Women In Agile, Open Space, and Boats Oh My!

By April Jefferson

Magic and joyful exhaustion linger in the air as I am finally able to put sharpie to sticky note on my thoughts on the inaugural unconference, Women In Agile Open.

Authentically, I believed that the answer to the invitation would bring the right people. So much so, that as each ticket was sold we celebrated their pending arrival. Then I arrived on the boat expecting the unexpected.

The opening circle is where we affirmed whoever was there are the right people. They united and began stitching their stories together. Stories made of vulnerability, courage and curiosity, that anchored on inclusion from the seen and unseen forms of diversity in the space.

The theme of “Unlocking Potential Together” spoke to newbies and veterans and we moved beyond agendaless quickly. The space began to overflow with offerings. Many paired and merged their offerings together. The sessions around them were organic and void of ego, as each naturally nourished connection, often while in a circle.

Throughout the experience holding space felt organic as I adapted to the energy, experimented within constraints and nourished safety. Observing the openness, collaborations, and formation of connections felt amazing.

This open space was different than all the rest. Why we gathered became our anthem. All seemed to naturally embrace the principles and rule of open space as apart of their mindset. The energy felt authentic and deep, each person resolving to take their own path in their experience.

A natural crescendo occurred, when it was over it was over. And yet I was changed. I beamed and my soul shouted from the exuberation of our guests, from the touches put in place and experiences they had. Women shared the impact of the experience, the connections, gratitude for one another, and their future intentions.

Women In Agile Open came to be from my desire to create a space where women could empower other women, bring to the surface talents within, share learnings with one another, discover collaborators, inspire future speakers, foster allies, and build community.

My vision and intentions manifested. I am honored to be apart of the journey that so many said would forever cement in their life story.

April Jefferson, Women In Agile Open Chairwoman