Women and Color is a purpose-driven non-profit organization based in Toronto. We create opportunities to advance and amplify subject matter experts from underrepresented groups in tech.
Through our web platform, we enable event organizers to find and connect with talented women and people of color available for speaking opportunities at tech-related events across Canada and the United States.
In addition, we host 2-day speaker bootcamps designed for diverse subject matter experts who are ready to elevate their influence through meaningful public speaking opportunities.
Launching our chapter model
Since hosting the pilot of our speaker bootcamp, we have been overwhelmed by all the positive feedback. “When is your next speaker bootcamp?” has become the most frequently asked question from our community.
Delivering on our mission to create opportunities to advance and amplify subject matter experts from underrepresented groups in tech, we want to enable community builders to host our speaker bootcamps in their hometown by starting a Women and Color chapter.
Our goal with the chapter model is to provide community builders with the tools and platform needed to create a social impact in their city by becoming a Chapter Lead. Our Chapter Leads will have the opportunity to accelerate the journeys of emerging thought leaders from underrepresented groups from their local tech community.
If you’re committed to bringing Women and Color to your city, we would love to hear from you. Please read through the following information to get a better sense of how Women and Color operates. If our chapter model seems like the right fit for you, fill out the form listed at the bottom of the article to start your application process.
Becoming a Women and Color Chapter Lead
Q: What does it mean to be a Women and Color Chapter Lead?
A: Each Women and Color speaker bootcamp chapter is spearheaded by one person who serves as the local Chapter Lead. This volunteer represents their city by leading a team and organizing the chapter with the support of Women and Color headquarters in Toronto.
As the Chapter Lead, you would be in charge of all the details for your local event such as:
— Securing a venue
— Finding teachers and coaches for each speaker bootcamp
— Finding sponsors to cover subsidized tickets, food, and other event costs
— Leading the chapter team (including a photographer and videographer)
— Marketing for the event (with support from headquarters)
Q: I’m interested in being a Women and Color Chapter Lead but I have little to no public speaking experience. Is that ok?
A: We think it’s important to have some prior speaking experience in the event a teacher cancels last minute and someone is needed to fill in for them. Plus, you’ll be the emcee at the speaker bootcamp and will be the person that sets the energy and pace for the whole weekend.
Q: Can there be a co-lead?
A: Yes! We require one point of contact for each chapter who serves as the face of that location but we ask that you nominate a co-lead to support you behind the scenes. This way if illness, travel, or any number of life’s surprises prevents you from hosting a bootcamp, you have a solid back up. You’re free to organize your team as you see fit, but only one person can be the official Chapter Lead.
Q: How often will each chapter host a speaker bootcamp?
A: Each Chapter Lead is expected to host a minimum of 2 speaker bootcamps every year — one every 4–6 months. Our speaker bootcamps are a two-day event hosted on Saturday and Sunday, between 8:30am to 5pm.
Q: Who would I be working with on the Women and Color team?
As a Chapter Lead, you’ll have the opportunity to work closely with Mohammed (Founder and Executive Director), Chanèle (Director of Programming) and Gerri (Toronto Chapter Lead) — in addition to getting to know the rest of our incredible team of volunteers.
Q: How much time will be expected of Chapter Leads?
A: On average, we anticipate you’ll spend no more than 10 hours per week securing sponsors, building their community and preparing for the bootcamp. This number may fluctuate a bit as the Chapter Lead becomes more seasoned, but 10 hours per week is a good estimate.
Q: Are Chapter Leads compensated?
A: While this is a volunteer role, we do provide stipends to each of our Chapter Leads. Each person’s financial situation is different and if receiving a stipend will provide you with the flexibility to become a Chapter Lead, we’re all for it.
Leading a chapter
Q: What are teachers?
A: Our speaker bootcamps encompass 5 classes: a Mindfulness Class, a Storytelling Class, a Design Class, a Delivery Class and a Branding Class. Our teachers are subject matter experts who lead each of the 90-minute classes to provide our students with the training and insights needed to help kickstart their journey.
Q: What are coaches?
A: We believe it’s important to for our students to have access to an experienced speaker throughout their experience leading up to, during and even after the speaker bootcamp. As such, we assign one coach per team of 4 students with the responsibility of ensuring the success of the students in their teams by guiding the students on preparing for their talks, providing feedback on their presentation and supporting them throughout the program.
Q: Are there any costs/fees associated with leading a chapter?
A: Chapter Leads, with help from headquarters, are responsible for securing local sponsors. Other than that, there are no application fees, upfront fees or ongoing fees to headquarters.
Q: What sort of resources does the Women and Color headquarters provide?
A: Each of our Chapter Leads will receive access to a Google Drive with all of our brand assets, slides templates, sample marketing materials, etc. In addition, Chapter Leads will be provided with our handbook that details guidelines and learnings from our experience so far, and access to our internal Slack group.
Q: How long is the commitment for being a Chapter Lead?
A: Each Chapter Lead will sign an agreement in order to represent the Women and Color brand and agrees that all content created as a result of a Women and Color event is the property of Women and Color. This agreement lasts for 12 months and we plan to offer our Chapter Leads the opportunity to renew their commitment each year.
About the application process
Q: What should I include in my video?
Share your story, tell us about your city, explain why your city should have a Women and Color chapter and why you’re the person to make it happen.
Q: How long should my video be?
A: Ideally, it should be longer than an Instagram story but shorter than a sitcom episode. Jokes aside, we recommend you go with what feels right to you.
Q: Why do you ask for a video in your application?
A: Other than meeting someone in-person, we think it’s the best way to get a feel for someone remote.
Q: If I apply, how long will it be until I hear back?
A: We want to ensure we grant each application a thorough review. We believe it’ll take us at least a few weeks to get back to you. Thanks for your patience!
Q: Are there more steps to the application process after I submit?
A: If your application seems like a good fit, we will set up a video chat/interview to learn more about you and your vision for the chapter. Additional information and next steps will be provided thereafter.
Q: What are some qualities you are looking for in a Chapter Lead?
A: Here are three qualities we value:
- You make it happen. Organizing a chapter is a big responsibility and involves a ton of moving pieces. We’ve learned that although experience in the industry and event organization is a plus, it can’t make up for a willingness to get started, figure things out, and make it work.
- You propel others. We believe it takes a certain personality to successfully lead a volunteer team, keep sponsors happy, and celebrate local talent. This chapter won’t be about you. It will be about the amazing people you get to bring together.
- You have gumption. All of this is new to us. If you’re looking to join an organization that has everything laid out for you, we’re probably not a good fit. This is an exciting time for Women and Color, and we will be working with you to figure things out together.
Q: Are applications accepted on a first come first served basis?
A: Not necessarily. However, we do recommend that you get your application in as soon as you can. If we find a Chapter Lead we really like, we’ll grant them the chapter.
Q: Can I reach out to potential sponsors, venues or teachers before applying?
A: Yes! Committed sponsors, venues and teachers is a great way to strengthen your application. However, please be clear and explain that you do not officially represent Women and Color and are applying to start a chapter.
Chapter Application Form
Thank you for the opportunity and supporting us in bringing our ideas to fruition! Please complete the chapter application form to start the process. For all inquiries, please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wondering how we started the speaker bootcamp?
Read the full story
Want to learn more about Women and Color?
Check out our 2018 Impact Report