After much reflection we have decided to officially retire Ela Conf and the community and are regretful and sorry for any confusion that has come up this past year over its standing.
Ela began in 2015 around the idea that marginalized individuals needed a safe conference environment to empower and learn from one another. From this space we envisioned tech leaders being given a platform to share their stories and connect with peers and are so happy to look back and know that it was a complete success.
The years we managed Ela were incredible. It was amazing to have created a space of belonging and support for so many, including ourselves. We were able to watch individuals grow from first-time conference attendees to first-time conference speakers. We watched as community members encouraged one another to speak up at work and negotiate raises. Members felt comfortable asking each other for advice and successes were celebrated by all.
Running an event and community that grew beyond our expectations has been thrilling but also very challenging, demanding of time and attention that we could no longer spare. We became increasingly aware of the irony around managing a community with self-care as a core focus, but not being able to practice these same principles as organizers.
We have each also experienced many positive and negative life changes this past year. For us, retiring Ela is allowing us to focus on other priorities and is an occasion to be celebrated rather than looked upon with regret. We get to go back to school, we get to run new businesses, we get to raise new babies, we get to spend more time with sick loved ones, and take care of our own mental health needs.
We are so proud of the work we were able to do over the last three years and of the lasting relationships that were made. The five of us are endlessly grateful to every single community member for your support and involvement in making Ela what it came to be. Thank you for being vulnerable with us, for believing, for listening, and for sharing. You are all such an inspiration and we truly appreciate you and are honored to call you friends.
We were lucky to have some of the best sponsor relationships out there. Not a single year of Ela Conf would have been possible without their financial support and we are endlessly grateful; they served as a beacon of hope in a space that too often seems disingenuous and without empathy.
With their support we were able to keep ticket costs low, provide grants to each and every person that applied, secure centrally located venues, provide childcare stipends, and pass along speaker travel stipends. This all directly led to the wonderfully diverse and accessible community that Ela came to be nationally known for — so thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. You are doing great, essential work.
Over the next few weeks we will be closing or archiving our accounts and social media profiles.
Effective immediately we are no longer accepting emails and can not be contacted through this medium.
Slack will remain open until November 30th, at which point it will be deleted. We are no longer accepting new members at this time. Please be sure to finalize any conversations currently taking place and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Photos and videos from all three conferences will remain online as an archive.
These accounts will no longer be used but will remain open to serve as an archive.
Please take care of yourselves and each other. We look forward to following along with your careers and staying in touch outside of Ela.
With our deepest gratitude,