Our August meetup featured two speakers who are passionate about creating inclusive communities. Omotola Omotayo and Carla Gaggini filled the meetup with all the energy of a great party, one where everyone’s invited to dance.
Thanks to Contentful, our sponsors for these meetups. Contentful offers an API first solution that enables you to create, manage and edit content on any digital channel.
Omotola Omotayo is a community builder with Outreachy and She Code Africa. Outreachy offers a safe and welcoming space for early-stage developers to connect, network and grow their skills. She spoke about community as a growth catalyst for developers.
Spirit of Collaboration
Outreachy aims to give developers a sense of belonging and to create opportunities for them to collaborate on open-source projects. Early-stage developers are encouraged to avail of mentoring opportunities within the Outreachy network. They’ll learn new skills, be enriched by the mentoring experience – and they may even get their dream job.
Collaborating also helps developers work smarter. You may think you have all the skills you need to work on a project end to end. But when you collaborate, you can draw on the skills and perspectives of other talented developers, saving yourself time and heartache.
The Outreachy model works. Omotola shared case studies of developers who began as interns at Outreachy and collaborated on projects. The skills they gained helped them step into fulltime careers as developers, at Outreachy and elsewhere.
Creating Inclusion At All Stages
The chat was on fire at this meetup, and centered on how to create inclusive communities for developers at all stages of their careers. Omotola says it’s important to appoint people who are designated to interact with newbies and enfold them into the community. It’s also about designing events that meet the needs of a diverse community and being clear about opportunities available for mentoring and collaboration.
What Are Inclusive Communities And How To Maintain Them
Carla is Head of Content for Community and Events at Container Solutions and has been managing communities since 2011. Carla and her team embarked on a deep dive to discover her company’s values, so they could build their community from the inside out.
Knowing Your Values
First, they ran workshops to help them identify the values that were central to their company. They involved every department, so every voice could be heard. They looked for commonalities between the values that the participants identified and grouped them into themes.
Together, they explored how people might behave if those common values were upheld in the community, and this helped them crystallize the values that were the most important to their community.
The next challenge was to take these internal values into the wider world. The answer lay within the community itself, as people identified the ways they could spread the company’s values. Container Solutions now creates a wealth of value-driven content – blogs, meetups, podcasts, conferences and much more.
Codes of Conduct
In the Q&A, there was a lively discussion about the power of codes of conduct. Codes of Conducts aren’t just dry documents full of rules that are made to be broken. It’s the sum of all the contributions that the people in your company make to the value discussion. Once it’s in place, don’t be afraid to enforce it – you’re protecting your company’s values.
- Great communities are built on a solid foundation. They’re clear on the values that drive them and they give all members opportunities for growth. For early-stage developers in particular, strong communities provide a safe space to learn and develop skills to help them grow their career.
- Knowing your company’s values will help you build a strong community, from the inside out.