Proposal: Financial support for venues for Meetups that run the Diverse Speaker Training Workshop

A common challenge that faces WordCamps around the world is the lack of diversity in speakers, specifically speakers who identify as women or from other underrepresented groups. To address this, the Diverse Speaker Training working group (#wpdiversity) has worked hard to refine and promote a series of hands-on, effective lesson plans, and to train meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organziers to run the comprehensive workshop in their local WordPress meetup. These workshops are geared towards empowering women and underrepresented groups in tech to speak at WordCamps by:

  • Addressing impostor syndrome and common deterrents to speaking
  • Helping individuals find and refine a topic
  • Helping future speakers create their title, pitch, bio and talk outline
  • Discussing tips to becoming a better speaker
  • Offering participants a chance to practice public speaking
  • Helping to build confidence

The Diverse Speaker Training working group is happy to share that this workshop has made a difference in increasing the diversity in speakers at WordCamps. Since the program began, over 20 workshops have been run around the world in 9 countries. Their WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. speaker lineups typically go from 10% or fewer speakers from underrepresented groups to 50% or more!

For more information about the Diversity Speaker Training Workshop, please visit this link

One of the obstacles that meetups have shared with us in trying to run the workshop is the issue of finding a venue that they can afford. In order to make this Workshop even more accessible to all meetups, we propose that each meetup receives up to $250 USD to help support costs associated with running this workshop, which can be used for covering the cost of the venue as well as some light snacks and refreshments. Similar to the Meetup Venue Approval Request, the meetup group must also meet the following conditions: 

  • Your group is on the WordPress chapter account at meetup.com.
  • Your group is currently following the 5 good-faith rules.
  • You are unable to find a donated venue.
  • Your proposed new venue meets minimum requirements for safety, adequate seating, and accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility).

Similar to regular meetup venues, please also avoid venues with religious or political affiliations. Since one of our jobs as community organizers is to create a 100% welcoming space for everyone, we avoid holding events in venues where someone might feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. This is particularly important for the Diverse Speaker Training workshop.

In receiving this financial support, the meetup community would also need to do the following:

  • Complete the training for running the workshop with the Diverse Speaker Training group
  • Share a link to the scheduled workshop
  • Provide invoices or receipts showing the requested amount
  • Complete the post-workshop questionnaire
  • If a WordCamp is planned or held later on, report back on speaker diversity after the WordCamp. This can be done in the post-WordCamp questionnaire

Next Steps

We would like to hear your feedback on this proposal! Do you feel like helping WordPress groups increase the diversity of their meetup and WordCamp speaker lineups would be a good use of WPCS funds? Do you think the suggested amount is appropriate? Please share any thoughts you may have by Wednesday, March 18, 2020.