We are 45 days from the event and for weeks now have already selected all our speakers for breakouts, keynotes & pre-conference sessions. While we’re still updating the website and waiting for some headshots, let’s talk about how we did things this year.
We introduced our form with this ask: “The leadership of Salesforce WIT User Groups wants our members to be prolific, on track, dynamic & healthy. For the first ever WITness Success conference, the team needs content from the Salesforce community that will educate, inspire & drive women in their careers and life.”
The form asked for your abstract describing the content of your session and if the proposal was for a workshop, panel or presentation. We also had a way for submitters to select what track the session represented, whether the theme of Career, Work-life Balance, or Diversity served as the majority of the content proposed. After a month of collecting submissions, we closed the submission form with dozens of excellent proposals submitted.
Using a version of submissions that only had Track, Type & Abstract columns, Amber Boaz led the process of selecting sessions with the rest of the designated content team. Each proposal was graded with a number ranging from a low score of 0 and a high score of 3. Within a few days, the team had score averages and were able to source only the sessions that ranked the highest across the board as they slotted the sessions into timeslots.
First, using a Google Calendar, Amber made sure that there was a session of each track across type. For example, we wanted to be sure that there were panel discussions on Diversity & building your career as well as Work-life Balance. So before accidentally announcing 3 Work-life Balance panel discussions, in this example, we made sure to perform this slotting process to distribute the content. Next, the remaining high-scoring sessions were placed in any open slots on the calendar. Finally, after all this review & slotting, the Content team was ready to put the names against the submitted content so they could send out speaker selection announcements.
The fun part is sending the email announcement to the excited speaker. Not so fun: sending apologies to the WIT members and Allies that weren’t selected this year. Also on the “cons” list, ideally we would have been able to send out the PowerPoint template along with the speaker announcement email; however, they are not quite ready for distribution. Lesson-learned for next year! Right away, after sending announcements, we started receiving headshots & social media handles so we were able to start updating the website. Take a look here.
And that’s mostly it! Thanks to a dedicated team that continues to work on efforts behind the scenes, we will have blind-selected and balanced content across several tracks to take in at the conference event in August.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have additional points on this or other blind selection processes, find me on Twitter @SeriouslyKyla, in the Women in Tech group in the Success Community, find our Facebook page or comment below!
Image credit goes again to Austin artist & activist Sharon Zeugin…thank you again for the gorgeous graphic facilitation.