STAREAST 2020 Women Who Test Session - Imposter Syndrome and the Art of Being Wrong | TechWell


Friday, May 3, 2019 - 9:45am to 10:30am

Imposter Syndrome and the Art of Being Wrong

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Failure can be hard, especially if we are unaccustomed to falling and getting back up. However, without failure, there can be no growth. We posit that being comfortable taking risks can accelerate women’s careers, and that avoiding risk is a common cause for stagnation and churn. This workshop will present practical strategies to deal with imposter syndrome and a fear of failure


From the largest companies to the very smallest, Melissa Benua has worked in nearly every software development role—dev, test, DevOps, and program management—in her career. She cut her teeth while building running high-availability, high-quality services while working on Microsoft’s Bing and Cortana, and honed her skills for rapid iteration and test while generating enormous quantities of code at pre-Series A startup PlayFab. Now with mParticle, Melissa is passionate about spreading their productivity-boosting best practices far and wide! She isn’t afraid to mix traditional approaches with bold new ideas to make her products better, faster, and more reliable. She’s passionate not only about maximizing efficiency both in her product code and in her developer tools, but also about sharing best practices among colleagues and the tech world at large.


Jeanne Blasi Riley is a strategic senior leader with extensive product/program management experience. She spent most of her career with Accenture and local consulting firms followed by several years at Amazon before joining Microsoft 3 years ago. Her passions are developing exceptional customer experiences and driving business process efficiency through automation. Her experience ranges from building custom large-scale enterprise systems to developing product strategy and customer support experiences. At Microsoft, she currently manages a team responsible for Microsoft’s support and community websites supporting nearly a billion customers. Jeanne navigated her career through three difficult pregnancies and understands the challenge of work life balance. Through her various technical roles, she understands imposter syndrome and the fear of being ‘not technical enough’. She is fiercely committed to building an inclusive environment through sharing her experiences and building awareness of the challenges women face in the technology industry.