Sometimes we forget the humans behind the tech in our ever busy world. DSF is fortunate enough to know some incredible tech leaders across the world and has the privilege of hearing them present at our events. That being said, our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini interview below!

A bit about Sandi

Sandi Conroy is a Data Science Manager and Certified Professional Coach. Her career has spanned the Technology, Software, Identity Verification, Lead Generation & Insurance industries.

How did you start out in your tech career?

It was a bit of an accident. I majored in Actuarial Sciences but didn’t love the internship or prospects. Before Data Science was the robust field it is now I used the statistics I loved in a few different companies to help make business and people decisions. Eventually it became clear that Silicon Valley was the central hub for applying these data insights, and in 2014 I accepted a role with Facebook and made the move out to San Francisco.

What are the signs of success in your field?

I’m going to cheat this one a bit and say that external signs of success shouldn’t be what we’re striving for. Success for each person should be internally motivated and tied to if they’re achieving their personal mission. Personally, I’m committed to helping managers support their team.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

The best parts are when I can help inform the direction of the company and support the growth of individuals. The least enjoyable part is when progress and impact are limited by outside forces like budget or hiring freezes.

What can you advise someone just starting out to be successful?

Be intentional about your career. Don’t go after roles and promotions because you “should”. Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish based on internal motivation, draw out the steps to get there, and forge that path.

How do you switch off?

Art & activities that involve my whole attention. I can’t be worrying about that meeting tomorrow when I’m fully engaged in a ceramics or improv class.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Invest the time to get clear on your values and priorities. Knowing yourself in that way makes decisions easier and stops you from chasing things that won’t make you happy.

What is next for you?

In my pursuit of helping more people have a satisfying career I’m leaning into coaching individuals & training managers.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

I’m interested in eventually building my own consulting venture. I’d like to work for myself, lean into my strengths to lend my expertise to multiple organizations, and be paid commiserate with the value that I’m providing.

What are your top 5 predictions in tech for the next 5 years?

1) I think privacy will continue to get more prominent through regulation and having to opt into tracking.
2) Unfortunately, I expect deep fakes to cause more problems – misinformation or people denying things they’ve really said.
3) More focus placed on ‘tech for good’, like startups aimed at solving the climate crisis.
4) I think personal tech’s role in healthcare will change – maybe a fitbit-like device can monitor early warning signs of illness.
5) More automation around writing code.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our Speaker Spotlight!

Want to become a DSF Speaker? Apply here!