a personal blog for Jamey Alea

Conf Report: Women Techmakers Montreal 2017

May 1, 2017 Jamey Alea 2 Comments

In early April, I was really thrilled to drive up to Montreal, Quebec to speak at the Women Techmakers conference there. WTM is a program that was set up by Google to celebrate International Women’s Day and to put a spotlight on the many amazing women who work in our field. Some of the amazing women I know personally have attended and participated in the WTM events in New York City, but I was so excited to head up into Canada for this event, as Montreal is one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever visited. While I have complicated feelings about if I belong at women’s events as a non-binary person, I was happy that WTM Montreal was taking steps to be non-binary inclusive and honored to be asked to attend as a speaker anyway.

The conference was the perfect size and really well put together. I could see that the organizers were working really hard and they made it comfortable for everyone despite early technical issues that were out of their control. This was my first time giving a full length talk (!!!) as well as being on a panel (!!!) and they really helped me out despite my obvious nervousness.

And my talk – “There Is No Spoon? Understanding Spoon Theory & Preventing Burnout” – went really well! Thanks so much to everyone their for their encouragement and kind words. It was much easier getting up on stage knowing that everyone was rooting for me.

If you missed it, please consider watching the video!

I also had the opportunity to give a lightning talk because I let it slip that my lightning talk is about Star Wars and my friends encouraged (read: bullied) me to debut it here, so you can watch that here too! I’m calling this talk “Lessons in Ethical Development That I Learned From Star Wars”

And of course it’s not all just about me. I met some amazing people and saw some other really great talks. In fact, if you’re looking for some videos to watch, you can’t really go wrong because all the talks I saw were great, but I’d love to particularly recommend “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Programming” by Kerri Miller and “I Have ADD and So Can – Ooh, Shiny!” by Heidi Waterhouse, (which was about so much more than just ADD)!

Also, Kerri and Heidi both joined me on the diversity panel, which was a really fun experience and also recommended watching.

Honestly, being at WTM Montreal felt really safe. Everyone was extremely welcoming and accepting of me, even as a non-woman, and it has made me feel better about my place and the prospect of attending more women’s conferences in the future. So thanks to everyone who made it such a great experience!

#canada#conf report#conferences#events#montreal#women techmakers#women's events

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