Speaker Rider

I love public speaking. I love doing it, and I love listening to it. However, the world and specifically my craft of Software Testing/Development needs to hear from more diverse voices, and I hope to play a part in achieving that with this speaker rider.

If you’re interested in having me speak at your conference, you can find numerous ways to contact me in the sidebar.

This rider is a work in progress and will take effect for all new agreements I make with events from the date of publishing. All clauses in this rider apply to commercial conferences. Meetups, community events and potentially some not for profit events are not subject to my rider.

  • Not pay to speak
  • Must have a Code of Conduct
  • Diverse Speakers

Not PayToSpeak

An event will cover travel costs (flights, taxis, buses, trains, ferries) and accommodation for ALL speakers

If the term PayToSpeak is new to you, it means where it ends up costing you money to talk at a conference, usually specifically focused on travel and accommodation. PayToSpeak conferences act as a barrier to those who don’t have support from their employer, or have enough disposable income to fund themselves, and let’s be honest we all have better ways to spend our money then to increase the profits of a conference. PayToSpeak conferences are a plague on our industry and tend to have a more corporate angle to them, and self-promotion, than trying to improve the community and the sector they represent.

Where a flight is required, your event will cover an economy airfare on the days of travel that work for me. If it’s a long flight and a significant change in timezone I will insist on travelling a few days before, to give me at least one rest day. This is actually of benefit to your event, as I will be adjusted and have more energy for my session. Those extra days at a hotel will be covered by your event if for the reason above. I aim to never leave a conference early (sometimes personal reasons dictate this), I don’t believe it’s fair on attendees who have paid good money to listen and chat with the speakers. So, if I can’t travel home on the evening the conference ends, then the event will cover that additional night. Again, it benefits the conference.

My travel to and from my main means of transport should also be covered, such as taxis/buses/trams/trains to the airport and to the hotel. If it so happens that I can drive to your event, then I will be reimbursed per mile/km at the government rate, so for the UK, this would be 45p per mile. This specific rule I am more lenient on, and I will only ask for reimbursement if the cost is higher than the cost of a regular commute for a day job.

Code of Conduct

An event will have a code of conduct

Your event will have an inclusive and enforced code of conduct. It’s hard to know if an event will enforce their code of conduct or just list one to appear inclusive. However, people talk and usually, news spreads when code of conducts are not being enforced, plus physical things should be present at the event which usually aid in believing if it will be enforced or not. Code of conducts are designed to create a safe environment for all attendees, they are needed.

Diverse Speakers

An event will have a minimum of 20% women speakers
An event will have at least one speaker who is a person of colour, BAME
An event will have at least one first time speaker

The majority of conferences interpret diversity as male and female speakers, I believe diversity is far more than this, but it’s also a complicated space, and one I’ve personally found difficult to write about in an inclusive manner. So, if my choice of words offends anyone, it’s not my intention at all, and I’m open to improvements.

I want to speak on lineups that contain at least 20% women speakers, selected for their subjects and expertise, not their gender. A lot of events have done fantastic work to increase their number of women speakers, it’s not difficult to achieve if you put the work in. I’ve specifically mentioned 20% as I believe that a conference can reach this target with effort. I’m of course not excluding other gender identities and would love to see lineups containing as many as possible.

In short, what I’m trying to say is a speaker line up consisting of only white people is not acceptable to me. The world is a diverse and beautiful place, I want to hear from all who call it home. So if you are as a person of colour, or prefer BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) or another term, what I’m trying to say is I’m here to support you.

The tech industry needs to hear from many more voices than it currently does, therefore I’ll only support events that encourage and provide places for new speakers. Conferences that factor in the majority of what I’ve already mentioned tend to appeal to new voices, and they are better for it.

In an ideal scenario, I’d like to see as many gender identities, ethnical backgrounds, ages and races as possible

I echo this sentence from Karolina Szczur.

Conclusion

This isn’t an exhaustive list. I aim to treat this as a living document and continue to improve as my views change. I strongly urge you to adopt something similar for your own believes and ethics on inclusion. I want to see more change, and I hope my actions bring it and inspire others to take a similar stance and question the status quo.

This rider was taken from Richard Bradshaw and slightly modified. It was Richard's actions which has inspired me to create my own rider. Massive thanks to him for allowing me to use it.

First published: 24 July 2018.
Updated: 1 Aug 2018 (Remove demand that I pick hotel, make travel to main means of transport rule more lenient).