New Ela Team Member

After the 2016 conference and our new year-round community initiatives, it became clear that we need help, that we need an additional organizer.

Limited Bandwidth, Diversify Perspective

We had been talking about the potential need to expand our team, our squad, for a while now but wanted to make sure the need was consistent and, quite frankly, painful. We didn’t want to set someone up to fail by bringing them on board and having that person feel like there wasn’t enough meaningful work to do or leave them feeling uninspired, stagnate, and without direction.

Joni, LeeAnn, Katy, Arti at Ela Conf 2016

From 2015 to 2016 our speaker applications went from 27 to 109, and we are anticipating even more this year. Our active Slack channel has grown to over 220 members. We started three new community outreach series in March this year alone. We need to reach out to potential sponsors all year to make sure we can keep conference ticket costs low, offer speaker travel and lodging reimbursements, provide childcare stipends, and distribute financial and diversity based grants.

This is all endlessly exciting, but challenging to keep up with and we have definitely experienced some growing pains as a result. Aside from the workload there is always room for fresh, unique, and diverse perspectives and experiences when tackling existing to-dos and planning for the future.

What We Were Looking For

Once the need for a fifth organizer became clear, we set out to formally define our core values and what we were looking for in this new person that we would be sharing so much time with throughout the year. This person will ultimately be representing our mission and all of our work from the past two years, and shaping the sustainability of Ela itself.

Our values and what were looking for in another team member:

  • Shares knowledge; sharing knowledge is mutually beneficial and ties directly in with our mission of providing a space for women to learn from and empower one another
  • Transparency; we each have our specific areas of focus, but there is also a lot of overlap. We don’t work in silos. We constantly share our work and thoughts while getting feedback to make it better. We are all equality invested in this community, and there is not one single decision maker that is held with higher regard
  • Autonomy; we trust each other to run with things. While collaboration and feedback is at the heart of how we operate, it’s also just as important to trust one another’s skills, judgement, and to take over when necessary
  • Humility; there is always room to grow, things to learn from one another, and sometimes people are just wrong about something. In order to be open to all this humility is essential
  • Genuineness; people can feel the difference, and one of the most consistent bits of positive feedback we get is how truly genuine and sincere our culture and events are. Directly related to this is empathy, as someone cannot be genuine without the ability to try to truly connect with and understand others
  • An existing, welcoming part of the community already
  • Someone open to sharing and collaborating on innovative ideas
  • Someone comfortable sharing their opinions and pushing back constructively when necessary

Welcome Shanise ☀️

We found all of this and more with existing Ela community member and conference attendee Shanise Barona.

Shanise Barona

Shanise’s Bio ✨

Shanise is a web developer who is passionate about the place where technology and social good intersect. She wants to live in a world where empathy is a forethought, emails are short and Netflix doesn’t ask if you want to keep watching (the answer is always yes!). Currently, she lives and works in the suburbs of Philadelphia. And when her eyes aren’t glued to a computer screen, you can find her doing yoga, reading, and tending to her extensive plant collection 🌿 🌿

Feel free to reach out to Shanise in Slack or on Twitter to say hello 🤗 We couldn’t be more excited that she accepted our invitation to join the team and are beyond confident in her ability to enrich the community for everyone.

💜 Joni, LeeAnn, Katy, Arti, Shanise

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