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By Mikel Lindsaar

Diversity in Technology Conferences

Some of you might know that reinteractive is going to be presenting RailsConfAU this year in Sydney, Australia. It's Australia's first Rails Conference and we already have some big names lined up to speak.

But today, I was in our company chat room and we were talking about another conference, one that a member of our team had seen a promotion for, where it appeared that all 28 speakers were men. In discussing this we were trying to come up with ideas to make sure that RailsConfAU had a wide range of speaker backgrounds to encourage more diversity in our industry.

During this conversation, one of our team members Len Garvey made a statement that resonated with me. He said (paraphrased) I'll gladly not speak if it means that someone else who can promote diversity gets a chance. Len and myself are both white male programmers.

This got me thinking, and tonight I came up with an idea.

If you looked at the RailsConfAU website earlier today, you would have seen me as one of the keynote speakers. I'd love to speak at the conference, we are putting a lot of energy into making it a success and I have lots to talk about :)

But I've decided to do something different; if you go to the site now, you will see a big question mark in my spot and a link back to this post.

I'm throwing it out to the community, I want you to help me find a fantastic keynote speaker for my slot that helps promote diversity.

RailsConfAU is going to be about business, development, rails operations and the practical side of Ruby on Rails. Help me find someone who would be appropriate to take this slot and we'll help them travel to Sydney and give them accommodation for the conference. Please email speak@railsconf.com.au with your ideas, or better yet, nominate yourself if you think you fit the bill!

Anyone that applies but doesn't make it into the keynote slot will be sent an email and encouraged to apply to talk when our call for proposals is live at the end of May, so hopefully we can still have them along too.

Please help me give away my keynote slot.

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