Captain Jack Sparrow’s Leadership Transition Guide

Feb 15, 2018 · Palo Alto, United States of America

“That’s the second time I’ve watched that man sail away with my ship.”
-- Captain Jack Sparrow

Taking on your first leadership/management role in a new organization is particularly arduous because you must juggle many competing priorities. How do you address those company pain points and challenges for which you were hired to address? How do you create an organization and form necessary alliances to be successful? And, most importantly, how do you get and keep ownership of the solution?

There are a number of great books written on transitioning into leadership and management, but most reflect on promotion within your organization. Few advise how to do so while changing organizations at the same time. Lynne Thieme and Juanita Mah will nonetheless draw on this literature and on the wisdom of pirates as they share a century (between them) of mostly terrible, occasionally inspirational, experiences. Their focus for the evening will emphasize taking on new leadership roles within unfamiliar organizations - but they promise they’ll present useful insight for those challenged by internal promotions, as well.

Lynne and Juanita will present a pragmatic, step-by-step guide to conquer triumphant the transition into new and possibly treacherous waters.


Lynne Thieme is a VP of Engineering and Design and loves leading passionate, focused, high-performing, globally-distributed software teams. Lynne has accumulated over 30 years in data storage and high-availability software engineering leadership.

Lynne is passionate about creating opportunities for women in technology and currently mentors women in various stages of their technical careers and has had the honor of twice presenting at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. She also believes strongly in giving back to the foundations that helped her achieve her goals, and currently holds the position of Foundation Director for Collegiate Service for Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity.

Lynne has a BS degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the U of Illinois, and a Multiple Subject California Teaching Credential with a Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) certification from San Jose State.

Juanita Mah has over 30 years of experience at IBM and VMware, developing system software and middleware used by Fortune 1000 customers. After a brief stint with Apple’s Special Projects Group, she joined Course Hero where she was, most recently, an Engineering Director.

Armed with an MS in Software Engineering from San Jose State, a Masters Certificate in Project Management from George Washington U, an MBA from Santa Clara U, and a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from UC Berkeley, Juanita has tackled a diverse set of management, technical, and business issues that many software companies face, including transition to Agile, improving product quality and process effectiveness, managing inter-product dependencies, evaluating and prioritizing product requirements, incorporating research technologies into commercial products, and driving new business through partner programs, client services, and process standards certification.

Juanita is active in local programs to encourage youth to study STEM, such as GetSET, sponsored by Society of Women Engineers, and National Engineers Week.


6:15 - 7:00 Arrive
6:30 - 7:00 Registration / Checkin
6:30 - 7:00 Networking, along with food & drink, courtesy of tonight's sponsor
7:00 - 7:10 Opening announcements
7:10 - 8:30 Keynote & Q&A
8:30 - 8:35 Closing announcements
8:35 - 8:45 Informal networking and followup Q&A
8:45 - 8:50 Clean up - please leave the room beautiful
8:50 - 9:00 Clear the room & have a safe trip home!


Kimberly Wiefling, author of Scrappy Project Management, keynote speaker, executive coach, project management consultant, and a whirlwind of energy.

Event organizers
  • Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community

    Meet other local current or aspiring innovative innovation leaders who are interested in engineering leadership as a strategic competency. This community is a vital part of any technical leader's career strategy. Our mutual objective: To become the kind of leaders we've always wanted to work for. Discuss the full gamut of engineering leadership: inspiring, aligning, co-creating, communicating, speaking, writing, values, learning, complimenting, appreciating, recognizing, teaching, strategizing, chunking-

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