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What we learned from 15 smart people in 2018

January 23, 2019

What we learned from 15 smart people in 2018
The DevSecCon Team
The DevSecCon Team

Now you’d be forgiven for thinking – hold on – you had far more than 15 brilliant speakers across the DevSecCon series of Conferences in 2018 and, of course, you’d be correct.

But here’s the thing. We’re not talking about all the speakers and experts we met along the way who, it goes without saying, were fantastic and talented. We’re actually talking about the 15 great volunteers we had the pleasure to work with and the insights we gained by doing so.

It’s interesting if you ask people about volunteering the first thing people think is that it is predominantly driven by a financial situation and there’s no doubt this plays a significant part in the decision-making process. In reality however, it is far from the whole picture. We found that volunteers come in many forms and are driven by a range of factors. So here’s a lighthearted look at volunteering from a DevSecCon perspective.

Bucket List: Be a Volunteer

You may or may not have a bucket list or ‘101 things to do before I die’ list but many people do and volunteering ranks pretty highly on some of these! A quick ‘Google’ saw it pop up and #25 on one list and #65 on another – okay it’s way below Drive Route 66; travel the world; swim with Dolphins/Manatees/’insert favourite sea creature’ here or to become a millionaire/billionaire but it is definitely on there.

On a slightly more serious note the drive for many is not just to tick this off but to also get an experience they wouldn’t be able to have if they attended an event as a ‘normal’ delegate.

Getting the Inside Scoop

So who isn’t curious what it’s like being on the other side of making an event happen especially if this means you get to meet and greet some of the people you really admire and see as mentors? Believe it or not it is also fun to experience some of the challenging parts of events where inevitably something doesn’t go to plan and requires quick and creative thinking to save the day.

There were three obvious main reasons to volunteer at DevSecCon London for me: London as the center of IT innovations. An open and simple volunteer application process. The conference topics related to my company’s interest. – Marina Kotenko (DevSecCon London Volunteer), dFusionTech Inc.

Testing the Water

Whether you’re starting out or interested in a change of career there are multiple opportunities to get involved in all aspects of an event by volunteering.

If it’s the subject of the conference which interests you then being the one managing the timing in the presentation room(s) means you get to hear all the wisdom and have to be paying close attention as there’s a schedule to be kept to. This is also a useful role if you’re interested in becoming a speaker – getting the opportunity to watch how speakers prepare or get to ask how they started out can be invaluable.

If you want a career in marketing and communications or the event management side of things then being part of a team sorting everything from stuffing swag bags; helping sponsors get the most of the event; attendee engagement throughout the event; planning the party or simply ensuring the food (a critical and important aspect of any event) arrives on time will definitely show many aspects of conference planning and management.

Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Many of us are anxious about speaking to new people and networking – especially if we think all the others in the room are experts! Volunteering forces you, in the nicest possible way, to overcome this. What’s more you are seen as the one with many of the answers people need and will be approached for help and advice. The best thing however is that you will soon see that most (yes most) people are very approachable and happy to chat.

The atmosphere at the conference was super cool and calm, even relaxing but not enough to forget about the conference. As volunteers, this allowed us to exchange knowledge and learn something new, without being afraid of looking silly in the process. […] I got a lot of great experiences from DevSecCon, and it was a really good choice of conference to start exploring London as an IT innovator. Hope to participate again next year! – Marina Kotenko (DevSecCon London Volunteer), dFusionTech Inc.

Being Part of a Team

It may sound cheesy but there is something very rewarding about being part of a team and pulling off a successful event. We’ve met great people via the volunteering route and are sure we’ll meet many more in 2019.

So with that in mind if you want to get involved in one or more of the DevSecCon events then give us a shout. We promise it won’t be boring…


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