Calibrate Conference 2018

You’re a great engineer. Become a great leader.
A conference for new engineering leaders hosted by seasoned engineering leaders.

September 21, 2018 - San Francisco

Calibrate 2018 is a ways away, and there isn't much to share at the moment! If you're here to learn more about Calibrate, start with our About Page and have a look at past events videos and decks above.

News and information can be found in #calibrate on the Rands Leadership Slack and at @calibratesf on Twitter (but mostly in the Rands Leadership Slack channel).

Why Calibrate?

As fast as we're growing our engineering teams, we're also creating engineering leaders and it's often learn-as-you-go. Engineering leadership has a specific set of challenges with respect to the intersection of people, technology and process, and almost no reference material or developmental community surrounding it.

Let’s change that.

We’re bringing together accomplished engineering veterans to address the unique needs of newly minted engineering leaders. We’ll share what it’s like to grow from an engineer to a leader, and offer advice on what to learn in your first few years of leadership. You’ll take away tactics and frameworks for decision making you can put to work immediately.

Who Attends?

Calibrate is aimed at practicing engineering managers, responsible for the people on their team. New people managers will get the most out of this day. As you decide if this conference is for you, know that this event includes people from varying experience levels:

  • most attendees are new to management
  • some people haven’t yet started their first management role yet
  • a few are managing ... without the title
  • and a small group are veterans (including our speakers)

These are the people you will be meeting, networking with, eating lunch with, talking about hard problems with.

What does good engineering leadership look like? Gain valuable insight and useful techniques to put into action.


It was invaluable for someone with my odd background and path to software engineering to connect with people from such diverse and impactful companies as you had in attendance.

Robert Edwards

Still processing @CalibrateSF - definitely the most densely beautiful conference I’ve been to. Thanks to the organizers for your hard work!

Andrew Bredow

The talks were amazing, but lunch might have been my favorite part. As an aspiring manager, talking to several people at different stages in their career and different fields was really interesting.

Adam Coulter

At Calibrate I learned that management is not a set of commits. It’s different for everyone and really, really hard. But the speakers at Calibrate made me even more excited about being an engineering manager. I made invaluable connections to other people in my shoes, and got something tangible out of every single talk.

Sonja Broach

This was my first year at Calibrate and, with all the lessons, questions, and friends it left me with, it won't be my last! So glad I went.

Jordan Degner

Spending a day with thoughtful and inspiring leaders is just what the doctor ordered. Calibrate SF is exactly that place. Whether you've been leading teams for decades or just getting started, you'll most definitely learn something new, I certainly did.

Bruno Miranda


These are the people we wish we worked for.

Michael Lopp

Michael Lopp

Slack, VP of Engineering

Michael is a Silicon Valley-based engineering leader who builds both people and product at companies such as Borland, Netscape, Palantir, and Apple. While he's not worrying about staying relevant, he writes about pens, bridges, people, poker, and werewolves at the popular weblog, 'Rands in Repose'. He currently works as the VP of Engineering at Slack in San Francisco.

Marcy Swenson

Marcy Swenson

Startup Happiness, Executive Coach

Marcy is an executive coach, as well as a seasoned technology professional, and a veteran of several successful startups. As a founder at Critical Path, she built the tech team that led to IPO. Forbes named CPTH the fastest growing high tech company in the world in 1999 (3 to 3000 in 4 years). Marcy is a co-founder & executive coach at Startup Happiness, where she helps entrepreneurs with everything from basic leadership skills to deep personal growth.

Mekka Okereke

Mekka Okereke

Google, Engineering Director

Mekka currently serves as an Engineering Director Google Play, one of the largest digital marketplaces on earth. Mekka is passionate about building diverse and inclusive teams. His organization is one of the most inclusive engineering teams at Google and comprised of 10% black, 10% Latinx, half of the managers are women, and 30% of the software engineers are women. He is a frequent speaker, consultant, non-profit board member and mentor sharing his expertise with leaders on inclusivity in the workplace, diversity in tech, and successful team building.

Katie Womersly

Katie Womersly

Buffer, Director of Engineering

Katie is Director of Engineering at Buffer, a globally distributed team with no offices, and an O’Reilly author. At Buffer, she leads the engineering team and is focused on crafting productive, effective teams - delivering a world class software product. She previously worked as a software engineer before moving into leadership. Her writing has appeared in The Next Web, Inc Magazine and Fast Company.

Chris Winn

Chris Winn

Creative Market, CTO

As CTO, Chris leads Creative Market's largest team, which includes product engineering, Web Ops, and Search & Discovery. Chris serves on Creative Market's board of directors and executive team, spends time mentoring and speaks about management, technology and growing companies.

Kathryn Koehler

Kathryn Koehler

Evernote, Senior Engineering Director

In another reality, Kathryn designs race cars for a living. In this one, she's Engineering Director for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Meta project, leveraging the power of ML to democratize scientific research. In her 20-plus year career, Kathryn has scaled and led engineering teams in ways that allow her inner process wonk to thrive. But she still finds the time to mentor new managers, bike, run, play soccer, embarrass her kids, and even sleep once in a while. Kathryn was formerly Sr. Director of Applications Engineering at Evernote and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford.

More Great Speakers, Coming Soon!

More Great Speakers, Coming Soon!

Program & Schedule

Our speakers are putting together terrific, custom content for the day!

Every year we evolve the content and scheduling based on feedback from folks who attend, and we're not quite ready to share all of that for 2018. Expect to see a full program by the end of June with the earliest appearance being in late May / early June.

To get an idea of the type of content you'll experience at Calibrate, check out programs, videos and slides from our past three years! All of it is archived found in the yearly links above.


Calibrate will be held on Friday, September 21, 2018 in San Francisco, at the beautiful Golden Gate Club located in the historic Presidio district, a stone's throw from the Golden Gate Bridge.

135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco, CA 94129

Request Invite

Thank you for your interest! Calibrate 2018 applications will open in late May / early June.

Updates and information can be found in #calibrate on the Rands Leadership Slack and at @calibratesf on Twitter (but mostly in the Rands Leadership Slack channel).