Yet Another Year Of Public Speaking

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on October 28, 2017

Rounding out a trilogy of summaries

Talk 43, October 2016: The state of web and online communities, Syd PHP

~ time passes ~

Talk 60, October 2017: … Bees?, GitHub Constellation Sydney

Good grief, it’s been another year. And what a year.

Again, less talks than last year, but bigger talks.

I’ve clocked a respectable three keynotes this year, including one overseas, which officially makes me:

An international keynote speaker

Yes, that’s now on my LinkedIn profile. If you got it, flaunt it.

I got to speak at some amazing Bucket List events: OSCON, Community Leadership Summit, and DjangoCon US. I’ve also earnt my place in the small group of people that have given not only a talk at every DjangoCon, but the same talk (okay, because PyCon AU and DjangoCon AU are the same event, and I only spoke at PyCon AU, it still counts, but it totally counts still)

On top of speaking less, I’ve been organising more. On top of my normal co-organisation of Meetup Mixup, I was an organiser for DevOps Days Sydney 2016, WOOTConf 2017, and DjangoCon AU 2017. I’ve also put my hat in the ring to run PyCon AU 2018 and 2018. Phew!

I’m going to be speaking less from now on. (She says, having two pending talks to present, internationally no less, before the end of January). But I have more responsibilities now. I’m running a proper conference as the Site Chair. I’m not in the wings any more, I’m up front. I’ve also got a demanding job now, as a Site Reliability Engineer for Divio. It’s a small team with Responsibilities, so running at a 0 days annual leave balance isn’t going to work any more.

I’m actively stepping aside to let others have the stage. I’m not proposing to PyCon US in 2018. I’ve already spoken there twice in consectuive years. I want someone else to have their turn in the spotlight. PS submit a talk for PyCon US 2018! Tell ‘em I sent ya.

I’ve done so much in this past year, and the years before. But my achievements often slip from my mind. I’m not sure if there’s a very smart cookie with a PhD on this phenomenon, but looking back through my social media feeds and photo collections, it’s incredible how much I’ve done.

In no particular order, a selection of the things my speaking and community work has allowed me to do in just the past 12 months:

  • Turn a fake conference (KatieConf) into a real one (WOOTConf)
  • Keynote my beloved PyCon AU
  • Watch the sunset of the Texan hills
  • Explore Californian hill and wine country, on two seperate trips
  • Transit through Salt Lake City while listening to the Book of Mormon
  • See the Book of Mormon, live
  • MC an entire conference (DevOpsDays Sydney 2016)
  • Speak at a security conference
  • Speak at an huge American open source conference
  • Be invited to speak at a conference not in my native programming language (RubyConf AU 2017)
  • Turned down events (it’s HARD, but SelfCare is paramount)
  • Go see the shipwreck of which an open source project of mine is a namesake (Batavia)
  • Give a cover version talk that was a parady of one of my own talks (Emoji Archeology 101)
  • Watch a parody talk delivered about a cover talk I’ve given (I am Not Tom Eastman) (technically Sept ‘16)
  • Spend time with amazing, interesting, vibrant people who are all dear to my heart
  • Slowly work my way out of a deep depression by spending time with aforementioned people
  • Enjoyed that amazing familiar sensation of staying the same conf hotel for the same conf two years in a row (PyCon US 2016/17, Portland)
  • Partaken in the delicaies that is In ‘n’ Out, Five Guys, and TILT.
  • Had beers specifically made for a conference. Twice (KiwiCon, CrickeyCon)

Speaking affords amazing oppurtinues, but at a cost. Balancing the additional work along with existing responsbilities can be exhausting, but having that one person come up to you after a talk, when the addraline has run it’s course and you’re feeling absolutely exhausted, that one person who enthusiatically and honestly thanks you for teaching them something.. that makes it all worth while.