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We’ve seen in the past year how unconferences, barcamps, and other grass roots conference structures have become powerful tools to develop community; virally market standards, tools, and ideas; and launch new companies and networks. The focus of the discussion will be how conferences that are organized—or at least, begin, on an ad hoc basis as unconferences and barcamps—can actually generate powerful momentum in pushing forward standards, networks, and community.
We’ll discuss best practices, strategies for success, marketing tips, insider knowledge, and tales from the trenches with the organizers and founders of three very successful unconferences: Tara Hunt, co-founder of BarCamp and lead organizer for BarCampBlock; Elisa Camahort, co-founder of Blogher and lead for its conference series: and unconference expert Kaliya Hamlin, cofounder of She’s Geeky, an unconference for women who identify as geeks.
Susan Mernit, Yahoo! senior director, board advisor to Blogher, and co-organizer for the recent She’s Geeky and a long-time social media and community blogger, will moderate this panel.
Susan Mernit is co-founder of People’s Software Company, a TechStars 2008 incubator company, and the Program Evangelist/Consultant for the 2008-09 Knight News Challenge, awarding $5MM to support innovative local projects that expand online news and community discourse. Passionate about women’s issues and women entrepreneurs, she recently led a guerilla action to mentor women applying to ycombinator, an early stage tech incubator.
She is a BlogHer contributing editor on Sex & Relationships, a former exec at Yahoo, AOL, Netscape and Advance Internet, and a dedicated blogger and long time media/social media consultant.
Elisa Camahort is a co-founder and COO of BlogHer, managing its events, marketing and corporate operations. A marketing executive with 17 years of experience in Silicon Valley, Elisa left her life in high tech product management to go online and join the social media world, and to help companies go there too.
She co-founded BlogHer as a labor of love in 2005 with Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, and in two short years BlogHer has grown to be the number-one guide to and source for blogs by women. BlogHer serves its mission of creating opportunities for education, exposure, community and economic empowerment with its web community, sold-out conferences and advertising network that now features nearly 1,000 network members.
Elisa Camahort was at the vanguard of professional and business blogging and currently writes nine blogs. She blogs at various times about marketing, health issues, green and eco-conscious living, being a vegan, and reality TV talent shows like American Idol and Project Runway! She’s a frequent public speaker in the areas of business blogging and online community, and has been published frequently, including her monthly column for the Silicon Valley Metro, Silicon Veggie.
Identity Woman, Kaliya Hamlin, is a catalytic leader in the field of user-centric identity. She is a Steward of the recently formed Identity Commons aiming to address both tech and non-tech issues around identity. In the last four years, she has helped grow a thriving technical community around the topic and founded Internet Identity Workshop with Phil Windley and Doc Searls (our 6th coming up in may). She specializes in face-to-face interactive methods for community building that have been successful in supporting the collaboration of Liberty Alliance, MSFT, and light weight identity efforts.