Speaker Information

Kari Heffner

Management Information Systems ManagerPhoto of Kari Heffner

Kari Heffner leads the Management Information Systems group at Jefferson Lab, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory located in Newport News, Virginia. Kari built her first web pages as a high school student and has enjoyed developing software ever since. As the architect and lead developer for Jefferson Lab’s business computing environment, Kari supports customers from across the enterprise. This includes groups from finance and human resources to the physics division and radiation control. Kari and her team partner with customers to create and deploy solutions for more efficient work processes. As a member of the IT Division leadership team, Kari helps to develop IT strategy, direction and policy for the Laboratory. In addition, she has served on collaborative working groups within DOE, such as the National Lab Enterprise Architects group and the Multifactor Authentication Sub-working Group for Policy and Strategy.

Kari earned her B.A. in Physics from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Information Technology from Virginia Tech, and a Masters in Computer Science from William and Mary.

Sandra K. Johnson, Ph.D.

CEO, SKJ Visioneering, LLCPhoto of Sandra Johnson

Sandra K. Johnson is the CEO, SKJ Visioneering, LLC, an IT consulting firm focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. Her previous roles include CTO, IBM Central, East and West Africa, Business Development Executive and Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM Middle East and Africa, CTO, IBM Global Small and Medium Business, the Linux Performance Architect, and managing the Linux Performance, WebSphere Database Development, and Java Server Performance teams within IBM R&D. She was also a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. She has conducted research in several computer performance related areas and was a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, which consists of the top 1% of IBM’s over 250K technical professionals. Dr. Johnson has received numerous technical and professional awards, and is a Master Inventor with over 40 issued and pending patents. She has authored and co-authored over 80 publications and is Editor-in-Chief of the book Performance Tuning for Linux Servers. She has expert certifications in Cloud+ and Security+ from CompTIA.
Dr. Johnson earned B.S. (summa cum laude), M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, all in electrical engineering, from Southern University, Stanford University, and Rice University, respectively, becoming one of the first Africa-American women to earn a Ph.D. in this field. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). She is also a member of the IEEE Internet of Things technical committee, an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Engineer. Dr. Johnson was previously a member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA), a founding member of the CRA’s committee on women (CRA-W) and the co-founder of the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC).

Anita Jones

University Professor Emerita, University of VirginiaPhoto of Anita Jones

Anita Jones is or has been a university professor, a computer scientist, a researcher, a co-founder of a venture backed software start-up, an Assistant Secretary of Defense, a director of for-profit companies, and a trustee for not-for-profit organizations. Along the way she has been recognized for her contributions with honorary degrees (from Carnegie Mellon, Duke, and the University of Southern California) and by election to the National Academy of Engineering. She was awarded the Ada Lovelace Award by the Association of Women in Computing, the Bueche Award by the National Academy of Engineering, and the Philip Abelson Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (mainly for her work in science and technology policy). The U.S. Navy named a seamount in the North Pacific Ocean for her.

Kimberly Mahan

CEO, 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.

Kelly Shaw

Associate Professor, University of RichmondPhoto of Kelly Shaw

Kelly Shaw is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Richmond. Her research explores ways to improve the performance and power of parallel computer architectures, including heterogeneous architectures. This work includes proposing software and hardware optimizations as well as developing tools that help programmers understand when specific optimizations or hardware are applicable. She earned her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University and her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Duke University.

Awalin Sopan

Senior Software Engineering, FireEye, Inc.Photo of Awalin Sopan

Awalin is a data visualization and UI specialist currently she is working as a Senior Software Engineer at FireEye, Inc., building analytics interface for security analysts. She has developed a real time data visualization webapp using d3 and bootstrap to analyze Twitter activity. She has also created a prototype for medical professionals to select patients correctly 3 using d3 and its animation features. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park. In her current role, she closely collaborates with cyber security analysts developing and designing a one-stop web interface to detect and tackle cyber attacks. 

Kelly LeBoeuf

Director of Marketing and Products, ExcelacomPhoto of Kelly LeBoeuf

Kelly LeBoeuf reports directly to the CEO and isthe Director of Marketing and Products at Excelacom. In her senior leadership role, she oversees the company’s marketing and communications efforts, including corporate strategy and positioning, branding and messaging, public relations, and digital and social media and events.

Prior to joining Excelacom, Kelly was on the management team for Time Warner Cable was a Product Manager in the Technology and Network Operations group. In her role, Kelly worked with her team to successfully launch several products to Time Warner Cable’s residential Internet subscribers, including Essentials Internet, Starter Internet, and Everyday Low Price Internet.

During the early adoption of mobile devices, Kelly helped launch the successful start-up, Conceivium Business Solutions (now BlackBerry), a mobile monitoring software company. In her role as their Director of Global Communications, Kelly wore many hats, serving as the company’s customer advocate with roles in product management, training, and marketing. Prior to Conceivium, Kelly also held senior communications positions at ASG Software Solutions and Landmark Systems Corporation.

Kelly received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems from Longwood University. She is also a member of the Washington DC chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and was selected as one of WICT’s Rising Leaders in 2014.


Saman Ehsan

Software Developer, Center for Open SciencePhoto of Saman Ehsan

Saman Ehsan is a software developer at the Center for Open Science (COS), a non-profit, technology start-up that seeks to increase openness and reproducibility in scientific research. She does full-stack web development on the Open Science Framework (OSF), a platform for scientists to store, manage and share their work.

In 2014, Saman graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Biochemistry. While conducting undergraduate research, she came to understand the powerful role that technology can play in facilitating scientific research. Motivated to contribute at the intersection of these two fields, she joined the Center for Open Science, where she combines her passions for science and programming in order to build innovative tools for scientific researchers.