Diversity is always an important topic at software conferences. Increasing the opportunities for potential speakers of different backgrounds is always a challenge for Conference organisers. This is an issue that we recognise at UKSTAR. As well as having a goal of running a successful, diverse conference, we want to create the opportunity for new speakers to participate at the event.
This is where the Speak Easy programme comes in! Speak Easy has been running for a number of years. The programme offers novice speakers a chance to present at large Conferences.
Speak Easy was founded by Fiona Charles and Anne-Marie Charrett in 2015. As Anne-Marie explains “In a quiet pub in Dublin while Fiona Charles and I attended Eurostar 2014, the topic of diversity (in particular gender) came up. It had been a ‘hot topic’ through the year, with many tweets and blogs posts on the topic but sadly there seemed little direct action on the topic. Both Fiona and I felt that while making the problem visible is important, even more important is to do something about it.”
The Programme want to help any new speakers perhaps concerned about taking the first step in speaking making that step onto the stage! The focus is to encourage diversity in speakers but especially women. “While our particular focus is to improve the number of female speakers at conferences the aim of Speak Easy is to encourage all novice speakers to take that first step towards sharing their thoughts and idea with fellow testers.”
Speak Easy at UKSTAR
Speak Easy encourages those new to speaking to share their story. For UKSTAR when submitting you can nominate yourself for the Speak Easy programme. Once candidates have made themselves known, the programme will get in touch and pair the candidates with a mentor. The Speak Easy programme will suggest a mentor who can help progress a proposed talk into a fully formed track session.