Hey again lovely readers! This blog is a very special one indeed, you get to hear about our great day out at SatRdays in Cardiff recently not once, not twice, but five times, from each of our team members perspectives! I think it’s fair to say that it was a very different experience for each of us - from seasoned conference attendees like Steph and Maëlle, Amy who had never presented before, sponsorship newbie Oz and then Ellen somewhere inbetween, we all had very different (but great) take aways from the day! Read on for laughs, nerves, proud moments and a quick cuddle too!
Friday afternoon began with a hot and sticky drive, a 2 hour delay on the M6 and a rumbling tummy, but I made it to Cardiff just in time to catch a drink with a few of the Cardiff R user group! I was welcomed warmly by all, but most warmly of all by Steph’s dogs, Obi and Leia, with whom I was spending the night to make an early start on Saturday morning.
We arrived at the venue at Cardiff University so early that even the coffee shop wasn’t open yet - but whilst we were setting up the Locke Data stall, complete with life size chibi (head not to scale!) and freebies - some pastries and coffee arrived to start/save the day. The morning workshops got off to a great start, and I went and sat in on Steph’s Tidy Data Science workshop. I wanted to see Steph present in person for the first time, and I just knew there would be some great nuggets of info in there for me to take away. I felt like I was being let in on a naughty secret when she told us about the
dataexplorer packages! Everybody should have those in their back pocket!
Lunch arrived and all too soon it was time for me to present. After watching Amy present and handle her questions like a practised pro I was up! This was my longest presentation to date, but I was looking forward to it and unusually for me, didn’t get any last minute jitters. I was so chuffed with how well received it was - a few people had seen me present the problem in Manchester a while back, and said how pleased they were that I had found a way around it. The questions I received were tricky but engaging and provided plenty of food for thought for future work - so maybe watch this space and see if I end up going along to SatRdays Amsterdam in September to present anything I come up with between now and then?
Saturday began like any other day for me, other than the nerves of speaking at my first SatRdays Cardiff event! I woke up, got ready (kids included) and bid farewell to my family. Racked with nerves about doing my first talk, I strolled through Cardiff trying to enjoy the lovely weather. I arrived at the event to see some familiar and friendly faces from Team Locke, and some newer faces for people making the journey. The morning was very enjoyable, sitting at our booth while the workshops took place, allowing me some time to mentally prepare to give my afternoon talk.
As lunch time arrived, so did my family! Steph is very keen on making speaking easier and more accessible to women (especially us mothers)! We had a quick bite to eat, and the kids loved playing with life size Steph Chibi! Then it was time! We all strolled over to the rooms where talks were being held, I could feel the nerves building as we got closer. The room was quite intimidating for a first time speaker, looking up and seeing row after row of seats - hoping they wouldn’t be filled! After a few technical issues in getting the laptops and presentation all setup, while listening to chants from my 3 year old calling “Mummy, Mummy!” cheering me on with his dad. Just as I was about to begin my talk, my daughter thought this would be a perfect time to toddle on over for a quick cuddle. After I got the motherly duties out of the way, my talk began.
The room wasn’t overfilled however this didn’t stop me being nervous, I forgot my words a little and had to skip a slide. However once I got into the swing of it, things came a little more naturally (even though nerves were still on high). Overall it was a very nerve racking but enjoyable experience, and I got to talk about one of my favourite tools (Airtable), and received plenty of encouragement from my family and co-workers. A big thank you to Dave for asking questions, to try and prompt more information on the topic, but also for organising this amazing event (not forgetting the bottle of wine for helping with the organisation)!
P.S If you weren’t there on the day, I wrote a blog post on this topic too, which inspired my talk!
The Cardiff satRday was an incredibly proud moment for me on many fronts:
- I’ve handed the reins of the Cardiff R UG over to Dave and Paul and they ran their first conference. They did this with panache and everyone I’ve talked to about it has gushed over the awesome job they did! They had over 75% of speakers coming from under-represented groups, they had a mentoring program for new speakers, and were able to make T&E available for many speakers – in short they aced it!
- This was the first UK satRday event and we’re really starting to gain traction on these events with 8 more already in the pipeline. As I head up the central team on satRdays it’s incredibly gratifying to see folks delivering and participating in satRdays.
- This was the first event Locke Data made a big commitment to sponsor. We invested a huge amount of time and money getting all the things made. Oz, in particular, did a vast amount of preparation and then stayed on the booth when we were all moving about doing talks and catching up with folks. Four of us spoke at the event and everyone did a great job – especially Amy who did her first ever talk! Seeing our core team in the flesh, sharing their knowledge and making the world a better place, really made me feel proud of what we’re growing here.
I’m so thankful that people have chosen to take up some of my banners and do things way better than I ever conceived was possible. Thank you all for making me feel on top of the world this week!
I’m so glad I could attend satRday Cardiff! It was my second satRday this year, since I got to keynote at satRday Cape Town in March. I came all the way from France, well, almost: I actually used the conference as an opportunity to visit family and friends in London with my husband and baby, and only travelled to Cardiff for the day. I was able to assess how welcoming the organisers were: my train tickets from London to Cardiff and back were reimbursed, and a lactation room was set at my disposal. Steph co-founded satRdays (and maintains a list of awesome organiser resources), and one feels her touch in such efforts.
Unsurprisingly, a big highlight of the conference was meeting my remote co-workers! I was able to pose for a photo with Steph…
Or was it her chibi? Hard to tell, honestly. In any case, it was great to spend time with Team Locke Data! I’m also thankful to have met other people I only interact with online in different spheres of the R community (R-Ladies, rOpenSci, #rstats Twitter). Everyone was as nice as online!
As regards talks, I gave one about rOpenSci onboarding system of packages, more info in the slidedeck. Nujcharee Haswell gave an enthusiastic and informative intro to
tidytext just before my talk. Later, I attended the session where both Ellen and Amy were speakers!
Amy was a bit nervous, but even so, her passion for Airtable was obvious! I can only be impressed when thinking that she started learning R a few months ago, and is now able to explain to other R users how to leverage Airtable from R.
Ellen’s talk included both really interesting info about energy consumption and its analysis and real talk about the research process that made me laugh (although it probably wasn’t very funny at the time!).
I live-tweeted all day long and made a storrry out of my tweets on my own blog. I went “home” to London very happy, and can only recommend attending a satRday near you if you can!
Maëlle :o) (why am I the only one with a nose?)
I’ve never run a sponsorship stall before, and needless to say I was very nervous, but the attendees at SatRdays made the experience a breeze and a delight. I got to chat with no end of lovely people, and spread the word about Locke Data, the community work Steph does, and even satRdays itself. A lot of work went into making all the banners, signs, and that cardboard cuttout chibi, but it was worth it to see so many people getting a laugh from them (and Amy’s kids running around with stickers and booklets!)
The event was a hit from where I was standing. Though small in scope, it was perfectly formed, and handled with a level of skill and organisation I’ve seen seasoned conference organisers fail to match. The food looked lovely, and the catering staff were very friendly and helpful. All in all it was a wonderful day, and I know Locke Data will be back again next time.
Oz ( ⋂‿⋂’)
And so there we have it! A day to remember for the whole team, for all the right reasons, The next SatRday is already in the diary in Amsterdam on September 1st. Have we inspired you to get involved? The Call for Speakers is open now!