July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Hard problems for managers: The questions nobody will ask in public

Bjorn Freeman-Benson (New Relic Inc), Kate Heddleston (Kate Heddleston LLC), Molly Graham (Quip), Belinda Runkle (New Relic), Will Maier (Simple)
4:15pm–5:15pm Tuesday, 07/21/2015
Cultivate Portland 256
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 10 ratings)

Mangers get to handle all sorts of uncomfortable situations. And for these situations, you’re largely on your own. What happens when you need to terminate someone? What if a new employee spontaneously pairs up with a “mentor” who really shouldn’t be mentoring anyone? How do you keep the group open and accepting of all people and opinions? This panel will discuss the uncomfortable questions that can’t be asked in public—and that frequently aren’t asked at all.

Photo of Bjorn Freeman-Benson

Bjorn Freeman-Benson

New Relic Inc

Bjorn Freeman-Benson is the SVP of engineering and chief architect for New Relic. His passion is building great engineering organizations through the application of software psychology, or, to put it another way, listening to the code and the people and the systems telling us where they are hurting, and then finding excellent solutions to their pain. The solution might be technical, it might be process, or it might be about leadership, but it’s always about people. He’s worked in open source (Eclipse), reconfigurable hardware, in e-commerce (Amazon), and in all sorts of other interesting things. Bjorn holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Washington and spends his spare time bicycling, sailing, or flying.

Photo of Kate Heddleston

Kate Heddleston

Kate Heddleston LLC

Kate Heddleston is a software engineer from San Francisco, and loves building web applications and programming in Python. She studied computer science for a master’s degree, and communication and human-computer interaction for her undergraduate degree. Kate enjoys using open source tools to build web applications, and especially likes building portions of the product that interface with the user. When not programming, Kate is involved with organizations like Hackbright Academy, PyLadies, and Raphael House. She is currently traveling the world and working on personal projects.

Photo of Molly Graham

Molly Graham


Molly Graham is the chief operating officer at Quip, where she oversees everything that is not software. Prior to that she spent four and a half years at Facebook, where she worked in HR/recruiting and mobile. In HR, she helped articulate Facebook’s hacker brand, build the performance management and compensation systems, launch the early employee engagement surveys, and rewrite the company values once or twice. In mobile, she led a couple of projects around Facebook’s long term mobile strategy from 2010-2012. Molly is also an avid skier and whitewater kayaker.

Photo of Belinda Runkle

Belinda Runkle

New Relic

Belinda Runkle is the VP of engineering for New Relic’s flagship APM product. She loves OSCON and looks forward to meeting you there.

Photo of Will Maier

Will Maier


Will Maier is the VP engineering at Simple. Before joining Simple to help people worry less about banking, Will ran part of the global computing grid that powered the search for the Higgs boson. Outside work, Will has committed code for the OpenBSD project, developed a bunch of little Python and Go tools, and consumed a large amount of coffee.