SpeakEasy Conference Collaboration
SpeakEasy started off with typically one way of collaborating with conferences. We agreed with various conferences that they would put to side speaking slots for newbie speakers from SpeakEasy. This collaboration served us great for many years and helped build relationships with conferences.
What we do now is more versatile:
Cross-Promotional Relationship. This is our standard way of working with a conference. We no longer require to commit to taking a SpeakEasy speaker and reserving a slot. We promote the conference CFP, track which ones find the CFP through us by a field in CFP or mention in submission meaning "I come with a mentor". Conferences are free to select as many as they like of SpeakEasy proposals they received or take none. SpeakEasy organizes mentors for people selected as SpeakEasy speakers.
Mentee submissions. SpeakEasy mentors help their mentees prepare high quality talk proposals. These proposals are very competitive in regular call for proposal processes without any established connection between SpeakEasy and the conference. Being in the program does not limit the speakers to only conferences that have established an official SpeakEasy connection.
Keynote Partnerships. We work with conferences doing open calls for keynotes, eliciting ideas of what keynotes the conference could have available. For Agile Testing Days USA 2019, SpeakEasy set up a small committee of experienced keynoters to vote on the proposals. For Selenium Conference London 2019, SpeakEasy collected a list of proposals, helped shape up the descriptions and the conference made their own selections on which keynote they would go for.
Conference Tracks of 1st time Speakers. SpeakEasy can partner with a conference to build whole tracks from SpeakEasy sourced speakers. So far these have been done with Agile Testing Days USA 2019 and 2020, with focus on 1st time speakers. Usually 1st time speakers don't know how to write a proposal, and we employ a process focused on discussion to understand the perspectives before setting up everyone with a mentor.
SpeakEasy Scholarships. We have raised some money through Speakers opting out of their honorariums with European Testing Conference. With that money, we have paid several Speakers travels to conferences that don't pay travel and hotel for speakers who could not accept a talk without that financial aid. At first we chose people and conferences in the background usually finding people who were trying to raise money or they'd need to cancel accepted talk. More recently, we have visibly partnered with conferences on this. Selenium Conference series is a known great player in the not making people pay for speaking, yet their budgeted limitations for Selenium Conference Tokyo benefited from us working together to find one international SpeakEasy voice we paid travel for.
Pulling from Portfolio for Different Speaker Levels. The latest form of collaboration we are experimenting with is building a public SpeakEasy portfolio. A lot of the work in SpeakEasy happens in mentor - mentee 1:1 relationship and with this we move to allow community help in shaping up great proposals on ConfEngine platform. We will first do this in collaboration with Selenium Conference India and hope to establish a more permanent way for other conferences to source talks from too.
We are still actively seeking new ways of collaborating with conferences. We know that changing the speaker profiles available to us requires efforts on many fronts, and would be happy to discuss ideas with conferences.