Trade Me, Level 5


Session One

10:00 am

From Big Tech to Leading Edge
My Journey as a CTO at a Female-Led Startup
Careers & Teams Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

In this talk, I'll share my transformative journey from a secure role in a leading tech company to the challenges and triumphs as the CTO of an all-female-led early-stage startup. This narrative will explore the lessons learned in adapting to a lean, fast-paced environment, overcoming gender biases in tech, and the importance of building a culture of resilience and innovation. Attendees will gain insights into the unique trials and tribulations faced by tech leaders and the invaluable experiences that shape our approach to technology, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Vanessa Thornton
Chief Technology Officer at Empathix

As the current CTO of a pioneering, all-female-led tech startup, I bring a wealth of experience from my previous tenure of almost 8 years at a major tech corporation, where I honed my skills in innovation and leadership. I'm a mum, tech-nerd, and engineer passionate about fostering diversity and driving change in the tech industry. I'm here to be the next disrupter, and take our little start up to global success.

Session Two

11:15 am

Lessons in Technical Leadership
From Small Startups to Large Enterprise
Careers & Teams Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

From the fast-paced hustle of a startup to the structured processes of an established bank, adapting your leadership approach is crucial. What works well in one environment may not in another. In this talk, I'll share my journey navigating these contrasting environments and the pivotal experiences that shaped my technical leadership style. Prepare to dive deep into tailoring Staff Engineering roles to your company's DNA - exploring pragmatic strategies for reading the organisational heartbeat and crafting a resonant approach. Whether you’re an aspiring leader or a seasoned veteran craving fresh perspectives, this talk will provide insights and practical advice to amplify your impact as a technical leader.

Annie Vella

Annie is a lifelong computer enthusiast and self-professed nerd, with a particular interest in software development. As a backend software engineer, she's designed and built systems for a variety of industries across four countries. Nowadays, she leads technology teams and champions a culture of curiosity, learning and excellence in engineering.

Session Three

12:15 pm

From web development to specialist
My journey into web accessibility
Careers & Teams Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

Going from front-end developer to web accessibility company founder was not the path that I had planned on taking; I didn’t even know that path existed! Discover how unexpected turns, calculated risks, and leveraging skills from diverse backgrounds led me to finding a career passion and making a positive impact in the ever-evolving landscape of technology. I'll also give you some tips on how to bring accessibility into your dev work.

Maia Miller
Founder and Director, Aleph Accessibility

Maia is a certified Web Accessibility Specialist and the founder of Aleph Accessibility. With over a decade of public speaking experience, including conferences like nz.js(con) and UXNZ, she thrives in that middle space between technical expertise and practicality, speaking on topics that ground complex concepts into a real-world context.

1:00 pm

PrivSec Consulting


PrivSec Consulting

Session Four

1:45 pm

Empower your applications
Using AI and Semantic Kernel
Hot & New Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

In this session, we'll explore how to enhance your applications with the power of AI and Semantic Kernel, which is an open-source SDK that let you easily build AI agents with LLMs, unlocking new levels of functionality and user engagement.

Xiaodi Yan
Lead Engineer

Xiaodi is a Microsoft MVP/MCT, the co-organiser of Wellington .NET User Group. He is passionate about .NET, Azure, DevOps, cloud-native, etc. He often writes blogs and makes talks to share his knowledge with the community.

Session Five

2:45 pm

Gaming PowerShell for Fun and Profit
Code On Screen Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

Embark on an enlightening journey into the world of PowerShell scripting, tailored for beginners and terminal enthusiasts alike. During this talk I'll be taking you on a journey where we'll be learning to script in an unconventional setting by writing a small game from scratch for the terminal. We'll be dealing with some fundamental scripting techniques, my terrible game design skills and hopefully at the end... a working game. This talk aims to help you acquire valuable scripting knowledge and techniques, while also highlighting why PowerShell and other scripting languages are an accessible and versatile tool for solving a wide range of problems.

Shaun Lawrie
Platform Engineering Lead - PartsTrader

Shaun Lawrie is a computer nerd from Wellington with a passion for automating his jobs away. He's worked in QA, development, site reliability and delivery with some of the largest web platforms in New Zealand over the last 10 years. He's currently the Platform Engineering Lead at PartsTrader Markets Limited leading a team responsible for improving delivery processes, maintaining quality and automating all of the things.

Session Six

3:45 pm

The seven habits of highly effective software developers
Careers & Teams Breakout Session Trade Me - Cafe

What do motorcycles, cooking, and mountain climbing have to do with software development? A lot more than you'd think! When it comes to advancing your career as a software developer, most people tend to focus on skills development. But what if I told you that focussing on skills is the least efficient way to go about it? Instead, learn how to cultivate effective habits for managing cognitive load, and not only will you find yourself developing new skills faster, you'll also make yourself a more effective developer, regardless of your skill level. In this talk, we're going to cover the seven habits of highly-effective software developers, why they matter, and how to cultivate them 😺

Phoenix Zerin
Staff Engineer

On a mission to help Aotearoa New Zealand close its digital tech skills gap by developing cultures of technical excellence and creating career pathways for new devs. I have been developing and architecting software applications for nearly 2 decades, at companies of all sizes in different parts of the world. I am passionate about the *meta problem*: creating value for value creators, and I thrive wherever I can āwhina others to build, create and grow. My favourite development mahi is working on open-source libraries and frameworks, and I mentor developers of all skill levels in New Zealand. Also, I really like cat emojis. A lot 😸