Speaker Details

Heather Wilde Renze

theDifference Consulting

Heather Wilde was the eighth employee of Evernote, where she oversaw the company’s growth from thousands to 100 million customers. She has published popular games, worked with the United States DoD, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force, trained Fortune 500 brands, advised hundreds of startups, and managed major multinational nonprofit programs.

She has won multiple awards for her work in STEM, Coaching, and writing, including multiple commendations from the US Government. As part of her strong dedication to the community, she has served as the chair and on the executive committee of the Engineering School at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At her own nonprofit, Serenze Global, and as a fractional CTO through her company ROCeteer, her award-winning work keeps the “Unicorn Whisperer” constantly traveling across the globe to find the next unicorn.

She resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ready Player Two: How to Actually Work in the Metaverse

Mind the Geek

When Mark Zuckerberg appeared in all his awkwardly-blinking glory for an uncanny-valley-inducing interview on the future of virtual work, the world let out a collective sigh. Suddenly, something that had the potential to be cool was made mundane, and it looked like the villain in Ready Player One had already taken control before the Oasis had gotten off the ground.

However, all is not so bleak as that. In this talk, I'll go over the different ways my company and others have been finding real-world applications to connect virtual teams -- small businesses, not just enterprise -- with VR/AR/XR, and show you where the technology is headed.

It's much more than creepy avatars sitting around tables. Strap in!

How to Close the Diversity Gap (or, How Not to Perpetuate Bro Culture in Tech)

People & Culture

Inclusion has been proven to have direct, measurable effects on stability and success in businesses, large and small. Indeed, most organizations actively pursue diverse representation in their workplace, but this won’t necessarily ensure that all employees feel included.

Unconscious bias is part of the problem -- but not the only one -- especially in areas like recruitment, promotion, and performance management as well as being a major barrier in efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. The Covid-19 pandemic has also added additional strain to the pre-existing social challenges, which make it difficult for programs to gain any ground.

In this talk, we'll cover the problems and pitfalls in creating diversity programs, and why it's so important to keep trying to build a culture of inclusion in your team.

Some takeaways:

  1. Best practices for empowering, engaging, and attracting creators of diverse backgrounds to your organization
  2. Discuss Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and how to embed these three pillars throughout your business
  3. Strategies to close the digital divide of historically excluded groups, internally and externally

How a Mentor Program Can Prevent Employee Burnout and Keep You Employed

People & Culture

Employee engagement has been hitting all-time lows after COVID, and many people are choosing to leave their positions for others because:

They don’t trust leadership.

They aren’t getting regular constructive feedback.

They aren’t recognized for their contributions.

They don’t have the tools they need to succeed.

They don’t see the bigger picture.

They aren’t playing to their strengths.

They haven't developed skills to foster emotional resilience.

They are burned out, but nobody has noticed.

Most of us believe that burnout is something that happens to someone else. We tell ourselves that it’s something that only happens to those who work day and night without a break. However, it happens gradually, and it’s happening to all of us at an alarming rate. 

In this panel, hear about how some organizations are structuring mentor programs to try to create a culture of wellness. Learn how to identify signs of burnout before it becomes unmanageable, and how to help employees cope with their stressors in healthy ways.