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  • Deliberate, Directed, Positive ACTION!

  • Peter Aitken PARISS: Cool.

  • All right.

  • We're back.

  • Have everyone's attention?

  • Me and Peter were back there doing the power pose because we're both nervous when we get

  • up here so.

  • Can we clap on Peter Aitken?

  • [ Applause ] PETER: There we go.

  • How are you all doing, JSConf?

  • My name's Peter Aitken.

  • Today I'm going to be speaking about deliberate, direct positive action.

  • During the day, oops.

  • I'm a slide ahead.

  • I think I'll just start again.

  • So, during the day I work at litmus where we built something called email creative platform.

  • My day job involves looking after a team.

  • We build the app with JavaScript, Rails in an agile fashion.

  • We all work remotely.

  • Currently we're hiring.

  • If you would like toif this sounds interesting, please catch me later.

  • Previously I spent many years organizing Scotland CSS and Scotland JS.

  • And now I focus my community efforts on something called global diversity CFP day which is going

  • to be the focus of our talk today.

  • And what I learned throughputting this together.

  • Just to give you an idea what that is, on a single day we host a load of workshops all

  • around the world with the sole aim of supporting and encouraging people from underrepresented

  • and marginalized groups and putting together their first tech conference proposal.

  • The aim, thereby, being if more people from these groups apply, then you'll see more people

  • with differentcoming from different backgrounds with different experiences and different perspectives

  • and sharing that on stages like this.

  • So, to just I want to introduce some definitions here.

  • Because I get a whole lot of questions around two of the terms in the title of the event

  • name.

  • First up, diversity.

  • What we're talking about here is something that is contextually dependent on your location

  • in the world.

  • Andexcuse meit's usually easier to describe who diversity doesn't apply to.

  • And so, in the western part of the world, the people that make up the majority of the

  • workforce, the privileged group, as I would describe them, are the cis white hetero men

  • like myself.

  • And pretty much if all of those things, cis white, hetero, able bodied, man, if there's

  • any of those that don't apply to an individual, usually diversity refers to that individual.

  • Does that make sense?

  • And there's another question that I get.

  • Or variance of any time I'm involved in a diversity and inclusion initiative.

  • And these questions usually come from someone who presents, like myself, and are along the

  • lines of, can I participate in this event?

  • Because I think diversity applies to me because I work with this really, really obscure database

  • technology.

  • In case you're wondering, folks: No.

  • Next up, we've got the acronym CFP.

  • That stands for call for proposals.

  • This is effectively a process that a tech conference like this would open to encourage

  • the community to come forward to propose topics and share their knowledge and experience.

  • So, who is this talk for?

  • As I mentioned, this is a talk about the things that I've learned through organizing this

  • event.

  • And there's gonna be things that will be useful from a management perspective.

  • If you are bringing a diversity and inclusion initiative, perhaps in the workplace.

  • If you want to be a better member of the tech community, if you organize meetups, if you

  • organize conferences.

  • So, given that all of you are part of the JavaScript community, this talk is very much

  • for you.

  • So, the rough order of service, I suppose, today, is we'll be talking through where did

  • CFP Day come from?

  • What happens during a workshop?

  • What's involved in organizing a workshop?

  • And through that there will be the sort of things that I have learned.

  • So, where did global diversity CFP Day come from?

  • It won't surprise you to discover that this grew out of my experience running conferences.

  • And I think from 2013 to 2015 when the call for proposals process was open for those conferences,

  • to encourage and engage people to apply to speak.

  • I would host a number of, like, videopublic video call sessions.

  • And it was kind of like meet the organizer and some previous speakers.

  • If you have any questions, you know, let's try and address them and encourage you to

  • apply to speak.

  • And by 2015, I had really no idea how many people from those calls were actually applying

  • or making the final lineup.

  • So, was this worthwhile?

  • And in 2015 at the after party, after giving our talk, Katie Fenn and I were chatting at

  • the after party.

  • And Katie mentioned that the video calls that she attended was just the nudge that she needed

  • to finally put together that first talk proposal.

  • And if I remember correctly, Katie, kind of like myself, when it came to trying to

  • or to doing this kind of thing, procassomebody want to say it for me?

  • Procrastination was really getting in the way.

  • So, if we fast forward to 2016.

  • Again, the CFP was open.

  • And I was trying to figure out a way of, you know, these video calls were useful.

  • But how could we amplify that?

  • How could we do something that was more direct, targeted, positive in terms of supporting

  • people from underrepresented and marginalized groups?

  • And that was a good question.

  • And how do we go about answering it?

  • Then three days later I just kind of sat up first thing in the morning and the idea just

  • had kind of came to me in any head.

  • And that was the idea of hosting a diversity CFP workshop.

  • And that was specifically to encourage people to apply to Scotland JS and Scotland CSS.

  • So, this idea of having a workshop, you know, it was like, what was I doing?

  • I already, you know, I've got a full time job.

  • I've got family to look after.

  • And, you know, tend to and spend time with.

  • We've gotwe had two dogs that were running wild.

  • I was organizing two conferences.

  • Let痴 lets run a workshop here, yeah, in a couple of weeks' time.

  • And then I sort of started chatting to people.

  • For instance, Katie, who said, you know, as soon as I shared this idea Katie said, can

  • I run one in Sheffield?

  • I was chatting to a friend in Dublin, oh, we'll run one too.

  • And this kind of snowballed from havingto effectively having a workshop in three

  • weeks' time in Glasgow in Scotland, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Dublin, London and Berlin.

  • I did literally get in touch with Robin from Berlin JS thinking, everybody was saying yes.

  • Just for a laugh, what do you think if we got this to happen in Berlin?

  • And Robin said, yes.

  • So, running those workshops I think it was about 60 people attended.

  • And it had a massive impact on the diversity of applicants to the conferences to speak.

  • And in terms of the lineup, particularly for Scotland JS, it had a massive, massive impact.

  • In terms, 60 people attended these workshops.

  • And there were 17 slots available for that conference.

  • And three people from those workshops were speakers that year.

  • And bear in mind there was like 200 applicants to speak.

  • So, that was justit just validated the idea.

  • But in terms of putting these workshops together, I wanted everybody to have a the attendees

  • at each workshop to get a consistent message and set of advice.

  • And to try to make that happen, I wanted to sort of provide that message.

  • But at the same time, you know, because I didn't want six different groups of people

  • trying to put together their own workshop on really short notice.

  • They're already running about looking for venues and mentors and team members and all

  • this kind of stuff.

  • And so, I thought, how can we sort of make this a whole lot simpler?

  • How can we boil this down to like a conversation?

  • So, I was thinking, could wehow could we make this happen?

  • And I got in touch with Raquel and Sarah Mei and asked, if there any chance that the two

  • of you could make some time to have a chat and share and discuss things like advice around

  • putting together a proposal?

  • What would you put in the title, in the abstract, the description fields?

  • And your experiences of that.

  • The highs and lows of being accepted, being rejected from events.

  • And on the flipside, you know, what's your experience with being in review committees.

  • Knowing that they both had done that kind of thing.

  • Oh, and can you get it to us in the next fortnight, please?

  • Two weeks?

  • And they said yes.

  • What's going on?

  • How can we put this burden on so many people and they just keep on saying yes?

  • And so, with those videos we were able to enable all of the workshops that were actual

  • material to get going a whole lot quicker.

  • And so, enable people is the first thing to call out there.

  • So, the event was, let's see, right about the June time in 2016.

  • And come about August time I had finally sort ofmy brain had reconstituted enough that

  • I'm sure the organizers say that's the same, running these types of events.

  • And given the huge impact we mentioned earlier on Scotland JS, how could wewell, it was

  • more like, there was nothing in the workshop, there was nothing that was JavaScript specific.

  • There was nothing CSS specific.

  • And there wasn't really anything even Scotland specific.

  • It kind of made me feel a little bit sad in that regard.

  • But let's turn the frown upside down.

  • You know, could this concept be shared with all tech communities and support all of the

  • people within those communities?

  • Could this be shared with all tech communities everywhere?

  • Which I still struggle with.

  • Just seems huge.

  • How does this all come to be?

  • So, next up, what happens during a workshop?

  • If you come along to attend a workshop, there's a whole host of people that haveare keen

  • to egg you on and make this happen for you.