So, How DID You Get Into Speaking?

Like many testers, I fell into the role of Quality Assurance.  My company didn’t have a QA group or a formal testing process until I stepped into the role. This made me the entirety of the testing group. It also meant that I started alone and without a community of practice. Learning to test by stumbling around in the dark until I bumped into a bug worked for a while, but I longed for a group of people I could talk to as peers.

Finding the TSQA meetup and conference changed all of that for me. Suddenly, a whole room full of people understood what I do for a living. They were doing and learning the same things as me. The more deeply involved with testing and our local community I became, the more value I got out of it. I wanted to give back and share the things I’d learned and absorbed from this beautiful community and help shape our direction.

My first speaking engagement was at a TSQA meetup… then a local agile conference… then a non-local test conference… then the 2018 TSQA conference itself.  I’d never presented in front of my hometown crowd like this. Questions filtered through my brain: would they think I was smart enough? (Yes.) Would they laugh at my cat pictures? (Yes.) Would this be something I’d want to do again? (Yes!!)

I’ve taken the trust that the planning committee of TSQA 2018 put in me and used it to jump start a career in conference speaking, I have spoken as a dozen conferences and have been asked to speak and keynote at almost a dozen in 2020 already. I’m also mentoring several new speakers who will be taking stages across the world. What I’m most proud of is that the TSQA board asked me to help plan TSQA 2020. I get to give back to the community that made me the professional I am today. 

The conference features a lineup of primarily local speakers (including several first-time speakers) with an incredible array of things to talk about. We’ll hear about ethics in computing, how to make sure your automation has the return you want, managing test teams, tools like Cypress/JQ/TestCafe, continuous delivery, handling tech debt, and more.

In so many ways, my speaking career has come full circle back to TSQA. The program we’re going to present in February is top notch and represents the incredible talent and skill in our area and industry.


TSQA 2020 will be held in Durham, NC February 26-27. Grab your tickets now at!