How To Diversify Any Conference You Attend

SxSW 2012 Panel on Race & Diversity

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.

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Corvida’s First European Adventure: mLove, TEDGlobal and Culture

Corvida Raven at Arthur's Seat

From June 28 – July 16th, I had an incredible opportunity to travel overseas to three countries for the first time in my life. Berlin was my first stop for mLove, a mobile tech conference. Next, I spent time exploring Amsterdam and ended my travels in Scotland for TEDGlobal 2011.

My Travel Itinerary

Days of Travel: 20

  • Berlin, Germany: mLove
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Leisure
  • Scotland, United Kingdom: TEDGlobal 2011

Gadgets Used:

Mobile Apps:

  • Itinerary & Travel Plans: Tripit, AirBNB
  • Communication: Facetime, Skype, Moleskine Notebook
  • iPhone Maps: Fair InfoBerlin, City Maps 2 Go, uBahn

To keep this long adventure digestible, this post is broken down chronologically by city.

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Conversations With Corvida @ SxSW Interactive 2011

ConversationswithCorvidaMy first Conversations with Corvida video, or at least the first I’m presenting to you today! At SxSW I ran into Demitria Lewis (@ambereuros) in the lobby of the Hilton. She’d just purchased the new iPad 2. and was the first person I’d seen with an iPad 2 at SxSW. I’ve been getting questions about whether the iPad 2 is worth the money and thought it would be great to find out why anyone would buy it. The consumptive nature of the iPad 2 turns me off as a content creator, but that’s not to say it’s a bad product. Take a look at what’ Demitria had to say about her new purchase. It’ll only take 2 minutes.

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Straight Talk: Moving Forward With Today’s Media

Straight Talk NYC

Straight Talk NYC Yesterday I attended Straight Talk, presented by dot429 to discuss issues facing the LGBT community. Hosted and moderated by the awesome Cathy Brooks, the conversation included themes of transparency, trust, and privacy across many industries. I was particularly interested in the Media & Entertainment talk with GM of Logo TV, Lisa Sherman, and CNN host/author, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

“As a gay man, I’m overwhelmed by information. I’m overwhelemed by options. Gay people are at the forefront of early adopters and technology. How do you see us engaging these different [platforms] beyond Facebook and beyond Twitter to communicate our particular [positions]. How do you see us moving forward?”

This was a really good question taken from the audience and Lisa Sherman gave a wonderful response to consider,

“With the media, it’s not just about the way people are consuming the content. It’s a bi-directional channel now. Your audience now has an open channel to speak back to you. To create content.”

Lisa did a great job of pointing out how the LGBT community, or any community, could better utilize these platforms by speaking back to media outlets like CNN, MTV, LOGO and saying “here are stories that should be told,” and also by participating in the stories that are shared. That’s exactly what platforms like CNN’s iReport are all about. That is the power and effect of user-generated content. However, none of it works unless YOU, or the community at large, puts them to use. Is that the direction we’re moving in? I’d say yes, that’s the direction the entire world is moving in and look no further than the use of the media to document protests in and for Egypt all over the world.

Straight Talk was a great event with some passionate discussions on Politics & Current Affairs and the Design & Retail also. This was my first event involving LBGT topics from a professional standpoint. The discussions were new, but I was amazed to hear a few issues that others face when it comes to media and technology. I also saw how these topics related to a bigger picture of where the future is taking us and what that means for everyone.

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