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Sunday, January 10, 2010

O'Reilly Media Conference Diversity Statement

O'Reilly Media has gone live with their Conference Diversity statement:

Conference Diversity
O'Reilly Media believes in spreading the knowledge of innovators. We believe that innovation is enhanced by a variety of perspectives, and our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful conference environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientation.
We're actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors through our calls for proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve.
This is an ongoing process. We are talking to our program chairs, program committees, and various innovators, experts, and organizations about this goal and about ways they can help us achieve it.
Here are some ways you can help us build a more diverse conference experience:
  • Recommend appropriate speakers and/or program committee members to the conference chairs (see individual O'Reilly conference sites for program information; you may also send an email to
  • Forward our call for proposals to relevant affinity groups with the message that we are looking for a diverse speaker roster
  • Suggest to potential speakers that they submit a proposal during our Call for Participation conference phase (see individual O'Reilly conference sites for details)
  • Organize community-based public speaking trainings and practice events (Ignite is one popular format)
  • Suggest ways that the onsite conference experience can be more welcoming and supportive, free from intimidation and marginalization (send an email
  • Share your ideas and best practices for how we can realize our vision (send an email to
  • We value diversity in the communities we bring together, and we welcome your contributions to bringing balanced representation of the richness of our collective human experience.

I posted this on the Twitterverse earlier this week and here are some of the responses I have seen to date:

Green4Kids RT @LearnSpanishOL: @KetyE tired of all those conferences with lack of diversity. Poor & limited point of view Looking at #BlissDom :( > Yes about 20 hours ago from Seesmic

jenmyronuk Action statement re: O'Reilly conference diversity via @ginablaber incorporates feedback from @digitalsista + @KetyE about 20 hours ago from web

LearnSpanishOL @KetyE That's great! tired of all those conferences with lack of diversity. Such poor & limited point of view. Looking at #BlissDom :( about 21 hours ago

digitalsista r.t @ginablaber: Many thanks to @digitalsista@KetyE 4 feedback on the O'Reilly conferences diversity statement & more 7:47 PM Jan 8th from Seesmic

bestwebstrategy Congratulations to O'Reilly Media for encouraging Conference Diversity: #LATism #p2#marketing #entrepreneur RT @KetyE 5:24 PM Jan 8th from web

LearnSpanishOL RT @KetyE: @timoreilly Thank you 4 producing this statement on O'Reilly media Conference Diversity! #Latinos #LatISM 5:02 PM Jan 8th from Seesmic

Personally, I think this a fundamental step in the right direction by O'Reilly Media leadership to diversify their speaker base.  I was shocked to learn at the last Web 2.0 that @Baratunde was the first black speaker  O'Reilly Media had ever had at Web 2.0 (in 2009). Per one of my earlier post, this is something that all conferences have been tackling.  I believe that O'Reilly is working to be as proactive on this as possible and create change.

What are your thoughts?

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