Gwen Diagram


Agile Teams (B) 2020
Agile Teams (B)
Thursday 16.15 - 17.00

Session type: Lecture

Satisfaction with abstraction, from individual contributor to leadership

What are the attributes of a great leader? An image that often comes to mind is JFK and his speech about the moon landing.  Someone who can bring others along with their ideas.  However, there is a lot more to being a great leader than just selling ideas. Leadership should also focus on caring for others and helping them to become the best that they can be.

Gwen moved from being an individual contributor to a leadership role a few years ago.  Moving from being an individual contributor on a team to being in more of a support function is hard.  It’s easy to put pressure on yourself to be the superhero and as with the superheroes in comics, it’s tolling on your mental health. Most people get energy and satisfaction from working together in a team or completing tasks but, when the team is taken away and the tasks are abstract, how can you continue to get satisfaction?

Gwen will discuss her journey from individual contributor to Engineering Manager.  She will talk through how she helped testers and engineers at all levels grow and what tools she uses for a great relationship.  She will discuss moving from testing to working on a wider scope (she currently is the Engineering Manager for Machine Learning and Data Engineering as well).  Lastly, she will dive into the mental side effects and how she gained satisfaction from not being an individual contributor. You can’t help others without helping yourself first!


Gwen is a technology professional from Leeds who specializes in testing.  She is an avid automation evangelist with a focus on testing complemented by repeatable build processes with monitoring. She has had varied roles throughout her career including Scrum Master at a Start Up and DevOps kid at a large Financial Services organisation. She is currently an Engineering Manager at Monzo for the Quality, Machine Learning and Data Engineering disciplines.

As a strong believer in making the tech industry as open and punk as possible, she co- organizes a twice yearly free day long testing conference called the Leeds Testing Atelier.  She speaks regularly at local meet-up groups, Agile Yorkshire and Leeds DevOps, duels with creative types at events like the Tech Off, speaks internationally at conferences such as Nordic Testing Days in Tallinn and was the closing keynote at Agile on the Beach in Falmouth, UK in 2018.

Outside of work, you will usually find her hanging around a Natural History Museum somewhere in the world marvelling at how incredibly excellent dinosaurs are or feeding pigeons or ducks.


Speaker Profile