01 March 2017 Culture

Celebrating International Women's Day at Elastic{ON}17

By Kristina Frost

Elastic{ON}17 is nearly upon us, and we're tremendously excited about bringing our dynamic community of engineers and innovators together for three days of amazing content. I'm writing this blog on the actual day of my two year anniversary here at Elastic, (and, as another co-worker pointed out on an internal thread, the day of the End It movement, raising awareness for a cause that profoundly impacts women and which is also near and dear to my heart). This upcoming Elastic{ON}17 is our third and my third. I'm reflecting about how far we've come as a company in that time, particularly and especially in regards to our thinking about diversity and about social justice.

Back in 2016, when we launched the first Women's Breakfast, it was part of a collective goal to make our events inclusive and affirming, to progress together on the path of building a more diverse community and a more diverse company. Elastic's CEO-elect, current CTO, and forever co-founder, Shay Banon, wrote about this recently in regards to his perspectives on immigration and diversity. He said:

"I want to make it clear: a diverse society is a resilient society. A diverse company is a resilient company. The more diverse we are, let it be ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, geographic location, or any other aspect, will make us stronger, more humane, and much much more successful."

This year's Women's Breakfast expands on last year's theme of connecting and inspiring women in the Elastic community and will include a candid panel discussion with outstanding women in technology as well as perspective from Shay. As a side note, if you are coming to the conference, reading this and asking yourself, I wonder if I'm allowed to attend, the answer to that question is "absolutely yes, and please do!"

The breakfast is on March 8, which also happens to be International Women's Day. International Women's Day has been celebrated in a variety of forms all over the world since the 1900s, and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975. Elastic is a distributed company with employees in 34 countries, and celebrating the rise of women all around the world is important to us. We know there are workplace issues that can disproportionately impact female employees. We are committed to pay equity and doing our best to end the cycle of pay inequality by focusing on the position and experience, not prior salaries, for incoming hires. We also support a truly flexible work environment and are reviewing our leave policies, including parental leave. We embrace and honor the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, because visibility and awareness help drive positive change. We invite you to join us as we build a workplace, an event, an open source community, and a technology industry that is more diverse.

Joining us at the Women's Breakfast at Elastic{ON} is just one of the ways you can #BeBoldForChange in the spirit of this movement, but there are plenty of other opportunities for you to help us celebrate diversity and social justice at Elastic{ON}, and I'd like to highlight a few of them here:

  • First and foremost, we embrace and adhere to a Code of Conduct that fosters better and brighter communities and events. In addition, as basic as it may seem, we're committed to conference facilities that recognize and meet the needs of all attendees. This includes things like having a nursing mothers' room on-site, ADA compliance, closed captioning at all stages, food options for a variety of diets, and other on-site support.
  • We are working with Django Girls to host a pre-conference workshop at our Mountain View, California office. Coaching and mentoring are two things our employees love, and we're excited about this chance to introduce women to the excitement, fun and intellectual stimulation of coding. The Django Girls organization enables volunteers to lead these free, fun workshops all over the world. Organizing a workshop is a terrific opportunity to offer women a welcoming introduction to programming, and help future engineers find their passion.
  • The honorees from our first annual Elastic Cause Awards will be highlighting their work during the closing Keynote session with Shay on Thursday, March 9. We had inspiring submissions this year from organizations that are harnessing the power of software to write a future that is more sustainable, more just, and more compassionate — for all of us.
  • Our very own Tyler Hannan will be giving a talk on distributed systems and distributed teams on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Diversity of all kinds is a big part of the resilient corporate system we're creating and maintaining all over the world. Tyler will be talking about just how we do that. We are making a concentrated effort to provide more speaker diversity at Elastic{ON} and would like to see broader participation not only at the conference but across all of our events. To that end, we have a number of great customer talks featuring female speakers:
  • In addition, several of the Women of Elastic will be speaking in a variety of sessions:

I like to think of companies and people alike as the holders of lanterns and flashlights. Organizations and individuals have a choice about where they can invest attention and time, and what they can put into focus: in other words, where they direct the light that they carry. Next week, next month, next year, next decade we will continue to direct our collective energies into a community that is innovative and resilient; into a community that encourages equality and which looks upon the world with brilliant minds and compassionate hearts. Because we are open source, because the very nature of our business invites collaboration with you, our users, we hope that you will continue to join us and help all of us together write a vision for software and technology that embraces the biggest and brightest parts of our collective humanity.

Please join with us. Whoever and wherever you are, we would love to have you.