A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.
Happy International Women’s Day, y’all!
The challenges to produce a highly engaging and inspiring conference program are always first and foremost on the minds of a program team. As a program chair, you want to make sure to find content that is highly engaging, meaningful to your attendees – but also ensure that you have new voices and diversity, and that the program is well-rounded for all areas. While these challenges have always applied to Agile20xx, this year we added the additional challenge of needing to deliver the same high quality conference that attendees expect while switching our main focus from an on-prem US-based conference to a virtual and global audience.
This past year has been difficult for all of us. COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in ways that none of us anticipated, but it has also presented us with an opportunity to to look at change through different eyes and a sense of surprise. The disruption of the pandemic has eased the barrier to change in ways that we didn’t expect. It’s with this lens that we looked at the production of Agile2021: we had to vastly change our expectations of how the conference would be run. Everything was on the table!
One of those changes is that Agile2021 has global conference aspirations and we have expanded our thinking surrounding expected content and audience. The program team is committed to the #ChooseToChallenge call to action from #IWD2021. We are actively discussing gender bias in how we build the program with the hopes of avoiding inequality as much as we can. Those hard conversations have led to a team-wide commitment to providing iterations of feedback to hopeful speakers to ensure that we address inequality to the best of our ability. We are hoping that it is through this commitment that we will be able to release a truly global, diverse and meaningful program to you all.
While we’ve made progress in the area of gender diversity, that isn’t enough. Cultural diversity is also a key to creating a strong community. If we’re going to call this a “global” conference, we want it to truly be one. Today, we are finding that most of the submissions are US-centric. While we are happy to celebrate that our first round of selected speakers demonstrates our commitment to including a broad spectrum of voices, we can always do better! This is where you can assist us! Help us lift up voices of our industry colleagues in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and South America – special kudos if we find a submission from Antarctica!
If you live in these regions and know of a speaker who has impacted your view of agility (or maybe you are a speaker!), please ask them to submit. While we will always select submissions based on merit, we are committed to finding merit from around the world – to realize our dream of a virtual and global conference.