June 1st, 2009

Awesome women in tech: Selena Deckelmann and Audrey Eschright

Awesome women in tech: Selena Deckelmann and Audrey Eschright

A incredibly insightful woman once said, “Encourage your community to take time to step back and enjoy their work.” And since I just read her saying that today, I thought I would stop for a second to emphasize just how lucky we are to have the community we do. We’ve got events going every night and practically every weekend. We’ve got good chatter online and off. And we’re creating and building a lot of cool stuff—sometimes purely through volunteer efforts.

Two of those amazing volunteer projects are Calagator and Open Source Bridge. And two of the awesome people behind those efforts are Selena Deckelmann and Audrey Eschright.

Why highlight Selena and Audrey today?

Well, a couple of reasons. First off, they both just got published in the Open Source Business Resource.

Selena’s article, entitled “Offline: Where Tech Communities Succeed With Women” focuses on the importance of events and conferences for drawing women into the tech scene.

Conferences are one way that women can be drawn into the free/libre and open source software (F/LOSS) ecosystem. Many different approaches are needed to increase women’s participation in F/LOSS, but face-to-face interaction has proven to be a critical part of the way the technology community in Portland, Oregon has thrived. This article describes the successes of this community, and suggests how other communities could benefit from Portland’s experience.

Audrey covered Calagator in her article entitled “Community-Built Software: What I Learned from Calagator.” In it, she offers a series of guidelines for getting the most out of your volunteer-run projects.

Building anything from scratch is an act to be proud of, and doubly so if it turns into a community effort. Encourage your community to take time to step back and enjoy their work. Community-built software requires equal parts technical and social contribution. The reward is not just a piece of useful software, but the social connections made, and the benefit to the community the software serves. Technology is created for people, to solve real human needs, and community-built software provides an opportunity to put that idea to work.

Tangentially, we’re mere weeks away from the launch of Open Source Bridge, the entirely volunteer run conference Audrey and Selena have been working to bring together.

So as luck would have it, they both also just appeared on Portland’s leading tech podcast Strange Love Live.

Again, there are tons of amazing people in the Portland tech community—and tons of amazing people in whichever subsegments of that community in which you choose to participate.

Take some time to recognize their efforts and be thankful for what you’ve got. I know I’m thankful we’ve got Selena and Audrey doing what they do. And Portland is all the better because of it.

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One Response to “Awesome women in tech: Selena Deckelmann and Audrey Eschright”

  1. FLOSS Weekly interviewed Selena and Audrey (mostly about OpenSource Bridge) at http://twit.tv/floss64 – check it out!

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