Organizing

10 Simple Steps for Organizing an N² Women Event

The organization of an N2 Women Meeting at a networking conference is relatively easy. Benefits gained from organizing a meeting include (1) the opportunity to connect with the organizers of the conference who are, typically, leaders in the research field, and (2) the opportunity to network with both peers and more senior role models (i.e., other female networking researchers) who may not exist at one’s own institution. The following list details the tasks needed to organize an N2 Women meeting:

  1. Determine the conference where you would like to hold the meeting. Then, before proceeding, email n2women-info@acm.org (not the main N2 Women list) to verify that no one else is currently planning an event at this conference. (N2 Women Fellows can skip this step.)
  2. Email the conference organizers (i.e., General Chair and Local Arrangements Chair, if one exists) to propose an N2 Women meeting and verify that they would be happy to have this type of meeting at their conference. Typically conference organizers are very supportive of having an N2 Women meeting included in the program.
  3. Determine the best day/time for the meeting during the conference (e.g., do NOT have the meeting during a paid-for conference lunch with a keynote speaker). In general, it is best to avoid overlaps with all conference activities so people do not need to chose between a conference event and the N2 Women event. Also, consider holding the meeting on the first or second day of the conference to provide networking opportunities among the attendees throughout the rest of the conference.
  4. Work with the conference local organizers to choose the location for the meeting.
  5. If the meeting will be held over breakfast or lunch, there are several options for financing the event: (1) the conference organizers may be willing to fund the event out of their budget, (2) conference patrons (i.e., company sponsors) may be interested in sponsoring the event as part of their contribution to the conference, (3) attendees can be asked to pay a fixed amount to attend. Note that (3) works best when the event is held at a restaurant or cafe near the conference where each person can order and pay for whatever they choose to eat. If (1) or (2) are used to finance the event, make sure all publicity acknowledges this financial support, and be sure to publicly thank the sponsor at the meeting. Note that N2 Women may also have funds to support the meeting, so if options (1) and (2) are not viable options, contact n2women-info@acm.org to see if we can provide financial support.
  6. Determine whether to have an informal meeting (e.g., that focuses on networking and mentoring), or something more formal (e.g., with a speaker or panel). Topic suggestions are: ‘how to network effectively’, ‘how to obtain research funding’, ‘how to build a strong research group’ or perhaps just have a senior researcher discuss her life and how she got to be where she is today. If the meeting will be more formal, determine whether to invite someone to speak and lead the discussion. Consider authors in the advanced program, sponsors of the conference, and local companies for ideas on who to invite to speak/lead the discussion. Make sure that the invited speaker(s) are either registered as conference attendee(s) or have permission from the conference organizers to attend the meeting prior to the event. Conference registration/permission is also required for anyone attending the meeting.
  7. Once the details (date, location, speaker, cost, sponsors, etc.) are confirmed, advertise the meeting on the main N2 Women mailing list (by emailing n2women@acm.org), on the N2 Women web site (by emailing n2women-web@acm.org), and on the N2 Women social media sites (by emailing n2women-social@acm.org). Ask the conference organizers to advertise the meeting via email to all pre-registered conference attendees. Ask the general chair of the conference to announce the meeting during the opening remarks.
    **** Please include the following in all event announcements: N2 Women is supported by ACM SIGMOBILE, ACM SIGCOMMIEEE Communications Society, IEEE Computer Society (CS) Technical Committee on Computer Communications (TCCC)NSF Division of Computer and Network Systems, CRA-WMicrosoft Research, HP Labs, and Google Research. Also, please be sure to include information about any financial supporters for the event, e.g., Funding for this meeting has been generously provided by Microsoft Research.
    **** NOTE: when you email n2women@acm.org, you will receive an automatic bounce back from ACM LISTSERV Server (15.0) , asking you to click on a link to actually send the email. Your email has not been sent until you click this link!!! If you do not receive the automatic bounce, check your spam filter and make sure the email address above is not blocked for some reason. Once your email has been successfully sent, you will receive a confirmation email from ACM LISTSERV Server.
  8. Place a sign-up sheet and fliers for the meeting at the registration desk. The sign-up sheet will help you get an idea on the number of people planning to attend the meeting. The flier will help the people that sign-up to remember the event (date, time, location). Organizers in the past have created gorgeous flyers for N2 Women events. A nice looking flyer will help advertise your event and, therefore, increase the attendance at the event. See example copies of flyers for previous events here. Feel free to email organizers of an event for the source file of their flyer.
  9. As you meet women at the conference (esp. students), encourage them to attend the N2 Women meeting.
  10. **** IMPORTANT **** At the event, (1) pass around a sign-up sheet requesting the following information for those who would like to join the N^2 Women list: name, email address, position, institution, url, (2) thank the conference organizers and the N^2 Women sponsors (listed in point 7) who helped make the meeting possible, and  (3) take a group picture of the attendees. After the event, (1) email n2women-membership@acm.org (not the main N^2 Women list) the list of people to be added to N^2 Women, (2) email the picture to n2women-web@acm.org for placement on the N^2 Women web site, (3) email n2women-linkedin@acm.org a summary of the event so that our social media chairs can post the event write-up on our social media sites for those who could not attend, and  (4) as a nice gesture, send a thank you email to the conference organizers (and possibly others) who helped make the meeting happen.