Rachel M. Carmena

Living a Global Diversity CFP Day as a mentor

Published: 2 March 2019

It was an intense and wonderful morning and I needed more than a few tweets ;)

First of all, I love this initiative, because it’s related to all the underrepresented and marginalized people in tech, not only women. It was a diverse event and we had a diverse group of attendees.

The event

It was divided into four main parts:

  • Generating ideas.
  • CFP: how to create a title, an abstract and a biography.
  • Preparation of the talk: outline and slides.
  • The day of the talk.

Generating ideas

We organized a round table sharing reflections to make attendees find ideas and we got it!

They thought about themselves while we were talking and they found lots of ideas.

At that time, I realized about the great potential among our attendees with a diverse background and different interests.

Besides that, I also realized that subjects like accessibility and security are still misunderstood. I think that all the professionals of software development should have a basic knowledge about them. Some people who work on such domains don’t think that they have room in technical events. I would like to break those barriers, because they are subjects with a big interest for all of us, for our profession and our life!

One of the mentors, Patricia, has experience about technical research and she shared a reflection that impacted me: it’s usual to listen to successful stories in technical research, not errors. Those errors exist and it would be very useful to know about them.

How to create a title, an abstract and a biography

Besides talking about the characteristics of a title, I tried to create an inspiration moment reviewing some real titles.

And I got it! Attendees created awesome titles for their talks during practice time.

Regarding the abstract, I talked about characteristics, questions that must answer and I gave advice as follows:

  • Think about you are convincing a friend to attend your talk.
  • Several opportunities or reviews. Make it ‘work’ and make it right later ;)
  • Ask for feedback.

And attendees wrote an abstract for one of their previous titles. Great!

Emma talked about how to create a biography and I loved the activity she proposed to the attendees: every attendee wrote the biography of another one through an interview from a given list of questions.

They read beautiful biographies at the end of the activity.

Preparation of the talk: outline and slides

Patricia explained how to prepare the outline of the talk and gave a lot of ideas and advice.

César talked about the slides. I loved his idea of considering slides like a visual support, not the presentation.

He made us reflect about alternatives of slides. Yes, they exist! Paper notes, text on other devices, whiteboards, having a paper board with partially prepared papers, …

César is one of the organizers of TEDx in Valencia and he explained us how they’re selecting the talks. They must follow the three I’s:

  • Interesting: it provides some value.
  • Important: it’s important to know about it.
  • Individual: it provides a personal experience.

The day of the talk

Finally, Mery gave a talk with attrezzo, showing everything she talked about: an USB, a connector, a bottle of water, even she showed a big cardboard with a checklist.

It was a very good example for attendees and she gave a lot of interesting advice from her experiences.

Got it!

After the activities during the morning and listening to attendees’ feedback, I’m really happy with the result:

  • They realized that they have a lot of things to share.
  • They realized about the talks that they can prepare.
  • Some fears were eliminated:
    • It’s not necessary to be an expert to propose a talk: everybody has things to talk about when living an experience. A talk can provide not only knowledge but also reflection moments and an expert could find a lot of value when listening to anybody’s experience.
    • The Q&A barrier: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer to a question (asking audience for help, researching about it later, …).

Special kudos

A special kudos to people who encourage and join their friends to attend an event, because they think that it’s interesting for them:

  • One of the attendees wouldn’t have come today by herself.
  • Her friend knew that she had a great potential to share.
  • At the end of the morning, her notebook was full of ideas: titles of talks that she could prepare, an abstract, a biography and lots of advice and other ideas.


  • Emma from VLCTechHub for her trust to participate in this event.
  • Emma, Mery, Patricia and César for their talks, because I enjoyed and learnt a lot from them.
  • People behind Global Diversity CFP Day for sharing this awesome initiative and providing so many facilities to organize the event: code of conduct, materials and advice, among others.
  • Carlos from Social Nest Space for the stuff to be comfortable and his kindness.
  • Last but not least, attendees. I had really interesting conversations with them and I’m impressed with the results of practice time. They have a very valuable knowledge and experience to share. I’ll follow them to attend their talks!

I encourage all the people to organize this format of event (it’s not necessary to wait for a year). The result will surprise you!