I’ve been asked this question in various guises quite a bit of late, usually in response to the news that Tech Nottingham is expanding its repertoire of meetups and events.
“Why do you do it [run Tech Nottingham]?”
“What’s in it for you?”
The level of incredulity varies from person to person, and truth be told my instinctive response will also vary depending on when in the month (no I’m not talking about lady time) you ask me, and even the time of day if it’s an event day (ask me right before the start of an event and my inner voice starts asking ME why we do it and right at that moment when we’re running just a minute late or there are technical hitches I yell at my inner voice, “I don’t flippin’ well know, it seemed like a good idea at the time…”).
But 99% of the time, in a nutshell, my responses will boil down to the following:
1. It’s fun.
No, really. It’s SO much fun. Sure, there can be occasional stressful elements, but the stress is worth it when you look around at an event that you helped organise and you see people smiling, laughing and chatting with each other. And I get to do that too! Win.
2. It’s not completely altruistic…
It mostly is. But truth be told, if we weren’t running Tech Nottingham and its associated events we’d hope that someone else would be as we’d want to attend! I always say that I’m not a ‘Woman in Tech’ but more of a woman around tech, having no tech experience whatsoever bar arranging tech events, but boy have I learned a lot over the time that I've been organising and attending our (and other) events. We have some incredible people in the local tech community who are truly passionate about their work and interests and they have been generous enough to share these passions with us all over the years. So as well as facilitating learning and sharing, we get to learn too.
3. The community.
This can be a bit of a cliche, but I truly believe that we have something special in Nottingham. Its tech community is cohesive and welcoming, both in person and online, and we’ve been fortunate to be a part of that and help create and nurture it. And we’ve made loads of friends in the process, which always a bonus. They’re a good bunch.
4. Nottingham is a great city.
Neither Andrew, Dianna or myself were born here; Andrew and I moved to the area a few years ago when Andrew was offered a job in Nottingham and we fell in love with the city. It has two fantastic universities, a brilliant cultural offering, and (now) a thriving tech scene. Along with other organisations we’ve started advocating for Nottingham as a destination for both employers and employees, and our student outreach programme works to keep students in Nottingham long after they’ve graduated. We get to enjoy the fruits of Nottingham, it’s only fair that other people can too and getting the word out is part of that.
“How do you find the time?!”
Good question. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have the answer to that one.