ITWC created this event in collaboration with organizations that focus on Technology-based groups that represent individuals who identify themselves with the LGBTQ2S+ Community. ITWC created a virtual event to gain national exposure as a part of our strategy to champion and celebrate diversity in the technology sector. It is not a corporate strategy--it's a reflection of our values.
With this in mind, we produced Canada's first LGBTQ2S+ conference. 2022 was our second year creating this event, focusing on LGBTQ2S+ individuals and their contribution to the technology sector.
The 100-minute event takes place during Pride Week and offers panels, presentations, and interactive sessions. The project aimed at celebrating diversity and helping organizations is more LGBTQ2S+ friendly.
Our strategy was to capture the authenticity and layers of perspectives in the everyday reality of discussing the diversity agenda, good and bad. Too often, corporate programs are superficial at best. Celebrating this community through a virtual event and capturing real stories in natural environments is the core of our strategy. We found presenters, and over time we got a consensus on segments and video. Our video team found a willing participant and a company - Beanfield- ready to help us "push the envelope" with a first-person story that was everything we hoped to bring forward as a message.
Creating the strategy of reaching a larger audience had to also address significant challenges. On the corporate side, we had difficulty attracting sponsorship from technology companies. Even those enthusiastic about supporting the idea could not fit it into their existing budgeting. The next challenge was attracting corporate speakers about"coming out" in a large public forum, which almost brought the project to a close.
A great example of our challenges came when we produced what we thought was an intense opening video that focused on the pain and angst that all too many LGBTQ2S+ employees have in their day-to-day working environment. Even after several edits, we could not get agreement. We were forced to return to the drawing board and redo this critical video with a different approach.
We overcame what we hoped to bring forward.
Primarily we relied on watching our audience's reaction. The live social media chat during the event showed the audience's engagement with the presentation. Our follow-up audience survey indicated that 100% of the responses we gathered from the event's survey were very positive. Here are two unsolicited responses we were sent after the event.
The first came from HOOPP, our sponsor: "That was fantastic!"
And from the audience:
"This is a story that will resonate with so many people who grew up in that world. Me included!"
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