1. Women Techmakers Vienna - #genderEqualityOrganization


Show notes

Watch us on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqDf4Ru-4EM

Ramón and Timea talk about 8 years of Women Techmakers Vienna: why was it created, what happens in the community, how local impact is achieved, what is our target audience, how to get sponsors and venues, how to move to an online conference, how to keep going.

  • Kids workshop photos: https://www.womentechmakers.at/photos/
  • Women Techmakers Vienna Code of conduct: https://www.womentechmakers.at/cod/
  • Women Techmakers Vienna team: https://www.womentechmakers.at/team/
  • Online conference experience & know how from our conference in 2020: https://ramonh.dev/2020/10/25/running-a-conference-online/

Some referenced talks:

  • Tissue Engineering by Minu Karthika Ganesan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VsJLeVq3Dw
  • How AI is Enhancing Journalism by Carolyn Stransky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qZCRHwnnbM
  • Creating more Inclusive Products and Services By Andra Bria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3Dmkn5E0rE

Ashe Dryden’s post on why have a Code of Conduct:

https://www.ashedryden.com/blog/codes-of-conduct-101-faq#coc101why

Are you active in pushing for a more inclusive, intersectional space? Do you know of someone who would be great for us to talk to? Get in touch with us:

  • wtmvie@gmail.com
  • https://twitter.com/GenderCoffee

Transcript

  • TIMEA: Hey Ramón!
  • RAMÓN: Hey Timea!
  • TIMEA: Let’s talk gender equality.
  • RAMÓN: I love the idea. Gimme a second I just gotta grab my coffee, I hope you’ve got yours, too!
  • TIMEA: Yep, right here.
  • RAMÓN: I think is an excellent moment to segue into what women techmakers vienna is because we’ve got a lot to say about that we are both part of the women techmakers vienna organization and you’ve been around for much longer than I have, Timea! Why why don’t you start by telling us what what women techmakers vienna is?
  • TIMEA: Sure. Actually, I think January we will be have we’ll have our eighth year anniversary since we founded the community in Vienna and it’s it started from the Google Developer Group which is a community of people interested in Google products and frameworks and technology alike and this big conference that happened yearly at Google in San Francisco. Well, the women that participated there were like “but it’s kind of lonely around here where where are all the women” that come to these big tech conferences and I think that’s the where the need actually started to push into “let’s do something about it”. So yeah, Women Techmakers was started at this one of these big Google conferences in San Francisco eight or nine years ago and through the Google Developer Communities they were like “hey, would you like to start a local chapter? We provide you with the name with the visual identity”. We have our logo, colors, brands, all that just you know with the simple goal of bringing more women into STEM-
  • RAMÓN: Sorry, STEM being?
  • TIMEA: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
  • RAMÓN: Right yes of course.
  • TIMEA: Yeah so that was the beginning.
  • RAMÓN: Awesome, and you been doing this, you said eight years in january.
  • TIMEA: Yeah, I can’t believe it, myself.
  • [Laughter]
  • RAMÓN: Yeah that’s so that’s eight years that you’ve been running a a yearly conference
  • TIMEA: Yes, right, at the beginning we had a 50 participant meet up. To be honest we didn’t call it conference quite the beginning and then it started to grow from 50 to 60 to 70 to 200.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah the ones I’ve been to have had 200 at least!
  • TIMEA: And you were at the beginning were a participant but not at women time makers but the devfest, right?
  • RAMÓN: Yeah it’s… Your memory is better than mine. So I’ve been helping out with Women Techmakers now, this 2020 would have been my third year of participating of being in an organization member. Then in 2017 I gave a talk at the Women Techmakers conference about teaching children to code and then before that I was a participant, er, an attendee, sorry.
  • TIMEA: I actually remember meeting you the first time at devfest where Pilar was coming along, your sister, right?
  • RAMÓN: That’s right.
  • TIMEA: First pilar got interested in our community I think and then you joined.
  • RAMÓN: Yes, so my sister Pilar. It’s a fun story, because at the time, this was 2014 and Devfest Vienna was taking place, which is the yearly local GDG, or Google Developer Group conference. I had been working in tech for four years or so, and I was still in an even more shy place, and so my sister who was studying biology at the time said “hey, why don’t you just go I’ll come with you. I’ll have free pizza and whatever, and I’ll, you know, check out some of the talks” and she just fell in love with the community. We both did! She liked it so much that she changed her career from microbiology to software engineering, and she’s now studying at a university in London. Remotely, of course right now.
  • TIMEA: So how about we invite her on a chat with us to tell us her story?
  • RAMÓN: I think she’ll be able to tell it so much better than I would.
  • TIMEA: Yeah let’s let’s do that I really would like to get Pilar to motivate and inspire us as well.
  • RAMÓN: Totally, she’s doing some fantastic stuff. But I’ll let her toot her own horn. So I just had such a good time you know attending and speaking at women techmakers that I think I either wrote to you or to someone else who was organizing I said “Listen, I want to help, you know, I want to keep this going” and it was a great time and-
  • TIMEA: Look where we are today and with a crazy podcast, yeah.
  • RAMÓN: It’s definitely one of the more out there experiences for me right now! I didn’t think… you know, I’ve got this microphone but I didn’t think that I would use it for podcasting I thought i’d be doing it for giving talks
  • TIMEA: You can do both.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely, you never know where it’s going to go. But yeah, so the objective of these conferences, right, we wanted to showcase women in STEM who are doing really fascinating things and inspiring, mostly, because our target group was mostly students, right?
  • TIMEA: Yeah, we started with students and we were mostly located and we’re still located at the technical university with our conference so yeah as a side effect it attracts the students there, but I have to admit that because we’re already eight years old, we kind of grew with the community and the community with us so I noticed that it turned from students into, you know, people that have already five to ten years experience on the job so I would say now it’s more the young professionals and I include students in that as well.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah absolutely and what I like about having that opportunity is that we can help folks that are trying to figure out where they want to go in their careers show them what the possibilities are. One of the talks that inspired me so much is we had we had a scientist come on, I think it was last year or the year before, who showed us how they were creating artificial heart valves, do you remember?
  • TIMEA: The tissue engineering, wasn’t it? Yes, that was fascinated everybody at the conference we haven’t gotten so many amazing positive feedback replies like we did for for that talk so that was pretty something.
  • RAMÓN: Do we have a link to that? We could put it in the show notes.
  • TIMEA: Yeah we ought to have it on our YouTube channel, we’ll have to look that up.
  • RAMÓN: Exactly, I mean, on the note of the YouTube, as we’ve been doing this conference for a few years, we’ve been recording these talks and putting them online for for people to watch.
  • TIMEA: Yes, and this that’s where our podcast will also be going to. It’s the same channel, basically. Right, so the aim of the conference was always to showcase female role models from STEM not just I.T. but really different domains and because it’s different domains we hadn’t had the opportunity to go into in-depth of a particular domain, so we always kept it on a generic level of “let’s get people introduced into tissue engineering” or, y’know, machine learning, AI, AI in journalism. We had the topic this year about interfaces, inclusive interfaces, so it’s very different. We had also two years ago a conference that was more focused on environmental engineering and civil engineering together.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah I remember one that had a big focus on sustainable, civil engineering.
  • TIMEA: And a couple of years before we also had one focused on startups, even we had some really cool talks of female startup founders, basically. So yeah it’s a big topic and sustainability alike. So we’ve been always trying to see what does the community want from our conference and try to deliver that content. And also about four years ago we started doing kids’ workshops in parallel to the main track.
  • RAMÓN: That was something that that really blew me away. When I first attended I thought, there’s that big problem, right? For women working in the STEM fields of how they can take out… The conference, for context, takes place on a Saturday so you know that is time normally spent with family, and being able to offer this this workshop so that so that our organizers and people giving the workshop could watch these children, teach them something cool, and the kids, they do some cool stuff.
  • TIMEA: Oh my god, I wanted to be part of this, there are some pictures online on the website.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah, we’ll put that in the show notes too, yeah. They do stuff like, um, we had one…
  • TIMEA: Toothpaste elephant, remember that?
  • RAMÓN: I do not!
  • TIMEA: They basically posted all the, well, it was in a seminar room at the table, and they posted the whole room with foil, basically, to clean it up, easy. And then in the middle of the room they had this plastic something, where they put all these ingredients together, and then it started to grow, and grow, and grow, and it grew over and if like spilled over the table, this elephant toothpaste, I think it was blue, or some color, wow! And it was just so fantastic and the parents were at the door looking up “what are they doing” we have pictures of that. The kids were so excited and they were like “Oh my god I want to do chemistry in my life” and “This is so cool” and they alsothey froze a rose in liquid nitrogen. Again, like, everybody wanted to see what’s going on. That’s right, that’s what gets you excited about science.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely, yeah I remember helping someone set up a “programming for children” course. That was also pretty fun, getting the kids interested in how computers work and how they could look into programming as a hobby and/or career. Yeah and I think having that from a young age as, well, especially having that exposure really helps show folks. Especially having someone as a from a mentorship, someone a little more diverse like a woman or, y’know, someone who’s not a white man, show them these amazing opportunities I think it really helps keep people motivated, so to speak.
  • TIMEA: Yes it was always about raising awareness and giving the opportunity for those that didn’t have so far, because everything for the conference is for free. For us, we always believe that education, motivation, this kind of aspect should be for free for our members.
  • RAMÓN: So given, let’s say, that I don’t have a lot of experience organizing a conference how does getting funding for that work how does working out deals with, let’s say a venue for 200 people. How would you go about that?
  • TIMEA: Oh, this is a big topic how much…
  • RAMÓN: I opened the can of worms!
  • TIMEA: No, well, in a nutshell, we targeted a very specific talent pool. Women in STEM and that. Even now, this year I’ve started to realize how valuable that is for, for example, for companies that are looking to hire women in STEM, so I think you got the hint. Here our collaboration partners were on one side, the companies, and on one side the other NGOs and also the university. So with the university we got last year into i’m going to tiara frown uh of the woo program
  • RAMÓN: That’s German, isn’t it?
  • TIMEA: Yes it was. Last year, they were celebrating at the technical university 100 years since women went to teach at the university. They were allowed to teach finally. And they wanted to do a whole year program around this supporting diversity and gender equality, NGOs and events. And that just happened to be also for us an opportunity that we got to be part of the program which led to us getting the venue under a partnership, but to get to this level before that, work with the informatics department, we worked with the entrepreneur- with the innovation center. We had a partnership, and we still collaborate with them, the career center, and the gender competence department. Yeah, so a lot of entities and people that had to come together over years for us to solidify this partnership with the university to be able to get the venue sponsored.
  • RAMÓN: Sounds like it takes a while!
  • TIMEA: Yeah, but it doesn’t mean that with a new NGO you cannot have it faster. It definitely can also work out faster, but what the point that I wanted to say is that for us the venue was always very important, because the value venue sets the atmosphere, and the tone and I think from the beginning i wanted to have an event in the Kuppelsaal also it took me, what, six years to realize that dream of mine because I always felt like Kuppelsaal it’s this huge hall at the technical university is mostly all out of wood and it just sets a very, I would say, comfortable and proper atmosphere because we wanted to create a comfort zone for our participants to be okay to share. Yeah, and unfortunately not just always the positive aspects but also the negative aspects of, you know, being the single woman on team XYZ and once I think, once we managed to create this comfort zone, then we managed to migrate the conference into something that is an inclusive welcoming atmosphere that goes beyond gender. It should be about diversity at the end of the day because we believe in Women Techmakers in diversity and equality regardless of gender, right? So you know, it just takes time that all these things shift and go towards our diversity vision. It just didn’t happen from the get-go like that and it wouldn’t have been possible without the community sort of reflecting or telling us in which direction to go.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely. You need to have that that open communication channel and a lot of work, a lot of patience and, correct me if I’m wrong, but Women Techmakers is purely run by volunteers, is that right?
  • TIMEA: Yep, none of us are paid by Google or by Women Techmakers to do this. We only, as you know, do it on the side of our full-time jobs or part-time jobs, weekends, evenings, yeah, and it’s a lot of passion.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely, out of passion, and I mean people like you and I we have the privilege to be able to have the resources to be able to dedicate this time to it, so if we can, why not, right? It’s a lot of work to be able to pull something like this off and, of course, not everything goes perfectly smoothly. We have our bumps. I remember I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this to you, I’m going to mention this to you on a recording! For the first time, the first year that I organized, helped organized Women Techmakers Vienna I was in charge- in the afternoon half I was in charge of recording the speakers, and I had a camera on a stand. I had to stand up on a box and make sure that the camera was pointing-
  • TIMEA: We have a picture of you doing this.
  • RAMÓN: Oh no! Well at some point, I don’t remember who was speaking, but there was a there was a speaker who liked to- who when speaking moved around a lot, like, walked around like some speakers tend to wander around the stage and, I don’t know what happened but my brain just shut off for a while. I was just focusing on the speaker and the talk like not looking at the camera but looking past the camera at the stage. And I look at the camera and the speaker’s nowhere to be found on the camera! I’m like “oh my god i lost the speaker on the camera!” So there’s like at least… I don’t know, maybe two, maybe five, hopefully maximum five minutes of footage of the just the wall! Anyhow I mean the point is it happens, you know. You’re doing your best, you learn from your mistakes, and you know, I think what makes a good- I think what makes an organization and and a conference like this successful is the fact that you are receptive to that feedback, because I’ve seen in my years of attending- so for context I’m a software engineer I spend a lot of my time going to software engineering conferences, and I find a lot of the I find there are more than I would like to say, there are a few events that you know receive this feedback and then don’t respond well to it, dig their heels in, so to speak, and I think what makes something successful is when somebody comes to us say for Women Techmakers and say “I’m so bored of of you all serving those bagels for lunch every year. Can we get something else?” To listen to them and say “Okay, this works, this doesn’t, how can we make a response that’s satisfactory and also you know internalize that feedback and sort of grow from it”. You know what I mean?
  • TIMEA: It’s not easy, to be honest, yeah and we also had to learn to do that actually. But yeah at the same time I have to also say that lately I’m yearning for feedback from the community actually more than usual, it shifts.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely. I mean this year for the first, because of the need to be remote we tried our hand at something completely new which was the Women Techmakers online conference and that was completely new for us. We tried a bunch of new things, some worked, some we still need to figure out we could probably dedicate an episode of this podcast to talk about online conferences that’s something near and dear to my heart.
  • TIMEA: Meanwhile, read the blog post that Ramón wrote about the whole experience of moving an offline conference to an online. Let’s put that in the show notes.
  • RAMÓN: I guess I’ll have to remember to to promote myself in the show notes.
  • TIMEA: that’s what i’m here for
  • RAMÓN: Yeah we gotta do this for each other. Yeah learning, yearning for more feedback and just you know hopefully seeing what works, seeing what doesn’t work, and being receptive to it. It’s important, absolutely. Speaking of importance another thing that I find that really, correct me if I’m wrong I’m curious to hear. So for conferences for me having as a speaker, having a code of conduct is absolutely essential to me right if I get invited to, or apply to speak at a conference I notice that if they don’t have a code of conduct I’ll find “hmm I should really ask them why they don’t have a code of conduct”. There’s a blog post by Ashe Dryden that I will post in the show notes about why it’s important to have a code of conduct for you as a speaker as an attendee and even as an organizer to feel safe. But that’s enough of my monologue. I’m curious Timea, what’s the history of Women Techmakers and the code of conduct if that’s not putting you on the spot
  • TIMEA: I know, yeah, we’ve been working on it several times so I think this is like the third or fourth iteration that we have on our website. The last time actually Pilar I think worked on it maybe together with you.
  • RAMÓN: Is it? I think two years ago I adapted the Berlin code of conduct, yeah that’s the one.
  • TIMEA: Yes, so I can’t say that I personally was much involved in the topic, but you and Pilar had a very good point especially from your experiences from other conferences that this is something that should be very important and not taken for granted. So I remember as the fact that, yes, we changed it we improved it and then we had a dedicated space always in the beginning of the conference and also on our chat platforms to flash that there’s a code of conduct contact if something is going wrong then you can talk to XYZ at the conference so I think in the past two years that became for us a must, part of the best practices because we want to build an inclusive conference and atmosphere where everybody’s safe, and I think that’s just one big step that needs to happen for us to be taken seriously
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely. I think the the big sticking point of the code of conduct is that of enforceability, right? Because one thing is to just have a copy-paste code of conduct and say we’re done here and then when an incident actually happens you don’t know how to act on it, because it’s not set in crystal terms what happens if a code of conduct breach happens. So I’ve met a lot of folks in my journey who- or a few conferences that say something like “but we’re all adults we don’t need a code of conduct it’ll be fine we’ll figure it out” and a lot of the times those are the events and those are the people with whom these let’s say these transgressions take place, you know.
  • TIMEA: Beyond conferences I think this is necessary in companies as well and some of the companies have it and it’s called, you know, anti-harassment, for example, or whatever you want to call it as a policy. And it shouldn’t be taken lightly because you have to have a guideline of how should I act if something happens and you have to have, if you have a code of contact you have a very good argument to showcase that there was a wrongdoing that’s all what I want to say about that, yeah.
  • RAMÓN: No, I thank you. Though I think, I know that in the past I’ve as as you hinted earlier me and my sister we’ve kind of been the sticklers that are coming constantly to the code of conduct and then trying to push that to be enforced further I think what we’ve done now is get us to a point as well something I’d like to touch on is to whom it applies, because what I find interesting about a code of conduct is also that an attendee needs to abide by the code of conduct, a speaker needs to abide by the code of conduct (it’s a little more involved because they also need to make sure that with their talk with their slides they don’t break the code of conduct), but as organizers we need to abide by the code of contract, as well. As humans, we can mess up and so what one thing for example if I may ruminate about here is I’m wondering what can we do to enforce to have a team of folks enforce the code of conduct separated separatedly from the organizing team do you know what i mean
  • TIMEA: Yeah, it’s something like you don’t see the forest because of the trees.
  • RAMÓN: Kind of, as an organizer maybe if as an organizer you could also break the code of conduct and then how do you enforce a code of conduct on yourself how do your fellow attendees enforce a code of conduct on you without breaking some sort of hierarchy that may or may not exist inside that organization team because for example maybe one thing we could go into in a bit is that Women Techmakers on a yearly basis for the last, I’m not sure how many years you’re going to correct me in a moment has had rotating lead organizers, right, so what happens if that lead organizer breaks the code of conduct that’s where the argument comes in for having a team separate from the organizing team called the code of conduct enforcement team or code of conduct team without making it sound too…
  • TIMEA: I see what you mean.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah have you had any experience with that?
  • TIMEA: I can relate to it but I haven’t had experience with it. For me it’s always like, okay I’ve been there for Women Techmakers constantly for the last eight years and yes the every year the main organizer changes but it has to do a lot with my how I approach people. I want to say that I always trust people and put always the good first and I’m sometimes in the wrong but I expect my fellow organizer or organizers to make me aware if I’m doing something wrong or if somebody else is doing something wrong, so that’s why we are so many. I mean we are many and we can do that. We never had actually the problem to that extent that somebody didn’t- do something wrong. And I mean if that’s the point then I think you would as an organizer immediately not feel good in the team anymore because then we that means that we don’t share the same values. So it’s sort of like yeah I think did you have any experience?
  • RAMÓN: I’m sorry to put you on the spot.
  • TIMEA: Just discussing here it’s fine.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah, no, I mean I’ve been, as it may become clear if we do more of it, if we do end up turning it this into a long-running podcast, I go to a lot of conferences and I really like them so I’m always looking into how other teams are organizing theirs. I find it interesting to to to see how these people try to create an inclusive safe environment so that people can thrive, connect, communicate, and and grow in their careers grow as people, so I have seen, have been witness to conferences that have had incidents, yes, of course. I mean, these things happen especially behind the scenes a lot more than we take than we take for granted. And I think- I find it interesting to think how can we- that’s why I find myself a lot of the time thinking how can we prevent incidents like these from taking place especially from an organizational standpoint, a I think you put it quite well when you said you know that this person a person who’s in an organizational team who witnesses something that they don’t like they if if they don’t speak up if anything it says more about the the structure itself of the team that’s not working, which fortunately I don’t, I think can confidently say we haven’t had yet in Women Techmakers yet.
  • TIMEA: If I have a team member that doesn’t speak up then I’m failing absolutely with what we’re doing here. Like, it’s that I would see as a fail in the first place and likely I’m hoping that we didn’t have that, yeah.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah, hopefully. But let’s let’s go into that because I think so there’s a few conferences I go to that do have rotating teams. For example there’s the European ruby conference that what they do every year is it takes place in a different city in europe, and also headed up by a completely different team, so nobody who organized last year’s EuRuKo in the Netherlands will be organizing the one that takes place next year in Helsinki so I’m curious what was the impetus for trying this with Women Techmakers by having a lead organizer be different every year?
  • TIMEA: Well, it wasn’t necessarily the plan that it’s every year different, it’s just quite some work, yeah, and after organizing it for a year you want a break, sure, that’s one aspect, and the second aspect is it’s just natural because you want to develop yourself. So I already did this, I learned a lot, what’s next? Like what can I do next to grow and that can be that you take again a different role potentially on different tasks and you learn there something, or it also happens that we have members that left to join other organizations or just focus on their careers, that’s also absolutely fine. So the whole rotating is just it just kind of happened like that and at the same time it leaves a space for someone else to grow in this role. I can’t say that everybody who was in a main organizer position had all the skills and know-how from the get-go, but there was opportunity to grow into this and to learn from it so it’s natural and that’s one aspect, but the rest of the team, I’m happy to say that we have kind of a core team that kind of is the same every year and that gives you extra support because you know the people already that you’re gonna be working with, there are friendships that are created internally so there’s a support system. However I can’t say that it’s perfect because to be super honest here we also had the case where the main organizer after the conferences were almost burned out, or actually burned out, because it’s you know, full-time job, you do this on the side… ‘Main organizer’ means more or less being a project manager for a huge conference huge 200 people which is not little.
  • RAMÓN: It’s pretty big.
  • TIMEA: You have a team of sixm seven people, different tasks that you have to juggle and manage and then I think that the month right before the conference is super intense, and I can’t say that it’s perfect in how we organize ourselves because it was, always the feedback sometimes the feedback that after the confidence that there’s a burnout of the main organizer and that’s something that I wanted to overcome, and we, for that reason, we had last year the conference where we had two main organizers it kind of worked and it actually, it actually more worked than it didn’t and we definitely didn’t have this feedback of it was too much for one person.
  • RAMÓN: That’s good.
  • TIMEA: This year he was just one, Mahek, an organizer but the problem was not the conference was the fact that we had to cancel it one week before everything was set up and we were like “let’s go”, and then the lockdown happened and then we had to shift it, and sometime in June we got back on track and was like ‘okay let’s do it online’. So that was that was a different disappointment for the main organizer. However the details I would actually like to discuss with the actual main organizers themselves because we want to invite them on the podcast
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely. I think giving them giving them the space to talk about what their experiences are, what they learned and…
  • TIMEA: Yeah, the good and the bad.
  • RAMÓN: The good and the bad yeah, warts and all, as they say… On that note, Timea, for you because you’ve been doing this for a while could you you know enumerate these these successes that you’ve had?
  • TIMEA: Oh, well, I think I want to categorize this into personal successes and community successes. So first of all, I already mentioned that one big goal of mine and dream was that we have the conference in the Kuppelsaal that was that was a big success for me. I never thought that I could see in a volunteer organization so much dedication that transforms into a sustainable team that stays the same over years. That for me is a huge positive feedback, yeah, that the people just want to stick around. So that’s for me personally also beyond my expectation. You know, you’re also in here for what three years now so yeah do you know why you stick around? Obviously there’s something.
  • RAMÓN: I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • TIMEA: Awesome, and that’s we managed to grow organically to 200 attendees at the conference which is what we had last year, the last face-to-face conference, plus the enormous positive feedback from the community that we actually managed to create an inclusive environment, welcoming, that’s also something that we that happened organically for I can’t really say or I don’t even have particular points to say ‘okay we did this on purpose’ to become inclusive, it’s something that comes from the community as feedback after each conference , so it’s a bit of a personal goals mixed with community goals
  • RAMÓN: Which I think are fantastic motivators honestly. Okay and…
  • TIMEA: And there’s more! Also a big success that i would call a big success is the fact that we don’t need to actively go and, how I call, fundraise or find partnerships for the conference. They knock at our door, and that for me is, again, you know, we managed to establish ourselves, what we stand for and the companies or the partners already know about us, and want to partner with us, because we are known for quality or for providing specific tailored to their needs, solutions to their needs, that’s also very relieving however COVID happened, so I think everything is about to change.
  • RAMÓN: Fingers crossed, we can keep doing a good job at providing these platforms for people.
  • TIMEA: Yes, but after eight years, the COVID situation happening I think we need to get out of the comfort zone again, yet again, and reinvent ourselves. I don’t think that for example, so we know for sure that the conference as it happened last year, we cannot provide that next year. It’s very unlikely that we can have a face-to-face conference, just too much uncertainty. So we either do it online, learning from this year or we simply reinvent ourselves such as the podcast whatever else our organizers and community members want, they should just email us, because we can make it happen. Not everything in the whole world but you know, we can discuss it.
  • RAMÓN: So what you’re saying is the the milkshake bar at the conference is probably not going to happen anytime soon.
  • TIMEA: Never say wish for it but never say never.
  • RAMÓN: Cool, awesome, awesome. You know, just really, it’s been such an honor to be on this organizing team because I think like you said it’s been we’ve been at this for a while, you see we’ve kind of built up the sense of camaraderie that spills over when new people join in, or when people have to leave, because they want to pursue different efforts, or they have to move to another city. I feel like that sense of sticking together really means a lot to me, because I think it spills out into the conference, as well, and like you said I’m kind of really liking your emphasis on jumping out of the comfort zone. I think by fostering this and and by keeping going, you know, something that a personal objective of mine with the Women Techmakers online conference was to establish some sort of online community that we could then push forwards and foster. It’s been a bit dormant lately I’ll admit, probably, partly on me, we we started up a Discord community where people can chat and attend. We used it during the conference to sort of attend the conference where people could chat and ask questions. We found out some things along the way I’m just going to quickly drop this because I loved it so we had a voice- If you’re unfamiliar with Discord discord is a kind of an online hangout community, chat platform, also voice platform initially used for games but now it’s also has a bigger online community emphasis, and so Timea had this idea that we do an online breakfast at the beginning of the second we split it into two days…
  • TIMEA: I think it wasn’t my idea, it was Mahek’s idea.
  • RAMÓN: It wasn’t your idea? My bad, sorry. Well you did have an idea that I wanted- we had this this voice channel where we had a breakfast and then you had the idea where you just went into that voice channel, we renamed it to ‘voice hangout’ and you just hung out there and attendees would drop in every now and then. Do you remember?
  • TIMEA: We called it the ‘Lounge’.
  • RAMÓN: That’s- the lounge, love it, and I was so blown away by this because A) I’d never seen it before at an online conference, and B) it would have never occurred to me in a million years that people would want to voice chat during talks. I thought that was incredible and I think that’s where I think this whole emphasis on stepping out of your comfort zone goes really well, because you don’t know what’s going to come from it right.
  • TIMEA: Yeah unless you try it.
  • RAMÓN: Unless you try it. I kind of like that unless you try it.
  • TIMEA: This year was also for me personally a lot of going out of the comfort zone. So I’m trying to almost get comfortable with being out of the comfort zone.
  • RAMÓN: I like that.
  • TIMEA: You could say that, and I think it’s at the same time a good opportunity to tackle new topics to try new things also for Women Techmakers Vienna.
  • RAMÓN: Awesome, cool. Well, you know, we’ve been chatting here for a bit yeah I think we could start winding down I think we’ve…
  • TIMEA: My last sips of the coffee.
  • RAMÓN: Oh, mine’s gone. That’s a good sign of yes, well I think this I don’t know about you but I’ve had a wonderful time talking now, I think you know once we we can start bringing on guests we can start figuring out where this podcast will go how we can make it grow and, you know, make it, make us grow with it I’m… I don’t know, about you, how are you feeling too, now that we’ve been at this for a while…
  • TIMEA: I’m still excited, it’s like “awesome”.
  • RAMÓN: Yeah me too a lot, so I think with that we can say our goodbyes.
  • TIMEA: See you next time.
  • RAMÓN: Absolutely take care everybody.
  • TIMEA: Bye.
  • TIMEA: Are you on the forefront of gender equality? You are invited on our podcast.
  • RAMÓN: That’s right! Or maybe you know somebody that we could have a chat with on gender equality? You should totally get in touch with us! We’re on twitter @GenderCoffee or any of the other contact methods on our show notes. We would love to you to get in touch and for us to have a chat.