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November 14-17

In person. In Seattle

How the PASS Data Community Summit pre-con speaker selection process works

May 18, 2023

We recently announced the pre-con and learning pathway speakers for Summit 2023, and in the coming months we’ll be sharing more information about this year’s keynote speakers, followed by full details on all Summit speakers later in the year.

Now that speaker announcement season is underway, we also wanted to share more insight with the community on how we select pre-con speakers for Summit.

How does speaker selection work for pre-cons & learning pathways?

For pre-con and learning pathway speakers, we run an internal process to ensure we get a good balance of topics, a handful of well-known speakers, and overall speaker diversity. This year we reached out to five speakers to invite them to present a pre-con or learning pathway, and the remaining pre-con & learning pathway speakers came from submissions through our call for speakers.

When inviting speakers directly, we had a few different factors in mind: securing speakers who would draw attendance for this section of the program, offering newer speakers the opportunity, and involving speakers who’d bring diversity to the pre-con and learning pathways programs.

After the call for speakers closed, submissions were reviewed and a draft shortlist was created. The reviewing team also sought feedback from Redgaters with a close connection to Summit and finalized the pre-con and learning pathway speaker lists following their input.

How we ensure equitable speaker representation at Summit

Diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB) is incredibly important to Summit, and a key objective during our speaker selection process is to ensure that all speakers are considered fairly and have an equitable chance of being selected, regardless of their background. We want to foster an environment where everyone has the freedom to show up at Summit as their authentic self, and to create an event where everyone feels welcome, valued and safe. We’re aiming to achieve a program with at least 40% speaker diversity, including both visible and invisible differences. We also have a DEI steering group for Summit, who we work closely with to improve our processes.

To help us achieve these goals, track team leads are asked to keep that 40% diversity goal in mind, and to consider the following speaker disclosures in the context of making their recommendations:

    • Disability
    • Ethnicity
    • Gender & pronouns
    • Geographical location*
    • Neurodiversity

(*We understand that the geographical location alone might not be an indicator of a speaker’s diversity, but we also want to ensure that we have good global representation amongst our speakers.)

These DEIB considerations help ensure a balanced and representative selection of speakers. For more information on Summit’s DEIB goals and how we ensure an inclusive and equitable event experience, see our diversity statement and event code of conduct.

Who’s involved in pre-con speaker selection for Summit?

Decisions about which submissions we want to take forward and invite to speak at Summit’s pre-cons and learning pathways are made by the program committee, comprised of community volunteers and Summit members of staff. There’s also input from Redgate staff who work closely on Summit, including:

    • The Redgate events team
    • Other Redgaters who are active in the community
    • Experienced Summit attendees & speakers, including Steve Jones, Grant Fritchey, Kathi Kellenberger, Louis Davidson & Ryan Booz.

Speaker announcements

Speaker announcements for pre-cons and learning pathways have already been made, and we’ll be sharing more information about keynote speakers between now and July.

General speaker announcements will happen in mid-July. On July 12, notification emails will be sent to everyone who submitted a session proposal, and accepted speakers will be granted access to the speaker portal.

Once everyone’s been notified about whether their proposal was successful, a public announcement will be made about the full Summit program on July 13.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the submission process, you can contact If you’d like to stay in touch and be among the first to hear these announcements, you can join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter.

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