An event like this always takes a village, but luckily we have some wonderful talent in the WIT community excited to lend a hand. Let’s talk a little bit about the team behind this conference.
From the early days, this event had a clear set of extraordinary people willing to go the extra mile to make sure this event happened. We have Jocelyn Fennewald and Melinda Smith, long time WIT User Group leaders in Chicago and Southern California respectively, that stepped up to the plate as long ago as last summer, starting with a phone call to explore the possibility of putting on an event like this. Next to join the team was Jean Velonis, lead of the Phoenix WIT User Group, and Melissa Hill-Dees from San Antonio’s Salesforce community. Finally, Amber Boaz joined the team most recently, after wrapping up her contributions to this year’s Southeast Dreamin event.
We’ll talk a bit more about the core team at the epicenter in another post, but for now let’s talk about the design of the rest of the teams.
This event wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for a Tweet posted by Jodi Wagner after Dreamforce ‘15, plus she provided early input in the formative days of planning. While we would have loved to have more of her time, she puts on a great event called London’s Calling and needed to focus on that. But we were ever so grateful for the idea!
I also don’t do anything WIT related without consulting with and getting alignment with the other Co-Coordinator of the WIT User Groups, Maria Belli. Highly valuable ideas and connections came out of her time on calls in the early days.
We also needed some help early on from someone who knows about Word Press & website development. Luckily, the WIT User Groups community has a leader in Geneva that had already done the website for French Touch Dreamin could pitch in, Laura Diaz. She needed to take a break for a while to develop the website for Dreamin Ole, but we think she did a fantastic job for us & I personally couldn’t be happier we could lean on a WIT!
From the beginning, the group knew that selecting content was going to be a big job, and a very different one than the logistics planning of the rest of the event. Also, we didn’t want anyone to think we were playing favorites, picking out friends to speak. The other thing we wanted to avoid was the idea that had a “pay to play” model, where sponsors can provide support for the event in exchange for the chance to speak. See our post about the blind content selection process we implemented to avoid both of these things.
Finally, we wanted people that are providing good thought leadership already in our space to weigh in on what the shape of the event content should look like. I, for one, don’t consider myself anything more than a community manager, though I learn more for the WIT members & leaders on various career and diversity topics all the time. Our community is very lucky to have the leadership on those topics from the WIT Diversity User Group leaders, Toya Gatewood & Shonnah Hughes, as well as WIT Denver leader Kerry McClauss. Such a great job they did combing through submissions and even some wrangling the session leads too!
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions on how we built the team, find me on Twitter at @SeriouslyKyla, Women in Tech group in the Success Community, find our Facebook page or comment below!