Welcome to the Backstage: Building Web of Change 2015 in Public

2015 organizers and facilitators together on an agenda design call.

2015 organizers and facilitators together on an agenda design call.

By 2015 Event Chair, Sabrina Hersi Issa

I’ve always thought there must be hundreds of marvelous stories about how Web of Change has come together year after year. Incredible heart and tremendous work goes into building this gathering and sustaining the community around it. In that process there are lessons about leadership, intentionality, systems and risk taking.

Web of Change is largely volunteer-driven so knowledge sharing, lesson learning and stories of building Web of Change each year were often hard to access. This is changing over time and, as a board member, I’ve been privileged to have a front row seat and to witness this slow shift. As I describe in a previous post

“In the past, Web of Change was organized in a pretty closed-off fashion. When I first came to WOC it was a mystery to me how it was put together. That has shifted over the years and now the process has transformed to one of open co-creation.”

So, this year we’re pulling back the curtain even further! As Event Chair, I’m excited to share that we'll be publishing the lessons, systems, and stories of building Web of Change 2015 here on our blog. We're building in public and will be sharing what we learn along the way.

What's Ahead

In the coming weeks, with help from the WOC community, we'll be publishing a series of blog posts about several key components of producing Web of Change. We'll discuss how we've approached decisions and designed for inclusivity. We'll share the outcomes and what we've learned along the way. We'll post about topics including:

    •    Recruitment and Outreach
    •    Designing the Applicant Scoring Process
    •    Demystifying Conference Scholarships: Affordability & Accessibility
    •    On-Boarding Community: Tone, Communications & Heart
    •    Stewarding Support: Fundraising & Development


A true reflection of its name, Web of Change is in flux. This is a convening and a community that is intentionally tackling important issues and questions that so many organizations that work at the intersection of technology and social change are dealing with: accessibility, inclusivity, diversity, leadership and sustainability.

As Event Chair, I’ve personally learned so much about the importance of intentionality and systems. The lessons haven’t all been easy but that doesn’t make them not worth sharing. By building in public, I hope to take what was once a locked box and turn it into a growth opportunity to model leadership and vulnerability. Ultimately, I believe organizations and movements can be healthier and stronger if we’re willing to learn out loud.

We can all become better together. At least we’re going to try!