Fall at my workplace, of course, includes getting ready for the Bayer Center’s annual TechNow conference. This October marks our 14th such event and I’ve organized all but two of them to date.
I’m particularly excited about TechNow this year for a few reasons:
Aliza Sherman is our keynote speaker. Aliza co-authored The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit with Beth Kanter, which hit booksellers last year. (Note: this book is a must-read for nonprofit professionals!) I’ve felt fortunate to call Beth a friend ever since she keynoted at TechNow a while back, but I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Aliza in person.
Her bio is crazy cool: she founded the first female-owned Internet company back in the 90s, has spoken internationally, has authored 11 books and essentially has helped pave the way for women like myself to be included and accepted in the technology sphere. I’m eager to meet her and hear what she has to say to our audience!
The venue has changed. We’ve been at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry for a number of years. The RLA is a great venue, very excellent at managing events, but inaccessible to public transportation from the city of Pittsburgh. This has weighed heavily on me for a long time. The tug of social justice on my heart demanded a change.
This year, we’re at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Monroeville. While this isn’t in the city proper, it is on the bus line. I hope it’s a venue that makes more people happy – the city folks who want or need to ride the bus and the suburban and rural folks who hate driving into the city.
I adjusted the agenda so there is more networking time built into the day without keeping people late in the evening and without losing the number of breakout session offerings. I truly believe networking is one of the most important things you can do at a conference. Making new contacts give you a whole lifeline of people you can call when you get stuck and need to pick a brain. It also gives you the chance to share your own knowledge and reciprocate in kind.
Nonprofit Breakout Speakers
Breakout sessions are submitted by vendors and nonprofit professionals each year, and we try to choose the most relevant, compelling sessions from the batch. Typically, we have a lot of vendor-led sessions because they submit the greatest volume of sessions, but this year I emailed all of my nonprofit techie contacts to especially encourage them to submit sessions too.
After sessions were finalized, I did a quick analysis and realized that 83% of our speakers are nonprofit professionals (hooray for peer learning, which is very important to the Bayer Center) and 83% are female. That must be some kind of record for a technology conference…wow!
I hope, if you are a nonprofit professional interested in technology and living anywhere in the northeastern United States, you’ll take a look at the conference website and consider attending. I’d love to see you there!
Learn more and register at www.technowconference.org. (Did I mention we have managed to keep the registration fee super affordable despite the rising cost of everything else in the world? Still only $125 for early bird registration!)