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Sarah Gruneisen

Director of Engineering,

Leadership Trainer & Facilitator

20 years+ Full Stack Software Engineering & Agile Coaching Experience.  Highly experienced in creating empowered engineering teams that deliver results.  Successful track record of establishing Agile teams, launching products, and integrating new organizational processes.  Leading teams with compassion, creativity, and authenticity.  Highly organized and comfortable in dynamic, complex environments.

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University of California, Davis

Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering

Completed in 2000

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  • Fluent: English

  • Basic: Dutch & German

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Leadership, Leader Who Coaches, DevOps, DevEx, Consulting, Agile Coaching, Software Engineering, Change Management, Integration Projects, Design Architecture, Database Development, Backend & Frontend Development

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Co-organizer DevOpsDays Amsterdam & Eindhoven

Jun 2018 - Jan 2022

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  • Director of Engineering | Novoda

Sep 2022 - present

Key responsibilities:

  • Leading the company as part of the senior leadership team

  • Developing the engineering practices and value proposition

  • Business development, including pitching new projects

  • Supporting client project delivery across all teams

  • Empowering and nurturing the engineering team and delivery partners

  • Developing community, thought leadership, and outreach

  • Driving company purpose and achievement of business goals

 

  • Leadership Coach and Facilitator | Avagasso Coaching

Jan 2022 - present

Key responsibilities:

  • Providing leadership training to individuals and groups

  • Running and supporting a community of STEM leaders

  • Engineering Manager Fintech | bol.com

Jan 2021 - Aug 2022

Key responsibilities:

  • Leading, managing, and coaching IT teams and facilitating cross-team collaboration

  • Co-leading product development and delivery

  • Managing vendors, contractors, and departmental budgets

  • Coordinating and implementing company-wide IT initiatives

  • R& D Team Lead / Agile Coach | Onetrail

Jan 2019 - Dec 2020

Key responsibilities:

  • Leading the company through Agile transformation

  • Scrum master and project lead (internal and external)

  • Organizational training in Agility and Scrum

  • Facilitating company-wide meetings using Liberating Structures

  • Developed project management system and processes

  • Mission Critical Software Engineer | Schuberg Philis

Aug 2016 - Dec 2018

  • Senior Software Engineer | Woodwing Software

Oct 2015 - Jul 2016

  • CEO & Software Engineer | Avagasso GmbH

Apr 2010 - Oct 2015

  • Head of Software Engineering | Smarcom AG

Jan 2009 - Dec 2010

  • Senior Software Architect | MondayCoffee

Oct 2007 - Nov 2008

  • Product Life Cycle Manager | Sunrise Communications

Oct 2005 - Sep 2007

  • Application and System Engineer | Alcatel CH

Apr 2001 - Oct 2006

  • Software Engineer Consultant | Cambridge Tech Partners

Jun 2000 - Oct 2000

  • Software Engineer Internship | Alcatel USA

Jun 1999 -Sep 1999

  • Webmaster | University of California, Davis

Jan 1998 - Apr 1999

Sarah Gruneisen

Director of Engineering,

Leadership Trainer & Facilitator

Hi! I’m Sarah. I was born and raised in California, USA and I’ve always loved psychology, science, and exploring other cultures.  Shortly after graduating, I moved to Switzerland and spent most of my twenties traveling and exploring other cultures.  In my thirties, I started a family and am now a mother of three living in The Netherlands.  Though I’m grounded now, I’ll have a forever adventurous soul!

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"I worked together with Sarah at bol.com. Sarah truly understands how genuine, honest, and sometimes even confrontational interest and coaching are essential in bringing out the best in every individual that makes up a team. And the wonder of it all, Sarah can do this at scale"

– Lean van Tegelen, Manager IT at bol.com

“Sarah is an exceptional leader and facilitator. She introduced me to Liberating Structures, a powerful approach that has enhanced my ability to collaborate and communicate effectively.  Her warm and elaborate approach to training creates an inviting environment for participants, fostering a positive and empowering experience.  Sarah's leadership skills are outstanding, and she inspires others to do their best.”

 

– Umut Cetin, Software Engineer at Microsoft

“Sarah is a person who wants to make a positive change in her environment by igniting fires within the people she works with. She is an incredible asset to any company, and I believe she can transform organizations.”

– Vasilis Kelempekis, Software Engineer at bol.com

“Sarah is a seasoned manager who brings a lot of energy, trust, and empowerment to the teams she manages.  She knows how to balance directing, mentoring, and coaching very well, helping her teams to find fulfilling and stretching goals.  I was lucky to have Sarah as my engineering manager, and I can say that her leadership and coaching sessions were invaluable; they led me to tremendous personal growth and brought the culture and way of working of our innovation teams to the next level.”

 

– João Martinelli, Software Engineer at bol.com

“Having a technical background and good soft skills really gives an advantage in leading a team in a technical company.  Sarah has both of these qualities, which is rare. With her extensive Agile/Scrum knowledge, she helped transition the entire company into an agile way of working, increasing happiness.  With her management skills and liberating structures, she made meetings for the company as a whole much more fun and effective.”

 

– Douwe Tammer, Medior Java Developer at Onetrail

"Sarah is a highly skilled scrum coach and liberation structure evangelist, knowing the Agile methodology inside out, not only the theory but especially on how to implement and change the whole organization (not just development) to become agile.

Sarah is a team leader with high empathy and is very good at managing a team with developers. She was able to change our development team, especially junior developers, into a self-steering team, that is not only able to set boundaries and continuously improve itself but also reaches out to the organization to help."

–Cor Zijlstra, CTO at Onetrail

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  • Trust

  • Autonomy

  • Authenticity

  • Reliability

  • Empathy

  • Respect

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  • The Influential Communication Programme

  • Liberating Structures Immersion Workshop

  • Stretch to Fit

  • Dare to Lead™

  • Leaders Who Coach

  • TSS Public Academy Advanced + Insights Coaching

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  • Leadership & Coaching

  • Team Leadership & Building

  • Courageous Conversations

  • Empowerment & Liberation

  • Diversity & Inclusion

  • Mindful Facilitation

  • Product Development

  • Liberating Structures

  • Holacracy

  • Agile Methodologies

  • Communication Skills

  • Preparing Trainings

  • Innovation Development

  • Organizational Development

  • Problem-Solving

  • Community Development

  • Business Development

​I'm a reformer who focuses on guiding companies and teams during a transformative journey.  I devote my time to tackling your biggest challenges.  I'm set on making sure I make the needed impact; impact that will remain after I leave the company. 

 

When I feel I can leave without the risk of the company or teams returning to their old ways, I know I've made the impact I wanted without making them dependent on my presence. That's when I know I have truly succeeded as a leader!

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