Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Working towards DevPulseCon 2018 - April 20 & 21 @ Computer History Museum

Well..... this is the fourth year for DevPulseCon with our safe-space panels and open source technical workshop tracks - I never thought it would come so far and grow so fast.  I'm pretty stunned, frankly.  Which is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Once again, I'm working weeknights and weekends trying to bring together all the threads to make this year's DevPulseCon another huge success like it was last year.   And searching for new open source technology/software/hardware etc. to teach.  And then find someone to teach it per our guidelines.

Each year I think it's going to get easier and each year, I have to work more and harder to get the same things done.

Sponsorships, board meetings, being the board chair and pushing things/people, recruiting, interviewing recruits, looking for volunteers, budgeting, streamlining the payment/account management process with my treasurer, coming up with which technical topics I want to target and what safe space panel topics would be most relevant at this time, finding speakers, instructors, coordination, logistics (food, venue, layout, A/V blah blah), blasting out emails, setting up eventbrite, website updates once we nail down the speakers/instructors/topics etc. 

And the list goes on.

And it doesn't get any easier to try to find a conference chairperson with my limited budget.  And to find volunteers - dedicated, no-nonsense, non-flaky volunteers who understand the mission and are passionate about technology.

My board has helped me find some sources this year (YAY!) since I have had NO time in my new group at work to dedicate time towards CodeChix work in the last 6 months.

I'm still looking for sponsorships from companies across the bay area - I have 2 committed sponsors so far and need at least 5 or 6 more.  Fingers crossed I will get them soon so that we can have the growth I need - another 50% growth in number of attendees.   A whopping 300 women engineers - lick finger stick in the air.  I'm hopeful.

Last year, we had 220 women engineers attend for the 2 days of the conference.  I had no idea there were that many women engineers in the bay area.  When I started CodeChix nine years ago, I barely managed to find one other person - that too for a very short time since her schedule was as crazy as mine.

How did I manage to get to this point?  By the great help and blessings of so many people around the world and open source friendly foundations and groups.  I could never have done it without the fantastic women engineers I've met and learned from.  I could never have done it if I hadn't seen so many women engineers suffering silently and being bullied and intimidated into submission for whatever reason.  Like me at various points in my career.  Brilliant, dedicated, sincere and committed engineers who truly want to be engineers (as opposed to many who just care about money/title/status and not about building unique, great and useful products).

I hope DevPulseCon gives them all hope that there is one place that they can come to where they will be able to talk about all the horrific things they have encountered and together we can find possible solutions (maybe build something) to mitigate these persistent and insidious cultural issues.

And be reminded that the real reason they are doing what they are doing is because technology can free us all and that, since we're all engineers (not code monkeys), we have the power to truly make a difference.  As they say, God helps those that help themselves.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)