Code[ish]
37. Bonus: Organizing a Memorable Tech Conference
Sep 30, 2019
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Leah organizes both RustConf and EmberConf, and has been organizing tech conferences for well over a decade. She talks about some of the lessons she's learned in building inclusivity and accessibility into the conferences, outside of the technical talks. Childcare, for example, is one feature she's introduced that has had a positive effect on both parents and children. Suddenly, workers don't need to fret between networking with their peers and finding quality day care. Leah cautions that the first few years she offered this space, there weren't many enrollments, primarily because attendees didn't know that the option was available. But year after year, more parents are participating.

As ideas on gender are evolving, Leah has experimented with applying pronoun usage onto badges. At first, she made this mandatory, requiring attendees to provide their preferred pronoun while registering for the conference. She thought that this would help normalize the terminology, but she says her opinion has changed after speaking to several people. Instead, she provides pronoun stickers to attendees when they collect their badges at the conference.

Some smaller opportunities, like building fitness activities into the schedule, also helps attendees maintain their routine and connect with other conference-goers in ways they might not otherwise be able to.

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