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Professional Development Day 2022

The Society of Women Engineers Pittsburgh Section is virtually hosting our annual Professional Development Day on Saturday, May 14th from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors!


Everything you need to know about Professional Development Day

What is Professional Development Day?
Professional Development Day is a half-day event filled with interesting sessions with information on how to grow as a professional in your career! These sessions are intermixed with networking opportunities and corporate sponsor presentations.
Where will Professional Development Day be held?
This year, the majority of Professional Development Day is completely virtual. The week of the event, you will be sent login information to a secure page of this website that will host the Zoom links for each session. If you have not received your login information by Friday, May 13th at 1 PM, please contact There is an in-person networking dinner starting at 5:30 PM on May 14th. This dinner is the only in-person component and is an additional cost.
Where do I register for Professional Development Day?
You can register for Professional Development Day on Eventbrite using this link:
How much does Professional Development Day cost?
Tickets cost $10 for any SWE member and $15 for any non-SWE member. Collegiate SWE members can attend for free.
What virtual event courtesy should I know?
For this event, we ask that you please keep your microphones off unless you are in a networking session or it is otherwise specified by a session moderator. In the networking session, we ask that you please use your cameras if you are able. Otherwise, you may keep cameras on or off per your preference.
Where can I find information on the sessions?
There is a “sessions” section below the agenda which gives detailed information on each session. The panelists or presenters in each session and their biographies will be added as information becomes available. The information is subject to change.
What is the corporate networking session?
This event is tentatively scheduled as an optional event after the closing session of Professional Development Day. Ideally, you will have the opportunity to network with area companies that are currently hiring. If your company is hiring and you would like to be a part of this event, please email
What is the networking dinner?
The networking dinner is the only in-person component of Professional Development Day. It requires an additional ticket costing $25. The ticket covers your choice of one entree and appetizers for the table. Any alcoholic beverages must be purchased separately. A limited number of tickets are available. The dinner will be held at Casa Brazil in Highland Park.


This is the schedule for the day. We've got a lot of great things planned!

Lifelong Learning

Format: Keynote Address

  • Shantha Mohan

    In her current role at the Integrated Innovation Institute, Shantha co-delivers courses, contributes to curriculum design, and mentors students in their projects and practicums.

    Shantha is a senior software engineering leader and entrepreneur with a proven track record of growing and mentoring technical teams and generating ROI for customers across the globe. Retail Solutions Inc., the company she co-founded, is a leader in retail analytics in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) domain. She ran product development for the company and was responsible for scaling the product development team worldwide and delivering multiple analytic applications. Before Retail Solutions, she had over 20 years of experience focusing on mission-critical systems to support semiconductor and other high-value-added manufacturing. At Consilium, now part of Applied Materials, she managed the development of three generations of manufacturing execution systems.

    Outside CMU, Shantha is a mentor of start-ups and students from her alma mater. She provides career advice to new graduates and those making career transitions. She is a member and volunteer of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Shantha is also a member of The Carnegie Mellon Women's Association (CMWA) and is active in the Barbara Smith Women's Mentoring Program. Her book Roots and Wings – Inspiring stories of Indian Engineering Women was published in 2018. She co-authored Demystifying AI for The Enterprise, published in 2021. She authored a book on leadership titled Leadership Lessons With The Beatles, forthcoming in May 2022.

Empowerment Through Self-Care and Career Alignment

Format: Workshop

You’re working hard to be a successful engineer and prominent leader. But hard work alone is not sufficient and may simply lead to burnout. A measure of self-care and alignment are necessary for you to be empowered, take charge of your career, and ensure impact and fulfillment.

This session provides self-management approaches that maximize career progress while minimizing the struggle. You’ll learn ways to own your career and stay on your preferred career trajectory. You’ll discover your energetic center and how to use it as your guide. And you’ll realize a fresh, lower-stress, esteem-building perspective.

  • Dr. Mary Kinsella

    Dr. Mary E. Kinsella is a career strategist and CEO at Her Engineering Career, helping women engineers confidently command greater influence and impact. Find more information about her Signature Program and listen to her podcast at

    In her previous career, Dr. Kinsella worked for 30+ years at the USAF Research Laboratory as a project engineer in materials and manufacturing technology. She serves as board secretary for the Entrepreneurs’ Center in Dayton Ohio and supports the arts in her area. She is a fellow of SWE and currently serves as a coach on the Leadership Coaching Committee.

Building and Maintaining Your Professional Network

Format: Panel Discussion

We have all attended networking events, made a great connection, and then wondered - where does it go from here? How do we keep developing these relationships especially in settings where we very infrequently overlap with our new connection? Our panelists will discuss their keys to successful relationship building and maintenance, and will additionally cover topics like allyship and mentorship.

  • Preeti Venkataramani

    Preeti Venkataramani has over 15 years’ experience designing and building software systems in Retail, Finance and Insurance verticals. Having worked with stakeholders at different levels and varying needs, she realized that to be effective at her work - she had to connect first, lay a relationship foundation and then start the collaboration process. This is especially true with remote teams spread across the globe. In her current role at Eaton, she is building strategy maps for the construction digitalization team.

  • Dave Guttendorf

    Dave Guttendorf is a Principal Robotics Engineer at the National Robotics Engineering Center, which is part of Carnegie Mellon University. There he leads the Software Systems Engineering Group and is a Software Technical Lead on multiple robotics software projects. He has designed and developed mining robots, material handling robots, and robots that cooperate together to geolocate objects of interest. Dave also leads a research group that investigates novel testing techniques to ensure that robots are safe, which has led to multiple published papers. Dave has a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and has previously worked at the Harris Corporation as a Software Engineer. Dave enjoys mentoring other engineers and learning new things.

  • Deepika Devarajan

    Deepika is a technology product leader with a proven track record of driving growth by solving high value problems with disruptive innovation. She has over 20 years of experience in a variety of technical domains such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Data Science and Analytics, Healthcare and Pharmacy Tech, Medical Devices and Informatics, Semiconductors and Design Automation.

    As Vice President of Product at SoftWriters, Deepika is responsible for bringing innovative solutions to pharmacies serving long-term care facilities. In her role, Deepika sets direction for SoftWriters' broad product portfolio, leading the growing product and engineering teams, driving agile transformation for rapid innovation, shaping team culture for a recognized top workplace, and elevating organizational best practices. Prior to this, Deepika was Program Director with IBM's Data and AI business, leading a team of product managers focused on defining digital experiences across a portfolio of AI, Data Management and Data Governance products. With IBM Watson, she was responsible for bringing to market the next generation of AI products for developers and businesses. Over the last two decades, Deepika has continuously reinvented her career as a hardware, R&D, and software engineer before joining the business ranks to lead marketing, strategic partnerships, and product management and then assume executive leadership roles.

    Following her experience with IBM Watson, she has spoken at several events on topics related to AI, ethical applications of technology, and responsible innovation. A passionate STEM evangelist and advocate for women in technology and leadership, she serves on the SWE Pittsburgh Executive Council as Co-chair for Outreach.

    Deepika earned a MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University and MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Deepika resides in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. Deepika is an avid reader and maximizes her time outdoors with her family.

Advocating for Yourself in Workplace Communication

Format: Panel Discussion

Improving communication is an ever-important topic, especially as more and more companies move to fully remote work. Do you ever find yourself having difficulty saying no to additional responsibilities or wondering how to navigate a salary increase for taking on new responsibilities? Panelists will discuss these topics in addition to others such as giving feedback and working with difficult people.

  • Hannah Pileggi

    Hannah is currently the Senior Director for UX Research at Duolingo. She has previously run a research team at Airbnb and worked as a UX researcher at Facebook (now Meta) and Google.

    Hannah has a BS in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon and an MS in Human Centered Computing from Georgia Tech. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, dog, and 9 month old daughter.

  • Beth Davis

    Beth joined SoftWriters in 2021 to lead our people strategy after working with us as a consultant and coach in service to our Agile transformation journey. She brings over 20 years of diverse leadership, strategy alignment, and people development experience across multiple global industries - including high-growth SaaS start-ups to multi-billion dollar healthcare enterprises. Her focus at SoftWriters is leading the growth of one of our most important products – creating and sustaining the best employment experience.

    With a passion for shared leadership and helping companies align their people strategy and practices to the most important work, she has taken a diverse path in her career having the opportunity to experience all aspects of Human Resources as well as working through multiple corporate mergers and acquisitions and expanding into technology operations and system implementations.

    A passionate agilist, Beth holds certification as a scrum trainer by Scrum Inc., and worked with them to launch the first globally recognized Scrum in HR certification. She is also one of the first certified iCAgile trainers of Agility in HR certification in the country. Beth is a scrum master and product owner and brings the agile mindset and ways of working forward in all that she does – focusing on continuous delivery of value and creating a culture of empowerment for all. She holds certification as a senior professional in human resources from HRCI and is also a certified trainer and coach of 3 Vital Questions, a program focused on self-leadership and empowerment.

    Beth is a life-long resident of the Pittsburgh region and holds a bachelors degree from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. When not working she often volunteers her time with various professional development organizations in service to helping others grow their careers and improve their workplaces to be the best they can be. Beth and her husband John spend as much time as they can enjoying all that life has to offer with their three teenagers and faithful dog Olive.

  • Carol Smith

    Carol’s career spans over 20 years leading teams to collaborate on complex problems, focusing on user experience (UX) research and prototyping, across industries and platforms. Carol is a senior research scientist in human-machine interaction for the AI Division of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute and has been leading research to integrate ethics and improve human experiences with artificially intelligent (AI) systems, autonomous vehicles, and other emerging technologies since 2015. Carol is an IEEE P7008 Working Group Member, an ACM Distinguished Speaker, and founded the Pittsburgh UXBreakfast series. She is also an instructor for CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and has an M.S. in HCI from DePaul University.