Speaker Spotlight: Sabeen Ali

Nowhere Developers Conference is incredibly lucky to have AngelHack Founder and CEO, Sabeen Ali, as one of the day's featured speakers. 

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Sabeen will be talking about everything a developer needs to have a well-rounded career, and most importantly, happiness in the workplace. This afternoon session will be a must-see!

Bio: Sabeen Ali is Founder and CEO of AngelHack, female-owned and majority female-operated company that organizes hackathons and accelerates early-stage startups from around the world. 

Prior to AngelHack, Sabeen founded and sold her own leadership training and organizational development company; Team Building ROI, which provided leadership and organizational development training to companies such as Google, IBM, Blackberry, NetApp, Cisco, and others. She holds an M.S. in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and is an expert in change management.

Sabeen also founded Code For A Cause, a nonprofit organization that aims to make technology and coding accessible for all, and to bring the tech community together to make the world a better place. Founded in 2013, CFAC has organized events and initiatives designed to connect developers, support women and girls, minorities, veterans and other disproportionately disadvantaged communities.

She speaks internationally to corporate, nonprofit and student audiences on rapid innovation, entrepreneurship, acceleration, women in tech initiatives, and more. Most recently, she spoke at 4YFN with Mobile World Congress, Money 20/20, Shoptalk, and delivered USF’s commencement speech in 2016. She has received numerous accolades for her work, most recently including the Harari Conscious Leadership and Social Innovation award. Her work with AngelHack and CFAC has been highlighted in Inc., Fast Company, Voice of America, and featured in the hit documentary: Seed.

Topic: How Holistic Hacking Leads to Developer Happiness

The Breakdown: After seven years of organizing hackathons, innovative initiates, and growing a global developer community we’ve seen entrepreneurs at every stage. Some of the best, and most successful all had one trait in common, something we at AngelHack like to describe as Holistic. A Holistic Hacker's skill sets go beyond code, encompassing general knowledge from the business and communications side; ultimately leading to a diverse set of soft skills, confidence, and overall developer happiness. In this talk, you will learn about these best practices every developer should know, and how to integrate holistic hacking into your everyday life.

Read on to learn more about Sabeen, her nonprofit work, and her tips for building a great software team. 

What is your background in?

I’ve always considered myself an entrepreneur, ever since I was a little girl.  I eventually went to USF to get an M.S in Organization Development where I also studied change management.  To me, building a great company isn’t about building a product and making it fit into society, but rather building a great product that fills a need expressed by the community.  This is why change management is so important within tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Prior to AngelHack, I founded and sold my own leadership training and organizational development company; Team Building ROI, which provided leadership and organizational development training to companies such as Google, IBM, Blackberry, NetApp, Cisco, and others.

My passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and a world of endless possibilities eventually led me to Founding AngelHack; a female-owned, female-majority company that provides entrepreneurs with emerging technologies and promotes the creation of seamless technology both inside of Silicon Valley.

Can you tell us about your work with Code For A Cause?

Through my own experience as a women minority, I was inspired to create something that would help women and girls, and other minorities such as vets, refugees, LGBTQ groups and more thrive in the startup world.

Enter Code For A Cause, Founded in 2013, the nonprofit arm of AngelHack is designed to connect developers, support women and girls, minorities, veterans and other disproportionately disadvantaged communities.

Since 2013, we have run large-scale tech4good initiatives with major corporations such as Capital One, UN Women, The Kerala Government, Proctor and Gamble and more. In 2016, we ran a 20-city hackathon series called Lady Problems, dedicated to breaking down the barriers that prevented female entrepreneurship; raising our female-to-male ratio by 6%.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m actually an introvert, which from the outside many would never be able to tell. I enjoy a good work/life balance, which is often how I stay sane and maximize my productivity. In my free time, you can find me hanging out with my two daughters, gardening and tending to my plants, so if I’m not jet-setting to some exotic location I’m usually being a very mellow mom and homemaker.

What is your least favorite programming language?

I have no background or personal drive as a coder, hacker, or programmer.  However, the purpose of my work is to empower those who know the language with those who have the initiative to execute an idea.

Do you have any general tips for building great software teams?

Play to your strengths and surround yourself with people who compliment your weaknesses.

Some of the most successful hackers are what we at AngelHack like to describe as a Holistic Hacker.  A concept in which we teach developers, designers, and entrepreneurs how to become more balanced and well-rounded human beings.  We focus on the art of communication, team building and the importance of mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

When building a software team, try to make sure you are covering all your bases and surrounding yourself with people who are proficient in these areas.  Doing so helps to make sure your software team can clearly articulate your idea and business model, ensures a strong team that runs like a well-oiled machine, and a team that can quickly adapt and pivot when needed.

See Sabeen in action on March 15 at the Nowhere Developers Conference in Bentonville!