Over the last few months, the Cimpress Women in Technology Group has been hosting a speaker series, inviting women in the technical community both inside and outside of Cimpress to share their wisdom, career stories, and humor. For our March meeting, we turned the spotlight on some of our group members in a lightning talk-style set of short presentations on the topic of their choice. Borrowed from the larger Lightning Talk event held by the Cimpress Technology Group, lightning talks are a series of rapid-fire, 5-minute presentations on a variety of topics.
Elaina Rivais, a software engineer in the Strategic Partnerships, chose to talk about the Rubik’s cube and group theory. Using an article by Janet Chen and a Rubik’s cube for demonstration, she explained what a mathematical group was (it must have elements and an operation) and what properties it must have (identity, inverse, closure and associativity). The original article was used to teach group theory to high school students, and the Rubik’s cube makes the abstract concept of groups that much more accessible.
Ann Wong, another Strategic Partnerships software engineer, spoke about creating and organizing a group (of people!). Ann is the founder of the Cimpress Women in Technology Group, and she used this as an example in her talk. She advised that the first step was having an idea, and then finding others with similar ideas. Activities can start small—in the case of the Women in Technology Group, as lunch meetings—and become larger and more ambitious as advertising is used to grow the group.
Samantha Boulay, a technology manager on the Product team, evangelized the idea of “10% to 10x thinking”. This involves a change in mindset from evolutionary thinking to revolutionary thinking. Rather than focusing only on how to make marginal improvements and linear changes, the focus shifts to large-scale, exponential changes. She ended with a quote from Larry Page, “If you aren’t doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”
Inspired by the presentations, Jill Maffeo, an analyst in Customer Analytics, volunteered to give an impromptu talk about her first major analysis: a comparison of college viewbooks and how well their picture matches their advertised statistics. Looking at numbers such as gender ratios, diversity statistics, and student-faculty ratios, she devised criteria for categorizing the subjects of the viewbook pictures, and then compared the pictured statistics with the reported ones.
Beatrice Sims is a software engineer in the Manufacturing Software group. She works on the User Experience Design team, contributing to the software used on the shopfloor in Cimpress’ manufacturing plants. In her spare time, she is also a competitive rower and enjoys reading, cooking, and being outdoors.