Andrea Sacchi is a rare example of a developer with a nice background in design – she studied design and development of interactive environments, as well as 3D arts and video game design. Today, she enjoys developing mobile and virtual reality projects, and works with Tahutahu, which she also co-founded and where they develop video games.
Andrea is also a member and community manager of FemDevs, and we interviewed her to learn more about this community and her experience about it.
Hi Andrea! Please tell us about your tech community, its members and objectives.
FemDevs is a Spanish-speaking, women-only non-profit centered in promoting the interest, participation and presence of women in game development culture.
Our main goals are:
- Promote equal opportunities for women, independently of their ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or religion in the culture and professions related to the development of videogames, including this way every aspect of it, be it at an amateur, hobbyist or professional level
- Encourage women’s participation and presence in the cultures and professions object of the association. By organising women-only events and workshops we not just only give them a space to be, but a space to get to know each other and build nurturing nets of people who essentially help each other take space of their own
- Look after women’s individual and collective well being in the tech scene. Building and provide safe spaces to share experiences, concerns, points of view and opportunities is fundamental to create a sense of community and belonging
Being a Tech Community Manager
What is it like being a tech community manager in your country? What is the tech scene in your country?
In Spain we’re lucky that women have some sort of class consciousness, so even though tech culture is kind of cemented in neoliberalism, women know that they need to stick together and get involved in collective efforts in order to achieve some sort of improvement.
What were the biggest problems you’ve had to overcome and how have you done this?
Tech communities usually have to overcome either being target or witness of abuse and/or harassment. That’s always big and there aren’t enough tools out there for us to overcome that easily.
All we can offer is contact with lawyers and psychologists who can help navigate that loss, either by holding accountable those who did the hurting or helping the victim feel less of a victim.
Our role in most cases is to be the net that connects one another, our community work is centered on building bridges to better situations.
Diversity in Tech Communities
Do you encourage Diversity in your tech community, and during your meetups? How important is it to have a code of conduct? Have you ever had to apply it?
FemDevs encourage men and companies to be more diverse. We collaborate with other organisations and institutions for many reasons, one of them, to give women better chances. And that’s why we had to write a Code of Conduct, which is essential in our activities to a point where we can’t take part in any activity that hasn’t accepted its terms.
Why and how to become a Community Manager
Why did you decide to become a community manager, and what is the most valuable thing you got in return? How do you balance your work time and personal life with being a community manager?
It’s not something I decided. I usually have the initiative to start and keep things going which is something not everyone has the will nor time to. I started getting more and more involved and here we are now.
I’ve had many issues balancing work and life with activism. Any activist has. It feels more like juggling to me, since everytime you lose one of the three, everything falls apart. And, well, for me personal is political and vice versa, so there’s not much separation between one another.
What skills and experience does a tech community manager need? What is the secret to building relationships in a tech community, and how do you maintain these relationships?
In my honest opinion, there aren’t a specific set of skills that one needs. If you care, you act as such. That’s it. That’s the secret.
FemDevs: the Success of a Tech Community
What do you consider the best metrics for evaluating the success of a tech community?
It depends on how the community defines “success”. In my case, seeing women helping each other out without our intervention is a success.
I rather humanistic approaches to community work, based on positive empathy and nurturing.
What books, articles, videos, experts and conferences would you suggest to other tech community managers?
Here are three titles:
- “Love Drugs” by Brie Code
- “Aftershock: confronting trauma in a violent world” by Pattrice Jones
- “Empatie” by Laura Boella
Do you think tech communities can have a role in shaping a better tomorrow?
They do have a role!
What advice do you wish you had been given when you started your community?
Solid foundation first, act later (if possible). Check those labor feminists now. Do not trust journalists.