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My first (and probably hopeless) steps on diversity


When @Juan Ramón Alonso and I started the Atlassian Community in Madrid, we had clear that we wanted to create a space for everybody. We embraced the Atlassian values and we specially wanted to pay attention to diversity. Here in Spain, the IT Community is working to foster diversity in the events and we were interested in doing our bit in this movement.

I know that diversity is a super wide concept but we decided to start with avoiding all male panel and we agreed that we should have at least 50% of women speakers. Great, we are super cool guys now but, where do we begin?

There is not a manual for diversity or, at least, we didn't find it, so our first strategy was to contact friends and family and we got a very super-talented speaker, Ruth Puente, a Spanish OKR evangelist. Not bad for our first step but this strategy didn't scale, we needed to explore other options.

Second step was to make announcements in our Twitter account and in our personal Linkedin profiles. No results. Then I learnt that there is not a silver bullet, you must work and spend time creating more connections in your network, you can't publish something and sit down to rest and wait for speakers. So, we continued moving along this path.

Third step. Contact proactively with people. We wrote to people we thought they could be good speakers and be interested in our Community and bingo! One sketchnoting expert loved the idea and we are already choosing the date for an event on January.

Extra-ball. Here in Spain there are some IT women communities so after some time contacting with them, I have found that it is quite easy to get awesome women speakers because of these organizations. One example about this, there is a Spanish Twitter account connected with a bot, Valentina Space, and if you mention this account in a tweet with a subject, for instance #agile, it answers with a list of Spanish women that could be speakers about it.


Valentina Space.png


Thanks to this bot, we are in contact with Adalab, a bootcamp for training women (without any IT background) in front end development, so when they finish the course, they can find their first IT job. They are managing everything with Trello and I am sure we are going to learn a lot about this talk.

In summary:

  1. Do not forget family and friends. It is a good way to start
  2. Be pro-active, write and contact people, you can't create a movement without action
  3. Work with existing communities. They are really well organized.

So these are our first steps on diversity, we started because of the values but we know now that it is the best way to have amazing speakers. I hope we can join more people to this initiative.



Kat Marketplace Partner Dec 03, 2019

Looks like hope AND delivery on diversity to me.


That Twitter bot is an awesome idea.

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carolyn french Community Leader Dec 04, 2019

Thank you for sharing @Javier Fernandez _Madrid_ ! 

As a woman part of IT communities of women, there are lots of us - happy you've connected up with some local to your area that are doing exciting things.

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Hi @Javier Fernandez _Madrid_ 

Appreciate the post. Really like the bot idea which is working for you..

We had 7 women lead the sessions out of the 13 speakers this year in New Delhi. 

I believe, what drove this is having a co-leader with me who is a fierce spokesperson of the same and leads events like *Women in Agile and Tech* in my city. Kudos to @Deepti Jain for the same.

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