In a quiet pub in Dublin while Fiona Charles and I attended Eurostar 2014, the topic of diversity (in particular gender) came up. It had been a ‘hot topic’ through the year, with many tweets and blogs posts on the topic but sadly there seemed little direct action on the topic.  Both Fiona and I felt that while making the problem visible is important, even more important is to do something about it.

I had personal experience of the difficulty in sourcing speakers for Tasting Let’s Test. When it came to Let’s Test Oz in Australia, I worked hard to encourage female speakers and inexperienced speakers to try their luck speaking.

From this experience I really believe that the way to improve the pool of women speakers is through personal one on one mentoring. Women in line do this, but I wanted to integrate the program with conferences so that women being mentored had a specific goal in mind. I also wanted conferences to secure a speaking spot – this initiative is inspired by the Yow! Women in Tech competition.

So, Speak Easy was born, a program to encourage diversity in software testing conferences.

CAST-2015-SquareI’m thrilled that CAST 2015 is our first conference to officially support our initiative. They have allocated a CAST speaker spot on their program. This spot will be allocated to an inexperienced speaker that goes through the Speak Easy program.

If you are a tester and you think you might want to speak at CAST here’s what you need to do:

1) Sign up to the Speak Easy program now (It’s free!)

2) A Mentor will be allocated to you

3) You will have until mid February to create your abstract with your mentor (that’s right Speak Easy submitters get an extra 2 weeks!)

Fiona and I, the patrons and mentors would like to thank CAST 2015 for supporting this exciting initiative.