Transparency is really important to us. Typically, during our wrap up general session, we break down the costs of the conference, what we made (or lost) what everything cost, etc. We feel it’s important that attendees, sponsors and everyone else involved know those things. As part of that we wanted to put in writing our selection process for speakers.
Speaker diversity is hot issue these days. No event is safe from ridicule and attack for insufficient speaker and/or attendee diversity.
So here’s how we do our part to encourage diversity in our speaking line up, which we feel goes a long way to encouraging diversity in attendee line up. The work isn’t done, but it’s a start.
All of our events (except 360|intersect and some of our ‘min’ events) have a public, open calls for papers. It’s a web form that potential speakers fill out.
While we may invite people we find interesting to submit a topic. They’re still not guaranteed a speaking spot, they submit a topic like everyone else.
Submission review is anonymous by committee, and includes several steps
- Step 1: Once the CFP closes, we hide all identifying fields; name, email, twitter, bio, etc.
- Step 2: Once anonymized we read every session title and description. Each submission is scored 0 to 3.
- Step 3: We invite a panel of 3-4 member of the community, always a mix of genders and roles, to review the submissions and score each one 0 to 3 (We do offer a 4, for “OMG this MUST be included” for the panelists to use)
- Step 4: we tally the scores, then sort highest to lowest, and fill the schedule in.
We don’t play favorites, and we don’t re-use the same people every year
Most years we get nearly 200 submissions for 45 available spots, we encourage all submitters to craft their submission and bring their ‘A game’ when submitting.
Of course if you have any questions about how we do speaker selection or anything else, please drop us a line.