Ixchel Ruiz @KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2023

May 1, 2023

< 1 min read

Ixchel Ruiz, Senior Software Developer & Developer Advocate, JFrog, Aparna Subramanian, Director of Production Engineering, Shopify, and Kaslin Fields, GKE & OSS K8s Developer Advocate, Google, sit down with Savannah Peterson for KubeCon CloudNativeCon EU 2023 in Amsterdam the Netherlands.


Ixchel Ruiz

Developer Advocate @ JFrog

Ixchel is a Developer Advocate @JFrog. She has developed software applications & tools since 2000. Her research interests include Java, dynamic languages, client-side technologies, DevOps, and testing. Java Champion, Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador, SuperFrog, Hackergarten enthusiast, Open Source advocate, public speaker, and mentor. Travels around the world ( sometimes virtually ) because sharing knowledge is one of her main drives in life!

Video Transcript


Announcer: Welcome to Amsterdam

(boat honks)

and KubeCon, CloudNativeCon 2023.

(boat honks)

Join John Furrier, Savannah Peterson,

Rob Strechay, and Joep Piscaer

as theCUBE covers the largest conference on Kubernetes,

Cloud Native and open source technologies.

Together with developers, engineers,

and IT leaders from around the globe.

Live coverage of KubeCon CloudNativeCon 2023

is made possible by the support of Red Hat, the CNCF,

and it’s ecosystem partners.

>> Good afternoon everyone,

and welcome back to fabulous Amsterdam.

We’re here at KubeCon EU

and I am super excited about this panel,

low key, just like the last one,

I may have pulled some strings to make this magic happen.

Thankfully, these brilliant women surrounding me

were willing to jump in on the fly.

And I am just, I’m just really excited.

I’m pumped, I’ve got Ixchel next to me.

Ixchel, welcome. Hello, how you doing?

>> Thank you very much for having me here, I’m super excited.

>> I can tell.

You’re actually giving me that day two mid-afternoon energy

that I think we all need,

I like lowkey, want to like take an IV off you

and just under the table, stick it into my arm.

Aparna, thank you so much for being here.

How you doing today?

>> I’m doing great. Thank you.

>> Savannah: This is kind of your moment.

Is that how it feel?

>> Yeah, I mean, it feels great.

This is my first time being a co-chair for KubeCon

and you know, first time attending a KubeCon in Europe.

>> Savannah: Amazing.

>> Longtime attendee of KubeCon,

CloudNativeCon in North America.

So, super excited to be here.

>> Yeah. And Kaslin, how you feeling? Welcome.

>> Feeling pretty great. This is my people.

This is I think my 11th KubeCon?

>> Savannah: These are our people. I know.

It really does feel like that.

I’m going to give you the award today,

you have the best earrings.

>> Thank you.

>> For going for accessory. Also, like between your shirt

and your earrings, you just really (kiss).

>> Thank you. Ashley Willis made the earrings handmade.

>> Love that little shout out.

That’s like little designer shout out.

This is going to be awesome.

Ashley’s in the tech community

and she just likes to do this stuff.

>> I know, it looked like fun laser cut.

I used to work in 3D printing and I’m like, oh yeah,

I can see what you did there.

>> They’re amazing.

>> That’s very exciting. They’re rad.

I’m glad you decided to rock ’em today without even knowing

that you were going to be here hanging out with this fabulous

panel of women.

Kaslin I’m going to keep it on you for a second

in case the audience doesn’t recognize your beautiful face.

What is it that you do?

I am a developer advocate at Google, where I focus on GKE,

their managed Kubernetes product,

Google Kubernetes engine and open source Kubernetes.

I’ve been a part of Open Source for quite some time,

though I really started contributing in 2020 and I was

recently nominated to become one of the new co-chairs of

Sig Contribex.

>> Whoa. Congratulations. That’s very exciting.

>> Thank you.

>> You feeling good? You have all positive vibes from that.

>> Yes. Though it’s a little intimidating,

but I’ve got a lot of support, so.

>> I love that. You know what?

I think you’re going to crush it.

>> Thank you. >> Yeah.

We’ll talk a little bit about allyship in our panel.

Aparna, you mentioned your role here at KubeCon CNCF.

You wear a lot of hats and have about eight jobs,

just like all the other women on the panel.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your background and

what you’re doing?

>> Yeah. I’m Director of Production Engineering at Shopify,

and I’m responsible for the platform engineering team there

within the community I’m also co-chair of the

CNCF End User Developer Experience league,

where I have the opportunity to work with a amazing group of

end users of CNCF and we get together

and discuss all things related

to building and operating a Kubernetes platform.

So this community has really helped me learn so much

and do my job better.

>> Love that. The community is so helpful.

I think that’s one of the real magic things you can feel the

energy being here.

You’re obviously helpful in joining me on this panel

last minute, but it is a different culture.

I mean, I’ve lived in the Silicon Valley forever.

I’ll just say it, it’s not the most helpful ecosystem.

There aren’t a lot of people always reaching out, Hey,

how you doing? What’s going on?

You want to learn about this new technology or this new

complicated thing like Kubernetes

and really lifting you up in this open source community.

It’s just different.

Ixchel, you’re really repping the brand strong here.

Tell us what you do for the Frog.

>> Well actually I’m a senior software developer.

I’m also a developer advocate, but I’m, like you,

wearing a lot of hats.

>> Savannah: Quite literally.

>> Literally.

>> So punny.

>> Yes of course.

I help organize conferences on conferences.

I work a lot in open source.

I’m part of different foundations.

Right now I’m part of the OSS foundation,

the CDF foundation.

I’m an ambassador.

I sit down in so many working groups that sometimes

I’m like, where am I?

>> Where are we?

>> Yes. Sometimes it’s like–

>> Now you’re on stage. You never what’s going to happen next.

>> But I’m really passionate about open source,

about developers, like how to make our lives easier.

Like for crying out loud. That’s the objective here.

>> All the snaps for that.

I think making things easy and decreasing complexity,

big themes of the show,

big themes with Kubernetes in general, quite honestly.

And KubeCon’s kind of a celebration of the whole ecosystem

that does make those things easier. I love that.

Just before you three, we had wonderful Cassandra,

the 19-year-old woman who teaches at Kids Day,

which is extraordinarily impressive.

She’s a little bit of a gateway for folks,

for young people to get into tech

and then she says, we don’t even talk about Kubernetes.

She just shows them how to make cool stuff,

which I really loved.

We are here to at least discuss

a little bit about diversity.

And this isn’t going to be your average

women in tech panel ’cause

we’re all old enough to know what those have been like

and that no men watch them.

So we’re going to go ahead

and make sure this is a different dialogue.

When I asked Cassandra,

I thought this was really interesting.

So Cassandra started teaching when she was 12.

>> Exactly.

>> Which is casual, right? Yeah. I mean us too, right?

All of us.

And when I asked her what’s her goal,

what does she hope happens seven years from now?

She’s 19 now, you know when she’s 26,

what’s the conversation we’re having here?

And it actually kind of broke my heart, but it’s true.

She said, “I hope we’re not doing women in tech

and diversity panels anymore.”

Now I don’t know about you three,

I’m curious about your hot take,

but I’ve been in the industry for 15 years

and it’s… not a lot’s changed.

I would say, I mean,

it’s wonderful to be around three women in

positions of power and leadership here within our community.

And I do think there’s a lot of reasons to give hope

and we’re certainly all are allies for each other.

But I mean, do you agree?

Do you feel like things are getting better?

Aparna what’s your opinion?

You’re looking at the whole community quite literally.

And you probably have some data.

>> I mean, I think the key is really to think about it

as like, okay what, even if it’s small,

what can I do to make a difference? Right?

Because like you said, I’ve been in so many women

in tech panels and you know, I’m like, you know,

I got into this last minute. I’m like,

what are we going to talk about?

Like, is it going be the same old?

>> Savannah: Not with this girl.

Heck no, we don’t do that.

We don’t do same old anything.

>> So, yeah. I think it’s really important to think about,

you know, no matter what, like how can I make the

ecosystem you know, the micro environment around me better?

And I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing women

who I’ve learned from and who have helped me build that

network and get, you know,

get those connections and advance in my own career and,

you know, community as well.

So I think it’s important to think about it as

what can I do?

And not just women, right?

Everybody has to think about–

>> And the little things.

I mean even just saying one of my company values that my

company is “say the nice things out loud.”

And we think about so many times, you know,

you haven’t given that compliment or whatever. Or like,

you know, bros will like give each other the elbow up like,

“nice one bro.” You know?

And whereas like we’re like, “oh, it was okay”

and we’re all like sheepish about it.

Kas when you’re in a role of extreme advocacy.

You’re looking at developers, what’s your opinion?

>> Yeah, I 100% agree with that take.

I would love to see in seven years.

I don’t know if that might be a little ambitious.


>> I like it, I’m going with Cassandra,

maybe we’re moving as fast as you know, quantum.

>> Maybe we are.

But I would love to see us stop doing those.

And I think issue of women in diversity

in general in technology is a very difficult one to solve,

as we’ve all talked about before.

And I think something that’s challenging about it is that

there is some nuance to it. You can’t just throw out there,

oh, we’re going to talk about women in technology,

we’re going to talk about diversity.

>> Savannah: We hired a detective officer.

Like everything’s going to be fine now.

>> And it doesn’t help. It actually hurts a lot of the time.

>> Not even close. Not even close.

>> Because when we’re calling out,

we need to do this special thing because there is a problem

we’re calling out that there is a problem to begin with.

So there’s always this fine balance of

we need to fix the problem. So we need to talk about it,

but we also need to not make it worse by making it feel more

real, by doing, I don’t know,

things that exacerbate the issue. So we have to be careful.

>> I love that. Give me some examples of

some action steps that you are taking

that are nuanced like that.

>> Yeah, so I am a volunteer for ADA Academy,

which is a program for training gender diverse people who

are working their way into technology from other fields.

And I volunteer with them as an industry mentor.

So folks in this program get two mentors.

They get one person who’s been through the program before

and then they get an industry mentor

who can be anyone from the industry,

someone who is going to help them understand what this

industry is and what they’re getting themselves into.

And I talk to a lot of–

>> I think it’s actually a big part of the barrier too.

>> Yes, so true.

And I talk to a lot of men actually who want to help out with

these kinds of things. And they’re like, “oh, but can I?”

Is my voice one of the ones that’s welcome in this space?

Would I just be getting in the way of these people that

we’re trying to get in? I’m always like, no,

we need to support them.

We need mentorship and we need the folks who are there to

share their knowledge.

>> And have you seen some folks come through that program

and go on to be super successful?

>> Oh absolutely. Yeah.

The folks that I have worked with

coming through that program,

I’ve been a mentor for like six or seven mentees now.

And they’re so driven. They do such amazing things.

It’s awesome.

>> I tangentially find the underdog sometimes

has a little extra drive. A little extra fight.

>> Kaslin: I’ve even even seen some of them

present at KubeCon.

>> Love to hear that full circle on your stage coming out of

your program. That’s fantastic.

Ixchel, what do you think?

>> Oh, so many thoughts. First of all —

>> I can’t wait to hear them all. I’m pumped.

>> I have bad news.

We are actually moving sometimes in the last three years,

we move in the wrong direction.

>> Savannah: We went in the wrong direction?

>> Yes.

We had more women leaving and not returning

after the pandemic.

>> Savannah: ‘Cause They’re the ones that have to

teach the kids at home.

>> Yes.

So we are still moving in the right direction,

but not as fast as possible.

So that depresses me a little bit

because I know other community —

>> Savannah: It depresses me a lot.

>> I have seen other communities where they have this ratio

that it’s like, how did you do it?

Like I honestly go and ask, how did you manage?

Like what is the secret sauce?

What should we be doing?

Because in the Java community where I’m from,

we are actually worse than this one.

Let me tell you that you are teaching us some things that

the Java community doesn’t have. Our ratio is even lower.

So I’m the one that is like.

>> Savannah: You should be the face of Java then.

>> You should be doing something here. Like, well anyway.

>> What do you think is the resistance in that way?

Why do you think we’re not changing?

Why do you think it’s not getting better?

>> So many reasons. First of all,

people do not recognize that we have a problem.

I sit down with a lot of men–

>> They think we solved it when we put three women in power.

>> What you said, we already have an officer,

we have a program that’s it, isn’t it?

Like that’s the only thing, right?

>> Women feel empowered at the organization, right?

>> Yes, no, no.

But you need, like, and for example,

you still have these confusing ideas. Like,

this is a women in tech breakfast and men shouldn’t go.

I’m like, no, you should go because we need allies.

You need to be a mentor. Of course.

I’m also part of the mentorship program online,

not for like a little bit like that,

but it’s for refugees for example,

people that really want to go into technology and they are

like learning at all hours of the day.

So that’s an interesting one.

>> I think that’s a great point.

>> Yeah. Yes it is.

Because they need like they are–

>> Schedule flexibility.

>> Exactly.

>> It’s so simple.

But some companies are so rigid about stuff like that.

>> Exactly.

>> Being fully async or having flexible hours.

It makes a big difference.

>> Totally. And totally.

And the learning process can be at different hours.

>> Of course.

And everyone’s brain is more excited

at different times of the day.

You know we don’t know what we’re doing.

We’re all jet lagged.

Nobody even knows what day it is half the time when we go to

shows like this. So, and I mean we’re all

just doing our best.

You talked about something that I think is really–

actually all three of you did.

I want to talk a little bit about allyship

and I am the first person to admit

I would not be sitting where I am today

or doing what I do if it weren’t for a flock of

middle-aged white men who have gone out of their way,

identified what they saw as potential.

I won’t put words in their mouth, but they weren’t wrong.

And helped elevate me or helped coach me through certain

moments or empower me.

And what I don’t like about some of the conversations

that we’ve been having

and even through some of the last few years

is to your point,

men feel scared to be a part of that conversation.

They don’t know if they can attend.

They don’t know if they’re welcome. You know,

they’re just trying to get out of our way.

It can’t just be a conversation we’re having

in the ladies room.

Which is what it feels like half the time

and what it’s been for a really long time.

And it really, I mean, it deeply disappoints me.

One of my friends did something actually extraordinarily

clever, Matt I’m giving you a big shout out right now.

In the UK, he did a —

they call it Silicon Beach over there.

I’m not exactly sure he’s going to the beach in London and

anyway, we’ll just leave that.

But he had a — the lineup was all women,

but he didn’t tell any–

he didn’t make a big deal out of it.

So when people just showed up to the event,

all female lineup and he brought it up at the end and the

gender ratio was 50/50 pretty much in the room,

which was cool ’cause the women will bring–

we do bring out the other women at least to come see us.

But on the flip side,

what I really loved about that and when I asked him,

I was like, you didn’t want to advertise

’cause for him it would’ve been a

good advertisement, right?

I’ve got this whole power pack, female lineup, blah,

blah, blah. He goes, if I did, the men wouldn’t come.

And it totally broke my heart because how many times have we

been in an all male lineup forever.

>> So true.

>> But I think, yeah, I mean I think it’s really…

I don’t know.

There’s to your point,

we’re going sometimes in the wrong direction and I don’t

think we’re as far along the path as we might think we are.

And I think seeing is believing.

So I’m hoping that if you’re a young woman right now

watching this program or anyone of any gender diversity,

first of all we celebrate you. We’re here to empower you.

We’re here to be your ally.

But more importantly keep fighting the good fight.

We’re definitely out here. We’re definitely going to try.

What have been some of the stepping stones you’re all in,

like extremely cool.

I feel like, I feel cooler sitting at this table right now

having you all here.

What have been some of the stepping stones that

have helped you get to where you are?

Aparna I’m going to start with you ’cause this is your show.

>> Yeah and I’ll start with the example of like how

CNCF does it, right?

Like when we do the review the proposals and invite,

decide who to invite to speak in the conference.

We are really intentional about gender diversity.

We are very intentional about giving the opportunity to

first time conference speakers, right?

Because like you apply to speak at any conference,

they’re like give me the video

of your previous conference talk,

but I don’t have one so what do I do? Right?

And then also being intentional about like

this is Amsterdam.

So we really prioritize European speakers so that, you know,

they are able to speak within their own community and share

ideas among themselves.

>> Savannah: And bring their community in to this community.

>> Yeah, exactly.

So I think it’s really about like, you know,

being objective about things. And I’ll give you an example.

Like, you know,

when there’s a really important project at work

and you know, you want to identify your leader

to drive the project,

you know, the obvious choice would be like, you know,

the loudest person in the room. And more often than not,

it’s not the woman who’s the loudest voice in the room.

So again,

it’s about coming up with like a very objective criteria.

Like okay,

what do we want this leader to do and what are the

qualifications of this leader? And then cast a wide net,

look at all the leaders in the organization.

Look at the women because they’re not,

probably not going to raise their hand

and be the loudest voice.

>> Savannah: That self selection is hard.

>> So I think, you know, just making,

turning everything objective and being intentional about

things really helps.

>> What are– so you mentioned, you know,

really being strict in criteria for speaking.

I love that ’cause holy, I became a host

and a speaker because I saw too many boring guys on stage

and I literally just sat there one day and I was like,

I can do it better than they can. Forget this.

Like, I’m just going to make a career out of this.

Yeah, go ahead. I feel like you said (indistinct).

>> You say something because usually one of the critiques,

and let me tell you that at the beginning,

it affected a lot of my career.

They were like people coming up to me and saying,

you have that spot because you’re a woman. I’m like —

(panel gasps)

>> I just felt that in my soul.

>> I’m like, you know, I mean women we’re damn good.

We are not loud, but we are damn good.

And if you see a woman in technology,

like listen to her because she’s flourishing in an

environment that is totally against her.

>> That is shit on her the entire time.

And probably sexually assaulted her and God knows what else.

>> So you want somebody that knows how to solve problems.

That’s her.

Do you know someone that is like enduring and knows how to

continue and is passionate because you require

passionate, you require intelligence,

you require like love for technology and to give out to

the community. Because if you see all, like all ourselves,

we are giving back to the community.

>> Panel: Yeah, yeah.

>> So I’m with you. You have to be objective.

>> Savannah: You just nailed it.

>> You have to be objective because the place that we are

having here, it’s not because we have something,

different here.

It’s because we are good from here to here.

That’s it.

>> I just got goosebumps first of all that was like, wow.

But you’re absolutely spot on.

It was actually a theme of KubeCon.

I was there in October 2021 in LA, totally different vibe.

Sidebar, we’ve come a long way since then.

But the theme was resilience realized I think

or something like that.

And it really,

as you were thinking about that, I’m like, wow,

how appropriate is that? ‘Cause you’re right,

we have had to fight harder and to endure so much.

Like oh, because you’re a woman or I mean,

I’m a tall blonde woman, you know what they say about that?

Oh, how’d you get here?

Yeah. Oh, I’m sure.

No, I didn’t suck my (beep) here actually.

I used my mind. And believe it or not,

that’s the most powerful thing that

all of us have here. And I hate that like

that phone call,

I’m sure all of us have gotten that phone call.

Well, I guess you kind of got that phone call yesterday.

This is different as I’m sure you can tell.

But get that phone call, you know, they’re like, oh,

there’s three men on a panel.

Can you join us to be the woman?

Oh but we don’t have any more speaker budget

or we don’t have any more whatever.

But we’ll, you know, like you can just come up and do it.

>> Kaslin: I should have have a “day’s since” calendar.

>> Yes, seriously though. It’s one of those things like,

don’t do that. If you’re an organizer,

start with the right people for this stage.

So, just quickly, what was–

was there a lot of diversity on–

I’ve been sitting here on our stage, unfortunately,

and so not getting to see a lot of your stage.

What was the diversity like for the lineup this year?

>> The foundation will publish a transparency report,

like shortly after.

>> Savannah: I always look forward to that actually.

I read them.

>> But again, I don’t remember the numbers top of my head,

but we had specific goals,

like numbers to meet and we met or exceeded like all of

those goals this year.

>> Savannah: That makes me feel really good.

>> And I think the other thing I would like to highlight is

when we are setting the talks,

we are very intentional and try to avoid “group think.”

Like, you know, all three co-chairs,

we individually review all of the talks and we say yes, no,

or maybe independently.

So we are not getting biased by each other and we are not

going like, oh, like, you know, this bigger.

Like, hey, he’s great.

Yeah, of course he should have it.

And you know, not review the abstract.

>> We all know the same 10 men who speak at all this stuff,

we don’t say their names.

They’re smart and lovely too, but they’re also like–

>> Fresh ideas.

>> Yeah. And I learned that, you know, that’s a great thing.

Because like, you know, in an interview panel,

what happens is like everybody gets together and then

the loudest person influences the group.

So I think it’s about being intentional

and, you know, countering bias.

>> Yeah. It really is. It really is. Wow.

I don’t want to end this panel.

Unfortunately the nice white gentleman in my ears

are telling me that our time is up.

I had to do it baby. That was just for you.

But I know we’re really, really sad to do this.

Ixchel, Aparna, Kaslin. Seriously, thank you.

Genuinely both as a human being and as a host.

We’re really grateful that you were able to make the time,

bring your energy. And I love the realness, the rawness,

the authentic opinions. We need more of it on theCUBE.

John Furrier I hope you’re listening.

And thank you, the audience for coming along this ride.

I hope you learned something fun and new from all of us.

You should definitely follow these ladies,

follow their work, follow their leadership,

and know that we’re rooting for you in whatever journey

you’re trying to be resilient in, in your current life.

My name’s Savannah Peterson.

Coming to you live here from KubeCon EU in Amsterdam.

We’re theCube, the leading source for emerging tech news.

(outro tune)