Speaker Rider

First of all, thank you so much for your interest in having me speak at your event! Below, I’ve outlined my requirements for considering speaking opportunities. Please read through these before reaching out.

Before I’ll agree to speaking at a conference, meetup, or event, I research to make sure that it aligns with my goals of inclusion and diversity in the tech community.

I love speaking at events, and am so grateful to organizers who ask me to participate! I feel so privileged to be considered, and want to use that privilege to help the tech community be as inclusive as possible, where everyone can feel represented.

If I say no to your event (even if you do all of the below), please don’t take it personally! Because I speak often, it’s likely because I have a conflict, or I need to back off because I speak too much.

This page is a fork from Cassidy Williams’s Speaker Rider. Special thank you to Cassidy for setting the bar on what speakers should expect in a speaking opportunity. To follow more of her content, check out her newsletter

Hosting accommodations

Speaker honorarium

  • I ask for a speaker fee because I value my time (and hope you do too), I often have to take time off of work or projects to travel and attend, and because I want to normalize people getting paid for their work (especially underrepresented groups).
  • For non-profit events and community driven events, I may choose to waive this based on ticket pricing, scholarship programs, etc.
  • I’m not putting a number here because it varies depending on the event. Please don’t make it awkward and be like “uh, we don’t normally pay speakers, but you get exposure,” because I can’t pay my bills with exposure. I understand that some events don’t have budget to pay speakers, and I’ll address this on a case-by-case basis (but also, you should have budget to pay your speakers).


  • I ask that travel to and from the event is provided (assuming it is not local, I’m currently based in Memphis).
  • I am a dedicated member of Delta for flights and Hilton for hotels, so I try to use them flights + hotels. I know this is not always possible, but this is my preference. If organizers of an event are booking on my behalf, I ask that you use my rewards numbers for those if possible!
  • I do ask too that if I’m booking my own travel/lodging, that I be reimbursed quickly. I’ve had poor experiences with this in the past, and this also provides a more inclusive model for those who can’t front the cost of travel.


  • I ask that lodging is provided for the full length of the event, unless the event is local!
  • For events outside of the US (or just far away from Memphis), I ask for at least one full day of lodging before the event since I’ll likely be flying in a day or two before.
  • Same blurb as above, if I’m booking my own lodging!


  • I ask for a ticket to the full conference as a speaker. I love participating in conferences, engaging with other attendees, and attending talks! I would also love to have a ticket or two to give away to the community!


Code of Conduct

  • Long story short, you gotta have one of these. And please don’t make it be something like “don’t be a jerk,” and that’s it!
  • Here’s a couple great CoC examples: JSConfEu and Rust Community

No white-majority, all-men lineups

  • I know that, as a white male, I don’t directly represent diversity, but I do want ensure events that I am a part of do.
  • Also, underrepresented minorities shouldn’t be exclusively invited to speak about their experiences as a minority in tech.

Recordings/Intellectual Property

  • I’m cool with being recorded (in fact, I prefer it), just let me know ahead of time.
  • I will provide a generated PDF of my slides


  • Some level of childcare is super appreciated (whether it is that it’s provided by the event, or an extra ticket/accommodations for a partner or caretaker). I’m a recent father and still figuring out the balance of parenthood and traveling + speaking.
  • If that’s not possible, a quiet room of some kind for sleeping kiddos would be great, and/or kid-friendly spaces!

Virtual events

  • I personally prefer live talks rather than pre-recording videos. Pre-recording involves a lot of editing time because of the nature of the medium. If you highly prefer pre-recording, please consider the time commitment with speaker honorariums, or have an editor on your team who can do those edits.
  • During talks, please include some sort of moderation of comments (preferably before they go live for the audience to see). Internet trolls unfortunately exist, and have ruined talk playbacks in the past.

Bonus points I would love to see

  • Live captioning is incredibly beneficial to those who are hard of hearing, struggle with focus, or prefer to process written information.
  • Gender pronoun identification provided by some method for attendees to self-identify if they so choose is awesome.
  • A scholarship program for those who can’t otherwise afford to attend is huge! Also, to note, be careful about your wording of the scholarship program. I’ve seen some rough ones where the conferences strongly imply that “diverse candidates need charity,” which is not a good stereotype to push out there.
  • The ability to see speaker notes and a clock/timer is a high priority for me. As speakers, we rehearse with these things. To be asked to speak witout them is fairly difficult.
  • The ability to use my own computer/setup is preferred. I’ve been to some events where they require me to use their machines, which works if I’m just using slides, but I often live-code in my talks and unfamiliar keyboard layouts can lead to a less fluid presentation. This is also important for those who need to use assistive technologies on a given machine!

Final thoughts

Thank you so much for reading through all of this! I hope none of it is particularly surprising, and that it’s reasonable for you. I want to speak at events that are inclusive, diverse, and accessible to everyone, and hope to contribute to the community surrounding them. If you disagree with parts of this, or want to discuss terms more, I am all ears and would love to speak further.