Expanding our community to new speakers and members
- Sign up to be a Speak Easy mentor so that you can support a newbie entering a talk at EclipseCon Europe
- Spread the word that EclipseCon Europe is actively supporting new speakers by reserving slots specifically for them
A diverse conference: welcoming to all
The Eclipse community is a fantastic, dynamic, and welcoming community. But one question has been coming up in conference planning discussions: “How do we encourage new speakers and attendees to participate?”
This question can be sorted under the category of “diversity at conferences.” These three words are the subject of countless discussions – on Twitter, in blogs, and by conference organizers themselves.
Diversity can be interpreted differently by different people. It can mean increasing the amount of women at a conference, the amount of attendees from further afield, or the amount of students. In its most general interpretation, it can simply mean encouraging new speakers and attendees to participate – and making the conference accessible to anyone who is interested.
At the yearly EclipseCon Europe planning meeting, we asked ourselves how we can encourage more diversity at EclipseCon Europe, starting with “new blood” for speakers. The same questions have been addressed within the OSGi CE Program Committee. The answer was to get involved in the Speak Easy program.
The Speak Easy Program
Speak Easy is a voluntary program designed to increase diversity in tech conferences through dedicated conference spots, mentoring, and events. One of us on the planning team had already served as a mentor, and it seemed like a good fit.
Experienced speakers can sign up as mentors to help new speakers submit and present their first talks at a particular conference. Interested speakers can sign up to be mentored. And conferences can sign up to reserve slots for Speak Easy graduates.
Speak Easy Slots at EclipseCon Europe
We’re pleased to announce that EclipseCon Europe will be reserving a total of three slots (talks) for Speak Easy graduates: one talk in the Project Quality Day, one for the main EclipseCon conference, and one for the OSGi Community Event.
This isn’t only an exciting step for EclipseCon Europe, but also for Speak Easy, since we are one of the first developer conferences that they’re pairing with. That does mean that we need some extra help, though.
Lend your support and welcome new speakers to EclipseCon Europe!
There are already many mentors signed up at Speak Easy. But to work on talks for EclipseCon Europe, we will need some of *you* (yes, you!) to agree to mentor a new speaker so that there are mentors with direct Eclipse (Con) experience.
Mentoring is not generally a time consuming activity. The call for papers is open until the end of July, so the time frame is (relatively) short. We believe that we can get enough mentors signed up to assist any Speak Easy applicants. From my own experience, I can say that even mentors can learn from the process about how to write abstracts and talks as well!
At the moment, the website still talks about software testers, but don’t worry about that! Just write your general experience in the area where “software testing experience” is asked for.
This is a great opportunity to welcome new people into our community. Thanks for any help you can give (sharing, signing up, mentoring) to take part!