Speaking Mentors

I’m one of the organisers of SQL Relay and I’m always looking for new speakers. There aren’t enough new people speaking at community events and that’s sad. It doesn’t promote fresh ideas and thinking.

On Wednesday evening last week I was thinking about this and I was feeling generous so I casually made an offer on Twitter as I left my house to board a train to Brussels. Over the course of the next few hours it became (I think) my most retweeted tweet to date.

So that was pretty nice.

During my journey through the tunnel a few people took me up on the offer. I’ve had some lovely conversations over Skype and IM with some folks who want to start speaking. So that was really nice.

The people who took me up on the offer were a much more diverse crowd than the usual speaker line-ups of 30 year old, white, male consultants. (Myself included). So that’s very encouraging.

And there were also a bunch of awesome folks who echoed my offer… Which got David thinking:

When I saw David’s tweet I was just stepping out of my AirBnb in Brussels. By this point it’s Thursday evening and I’ve just finished my first day at a new customer who had some complicated problems. I was tired and hungry so I was heading out to find some Moules Frites and beer… But I stopped in my tracks. I went back indoors, turned my laptop back on and spun up a website:


(I eventually got to sit down with my white wine mussels at about 9pm. They were very nice.)

Since that evening a growing group of us have been refining the site. It’s not perfect. It still has plenty of rough edges, but it does the job.


Seeking mentors!

If you are an experienced speaker and are willing to give your time to mentor new speakers please get in touch and we’ll add you to the site. The more speakers we get the less overhead for all of us and the more diverse our group of mentors the more likely it will be that a new speaker will find the right person to help them.

Seeking new speakers!

And if you would like to try your hand at speaking but want a bit of support, this community is full of wonderful people who are willing to spend their time to help you succeed for no greater reward than the satisfaction of helping another human being.

Spread the word!

And maybe you don’t want to speak at conferences and you don’t want to be a mentor. That’s cool. But if you know someone who could use some support with their first few sessions or if you know someone who would be an awesome mentor, why don’t you send them the link?

Let’s create a safe place for new speakers to find help and guidance.

The whole experience has left me smiling. 🙂

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