Episode 12

About Inclusive Events with Joanna and Beren

In this episode I spoke with Joanna Moćko-Łazarewicz and Beren Van Daele, from Isle of IT, a human centric company rooted in the testing community in Europe. Beside consulting clients on how to move teams forward, Isle of IT also organizes events, such as the ITMatters conference series.

Joanna shares a lot of their considerations around cultivating welcoming events, and it's pure joy to hear about her passion for inclusive events. So naturally, we talked a lot about creating and organizing inclusive events, and how the COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of how we approach organizing events.

While talking about this we also touch shortly on #humansconf, which I planned to organize for end of May 2020, but which is now cancelled.

We find that organizing events is also a lot about leadership, and hear more about how leadership can look like in times of crisis, such as the current pandemic.

My first favorite quote from our conversation, comes from Beren and appears ~19min:

Although everything seemed to be going right, I was feeling very anxious, I was mostly resting with myself, trying to cope with that, but it was difficult. So I shared this with the team.

After that he goes on to share a story, how it can be very important and helpful for leaders to be open about their feelings and their struggles, very much in the spirit of what Alex Schladebeck describes when she talks about empathic management in episode 8.

And this quote from Joanna, which occurs ~22min, also speaks to me from the heart:

This is the moment, if you don’t have the human centric approach, it’s going to be really difficult for you to lead your team successfully.

The ITMatters conference series started in 2019 in Poland. Take a look at the “Burnout syndrome – addressing the elephant in the room” talk by Daria Dorda which is from the 2019 event, to get a feeling for the topics discussed at ITMatters.


cto.coffee - Episode 12 - About Inclusive Events with Joanna and Beren or listen to the episode on Spotify.

This episode was recorded on 24-March-2020.


You can also read the transcription of this episode.

Show Notes

Connect with Joanna on LinkedIn or Twitter. Of course, Beren is also present on LinkedIn and Twitter.

~5min The difficulty of organizing an event during a pandemic

~8min What it takes to organize an event around making connections

~11min Finding the right venue and creating an open space to exchange ideas

~13min Creating the right atmosphere and having the right speakers

~18min Creating a secure space within the company during COVID-19

~19min Caring for mental health and showing vulnerability as leader

~22min Encouraging leaders to talk about and focus on the human factor of work

~25min Discussing mindfulness and anxiety with employees

~27min Exploring virtual Open Space events

~33min Growing through difficult times, becoming self aware, and embracing differences

~35min How ITMatters helps companies improve their organization

~38min Beren’s influence on others and making decisions on choosing the right team

~42min Finding balance in dealing with each other and working as a team during COVID-19

The intro/outro music in the podcast was made with Sonic Pi from this code.