Tech, Queers & Progressive Politics: A Panel Discussion To Disrupt The Divide

Come tech workers, come queers, come progressives, come allies, come all - it’s time to collaborate on solutions for our city’s most pressing issues! Eager to help foster a more constructive dialogue between San Francisco’s booming tech community and the city’s long-standing progressive base, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club is excited to host this important panel discussion and start the conversation about what’s been holding us up.

With a vibrant panel reflecting both the diversity of the Bay Area and tech industry, the discussion will focus on:

  • The intersection of the tech industry and the progressive community, highlighting members with shared affiliation and the organizations that marry technology & social engagement

  • Identifying how to change the communication dynamic between the communities to foster more open dialogue and collaboration

  • Strategizing how we can shift the “us vs. them” paradigm to one of shared thriving

  • Unpacking the barriers making it difficult for tech workers to engage with issues such as housing affordability, homelessness, racial justice, public transportation, and more

If you've got questions for the panelists, please email them to [email protected]. Due to time and format constraints, we can't guarantee we'll be able to field all of the questions, but we'll do our best to fit them in where we can. 



Rose Hayes - Google

Rose Hayes is an Engineering Director at Google.  She is currently leading an effort focused on machine intelligence and personal privacy preservation.  Rose's previous responsibilities at Google include leading the development of the Knowledge Graph, a massive database of human knowledge.  Rose's prior experience ranges from coding in assembly language at the Digital Equipment Corporation to developing automated trading systems on Wall Street.

Rose is active in LGBT advocacy.  She's been on the board of the Transgender Law Center for two years and counting. She is passionate about leadership development in the LGBT community and recently co-lead a workshop at Creating Change, the annual convening of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Dominique DeGuzman - Twilio

Dominique (Dom) DeGuzman is a self-taught software engineer with a background in enterprise desktop hardware support and formalized public speaking. After years in hardware, Dom used building and provisioning linux machines as a jumping point into software and tools development. Now a Cloud Services engineer at Twilio, she focuses on development pipeline, infrastructure monitoring, and internal communications tools. Alongside development, Dom is one of the founding members of the diversity and inclusion initiative at Twilio as well as the San Francisco City Director for Lesbians Who Tech. She uses humor and personal storytelling to speak passionately and enthusiastically about the importance of diversity and inclusion, battling the brogrammer culture, how to overcome impostor syndrome, and encouraging more women, LBGTQA and other underrepresented minorities in the field to pursue a future in STEM. She is also a contributor to Elissa Shevinsky’s feminist anthology, Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture, forthcoming from OR Books.  

About Twilio: Twilio is a software and cloud communications company. Twilio empowers software developers and businesses to build and deploy communications solutions by enabling phones, VoiP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop and mobile software. If you have any interest in using Twilio in your work, let us know and we can set up a meet-and-greet with someone who will be able to answer any of your questions about Twilio.

Urvi Nagrani - Motiv Power Systems

Urvi Nagrani currently works at Motiv Power Systems as a Marketing Manager. Motiv Power Systems builds an all-electric powertrain to enable medium- and heavy-duty vehicle builders to make all-electric trucks and buses. At Motiv she works in developing business relationships, interfacing with customers, government representatives, press, and other stakeholders. She plays an active role in grant writing and has worked on technical reports for Motiv. Previously she’s worked at a variety of early stage startups including Oximity, Intuary, and Everest Beverage. She began her career working on a variety of media projects including photography, films, a film festival, and digital media projects. She has a B.A. in Film & Media Studies from UC Santa Barbara and an A.A. in History from Foothill College, and where she was active in student activism and political campaigns. She can be found on twitter as @theurv.

About Motiv Power Systems: Founded in 2009 and based in Foster City, CA, Motiv Power Systems designs and builds an electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) and All-electric Powertrain for commercial truck and bus chassis used in all-electric versions of vehicles such as shuttle buses, school buses, delivery vehicles and refuse trucks. In 2014, Motiv was awarded a Best of What’s New Award by Popular Science, and named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in America by Inc Magazine, and the Silicon Valley Business Journal. For more information, please visit

Cayden Mak - 18Million Rising

Cayden Mak is the New Media Director at where they design and build beautiful things to organize and empower Asian American & Pacific Islander communities online. They are an Master of Fine Arts candidate in SUNY Buffalo's Department of Media Study, where they formerly taught courses in critical video game studies, film interpretation, media interpretation, and pervasive game design. They write about technology and organizing and visual culture at

About 18MillionRising: is America's first national organization to serve Asian American and Pacific Islander communities via online organizing, by creating digital vehicles for civic engagement, and pioneering ways to leverage new media as a platform for social change.

Debra Cleaver - Long Distance Voter

Debra Cleaver is the Founder and Executive Director of Long Distance Voter. She has over a decade of experience using web-based technologies to increase voter engagement. Under Debra's leadership, Long Distance Voter has emerged as the most heavily trafficked site on the internet for accurate voting information.

About Long Distance Voter: Long Distance Voter builds technology that makes it easier to vote. 129 million Americans voted in the 2012 election -- 2 million of them visited first. 

MODERTOR: Jane Martin - Senior Political Community Organizer, SEIU USWW

Jane Martin is a Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club member who has been working with low wage workers as a union and community organizer in the bay area for the past 14 years. Most recently Jane worked with youth and families at P.O.W.E.R. struggling with the high cost of housing in San Francisco and helped coordinate the Free Muni for Youth campaign. Jane is currently the Northern California political organizer for SEIU United Service Workers West representing janitors, airport workers, and security officers throughout the state. She is one of the organizers of Silicon Valley Rising - a growing movement of service workers confronting rising income inequality in the tech driven economy. In 2010 she was a recipient of the San Francisco Bay Guardian “Local Hero” award for her role in organizing the viral flash mob protest "Caught in a Bad Hotel' with Pride At Work in support of San Francisco hotel workers.