Hi Ruby, thanks for reaching out.
We have always been (and continue to be) major supporters of the Drupal community. We love the enthusiasm and energy individual members bring to the community, and we're committed to giving back to the community by contributing modules and by sharing the experience and expertise of our team at events like the NTC. The passion of the open source community at large allows us all to collaborate and create innovative solutions for organizations such as those attending the NTC.
As the Drupal Day sponsor and the organizer of this event, we want to curate a day of helpful and high-quality sessions that will enable attendees to do their jobs well and fulfill their missions. Historically the approach to curating Drupal Day has been to partner with other leaders working at the intersection of nonprofits and Drupal as co-sponsors. These co-sponsors contributed content to the day's agenda and helped shape the event. This year, we were all presented with the unique challenge of having to decide between DrupalCon and the NTC. As we began our planning and outreach, many of our agency partners were faced with difficult decision of how to allocate their resources with these two competing events happening within the same week. In the absence of many of our agency partners, we invited our nonprofit partners to help enrich the content for the day by talking about how Drupal has empowered them to create impact.
We've heard your feedback about looking for more community-driven content. We do have space in our current agenda for community members to contribute lightning talks to this year's event. In addition, there will also be a room dedicated to un-conference style sessions to allow attendees the flexibility to discuss and collaborate on the things that they are passionate about. That said, with just a month before the conference and our nonprofit partners confirmed, it's not possible for us to significantly change this year's breakout agenda.
If you are interested in speaking at Drupal Day and sharing your expertise with community, we would welcome your submission for a lightning talk.
I feel a bit awkward chiming in here since I'm one of those folks who have opted for DrupalCon this year, but I have thoughts. (And just to be clear, these are my own personal opinions – I am not speaking as an NTEN Community Co-Organizer.)
Natania, I really do appreciate all of the work (and money) you and ThinkShout have contributed to bring Drupal Day back this year. It was sorely missed last year, and I was so happy to hear that it was coming back, even if I couldn't be there myself.
But, when I looked at the schedule that was posted earlier this week, my response wasn't: "Wow! This looks so awesome! I wish I had a Time Turner like Hermione so that I could be in two places at once and attend both DrupalCon AND Drupal Day!"
Instead, it was: "Huh. That's a lot of ThinkShout."
While I'm positive you had the best of intentions as you put the schedule together, surely you can see now that the optics here just aren't great.
It's good to hear that you reached out to other agencies and to your clients, and I understand that scheduling is tough this year because of the conflict with DrupalCon. But I have to agree with Ruby and Ivan – this really feels like a missed opportunity.
There are so many nonprofit folks who are out there doing amazing things with Drupal, either on their own, with a freelancer or a small one-or-two-person shop, or yes, with a larger agency. I know they're out there because they post to this list, and they participate in our monthly calls. And I'm sure at least some of them are planning to attend NTC instead of DrupalCon.
An open call for entries like the ones held for this year's WordPress Day and CiviCRM Day, or even just a post to the list asking for the community's help in finding and encouraging these nonprofit staff to present, would have gone a long way towards creating a sense of transparency and inclusion.
I hope you are able to find some non-ThinkShout-affiliated speakers for your lightning talks. It would be even better if you were able to find some room for said speakers in your official schedule.
We have heard the feedback from the community, and we want to encourage people to tell their stories about using Drupal. We are committed to putting on an event that reflects the diversity and passion of the community we're in. So we will be accepting speaker submissions to Drupal Day through the end of this week. The requirements are that you must either be at a nonprofit, or if at an agency/consultant, you must have a nonprofit co-presenter for your case study.
If interested, please submit the following via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Drupal Day Session Submission" by 4pm PST on Friday, 3/16:
Talks are 1-hour in length (~45mins if adding Q&A at the end). We will evaluate the session submissions and reach out to confirmed speakers by end of next week (3/23).If lightning talks are more your jam (5-minutes in length), we are still accepting speakers for those as well. You can also reach out to me at the above email with your topic for that and we'll hold a place for you!
Lastly, we want to thank everyone for your enthusiasm and energy around this event. It has been challenging with the competing conference to drum up the level of participation we were hoping for, but seeing the involvement from the community has been truly inspiring and we are grateful for you!