Featured Speakers


Meredith Edison-Billiet

Technology Manager, Wells FargoPhoto of Meredith Edison-Billiet

Meredith Edison-Billiet is a Technology Manager with the Wells Fargo Advisors division of Wells Fargo. She has managed both mainframe and distributed application technical teams over the last 12 years at Wells Fargo. Meredith’s focus has been on delivering strategic technology projects for Wells Fargo and transforming applications to newer technologies while growing and developing her team. Prior to Wells Fargo, Meredith worked in various industries. Meredith holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BBA from Emory University. She is an advocate for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at Wells Fargo and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Brokerage Technology Diversity Council. She works with female high school computing groups in the Richmond, VA area for the purposes of encouraging women in STEM careers. Meredith is an alumni of the Extraordinary Women Leaders Program at the VCU School of Business Center for Corporate Education. She is also a Member of the Project Management Institute and holds a PMP.


Mave Houston

Founder & Head of USERLabs and User Research Strategy, Capital OnePhoto of Mave Houston

Mave Houston is the founder and head of Capital One’s USERLabs. Mave joined Capital One in 2013, and created USERLabs, whose sole purpose is to understand people and their behaviors with money on a deeper level. She is most interested in learning about how people make sense of the world around them and how relationships between people impacts social and economic change. Her team is comprised of researchers, technicians, coordinators and remote research specialists from backgrounds spanning multiple fields, including computer science, human factors psychology, anthropology, human computer interaction and marketing. USERLabs currently has 3 locations: Tyson’s Corner, VA, Richmond, VA and Plano, TX. Two additional USERLabs are underway in Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA. As you can imagine, managing all of these USERLabs across the country keeps Mave extremely busy. Mave completed her B.S. degree from Spelman College in Computer Science in 1995, and then went on to earn her M.S. and PhD in Computer Science (Focus: HCI) at Auburn University. She was invited to do a Post Doctorate at IBM Almaden Research Lab in San Jose, CA shortly after her PhD. Mave went on to lead User Research at the Center for Advanced Research at PwC in San Jose, before building a Research and Design team at PwC in Washington, D.C.. When she’s not working she loves picking up a foil or épée and having a good fencing match. (Though she seems to pick up a lot more black and blue bruises with her épée than her foil.) Mave is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and will serve as the Capital One liason for the chapter of Black Girls Code being chartered in Washington, D.C.. Mave lives in Arlington, VA.


Sydney Klein

Vice President, Information Security & Risk Management, Capital OnePhoto of Sydney Klein

Sydney Klein is Vice President and Technology Risk and Information Security Services Executive for Capital One Financial Corporation, a diversified bank with 65 million customer accounts worldwide and more than 900 branch locations in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Capital One’s subsidiaries offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Sydney is responsible for ensuring the protection of Capital One’s information assets through application of security controls. She is the IT Business Risk Officer and has accountability for Business Information Security Officers, Information Assurance of Third Parties, Education and Awareness, Customer Protection, and Metrics and Analytics. Sydney joined Capital One in 1999 and has held a variety of roles within Information Security during that time. She has been instrumental in the build of many key programs including Third Party Management Security Oversight, Application Security, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Compliance, and Business Information Security. Sydney received a B.S. in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University. She holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification. Sydney resides in Richmond, Virginia with her husband Steve, sons Jackson and Harrison, and daughter Emery.


Ann Lewis

Director of Engineering at Pedago, LLCPhoto of Ann Lewis

Ann Lewis is the Director of Engineering at Pedago.com, a startup in the edtech space focusing on business education. Ann is a full-stack engineer who has previously worked at Amazon.com, Rosetta Stone, and a handful of startup companies. She studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University as a John S. Morrison fellow, working on research projects including speech recognition systems for automated tutoring and a sound based search engine. Ann is also the organizer of Central Virginia’s local chapter of Girl Develop It.


Kimberly Mahan

Chief Executive Optimist, MAXX PotentialPhoto of Kimberly Mahan

Kim started her first website business in 1996 and has been working with emerging technologies ever since. She has held technology positions with global responsibility at GE Corporate, GE Industrial Systems and Genworth Financial. Kim founded MAXX Potential in 2012 with a goal of providing affordable technology solutions, while also growing the pool of technical talent in our region. She also serves on the board of Richtech, Richmond’s technology council and STEM education foundation, where she co-founded the Women Etc conference and Techsters program for middle school girls.


Shwetha Raghuraman

Software Engineer, Pure StoragePhoto of Shwetha Raghuraman

Shwetha graduated from Princeton University in 2014 and currently works at Pure as a software engineer.


Farah Shariff

MicrosoftPhoto of Farah Shariff

Farah started working at Microsoft after finishing her Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. After spending some time working on the xbox, she started incubating ideas for accessories to extend the gameplay experience with the xbox. Wearable concepts were a part of this incubation effort that have now materialized into what we know as the Microsoft Band and Health service. Along with incubating the engineering technology for a wearable form factor, she obsessively focused on coming up appealing experiences for the customer using various sensors. Her work ranges from understanding customer needs, coming up with the right experiences to fuel those needs and the engineering implementation of those experiences. She has spent time in sleep clinics to learn about how a person’s sleep can affect their health, in crossfit and all kinds of fitness classes to learn all about what are the useful tracking metrics to deliver to help our customers understand their performance when working out and delivering these metrics to users using data from sensors. If heart rate is a tool, what does the tool help understand about the physical and overall wellness of a person. Farah has been at Microsoft for six years and now manages the Sensors and Algorithms team for Microsoft Health and Band


Mary Lou Soffa

Professor, Department of CS, The University of VirginiaPhoto of Mary Lou Soffa

Mary Lou Soffa is the Owen R. Cheatham Professor of Sciences at the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia, serving as the Department Chair from 2004 to 2012. From 1977 to 2004, she was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh and also served as the Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests include software systems for multi-core architectures, optimizing compilers, software testing, program analysis and software security. She has directed 30 Ph.D. students to completion, half of whom are women. Mary Lou received the SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award in 2014, and the Ken Kennedy Award in 2012 for contributions to compiler technology and software engineering, exemplary service to the profession, and lifelong dedication to mentoring and improving diversity in computing. Mary Lou is both an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Fellow. She received the Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She received the Computing Research Association (CRA) Nico Habermann Award in 2006 and was selected as a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction in 2003. She has served as conference chair, program chair or program committee member for numerous conferences. She currently serves on the ACM Publication Board and ACM Council


Kristin Sowden

Career & Academic Advisor, James Madison UniversityPhoto of Kristin Sowden

Kristin Sowden serves as Career and Academic Advisor at the University in the Office of Career and Academic Planning. She works with undeclared first-year students on their college transition as well as upperclassmen in their multifaceted career pursuits. In addition, Kristin collaborates with the College of Integrated Science and as their Career Services Liaison. Before coming to Virginia, Kristin attended the College of New Jersey, where she earned a degree in English and Secondary Education. She now holds her Masters in College Student Personnel Administration from JMU. Kristin also teaches a Career and Life Planning Class for freshmen students at the University. Her professional interests are in educational development, the transfer student experience, and learning communities.


Michele Weigle

Associate Professor, Old Dominion UniversityPhoto of Michele Weigle

Michele C. Weigle is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Old Dominion University. Her research interests include web science, digital preservation, information visualization, and mobile networking. Dr. Weigle’s current research projects include an NEH-funded digital humanities project to allow users to archive dynamic or personalized web pages as they appear in the browser and an exploration of the use of web archives to enrich the live web experience through storytelling. She has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed conferences and journals and co-edited one of the first books on vehicular networks, Vehicular Networks: From Theory to Practice, published in 2009 by CRC Press. She has served as PI or Co-PI on external research grants totaling over $2 million from NSF and NEH. Dr. Weigle received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina in 2003. From 2004-2006, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Clemson University. She joined ODU in 2006.