While the CNCF makes every effort to ensure the comfort, health, and happiness of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon attendees, there were some attendees at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Seattle 2018 who felt overwhelmed or unhappy.
Some of those attendees were brave enough to share their experiences and this led to the creation of the Well-being working Group (WG). As the largest ever open source conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is breaking new ground which provides an excellent opportunity for us to learn how to take care of attendees at scale.
Partnering with OSMI for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2019
While members of the Well-being WG were compiling a list of suggestions for future CNCF events, Dan Kohn, CNCF’s Executive Director, came across an organization called Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI).
OSMI’s motto is “changing how we talk about mental health in the tech community,” This volunteer-led organization, engages in a range of activities including producing various open source resources to help both employers and employees navigate mental health issues in tech.
The Well-being WG and OSMI then teamed up to create a ‘conference handbook‘, which first appeared at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2019 in Barcelona. The handbook listed helpful tips for how conference attendees could help both themselves and others to remain well during KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. Several hundred copies were distributed during the event at the OSMI booth, which is staffed entirely by volunteers from the Well-Being WG.
In addition to the handbook, Dr. Jennifer Akulian who works closely with OSMI, gave a talk on mental health in tech and there was a very well attended community organized panel session.
KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2019 in San Diego
After positive feedback from the conference in Barcelona the WG decided to repeat the program in San Diego, alongside extra activities from CNCF including more accessible quiet rooms, free massages, and the puppy palooza. All of these items were listed on the conference’s ‘Keep Cloud Native Well‘ page which will be a standard fixture for future events.
KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Amsterdam 2020 and beyond
At San Diego a huge number of people expressed interest in joining the Well-Being WG to both shape and deliver future working group activities. The general feeling is that we’ll be going ‘bigger and better’ in 2020. If you would like to be involved, you can either join the WG mailing list directly or contact the CNCF at firstname.lastname@example.org.