4 Tips for Starting Your Women in Agile Group

by Elaine Brady, Denver Women in Agile group

A full-time job. Family and travel. Extracurriculars.

It’s not always easy to make time for a passion project with just 24 hours in a day, but that’s the funny thing about passion…there’s always a community (and brunch…and mimosas) there to support you.

That’s certainly the case with the small but mighty team behind Women in Agile-Denver, which hosted its kick-off Meetup on Sept. 25 at Galvanize Golden Triangle. We coordinated our first Meetup with Denver Startup Week in order to help drive traffic and start out with a bang! Thanks to some amazing gals at Galvanize Golden Triangle, we were able to pull this off!

For those of you interested in getting involved, or launching your own Women in Agile group, here are a few tips to inspire and engage the passionate community of ours.

1. Make Small Talk…Always

It all started with an elevator ride at Agile 2018 with Dr. Gail Ferreira. I had the chance to chat about the need for a Denver WIA group. We followed that conversation up with breakfast, and off we went. A huge shoutout to Deema Dajani for her continued support as we learn and grow.

2. Assemble a Rockstar Team

Deema was instrumental in helping me gather my thoughts and organize this first Meetup with a grassroots approach. From there I asked my good friend, Vesta Insam to join. Just like that, there are 2 of us.. And Deema calls with another woman who was interested. Patricia Tostado jumped on board. The 3 of us make a really great team! We met up for a nice Saturday brunch and our first guest speaker, Ti Mougne, joined.

3. Nail the Content

The 4 of us had an intellectually stimulating conversation and I could not wait until our first event! We knocked out the details during our planning brunch. We covered talking points, Ti’s presentation objectives, food/drink prep, marketing materials and how we would drive more traffic through LinkedIn, Meetup.com and Denver Startup Week. This was it, this is what we had been waiting for.. In only 5 short weeks we were able to pull this event together as a team!

4. Rinse. Wash. Repeat

  • Find sponsorship. Plans and budgets change, make a list and work with organizations in your area for a running list of sponsors for future events. Huge thanks to Colleen Johnson & ImagineX Consulting for their generous sponsorship.
  • Snacks and beverages are key. Week nights are hard, family, working full-time and committing to another community can be a lot, too. Incentivizing your attendees is an easy way to break down barriers.
  • Secure your space. Make it easy to access and familiar to members so they want to return to the warm, welcoming space each month. DSW was pivotal in posting our Meetup page and information on their marketing materials which helped drive traffic to our first event.
  • Share away! LinkedIn, Meetup, Twitter, social media to the max!

In my mind, the motivation behind starting Women in Agile Denver came from a need for Agile collaboration and inclusiveness in the Denver community. I wanted to feel part of a community that truly believes in an Agile approach, who really wanted to learn and grow from each other, who challenged each other in a positive way. The energy behind Meetups and networking events can feel like forced fun and can frankly be exhausting. I wanted to create a safe space where all ideas are welcome, we’re inclusive and diverse in our thought process and collaboration.

The sense of community we have built so far just feels amazing, in the most genuine way. I have never felt so at ease with a group of women in a professional setting. The amount of support and perspective brought to the table amazes me. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such motivated women who see a similar need in the community. Because of you all, showing up, giving us data, objectives and topics you would like covered–we are off to a very exciting start. When you combine a few passionate women who have a shared vision to tackle a need in a community, the rest just falls into place!

See you all on October 23 at Galvanize Golden Triangle in Denver! #WomeninAgile