Published on 12 August 2014 by

We're excited to announce that we will be giving away 18 free tickets to PuppetConf 2014 to underrepresented members of our community who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend. We'll also be sponsoring travel and hotel for some people whose companies won't or can't pay for them to attend.

Let's be honest - tech isn't a very diverse industry right now, nor is PuppetConf a very diverse conference. As a company we are interested in helping to remove barriers that get in the way of increasing diverse viewpoints and experiences at this conference and in every corner of IT.

Last year, we had a goal to have a higher number of diverse applicants apply to speak at PuppetConf. Despite effort on our part, we didn't see an increase. We acknowledged that this must mean we weren't doing enough, and we read up on how other conferences had been more successful at this. This year when we promoted the Call for Presentations (CFP) for PuppetConf, we focused on two tactics, specifically around having more women submit by:

(1) Reaching out directly to women we wanted to see submit

(2) Offering to sponsor travel and hotel costs for women who were accepted to speak, but couldn't afford to attend

How did this turn out? Let's look at the numbers:

2013: 7 proposals from women

2014: 29 proposals from women

As a result of this increase, 20% of our speakers at PuppetConf 2014 are women. We also worked with Blacks in Technology, promoting the CFP on their site, but we should have done more to reach out to underrepresented groups other than women. We look forward to broadening our outreach next year.

As PuppetConf 2014 approaches, we're pleased to offer 18 free PuppetConf tickets, as well as some travel sponsorships, for underrepresented members of our community who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to attend. These tickets are specifically for people from groups underrepresented in technology, including, but by no means limited to, people of color, women, transgender people, and people with disabilities. We will be selecting based on interest in Puppet and related technologies. These tickets will help even more interested, excited people attend PuppetConf!

You can apply for a ticket using this form.

This form closes on September 1st, and we will be accepting people on a rolling basis throughout August. We'd appreciate if you'd share this form with others you think might be interested, and we welcome feedback on this process as we work, every year, to improve our conference for everyone.

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As someone with a disability and a wheelchair user I am thrilled to see this. Would like to see this catch on throughout the industry.

I hope to be selected, but, even if I'm not, I applaud Puppet for doing this. Companies that invest in diversifying the people who use their products as well as the people who build them will experience economic, social, and cultural benefits.

Anjuan Simmons
Author of "Minority Tech" - http://www.MinorityTech.com

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