How to grow your OWASP Chapter

This article is republished and revised from LinkedIn, August 2017.

We (Sherif Koussa, myself, and several volunters) grew the OWASP Ottawa chapter from 100 to over 600 members in under 3 years. It was a lot of work, and here is how we did it.

  1. I started speaking at other meet ups, and at each one I sang praises of OWASP and invited them to join us.
  2. I spoke at every woman’s meetup or event I could, and personally invited them to join our chapter of OWASP. More info here: https://www.slideshare.net/TanyaJanca/make-your-chapter-awesome-increasing-female-membership
  3. We started having more introductory talks, so that new people who are interested in application security, but who aren’t already experts, feel welcome.
  4. We started having different kinds of events, not just talks. The CTF is the most popular, and brings TONS of new faces. We have also had workshops, debates, trivia night and open discussions.
  5. We started a mentoring program so that people who want to join our industry have a way in. A professional mentor is an amazing resource.
  6. We started having two or more talks per meeting,instead of one. Different subjects bring in different people. We often have lightning talks as well.

With these 6 activities we have grown our numbers every single month.

I wrote a blog about it, with more details, if you’d like to see more: From uni-directional to vibrant and dynamic; Ottawa Chapter on becoming a community https://lnkd.in/eKZXHZJ

You should all know that I did not do this alone! I had one co-leader at the time, Sherif Koussa, who hatched this whole plan with me. And we now have two other leaders (Garth Boyd and Paul Ionescu), plus an amazing team of 10 volunteers helping us along the way.

Good luck to all who are trying to grow their chapters! We at the Ottawa Chapter wish you great success!