This is Part 2 of a 2-Part post on Speak Easy at CAST. Part 1 is here.

As mentioned in the first article in this series, CAST 2016 will have multiple Speak Easy speakers joining us this year.

Julie Lebo is fresh on the speaking scene and looking forward to attending CAST. She had this to say:

How did you find out about Speak Easy, and why did you sign up to be paired with a mentor?

I found out about Speak Easy through the CAST website. I had started applying to speak at conferences and saw that CAST was offering spots to new speakers through Speak Easy and thought it would be a great opportunity.

Why did you decide to submit a proposal to CAST?

I have had a topic in mind for a while. When I saw the theme for this year – “Testing: Software Development Catalyst”, I knew my topic would fit right in. I have always believed that software is an essential and critical component of the entire software development lifecycle and I became very excited for the talks and discussions that could be had at CAST this year.

I saw this is your first time speaking at CAST. Have you attended the conference before?

It’s true this is my first time speaking, something I am very excited to do. It is also my first time attending CAST. I was a little nervous about presenting at a conference I had never attended but I know that it’s a great group of people and I think it will be a great first experience.

What excites you the most about CAST this year?

I have always wanted to attend CAST and when I saw the theme this year I knew that I would thoroughly enjoy it. I am particularly excited to participate in interesting discussions and talks about how software testing is an essential part of the software development lifecycle and how we can communicate this importance to other groups in the software industry.

Any suggestions for other aspiring speakers? Any lessons learned you’d like to share?

Although I haven’t presented my topic yet, one piece of advice I have for other aspiring speakers is to not be afraid. I was really nervous that my topic wouldn’t be good or that it wasn’t developed enough for a conference submission, but I decided to go for it anyways. One thing I learned was that I do have something valuable to say and that it may be of interest to others. Another thing that I have found useful as I prepare my talk for CAST is that I need to focus on my experiences. I was very worried that people would disagree or argue with me and so I let that fear hold me back. Once I realized that if I focus on my experience and what others may learn from it, the whole experience became a lot less intimidating.

We look forward to these presentations and hope you will join us at CAST2016. – Claire