Toward more diverse speakers, panels, and events in our community

Saying diversity and inclusion is a problem in the tech world is a staggering understatement. And when you live in the most infamously white city in the United States with an incredibly small tech and startup community, that issue is only exacerbated. Exponentially. That’s why I’m always happy to see how other folks are working to change that.

So when I got this tweet from Kate Ertmann yesterday…


I was inspired. To say the least.

The tweet referenced an effort in the UK to diffuse the “we couldn’t find a woman to speak” problem.

And that got me to thinking. Our problem, in Portland, isn’t just with ensuring women are recognized and invited to speak, it’s with people of color, people from LGBTQ communities, and people from a bevy of underrepresented groups around the city. From meet ups to user groups to major events to everything in between, it’s exceedingly obvious that we could all use more diverse and inclusive representation at every event. On stage. And in the audience.

So I started building my own list in my head. But then it dawned on me. You know who knows way more about this than me? You know who knows way more awesome people? You know who can identify those amazing and compelling speakers more efficiently and effectively than I can?


So let’s do this.

But wait. There’s more.

No doubt, many of you will have a lengthy list of folks to provide. And using a one-off form could get to be annoying. If you’d like, please feel free to send those lists to rick [at] piepdx [dot] com or share them via Google Docs, and I’ll treat them with the same care and respect I do the form submissions.

I’m really looking forward to meeting all of these amazing people. And working to ensure that event organizers around town have a better understanding and easy access to all of the incredible and diverse voices in our community. Most of all, I can’t wait to have this list at my disposal when I’m planning future events.