Back in 2018, wow four years ago, I presented at all five stops of Data Relay and rode the bus. For those that don’t know Data Relay is a conference in the UK that goes between five cities in five days. They take bus for the speakers between cities. The speakers help setup the conference at each site every morning and tear it down at the end of the day. Then off we go to the next city. This year it just four stops. Its in October, the call for speakers is here.
Lately, there have been a lot of conferences having a hard time with getting a diverse speaker pool. Data Relay is suffering from the same problem. I wanted to write the post to help recruit some non-male speakers just in case you felt like it bros only conference. I was the only non-male on the bus but I felt completely included and comfortable. There were non-males at different cities just none doing the complete tour. I presented my Query Store presentation and had blast. I even put two SQL Saturdays on the front end and back end of the week. I roomed with Andrew Pruski (b | t) and Alex Yates (b | t) in some the cities in different Airbnbs to cut on costs. They were true gentlemen making sure I got my own bedroom. Sometimes the sponsors completely took care of dinners. I roamed around some the cities between presenting and helping out with the conference to do a tiny bit of site seeing. I didn’t have one single incident where I felt like I didn’t belong among the other speakers because I was female, and I have a tendency to feel like I don’t belong among a general crown of speakers even females.
When I almost got stranded in the last city trying to get to SQL Saturday Holland. Pruski jumped into the rescue to secure me ride London and a new flight to Holland the next morning and I arrive 10 minutes before my talk. Miracles do happen.
Now, I wrote this because they need more non-males to submit sessions to help make the conference more diverse. This year they have four stops. The only way conferences are going to be more diverse is if more diverse speakers start submitting to conferences. I would love to do this conference again, and I will submit again in the future but this year I’ve got other obligations that are preventing me from doing so.
I encourage you to find some friends to submit and if you get selected team up and rent some Airbnbs and cut the cost and go out and enjoy this conference. It is a one of a kind experience. I’m sure the organizers would more than happy to help you with tips on organizing your trip if you need it. Again, the call for speakers is here.