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The SpeakEasy Initiative at EuroSTAR 2015

  • 29/06/2015
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  • Posted by Ronan

By Anne-Marie Charrett & Fiona Charles

How It all Began

In a quiet pub in Dublin while Fiona Charles and I attended Eurostar 2014, the topic of diversity (in particular gender) came up. It had been a ‘hot topic’ through the year, with many tweets and blogs posts on the topic but sadly there seemed little direct action on the topic.  Both Fiona and I felt that while making the problem visible is important, even more important is to do something about it.

I had personal experience of the difficulty in sourcing speakers for Tasting Let’s Test. When it came to Let’s Test Oz in Australia, I worked hard to encourage inexperienced speakers especially female speakers to try their luck speaking.

From this experience I really believe that the way to improve the pool of women speakers is through personal one on one mentoring. Women in line do this, but I wanted to integrate the programme with conferences so that women being mentored had a specific goal in mind. I also wanted conferences to secure a speaking spot – this initiative is inspired by the Yow! Women in Tech competition.

So, Speak Easy was born, a programme to encourage diversity in software testing conferences. While our particular focus is to improve the number of female speakers at conferences the aim of Speak Easy is to encourage all novice speakers to take that first step towards sharing their thoughts and idea with fellow testers.

First Hand Experience

But rather than me write about how great I think Speak Easy is, I thought perhaps the story would be better from someone who has benefited from the program. Here’s what Jessica Ingrassellino one of the testers who joined the program has to say about her experience.

Jessica Ing“Working with Speak Easy helped me to understand the process for submitting a proposal and being accepted to software testing conferences. I have spoken at academic conferences a few times, but I was nervous about speaking in the software testing community as I had not spoken in the community before. With Speak Easy’s help, I had a mentor who helped me to craft the language of my proposal and to refine my ideas for the conference speech. The opportunity to have a mentor who can help me as needed is excellent, and I am very pleased”

Jessica’s application to CAST2015 was one of five Speak Easy graduates to be accepted.


There are many stories like this, we suspect that you might have your own story to share too. Eurostar 2015 have guaranteed a spot for a Speak Easy graduate so why not give it a go?  Even if you feel your not quite ready for Eurostar this year, why not join up? It’s free and we can match you with an experienced speaker to help you discover what you want to say, how to say it and maybe even get you some practice saying it!

 – Anne Marie & Fiona

(Many thanks to Jessica Ingrassellino for her input to this blog post)



How to Apply

EuroSTAR is proud to partner with Speak Easy to give a novice speaker a chance to speak at Europe’s largest software testing Conference. One tutorial session has been made available for the submission judged to best meet the theme of this years conference: “Walking the Testing Talk”.

Speak Easy is open to any novice speaker. To apply you must have not led a session at a major conference and in addition have a good Presentation idea.

To apply for your place on the Speak Easy programme, visit the sign-up page here.


Important Dates

14th August: Deadline for applications to Speak Easy

9th Sepember: Winner of Speak Easy slot will be announced on the EuroSTAR blog.


Anne-Marie Charrett, Testing Times, Australia

Anne-Marie Charrett_web_201349131155Anne-Marie is a software tester, trainer and coach with a reputation of excellence and passion for the craft of software testing.  An electronic engineer by trade, software testing chose her when she started conformance testing against European standards. With extensive experience in testing and test management, Anne-Marie set up Testing Times in 1998 to meet the needs of companies looking for consulting and training in the field of software testing.
Anne-Marie is active with the Association of Software Testers (AST) and is currently lecturing at the University of Technology, Sydney on the topic of software testing.


Fiona Charles, Quality Intelligence, Canada

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFiona Charles teaches testers project skills “beyond process”— skills essential to thrive and excel on any kind of software project. An expert test consultant and manager, she has been in the thick of it through 30+ years of challenging projects across the business spectrum on both sides of the Atlantic. Throughout her career, Fiona has advocated, designed, implemented and taught pragmatic and humane practices to deliver software worth having. Fiona’s articles appear frequently, and she conducts experiential workshops at international conferences and in-house for clients. She is co-founder/host of the Toronto Workshop on Software Testing, a testing peer conference. She edited The Gift of Time, celebrating Jerry Weinberg’s work, and the “Women of Influence” issue of STP Magazine in which she was also featured.



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