There are 40+ different people on the selection committee reviewing all submissions. Our reviewers come from a wide variety of demographic backgrounds and possess a broad range of expertise to ensure there are diverse perspectives when selecting the content presented at Atlassian events.
When speakers submit their proposed topic, reviewers won’t be able to see any identifying information about the presenter while the content is being evaluated. This will allow us to assess the true merit of the proposal without allowing someone’s demographic characteristics or speaking experience to bias our decisions. After determining the highest quality submissions from each track, our selection committee will meet to ensure that we have an appropriate balance of speakers. In addition to the diversity and experience level of our speaker line up, we also try to ensure a good mix of Atlassian employees and customers. In order for us to prevent bias during the anonymous grading process, please do not include self-identifying information in the session abstract or message to the program committee.
The last hurdle to overcome is a structural one. We know that because of implicit bias, people from underrepresented backgrounds may be less likely to have significant prior speaking experience compared to their majority-group counterparts.
We want to ensure that all of our speakers are comfortable and confident when speaking. To that end, we’ll be offering virtual speaker training to selected presenters who would find it valuable. We believe that this training will pay a wide variety of dividends: it will ensure that we have a high-quality set of talks and increase the confidence of all our speakers.