This was the first time we went virtual with our Conf, but it was our most successful year yet, with almost 300 attendees from all over the globe joining us on our virtual platform.
Just like almost everything else in 2020, we had to adapt. Using online conference platform "Remo", we were still able to hold our Ada's List Conf, complete with speakers, key panel events, networking and more - all from the safety and comfort of our own living rooms.
Despite being physically distant this year, our attendees were far from socially distant! People came to network and connect with people from across the globe.
Attendees could sit at virtual tables and talk to people they'd never spoken to before or reconnect with those they already knew - mirroring the spontaneity of an IRL Conf.
The chat function in Remo meant that people could engage in the discussions happening in real time, instead of sitting and listening to talks and the panel, people could discuss and plot together - this ability to engage helped to build a stronger sense of community across the conf.
Natasha Grujić from our sponsor UsTwo said - "Wow! What an amazing digital conference! I've spent a big chunk of my career at events and conferences and love to mingle and network - I wasn't expecting such a slick digital experience, I really loved the tables and timed chats between talks, I got to meet such an amazing bunch of women, and still felt a sense of networking even from home! The talks themselves were varied with great and diverse panelists, it was a much needed boost of inspiration and "meeting" new people in these fairly isolated times."
Dr. Ronda Zelezny-Green, speaker from one of our panel events said - "The experience of speaking at the conf was like a reunion with girlfriends. Sharing interesting stories and perspectives in a safe space was a welcome breath of fresh air!"
Every year, we do a call out to the whole Ada's List Community - anyone can submit an idea for a talk/panel event to host at the Conf. Providing this equal opportunity means that we end up with a diverse group of speakers which reflects our community. People from a variety of professions, at different levels in their career, who all bring a range of interesting topics to the table.
We had 4 incredible tracks/channels running over the 2 days, which featured over 20 outstanding speakers (who are all Ada's List members!) who shared their stories of innovation and change, and how they are changing communities, workplaces, and their industry.
Check out the 4 Conf tracks we had over the two days - which one was your favourite?
Attendees were able to choose between our 4 tracks and listen the speakers and talks they were most interested in. Some of the talks included:
"Managing Imposter Syndrome Effectively: An Intersectional Perspective" - Dr. Rashmi Narayana
"On COVID, communities and climate breakdown: organising for change" - Emily Tulloh
"Future Proofing your career for the next decade" - Bukola Adisa
"Blockchain for the better world" - Dianing Yudono
The Conf kicked off with an inspiring and motivational keynote from Wincie Wong - speaker and sponsor from NatWest Group - who spoke to us about how we can embrace ourselves for the Tech Powered Future.
Wincie said - "It is critically important for us at NatWest to build diverse teams to create the best products for our customers. As we look to grow the diversity in our software engineering teams, we are very proud to be sponsoring Ada’s List and collaborating with them in order to create a more balanced future for the UK tech workforce."
Our Conf wasn't just about sitting and listening in on all of the talks - as amazing as that is - in the true sprit of Ada's List we also wanted to take action! To help keep the conversation action-focused, we had two amazing panel sessions:
"Re-thinking the role of Government in a COVID and post-COVID world"
Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, Dr. Ronda Železný-Green and Kajal Odedra, joined us in this epic panel.
Martha Lane Fox said - "As a long time member of Ada's List, I've always been proud to support the work they do to make a more equitable tech sector in the UK and globally. I'm honoured to speak at the 2020 Conf and look forward to hearing from the brilliant women on the panel about how we can best position the UK tech sector coming out of COVID."
"Working from Home in a Global Pandemic"
This panel featured Dr. Caitlin McDonald from Leading Edge Forum, Hannah Smith from HSBC and Aliki Georgakopoulou from Sister System discussing the new working set up, maintaining productivity and how remote/flexible working may open up opportunities to allow for a better work / life balance.
Dr. Caitlin McDonald from the panel said - "It’s been a real joy experiencing Ada’s List growing from strength to strength over the past seven years. Especially this year, being able to connect to a worldwide community of women supporting each other through some of each other’s toughest career challenges, and celebrating one another’s triumphs, has been such a vital supportive force for women in the global tech community. Bringing this year’s conference online made it a truly global event—which is what Ada’s List is all about."
Check out the list of reading recommendations that have been suggested from our Conf attendees. Do you have any more that you could add to this thread? Please do so!
With a special thanks to our Sponsors!
Of course, the Annual Ada's List Conf couldn't be done without all of amazing sponsors! We have a number of fantastic sponsors every year, and have a few who have now sponsored us on more than one occasion - including Bulb (2nd time sponsors) and FutureGov (5th time sponsors!).
Morgan Legge, from our sponsor Convert said -
"I found the sessions interesting, especially the Restructure Series Keynote with Martha Lane Fox, and Dr. Ronda Zelezny-Green. The sessions on Blockchain blew my mind - I had no idea the range of applications for this technology. I wish each speaker had more that 15 minutes. It was a teaser and left me hungry for more.
I also thought Lisa Carpenter's Hands on Phython session was well done. Lisa's presentation made me want to become a Phython expert. And just that short session made me feel like that goal was completely feasible.
Bravo to Ada's List for a job well done. It was my first exposure to the organization, but it won't be my last."
We hope to see you again next year!! 🎉🎉