job. Finally, you will learn about finding new opportunities with your employer or whether to seek something entirely new. Though you may not leave knowing exactly what you want to be when you grow up, you will leave with a clear plan for getting closer to that dream job.
Get Out of Your Lane!
In the tech industry, we often think our jobs have narrowly defined skillsets. We believe that staying in our lanes, gaining more years of experience, and learning new technical skills yields automatic career growth. This is a mistake! For continual career growth, we must also venture into the worlds of business and communication. This interactive session will explain why these worlds matter to your career. You'll discover how to gain and apply this knowledge at work even if it's not part of your job. You'll also learn how leveraging the tech community enhances your business and communication skills alongside your technical skills. This session will leave you challenged to go beyond your job description and drive your career forward.
Neurodiversity and Productivity – A Survival Guide
We live in a world where it’s easy to be overstimulated and distracted. The more virtual our world becomes, the harder it is to focus, communicate, and complete tasks. This is especially challenging for people with neurodiversities such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia, and those that support them. The tech industry has a higher than average neurodiverse population, creating a unique set of time management and communication challenges. In this session, you’ll learn what it means to be neurodiverse and how it affects people at work. Based on scientific research and firsthand experience, we’ll discuss methods for maximizing productivity and focus. You’ll also learn how to communicate more effectively when everything feels overwhelming so you can get the support you need. While the focus is on neurodiversity, this session is designed for anyone who needs help navigating our increasingly distracting world. By the time you leave, you’ll have tools and techniques you can use to be more productive and less stressed - yes, that’s possible!
Why Community Matters
Community Manager, Kasten by Veeam
Columbus, Ohio, United States