TL;DR: Apply here or email us at nyc at tryswift.co to sponsor!
Organizing conferences is super stressful and risky. Not many people might realize it, but it requires putting all your personal money upfront and hoping that you’ll break even. Especially in a city like New York, it is A LOT of money to gamble!
So why do I keep doing it? I ask myself that question every time it gets closer to a conference and the stress starts adding up. But then I remember all the connections made, all the jobs received, all the open source contributions made, all the amazing talks, and actual big life changes for those who have attended and spoken at try! Swift in the past.
Attending conferences makes a HUGE difference for many. Not for everyone and maybe not right away, but in the longer term, the connections and inspiration gained from the experience add up to amazing results that benefit the community as a whole.
I would love to make this experience available for everyone, so there is no baseline for attendees. But unfortunately, as I mentioned, organizing such an event costs a lot upfront and the cost can only be recovered with expensive tickets and sponsors.
That means that most try! Swift NYC attendees are those who are fully supported by their companies and their managers. Their companies realize that developers need training, inspiration, creativity, community, and connections to do their best work. If you work in such a company or manager, keep working there!
Unfortunately, that means that many in our community are unsupported. This is especially true for our community members from traditionally underrepresented groups. I see this every day in organizing conferences - companies that spend MILLIONS in PR around diversity refuse to pay for an employee from a traditionally underrepresented group to travel to speak at a conference.
At try! Swift, I’m a big believer in paying for the speaker’s travel in this case, but other conferences cannot afford to do so, leaving people from these groups without a voice. Leaving us, as a community, without their unique point of view, experience, and knowledge. And if companies won’t even pay for their own employee to speak, imagine this person requesting to just attend a conference.
Those who are unsupported by their own management have the option to pay the conference fee themselves. But given the pay gap and other specific issues that those from traditionally underrepresented groups face, it is unlikely that they can afford to do that.
This is why we are happy to bring back the try! Swift NYC Diversity Scholarships this year. We want to hear and learn and meet and connect and share magical opportunities with people in our community including (but not limited to) those identifying as a woman, person of color, LGBTQIA+, or person with disabilities who is unable to attend without some financial assistance.
Thanks to our Sponsors
If you or your company is able to sponsor additional scholarships, please contact us at nyc at tryswift.co. There will be a lot more applicants than available scholarships and we would really appreciate your help. try! Swift is truly a community conference, and we truly need the help of the community to make it happen.
How to Apply
To apply for a scholarship, just fill out our online scholarship application by Friday, July 21st. All applicants will be notified of their application’s status by Friday, July 28th.
Please note that your information will be treated with the utmost privacy. We will not publicly announce who the diversity scholarships go to (although you’re welcome to say so yourself).
Calls to Action
We could really use your help. Here is what you can do:
Spread the Word
Please spread the word! Ask your friends whose manager won’t support them and who cannot afford a ticket to apply here: try! Swift NYC Diversity Scholarship Application.
Send your Engineers to try! Swift
In a lot of companies, employees from underrepresented groups are actively asked to go to diversity events and to take on that extra shift to promote diversity, but they are almost never actively asked to attend technical conference that will more than likely advance their careers. If this is the case in your company, consider making a difference.
Sponsor More Diversity Tickets
We are super grateful to Glowforge, Meetup, and Raizlabs for supporting the first batch of diversity tickets for try! Swift NYC. But we know for experience that a lot more people will apply for Diversity Scholarship Tickets than there are tickets. I would personally love to give these away, but as I mentioned, conference finances are really not that great and we cannot afford to do this.
If you’re in a position of power at your company, consider sponsoring a Diversity ticket to try! Swift or support try! Swift in general. You can email us at nyc at tryswift.co for a lot more information.
Natasha & the try! Swift NYC Team