I’ve always shied away from writing about race because I want to be recognized for my passion instead of my skin color or where I come from. That’s become completely unavoidable as race moves to the forefront of one of the most important topics about the future of technology: inclusion.
This month I had a great opportunity to get away from New York City and enjoy the outdoors at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest. If you ever wanted to spend the day partying with some amazing bands, FreeFest is the place for you. Best of all, it’s free!
In 2011 during a dinner with Beverly Jackson, Director of Marketing, Strategic Alliances and Social Media at The Recording Academy, she challenged me to leave the US once a year. I had recently taken my first trip out of the country where I reconnected with Beverly at mLove. I smiled and accepted the challenge.
This year I received an invitation to speak at the amazing X Media Labs in Sydney, Australia. I didn’t have a clue about Australia beyond kangeroos, Finding Nemo, and a large number of poisonous animal. On the other hand, here was an opportunity to meet Beverly’s challenge. So, I accepted the invitation to learn..
I was seen off at the airport with an unexpected, but big hug from my taxi driver, Lisa who was so proud of me taking this trip. This year I remembered to do a currency exchange before leaving and was unprepared for what I received. Australian dollars are absolutely gorgeous! They’re so gorgeous you would immediately take a picture of it and post it on Instagram. That’s exactly what I did and even considered saving a few bills to bring home. Time would tell as I began to board a relatively comfortable 14 hour flight on Quantas airlines to Sydney. I spent the last hours of my flight watching the sunrise chase my plane.
On Monday, March 12th, I participated in my fourth panel at SxSW 2012 titled: “Race: When to Hold it and When to Fold it.” The purpose of the panel was to change the conversation from “What can technology conferences do about diversity?” to “What can attendees do about diversity at technology conferences?” If you have a few minutes to spare, listen to the full panel via the link above.
In this post, I’d like to focus on why recommendations are a big part of diversifying conferences and how conference attendees and speakers can help.