Diversity Empowerment Summit Highlights Importance of Allies

By August 14, 2018Blog
allies for inclusion

Diversity Empowerment Summit provides insights, ideas, and examples to help open source projects and professionals adopt inclusive practices.

Diversity and inclusion are hot topics as projects compete to attract more talent to power development efforts now as well as build their ranks to carry the projects into the future. The Diversity Empowerment Summit co-located with Open Source Summit coming up in Vancouver August 29-31, will offer key insights to help your project succeed in these endeavors.

Although adoption of diversity and inclusion policies is generally seen as simply the right thing to do, finding good paths to building and implementing such policies within existing community cultures continues to be challenging. The Diversity Empowerment Summit, however, provides hard insights, new ideas, and proven examples to help open source professionals navigate this journey.

Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast

Nithya Ruff,  Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast, and member of the Board of Directors for The Linux Foundation, says “the mission of open source communities to attract and retain diverse contributors with unique talent and perspectives has gathered momentum, but we cannot tackle these issues without the support of allies and advocates.” Ruff will be moderating a panel discussion at the conference examining the role of allies in diversity and inclusion and exploring solid strategies for success.

Along with Erik Riedel of Dell EMC, Ruff will also present “Everyday Opportunities for Inclusion & Collaboration.” In this talk, the speakers will share specific examples and stories illustrating some less obvious opportunities for communication, networking, mentoring, and collaboration encountered in  on-the-job activities as well as at events and forums.

We talked with Ruff about the importance of the Diversity Empowerment Summit as well as some of the upcoming  highlights.

The Linux Foundation: Why is the Diversity Empowerment Summit important?

Nithya Ruff: A big part of open source is the developers who feel included and valued as human beings. And the Diversity Empowerment Summit helps us celebrate and discuss how we can continue to create inviting, inclusive and healthy communities. This conference welcomes talks on growing our community to practices for inclusion to being allies to people who are under-represented in our communities.  It is great to see The Linux Foundation make valuable space and time for this track every year.

The Linux Foundation: Who should attend?

Ruff: Everyone who cares about the health of the community should attend.  Projects are successful because of the people behind it and if you are interested in creating a sustainable project, you should attend these sessions.

The Linux Foundation: What are you looking forward to at the Summit?

Ruff: This year, I am excited about the panel on building allies as it brings some great speakers in one session to the audience. I’m looking forward to truly great speakers like our keynote speaker, Jennifer Cloer, and others like Tameika Reed, Deb Nicholson, Chloe Condon, Lucy Wyman, and Guy Martin.

There are also many terrific talks about welcoming and helping new contributors to open source, which is critical considering women comprise less than 10 percent of open source community members and many underrepresented communities account for less than 5 percent of open source community members.

Check out the complete schedule and register now to attend the Diversity Empowerment Summit at Open Source Summit in Vancouver.

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Pam Baker

Pam Baker is a freelance journalist, writer and analyst.