May 2024:

First Time at AONW

By Julie Bright

I've been going a million miles a minute for a while now, and haven't had time to post much about my experience at Agile Open Northwest 2024. I keep thinking about it, though. Things like this stick with you for a long, long time.

I met one of this year's organizers, Paige Watson at Agile2023 last summer. We became fast friends - and when he told me he was organizing an Open Space style conference I volunteered to help. I ran registration for the conference, and later was invited to facilitate the final day (what an honor! wow!).  Knowing some of the regular participants, and knowing the power of Open Space, I knew it was going to be a great conference.

But I didn't know I'd develop such an addiction I'd find myself returning from the US East Coast to the Pacific NorthWest every single year going forward, and I can't see any other future. I LOVED THIS CONFERENCE.

It was very tech-forward and some of the greatest thought leaders in this space were in attendance. The food was great and the conference space excellent for the need - but the people....OMG the people. SUCH powerful conversations, SUCH insight, SO MUCH support (and how hard I laughed, how many times...)

This is the kind of thing that keeps our cups full when our work is hard. Agilists have to gently, constantly, and often without any direct authority, affect change in entire systems. It's exhausting and often thankless work. But when we come together to share our learnings and support one another through our challenges, the burden shifts into joy. We remember why we're here, why our work MATTERS. And the connections we forge with one another stick, and grow, and hold us up in turbulent waters.

I'll be returning next spring, and I will gladly serve again, and come together in community with deep thinkers who raise me up and make me Better.