Many years ago, I was considering a career change. I wanted to switch to tech--it was exciting, challenging, and full of potential. But as I considered moving into web development, I found myself isolated at community events, left out of technical conversations while networking, and generally unsure if there really would be a place for me in web development if I chose to take that leap.
Then my partner brought home a copy of the Linux Journal with Angie Byron on the cover. I had no idea who she was, but he told me she was one of the most prominent people in the Drupal community--and the first woman to ever be featured on the cover of the Linux Journal. As a fellow queer woman, seeing her there and knowing that she was a big part of the Drupal community helped me find the courage for my big career switch.
Drupal Diversity and Inclusion
I joined the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion collective in 2016 because I saw them doing powerful work to lift up the voices of marginalized and under-represented people in our community. I’d finally found my place in the Drupal community, and better still, I could follow the long-standing tradition of the Drupal do-ocracy and help others, too!
Speaker Diversity Initiative
That work continues with our latest initiative, which aims to improve speaker diversity at Drupal camps and cons. As one part of that initiative, we would like to offer online workshops to help under-represented people gain confidence, find ideas, and develop conference presentations.
The training will be offered by Jill Binder, founder of DiverseIn.tech, who has done great work improving speaker diversity in the WordPress space (another community Pantheon loves!). In 2018, the 12 cities in six countries who ran Jill’s workshop started at 10% or less for speakers of underrepresented groups, and within months, most had 50% or more diverse speakers.
The Role of Speaking in Community Leadership
Speaking opportunities elevate the speaker’s profile, establish them as experts, and ultimately lead to better jobs and community connections. Unfortunately, public speaking can also be a particular challenge for under-represented individuals. Personally, I have frequently been questioned on my technical expertise yet I see my cis male colleagues get a pass in similar situations. For anyone with similar experiences, the thought of claiming expertise on a large scale can evoke large-scale fear. Imposter syndrome and harassment also limit the kind of folks applying to speak. Seeing ourselves represented in our community matters--especially when we see ourselves represented in highly visible positions, like technical leadership and conference speaker slots.
How Drupal Benefits
The benefits extend far beyond the individual, though. In the short term, a more diverse speaker pool draws new audiences and offers new perspectives and learning opportunities--a benefit to any camp!
Long term, new speakers from under-represented groups become integrated into the community and start contributing more to the Drupal project. In turn, their perspectives and experiences generate new, innovative ideas that will improve the project and strengthen Drupal and the open web.
Pantheon has partnered with Drupal Diversity & Inclusion on this initiative. We're offering a $2500 matching fund (plus marketing support!) to help DDI raise the funds needed to get this initiative off the ground. We have two matching donors already--thank you, Lullabot, Kanopi Studios, and Dries Buytaert--and we’d love to have you join us.
If your organization (whether that’s a company or a camp organizing team) wants to support under-represented folks on their journey towards speaking, please consider a donation to the DD&I Speaker Initiative.
Share the initiative with your staff and/or local community, and make sure they have the time to attend the event and prepare for their awesome talks. We’re active at #DrupalSpeakerDiversity on Twitter.
If you are yourself from an under-represented group, please sign up to be notified when the workshops launch! We want to see lots of new faces submitting talks to camps and cons around the world.
Join us! We're dreaming of a more open and inclusive open source world, and we need your help to get there!Topics: Development, Drupal, Training and Education, Website Technology, WordPress