A year ago, Julia Grace spoke at Velocity about building engineering teams under pressure. These teams were were mostly composed of ICs (individual contributors), and the tips were geared toward line managers in diverse, fast growing environments.
Fast forward to today: now Julia manages managers (including directors who manage managers) and several very senior ICs as Slack’s engineering organization has grown 3.5x in size. Along the way, she’s learned a lot about how to effectively lead managers (and grow them from within).
Join Julia to learn how she made this transition into senior engineering leadership and how she builds high-performing management teams. The role of managing managers is much different from managing ICs, and there is much less written about how to be a successful senior engineering leader and technology executive. The hard-earned skills from being a line manager can come to haunt you as a senior leader, proving the axiom “What got you here won’t get you there.” Julia shares missteps line managers make on their way to senior management and all the things she wishes she had known before starting this journey.
Julia Grace is the head of infrastructure engineering at Slack, where she grew her team from 10 people to 60+. She excels in high-velocity environments, especially during hypergrowth, and loves solving challenging engineering problems at scale. She advises early- and mid-stage startups and has extensive experience raising venture capital funding (including from top-tier investors such as Andreessen Horowitz). Previously, she was cofounder and CTO at Tindie, which she sold, and founded and sat on several advisory boards for startups and large multibillion-dollar nonprofits. Julia holds a BS with honors and an MS in computer science from the University of North Carolina, where her research focused on operating systems, including building a distributed system that allowed peer-to-peer data sharing from internet browser caches in low connectivity. She is an avid athlete and former collegiate rower and is always trying to squeeze a run in (even if it’s just chasing her young daughter).
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