Denver Startup Week: A Volunteer Perspective

When I moved to Denver 10 months ago, SheSays Denver was one of the first groups I got involved in, quickly partnering with first the Membership, then Programming committees. I instantly felt a sense of camaraderie with the women I worked with and met through SheSays Denver, smart, assertive women who were giving of their time and who genuinely wanted to help each other make big things happen. Working with other women at SheSays Denver dovetailed nicely with my day job, a content role at Craftsy, the reason for my move to Denver.

While I work for what is decidedly a Tech Startup, I’m not directly involved with UX/ UI, coding or ops; as a content editor I fall squarely within the product and content spheres and I love it here! But I do find myself always wanting to learn more about my tech counterparts, both at my company and in Denver’s tech scene. Hearing that Craftsy was involved with Denver Startup Week (DSW), I decided to volunteer for part of the week-long event.

When the opportunity to share my experience arose, I jumped at the chance to share my experience, as a volunteer, attendee and ardent SheSays Denver member.

This year’s Denver Startup Week had a record 10,000 attendees sign up for the myriad tours, talks and parties. That’s fitting when you consider that the week of events is the largest free technology conference in North America. With six programming tracks — founder, developer, product, growth, designer and maker — it was a great way to meet people with similar paths and also cross talk with others in different areas.

Having volunteered for conferences such as Behance’s 99% Conference back East, I was ready to spend time getting sweaty with fellow volunteers, chatting with attendees and helping speakers navigate the inevitably crazy locations. DSW week totally delivered on those assumptions! I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating and appreciative the staff at DSW were to volunteers. There were several meet and greet events specifically for volunteers, and since the week of events was free, we also got to take part in the other events.

In the midst of volunteering, entertaining an out of town guest — and oh yeah, working my day job! — I was able to catch a few talks at Basecamp. The Founders Story event with Ryan Martens, Founder and CTO of Rally, was humbling I was able to hear firsthand about when the agile software company was still a small startup and how it grew to become a leader in Agile software and services. I also learned more about the philanthropic support that technology can provide to new companies and their communities via the Pledge 1% movement.

I wish I could have attended more events, but it was fitting that I attended the Creative Mornings Denver session at The Source on the last day of DSW. I have attended and presented at Creative Morning sessions since my move to Denver, and this month’s event theme, Shock, fit very well with the DSW tracks. Meeting other creatives in and outside of tech, and hearing about how the sessions speaker, Mikey Goldenberg, interpreted the theme of Shock to shake up and re-center his work was a great call to action for me!

Since the week it was based in super accessible downtown Denver, I felt encouraged to explore other downtown spaces. I had a great afternoon unwinding at the Denver Art Museum, exploring Amethyst Coffee and grabbing a beer (on the house thanks to DSW) at Armoury Tavern.

I’m ready for next year! In the meantime, I’ve got my hands full settling into my new town and helping to plan more events for SheSays Denver — hope to see you at one of them in the future!

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