eXtreme 365 – exploring different perspectives #WIT
…Now, you might well be thinking, why is a guy writing about Women in Tech’?
Personally, this is an issue which I alone cannot address but with greater awareness and your help this is something that together we might be able to improve. I thought it would be prudent to share some notes captured during our inaugural #WIT session which I helped to facilitate at last year’s eXtreme 365 event in Lisbon. We will be expanding this thread at this year’s event in Dubrovnik.
It was insightful to explore different perspectives, hopefully some of the elements will make you consider how to ensure your own events or your business can attract diverse collaboration as together, we will all make a greater voice and deliver better solutions for our clients.
If we can also ensure we are providing a great environment, this ought to help drive diversity and inclusion across the Technology sector…
Now this one shocked me, so I am putting it at the top of the list.
Nobody should feel unsafe attending an event, nor should they feel uncomfortable in the workplace.
Last year, where multiple representatives from some organisations attended eXtreme, for some bizarre reason, in two instances the men were placed at the main event hotel whereas the women were located in the overflow hotel a 5 minute walk away. Unsurprisingly, they did not feel safe walking to and from the hotel late at night.
ACTION – This year, to improve security and safety, the eXtreme team have booked two primary hotels which are both located in a safe headland location.
People attend conferences to work, learn, network and enhance knowledge, not to ‘hook up’.
I know last year our group chaperoned a lady attending on her own to ensure she felt safe. If you are in a mixed group and can see someone is uncomfortable or feeling threatened, please reach out and offer a safe harbour, especially if you are at one of the evening events.
A great suggestion from Julie Yack was that we have ‘Guardians’ e.g. known ‘safe people’ from the Executive community or from the broader Dynamics community who you can approach with a code word so that they know that the person feels threatened and needs a situation diffusing / or some security. In the first instance, here is a link to the Advisory Board – https://extreme365.com/advisory-board/
We don’t have a “code word”, just say “Hi” to any one of us if you are feeling vulnerable and we will intervene and assist.
Personally, I have never witnessed untoward behaviour at eXtreme in seven or so years, I genuinely believe that everyone attends to learn about the business opportunity available in the Intelligent Business Cloud arena, but it is better to be forewarned and forearmed than not to have a safe guarding process in place.
Content of the sessions:
One thing that we received incredibly positive feedback on last year is about the Content.
“Content at eXtreme 365 is exceptional, it does not need changing as the women that are in attendance are here for technical content and to learn”.
This year you will note that the focus has expanded on subject matter expertise (e.g. business verticals) and is beneficially expanding beyond Dynamics 365. The agenda is simply stunning this year (well done Christy and Joe). https://extreme365.com/
Last year more women wanted to present and be supported in the delivery of sessions. When I asked if they had applied to deliver sessions, many had confirmed that they had not but will this year as:
“They were frustrated that they had thought others would be better but then saw over confident men, presenting badly”.
I look forward to you all setting the record straight in Dubrovnik!
Finally – Women in Technology (WIT) at eXtreme365 Dubrovnik:
WIT panel discussions will demonstrate eXtreme’s commitment to diversity and inclusion – https://extreme365.com/women-technology-dynamics365/ which is evidence that together we can make a difference.
If we feel that if there is more recognition for women speaking, they in turn will be able to encourage more women to take part. In 2017 I said the board were very keen to encourage broader participation and I hope that with the new agenda theme we can drive the positive conversation.
You never know… Together we asked for acknowledgement at the Celebration event – an Award for ‘Women in Tech’ or ‘female evangelist’ to drive greater awareness of #WIT and to demonstrate greater inclusion.
We work in meritocracy at the end of the day so be proud, shout loud and make your voice heard in March.
With greater female participation and representation we can try to shift the 80/20 ratio of attendance in 2017 to 50/50 over the coming years but eXtreme can only do this with your help, your commitment, your attendance and your voice.
…Together, we can build an even better Dynamics community.