Our goal is to make speaking at GitHub events as accessible as possible. We're continually searching for speakers from different backgrounds, communities, and experiences. We believe that having a diverse of speakers on the program fosters a healthy community, stimulates conversation, and exposes fresh ideas. Studies have found that utilizing a blind selection process is the best method for removing unconscious bias from the selection committee and therefore we are using this approach to help diversify the types of speakers that are selected.
A review committee is selected from GitHub employees, and in some cases community members, that are content experts for a particular program. The committee members come from a range of backgrounds and departments including engineering, marketing, social impact, and support. We think it is important to have a review committee that reflects the diversity that we are seeking for our speaking program.
All proposals are reviewed by the committee without any personally identifying information, such as name, company, or personal demographics. All proposals are given a score between 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) by each member of the review committee. The proposals with the highest average score are conditionally selected for inclusion in the program. The personal demographics–which include self identified gender identity, ethnicity, and country of residence–of those selected speakers are examined for balance and diversity. The review committee conducts a final group review to discuss the diversity of content and speakers that are selected, in some cases exchanging proposals with similarly scored alternatives to create a complete program.
While some potential speakers may be hesitant to complete the optional demographics section of their profile, we strongly encourage all submitters to do so. By collecting this information, we're able to determine if the call for proposals is reaching a wide audience and can make additional efforts when it isn't. Having the demographic information available after the blind review process also allows us to monitor that the process is working as intended. This information is always kept private and will never be used for any purpose other than as part of the proposal review process.