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The Little Meetup That Could

Kylie
March 16, 2016

The Little Meetup That Could

A joint presentation on the history of Rails Girls ATL with tips and tricks for current and would-be meetup and user group organizers

Kylie

March 16, 2016
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  1. The Little Meetup
    That Could
    A Rails Girls Atlanta Scrapbook
    Kylie Stradley & Pamela Vickers
    @RailsGirlsATL
    Great Wide Open 2016

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  2. But before there can be a leadership board…

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  3. there has to be a meetup.

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  4. And before there can be a meetup…

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  5. there has to be a need.

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  6. Rails Girls Workshops
    • Founded by Linda
    Liukas & Karri Saarinen
    • November 2010 in
    Helsinki, Finland

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  7. 1st Atlanta Workshop
    •December 2012

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  8. -Everyone
    what now?

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  9. ¯\_()_/¯
    -Us

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  10. Workshop round 2
    •May 2013

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  11. what now?
    -Everyone

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  12. Come to our monthly meetup!
    -Us

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  13. • Paid Meetup.com account
    • !
    • Confirmed venue
    • Tweeted
    January 2013
    (1st Meetup)

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  14. • Assigned “homework”
    • Scheduled a speaker
    January 2013
    (1st Meetup)

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  15. January 2013
    (1st Meetup)
    • ~20 people came
    • People said nice things
    • Used Google Hangouts for
    out-of-town workshop
    attendees

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  16. Short Lessons
    • Set expectations early

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  17. Short Lessons
    • Set expectations early
    • Order vegetarian options

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  18. Long(er) Lessons
    • Not every talk is for every attendee.

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  19. 1 month later

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  20. February 2013 Bug Fix
    • !+"#$ %

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  21. February 2013
    • Handpicked Project Euler problems

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  22. • Handpicked Project Euler problems
    • Lower attendance despite higher RSVP count than
    first meetup
    February 2013

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  23. & First Recruiter &

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  24. Short Lessons
    • RSVP count != Attendance count (ordering food is
    hard)
    • Recruiters will find any technology meetup (but
    that’s not always bad)

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  25. Long(er) Lessons
    • Not every talk is for every attendee.
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.

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  26. • Not every talk is for every attendee.
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  27. 1 month later

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  28. March 2013 Bug Fix

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  29. &Our Treasurer’s 1st RGATL &

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  30. • Not every talk is for every attendee.
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  31. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are
    some talks better than others for our
    meetup?
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  32. 2 months later

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  33. May 2013 ✨New feature✨
    • Rolled out ToDo List project assignment
    • Slowly introducing Rails into the monthly
    assignments

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  34. 1 month later

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  35. June 2013 ✨New feature✨
    • Offered milestone 1 of the Todo List as public
    Github repo

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  36. & RGATL’s half birthday &

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  37. & Kylie’s 1st RGATL &

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  38. 2 months later

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  39. August 2013
    • Continued working through
    and reviewing ToDo List
    milestones
    • Bootstrap talk from
    ATLRUG’s Patrick van Stee
    to prepare for front-end
    focused milestone

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  40. & Our Event Facilitator’s 1st RGATL &

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  41. & Our Event Facilitator’s 1st RGATL &

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  42. 2 months later

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  43. October 2013
    • Jordan Killpack gave
    talk on building silly
    apps to prep for 

    our November 

    “Silly Hacks Only”
    aka “Wackity Hack”
    event

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  44. & 1st Absentee Organizer &
    Community Facilitated Meetup&

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  45. 1 month later

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  46. November 2013 ✨New Feature✨
    • Regularly scheduled
    meetup was too close
    to Thanksgiving
    • Saturday afternoon
    hack event

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  47. The good news:

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  48. The less good news:

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  49. Not a lot of people came to enjoy our
    coffee, snacks, and prizes. (

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  50. Short Lessons
    • Set expectations for events, especially when hoping
    beginners will come to a hack event

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  51. 1 month later

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  52. December 2013 ✨New Feature✨
    • Talk given by one of our regularly attending
    members

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  53. & First year of RGATL &

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  54. & Smallest Attendance of the Year &

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  55. &
    First time handling the “but I saw
    that you had other male members, so
    I figured it was fine for me to come”
    situation.
    &

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  56. • You’re going to have awkward encounters when
    you organize community focused groups
    • Set clear expectations for who should attend your
    meetup
    Short Lessons

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  57. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some
    talks better than others for our meetup?
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  58. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some
    talks better than others for our meetup? Recycle
    good talks.
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  59. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some
    talks better than others for our meetup? Recycle
    good talks.
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers. Holidays make it even harder to
    predict.
    • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters.
    Long(er) Lessons

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  60. 1st Year Retrospective
    • Worked on projects and
    assignments as a group
    • Built membership base
    • Saw core members begin
    contributing in small ways

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  61. Release Notes
    • Improved food ordering
    • Improved expectation setting for all events
    • Improved meetup content

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  62. Release Notes
    • Improved food ordering
    • Order vegetarian options
    • There’s no formula for predicting attendance
    numbers

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  63. Release Notes
    • Improved expectation setting for all events
    • Who should come
    • What they should bring
    • What they will learn

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  64. Release Notes
    • Improved meetup content
    • Not every talk is for every attendee
    • Recycle good talks

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  65. Release Notes
    • Improved food ordering
    • Improved expectation setting for all events
    • Improved meetup content

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  66. 1 month later

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  67. January 2014

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  68. Hothlanta 2014
    January 2014

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  69. Let’s try this again

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  70. 1 month later

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  71. February 2014 Bug Fixes
    • Made meetup location private for non-members
    • Added some leading questions for new members:
    “Are you a lady? If not: who are you here with?”

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  72. February 2014
    (With special guests from Atlanta chapters of
    PyLadies, WomenWhoCode, and Systers)

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  73. Short Lessons
    • Joint community events are fun
    • No experience required content == higher
    attendance and engagement

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  74. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.

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  75. 1 month later

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  76. & Our Membership Outreach
    Coordinator’s 1st RGATL &

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  77. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.

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  78. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers.

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  79. And now for something completely
    different

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  80. April 2014 ✨New Feature✨

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  81. Later that month

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  82. April 2014
    • ⚡ Lightning talks from four members ⚡

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  83. & Our Sponsorship Coordinator’s 1st RGATL &

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  84. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers.

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  85. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less
    intimidating for 1st time speakers.

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  86. 1 month later

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  87. May 2014
    • ⚡ Lightning talks ⚡

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  88. 1 month later

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  89. June 2014
    • ⚡ Lightning talks ⚡

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  90. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating
    for 1st time speakers.

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  91. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating
    for 1st time speakers.
    • Recognize organizer fatigue.

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  92. 1 month later

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  93. July 2014
    • Attempted to revive project based meetup
    • Goals: make open source contributions more
    accessible, work on project as a group, renew
    excitement around shared progress

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  94. July 2014
    • Attempted to revive project based meetup
    • Goals: make open source contributions more
    accessible, work on project as a group, renew
    excitement around shared progress
    • Results: blank stares, intimidated members, no
    movement on any of the goals

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  95. & Our Meetup Facilitator’s 1st RGATL &

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  96. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating
    for 1st time speakers.
    • Recognize organizer fatigue.

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  97. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for
    1st time speakers.
    • Recognize organizer fatigue.
    • Shape content around community’s immediate
    needs.

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  98. Over the next several months

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  99. Early Fall(ish) 2014
    • Several great talks
    • Hit-or-miss on engagement

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  100. Short Lessons
    • Just because a talk is great doesn’t mean it is great
    for our meetup

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  101. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for
    1st time speakers.
    • Recognize organizer fatigue.
    • Shape content around community’s immediate
    needs.

    View full-size slide

  102. Long(er) Lessons
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger
    community connections.
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for
    1st time speakers.
    • Recognize organizer fatigue.
    • Shape content around community’s immediate
    needs.

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  103. At the end of the year

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  104. 2nd Year Retrospective
    • Talk based format
    • Became an established
    Atlanta meetup
    • More core members, and
    more core member
    involvement

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  105. Release Notes
    • Improved expectation setting for events
    • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups
    landscape with supplementary social meetup
    • Increased speaking opportunities for members
    • Improved talk selection based on our community’s
    needs


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  106. Release Notes
    • Improved expectation setting for events
    • No experience required content == higher
    attendance and engagement
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds
    stronger community connections

    View full-size slide

  107. Release Notes
    • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups
    landscape with supplementary social meetup
    • Joint community events are fun
    • Time set aside for just conversation builds
    stronger community connections

    View full-size slide

  108. Release Notes
    • Increased speaking opportunities for members
    • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new
    speakers
    • ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st
    time speakers

    View full-size slide

  109. Release Notes
    • Improved talk selection based on our community’s
    needs
    • Just because a talk is great doesn’t mean it’s great for
    our meetup
    • Recognize organizer fatigue. Otherwise, content can
    suffer
    • Shape content around community’s immediate needs


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  110. Release Notes
    • Improved expectation setting for events
    • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups
    landscape with supplementary social meetup
    • Increased speaking opportunities for members
    • Improved talk selection based on our community’s
    needs


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  111. 1 month later

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  112. January 2015
    • New Year, New Environments!
    • Got everyone set up to do actual Ruby on Rails
    development in anticipation of working through a
    curriculum as a group

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  113. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering.

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  114. 1 month later

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  115. February 2015

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  116. Hothlanta 2015
    February 2015

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  117. 1 month later

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  118. March 2015
    • Community member presented on Ruby tool
    • Worked through RailsBridge curriculum

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  119. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering.

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  120. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you
    have expectations about what you’ll be
    helping with.

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  121. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you
    have expectations about what you’ll be
    helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and
    opportunities to get help.

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  122. 1 month later

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  123. April 2015
    • Held our first RailsBridge workshop with many of
    the coaches coming from our own Rails Girls
    community.
    • Held a meetup to keep working on the workshop
    materials

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  124. Short Lessons
    • Stuff happens (like a power outage resulting in no
    lunch ***)

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  125. 1 month later

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  126. May 2015
    • Held a meetup to keep working on the workshop
    materials
    • Ticket Giveaway for Github’s CodeConf in
    Nashville (several members attended)

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  127. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have
    expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and
    opportunities to get help.

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  128. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have
    expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and
    opportunities to get help.

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  129. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have
    expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to
    get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is
    intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first
    time is more intimidating.

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  130. 1 month later

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  131. June 2015
    • Presentation: “Git Workflow: Little Red Riding
    Hood and the Big Bad Ogre”
    • Workshop: “Git-it Git & GitHub”

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  132. Short Lessons
    • It is possible to have too much of a good thing

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  133. 1 month later

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  134. July 2015
    • One of our most popular presentations “A Day in
    the Life of a Full Time Developer”

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  135. & Communication Coordinator’s 1st RGATL &

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  136. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have
    expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to
    get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is
    intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first
    time is more intimidating.

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  137. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated
    the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering.
    Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what
    you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going
    to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always
    technology focused.

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  138. 1 month later

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  139. August 2015 Bug Fix

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  140. August 2015 Bug Fix

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  141. August 2015
    • Try out “new” study group/team ongoing project
    format
    • Provided opportunity for members to sign up as
    participants or coaches

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  142. 2 months later

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  143. October 2015
    • Andy Lindeman presented “Intro to Automated
    Testing with RSpec” (requested topic)

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  144. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated
    the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering.
    Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what
    you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going
    to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always
    technology focused.

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  145. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the
    opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is
    easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping
    with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a
    conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology
    focused.
    • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need.

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  146. 2 months later

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  147. December 2015

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  148. Short Lessons
    • We still don’t know how to host a hackathons

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  149. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the
    opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is
    easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping
    with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a
    conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology
    focused.
    • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need.

    View full-size slide

  150. Long(er) Lessons
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the
    opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier
    when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
    • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
    • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a
    conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology
    focused.
    • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need.
    • Sometimes, Rails Girls just want to have fun

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  151. 3rd Year Retrospective
    • Structured-learning-with-
    occasional-talks based
    format
    • Hosted a RailsBridge
    workshop
    • Put plans in motion to share
    organization responsibilities

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  152. Release Notes
    • Improved volunteering opportunities for members
    • Provided space for members to request content
    • Improved food ordering
    • Added opportunities for community members to
    organize and lead

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  153. Release Notes
    • Improved volunteering opportunities for members
    • Members who aren’t served directly by our content
    appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by
    volunteering
    • Volunteering is easier when you have expectations
    about what you’ll be helping with
    • Beginners like structured learning and
    opportunities to get help

    View full-size slide

  154. Release Notes
    • Provided space for members to request content
    • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t
    always technology focused
    • Make it easy for your community to tell you what
    they need

    View full-size slide

  155. Release Notes
    • Improved food ordering

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  156. Release Notes
    • Improved volunteering opportunities for members
    • Provided space for members to request content
    • Improved food ordering
    • Added opportunities for community members to
    organize and lead

    View full-size slide

  157. Release Notes
    • Improved volunteering opportunities for members
    • Provided space for members to request content
    • Improved food ordering
    • Added opportunities for community members to
    organize and lead

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  158. Chae, Treasurer

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  159. Megan, Communication Coordinator

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  160. Britni, Event Facilitator

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  161. Mallory, Membership Outreach Coordinator

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  162. Kristin, Meetup Facilitator

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  163. Anika, Sponsorship Coordinator

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  164. Kylie, Co-Director

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  165. WIP
    • Board terms and responsibility handoff
    • Sponsorship
    • Attaining
    • Maintaining
    • Processing and accessing funds
    • ✨https://opencollective.com/railsgirlsatl✨


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  166. WIP
    • Setting up formalized conference buddy system
    when we’re given tickets (thanks GWO for all the
    tickets!)
    • Hackathons: how even

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  167. + [email protected]
    , @RailsGirlsATL
    - opencollective.com/railsgirlsatl
    ,ZMJF4USBEMFZ

    LZMJF!SBJMTHJSMTBUMDPN

    4PGUXBSF&OHJOFFS
    .BJM$IJNQ

    !LZGBTU
    1BNFMB7JDLFST

    QBNFMB!SBJMTHJSMTBUMDPN

    4PGUXBSF&OHJOFFSJOH.BOBHFS

    .BJM$IJNQ

    !QXOFMB
    ⡓ ⡘

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