Community-Driven Event Planning

Christie Koehler (Cisco), Audrey Eschright (Recompiler Media), Sherri Koehler (Samatha Yoga / Open Source Bridge / Ignite Portland)
Location: D139/140 Level: Novice
Average rating: **...
(2.80, 5 ratings)

Experienced event organizers Christie, Audrey and Sherri are back at OSCON this year to teach you how to create thriving tech events in your own communities. Beginners on up are welcome!

If you’ve ever thought about hosting a code sprint, hackathon, (un)conference or workshop, this tutorial is for you. We’ll explain what you need to know to execute a successful event, including:

  • assembling and organizing your planning team
  • identifying and securing a venue for your event
  • how to get money and pay for things
  • volunteer recruitment and management
  • determining your event format and creating your event’s schedule
  • advertising your event
  • tickets and registration
  • insurance, liability and what to do when things go wrong
  • deciding on must-haves and nice-to-haves (e.g., food, wifi, etc)
  • dealing with venue logistics (space, sound, power, etc.)
  • codes of conduct, after parties, considerations for serving alcohol
  • how to keep the momentum once your first event is over

Attendees will also receive copies of our event planning handbook, 2nd edition, and links to examples of how we run specific events like Open Source Bridge and Ignite Portland.

QUESTIONS for the speaker?: Use the “Leave a Comment or Question” section at the bottom to address them.

Photo of Christie Koehler

Christie Koehler


I am an experienced software engineer, technical project manager, community organizer and speaker (LinkedIn). My day job is with Mozilla (makers of Firefox) as a technical project manager on the Developer Evangelist team, currently focused on building the Firefox OS Developer Phone program.

I am co-chair of the annual Open Source Bridge conference, am a co-founder and President of the Stumptown Syndicate, a technology education non-profit, and run both Code N Splode and Women Who Hack, user groups for women in technology.

In 2012, I was recognized with an O’Reilly Open Source Award.

I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, Sherri, her mother, and four cats and two dogs. My non-tech activities include Hatha Yoga, cycling, hiking, folding origami and cooking yummy vegan food.

Photo of Audrey Eschright

Audrey Eschright

Recompiler Media

Programmer at Elevated Code working with Ruby, Rails, and occasionally iPhone development.
Writer of essays, recipes, horror comics, and knitting patterns.
Photographer working with digital and film cameras, including Polaroid, Holga, and pinholes.
Community organizer of unconferences like WhereCampPDX, and co-founder of Open Source Bridge.
Core team member of the infamous Calagator.
Agitator for a variety of grassroots local tech.

Photo of Sherri Koehler

Sherri Koehler

Samatha Yoga / Open Source Bridge / Ignite Portland

Sherri Montgomery is an IT Business Systems Analyst for Mentor Graphics. As a member of the Business Intelligence team she cultivates order, grows projects, engages users, facilitates teams, coordinates testing, and strives to make huge data sets meaningful. Sherri also produces town hall events for the Mentor BI community and speaks about complex BI migrations strategies and performance tuning.

In her spare time Sherri manages conference logistics for Open Source Bridge and is co-chair for Ignite Portland. She also meditates, makes awesome vegan food, creates art for trade, teaches Hatha Yoga and hikes. Sherri can often be found teaching yoga to geeks at conferences she participates in.


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