Nadini Sahabandu

Nadini Sahabandu | Mitra Innovation

Nadini Sahabandu

With 12 years of multi-disciplinary experience in the realm of Information Technology, Nadini has worked across verticals from IT Procurement, Strategy, Business Analysis, Product Management, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Client Services, Program Management, etc.

She is an ICT Product Manager and a Business Consultant, and currently serves the dual role of Regional Head and Senior Manager - Client Services at Mitra Innovation.

She is academically sound, with a First Class in Bachelor (Hons) Information and Communication Technology from University of Colombo, and was known to be the “techie girl” in both school and university. She also holds an MBA from University of Wales, Executive Education in Business Analytics from University of Cambridge, and various other professional qualifications including International Institute of Business Analysis, Product School, Agile & Scrum, Sun Certified Java Programmer, Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer, CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) certifications.

While Nadini was born and raised in Sri Lanka, she has also lived and worked in USA, UK, Australia and Sri Lanka, while serving clients across the globe, from Fortune 500 companies, and across the spectrum of small and medium enterprises, startups and entrepreneurs.

Her domain exposure extends across Healthcare, Financial Services, Insurance, Social Services, Government sector, etc. Having started her career with Ernst and Young as an IT Advisory Associate, she went on to gain experience across procurement, business analysis, marketing, solutioning, product design and management, quality engineering, programme management, client services, etc.

Nadini is a huge advocate of diversity and inclusion, and continuous learning as a whole. She leads and contributes to many such initiatives as well.

Achievements and contributions:

* The only female and only Sri Lankan out of 7 individuals who were selected for Virtusa Global Sales Leadership program in 2015. As a result she was the only one from the batch who was placed in Florida, USA on this new role soon after.
* Featured on 1 Million Women in STEM in 2020
* Executive Committee member of SLASSCOM Product & Platform Council (Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies)
* Creator of the Business Analysis Challenges for the "Future Careers Bridge" - a platform that serves as the stepping stone for school leavers to take up a career in STEM
* Initiated and leads a programme of trainings and mentoring on Diversity & Inclusive Design with Web Accessibility
* Charter Secretary of the Mitra Innovation Toastmasters Club
* Winner in several Toastmasters competitions at the Club, and Area level and participation at Division level.
* Worked in USA, UK, Australia, Sri Lanka, India and with many nationalities and cultures across the world
* Creator of multiple frameworks used across Mitra Innovation such as: Spark Hub Innovation Framework, Discovery Kit, Business Analysis templates and techniques, etc. that has helped fill in strategic and tactical gaps in the organisations she has worked for as well as for client organisations.
* Frequently conducts trainings for Business Analysts and Product Managers
* Carries out initiatives to encourage students to take up STEM subjects
* Former Product Owner and tech leadership team member for a platform based in Australia that supports people with disability to fulfil their life goals and live a socially inclusive life with improved self-sufficiency.
* Introduced a knowledge sharing content series on LinkedIn under her own brand name ‘INGENIUM’, to share her knowledge on technology related subjects with a wider forum.

Qualifications & Certifications:

* Executive Education: Business Analytics from University of Cambridge, Judge Business School (2020)
* Master of Business Administration from University of Wales (2018)
* First Class in Bachelor (Hons) Information and Communication Technology (2010)
* Certificate in Product Ownership Analysis (CPOA) from International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA ®) (2021)
* Product Analytics Certificate (PAC) ™ from Product School (2021)
* Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) from Scrum Alliance (2018)
* Certified Associate in Project Management from Project Management Institute, USA (2010)
* POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN MARKETING from Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK
* POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN MARKETING from Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK

Natalja Rodionova

Natalja Rodionova | IT Academy STEP Cambodia

Natalja Rodionova

Natalja Rodionova, a management professional, has arrived to Cambodia from Latvia, EU in 2015 to run a branch of an international IT training centre.

With her professional background in management and marketing, she has pivoted her career to education and technology and has become an active community member, supporting the needs of the growing tech community in Cambodia, focusing on female empowerment. In 2019 she has established of the first coding club in Cambodia “Sisters of Code”, a non-profit educational program. By establishing a non-profit educational club, that provides coding lessons to the female students free of charge, she has created a new and innovative model for empowering girls and supporting their interests to learn coding to become active members of the digital economy, both growing their confidence and skills, by giving a unique opportunity to learn and get support from the like-minded people. Thanks to her energy and dedication, Sisters of Code club has been supported by the USAID, Development Innovations, as well as Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Cambodia and the British Embassy. As the founder of the Sisters of Code, she has developed the vision of the organization, as well as built up a strong team of like-minded professionals and is now fully dedicated to scaling Sisters of Code in Cambodia.

Mia Fuhrman

Mia Fuhrman | Varo Bank

Mia Fuhrman

I studied philosophy and neuroscience as an undergrad at Carleton Collage.

Despite discovering a knack for formal logic, studying computer science didn't cross my mind until after graduation. Of course, a bachelor's degree in philosophy didn't make me eminently qualified for any practical work, but I had some experience doing data entry and was able to get hired as a receptionist. Thinking computer skills might improve my prospects in administrative work, I took a free online "Introduction to Computer Science" class.

It was love at first "byte". I started taking classes at the University of Minnesota, then got my master's degree in compute science with a certificate in cognitive science from the University of Colorado. I found artificial intelligence and machine learning at the intersection of the fields I loved most: computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and linguistics. My first full-time industry job was with a group that had recently been acquired by Oracle doing natural language processing of social media data. I worked with some amazing people who taught me a tremendous amount about machine learning "in the wild".

My husband and I decided to move to San Francisco in 2019, and I started working for Varo Bank later that year. I was pretty adamant about never working in finance, having witnessed the devastation to working and middle class people caused by insufficient regulations on financial institutions during the great recession; however, I was impressed with Varo's stated mission to increase financial inclusion and give people an alternative to existing predatory services.