Maria Keenan

Event Management Advice from the Woman Leading Patreon's Events

Jane Kwett is the senior event marketing manager for Patreon. You might recognise her name from our post detailing why we've decided to host a conference.

Not only has she been an inspiration to us, she's touched the careers of many hundreds of event goers over the last 10+ years she's spent in events. 

The Patreon community is one of most inventive around, featuring artists and creators from all walks of life who build fan membership via the Patreon platform. Through ongoing funding, they are able to spend more time engaging their fan-base in an interactive way and continue to populate the internet with beautiful things that millions of people enjoy. Jane has the thrilling job of bringing the community to life by producing PatreCon and other live experiences. 

She'll be sharing stories of those experiences in Chicago at Admission, but first we wanted to catch up with her about her career, its highlights and what the creative community she's involved with means to her. 

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Maria Keenan

Creating an Inclusive Tech Scene | 5 Questions with Kim Crayton

Kim Crayton is a personal inspiration of mine.

She enables businesses to strategise towards growth by embracing inclusion in a meaningful manner that avoids pandering or buzzwords. Instead, she #causesascene, but more on that later.

Kim defines herself as the CEO (that is, Chief Encouragement Officer) for the marginalised in tech. Her work includes hosting events under the #causeascene banner, business consulting, and, most recently, joining us to speak at Admission.

I asked her a few questions to get a better understanding of why she does what she does, and what lies in the future for creating a more inclusive tech space:

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Maria Keenan

On Design Conferences & Creating Fulfilling Experiences

Bryony is half of the team that founded Under Consideration and their design conference, Brand New. Both roles involve a lot of stakeholders, as you can see from the length of their attendee list for the upcoming edition of the conference.

Although Brand New takes place on September 13th and 14th this year (that's a week before Admission, for those of you keeping track) she'll be presenting in Chicago on the brand and audience that she and her business partner, Armin Vit, have built together.

I recently got the opportunity to ask her to share some insight into how they run their flourishing business as well as design conferences, and how her hectic life brings Bryony rewards.

For context, Under Consideration has been the leading site for opinions on logo and identity redesigns for the past 12 years which the team maintains as well as their in-demand graphic design studio, though they only take on select client work. There had to be a secret, so I asked:

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Maria Keenan

Why Meetups Are Important | 5 Questions with Caitlin Teed

If you don't know what Shopify is (!) it's an e-commerce platform for retailers. 

And it's very popular. Caitlin Teed is Shopify's partner community manager, meaning she's responsible for multiple events and other community building and engagement activities. 

Caitlin brings all sorts of people together under the umbrella of Shopify's inclusive tech scene. Given that you can sell anything (legal) on Shopify, customers can be interested in subjects as diverse as zombie garden gnomes and bulletproof strollers. 

I was compelled to talk to Caitlin about those communities, what happens when they collide, and why meet-ups are important. Here's what she had to say:

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Maria Keenan

How to Build a Successful WWDC Conference | Jessie Char from Layers

Jessie is the co-founder of Layers, a three-day conference where people talk about design and technology.

As a former Apple employee and current enthusiast, speakers specializing in iOS design and development are among the highlights of Jessie's Layers each year. It's become a very popular WWDC event each year. In fact, iMore listed Layers as their "hands-down favourite" event of WWDC (and not just because of its famous snacks).

If you're not familiar with WWDC, it's the veritable Mecca of Apple developer conferences. 6000 people go each year. It's kind of a big deal.

Jessie's going to be joining our line-up for Admission, our conference for organizers. As such, I caught up with her to find out some more about what makes Layers a successful WWDC conference:

1) Where did the idea for Layers come from? Where do your conference ideas come from, generally speaking?

"In general, the idea for Layers came from the thousands of people who came to town for Apple’s WWDC, many of whom didn’t even hold passes to the event itself. WWDC is wonderful for developers and important for networking, but I thought there was room for a more meaningful way for designers to engage with each other during the week.


"The specifics of all our events are inspired by many different things - we let our venue inform a lot of decisions around schedule, layout, and tone as we like to the play to the strengths of the space we’re in. The more playful aspects of the event come from painstaking analysis of what we enjoy doing and what makes things feel fun and effortless, from simple activities like spending time with close friends to more staged experiences like Disneyland."

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Maria Keenan

Developer Conferences & How to Get Them Right | Sandra Persing

Sandra works (almost) all the time. 

She has three job titles, has created engagement programs for 18 million developers, and somehow made time to answer five questions for me.

Sandra Persing (pictured below) is a global strategist for Mozilla, specifically focusing on developer events and sponsorship outreach. She's also the co-founder of the DevRel Summit Group, and an advisory board member for Women Who Code. (Told you, three job titles.)

In the build up to Admission, I took some time to uncover the ins and outs of how one person can host a conference, let alone a global series of them, and ensure each one is as remarkable as the last. Here's what I learned:

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