November 8th & 9th, 2024
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SeaGL speaker Q&A: Carol Smith

Carol Smith gives her talk titled, “ You Can’t Launch a Spaceship if All You Hire Are Astronauts: Other Jobs in Technology” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m Carol, a Program Manager in the Open Source Programs Office at Microsoft. I just joined Microsoft a few months ago, but I’ve been involved with free software for many years. Before Microsoft at worked at GitHub for a year in education outreach. Before GitHub I worked at Google for over 10 years, and the last 6 of those years I managed Google Summer of Code, which is how I got involved in free software to begin with. Having been a PM for as long as I have, I’m personally and professionally passionate about identifying places where people who aren’t interested or able to be developers can still get involved in free software communities and projects.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: As I mentioned above, I’m quite passionate about identifying opportunities for folks to get involved in free software. I think our communities tend to emphasize developers and code and don’t talk quite as much about other skills sets and other jobs. I’ll be discussing many of the other avenues for getting involved in these projects as well as how that can translate into your work life and your career.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: It’s not my first time, and I’m quite happy to say that! I spoke at SeaGL last year and really, really enjoyed the atmosphere, the talks, and the community of attendees. I think SeaGL is an excellent grassroots conference, and I’m so happy to be returning this year to speak again. I’m looking forward to more great conversations and sharing of ideas.

Q: You recently moved to Washington, how has your experience with the FOSS community in the Pacific Northwest been?

A: Having lived in California my whole life, it’s quite a new group of people and events to get involved with. So far, I have been really impressed with the community out here.