Last week’s Diversity and Inclusion blog series announcement outlined that as technical leaders, MVPs can play a significant role in pushing for a more inclusive culture within our program. This means featuring technical experts with different perspectives, and making sure everyone feels accepted as part of the tech community.
Data Platform MVP Jen Stirrup is doing just that. Jen hosted the UK Power BI Summit in February, a ‘lightning rod’ community event developed with diversity in mind - that is, she made sure 50 percent of the presenters at the summit were women, something that's typically uncommon at tech events.
“As a female organizer, I architected a strong female speaker and roundtable expert pool,” said Jen, adding that the event had a high female attendee turn out, as well.
Hosted at Shendish Manor just outside of London - a 13th century house once owned by Queen Eleanor of Castile, the wife of King Edward I - Power BI saw 120 business analysts, decision makers and technically skilled workers from all over the world, and allowed attendees to gather around, network, and exchange ideas with both each other and Microsoft experts.
In total, the two-day event featured 15 speakers, as well as over a dozen roundtable discussions and technical sessions. Microsoft Program Managers Silva Harinath and Will Thompson flew in from Redmond to deliver the keynotes, as well as a hands-on workshop on Advanced Data Modelling and Data Visualization. The second workshop - on Cortana Intelligence Suite - was put on by Chris Testa-O’Neill of Microsoft’s Data Science and Advanced Analytics team.
All in all, the event was a huge success! The UK Power BI Summit was sold out, and had a waitlist of 50 people.
— Kaye Nightingale 😎 (@kayenightingale) February 17, 2017
— Susie Bentley (@SusieBentley) February 17, 2017
— Jon Baylis (@JonBaylis) February 17, 2017
Jen said she hopes to host another Power BI Summit next year.
"I see ‘Diversity in Technology’ as a part of professional development," said Jen, adding that in the future, she’d like to include a roundtable on ‘Leading successful, data-driven diverse teams’ to deliver actionable and practical takeaways for career-minded leaders and leaders-to-be.
We can't wait to hear about it.