Nextcloud conference 2019: Laura Gaetano

Photo by Zoë Noble

Meet Laura

Laura is a designer and developer and the former organizer of Rails Girls Summer of Code — a 3-
month scholarship program to support women in the Open Source community. With a
background in the visual arts and a non-traditional career path, she landed in tech as a web
developer somewhat by accident. Laura is passionate about Taekwondo, making things, open
source software, feminism, music and space (as in rockets).

Presentation

Laura will be at  Nextcloud conference 2019!

Panel: Making Open Source more diverse

September 15 – Sunday – 12:00

Check out the schedule for both days of the conference!

Have you got your ticket? What are you waiting for? Register now! Or shoot us an email to events@nextcloud.com for a free contributor ticket! Remember that no contribution is too small to ask.

How it all started

Laura attended a Rails Girls event in Vienna in 2013. Rails Girls is a distributed initiative around the world to support women in making their first steps in programming learning the Ruby programming language. Even though she had built websites before (using html&css) and wanted to become a “web designer” when she was in high school, this was her first experience using Ruby and, most importantly, finding a local community of people who were as excited about building things as she were. Laura was interested in giving back, so she became a coach at other Rails Girls events around Europe (Brussels, The Hague, Milan to name a few) and volunteered for Rails Girls Summer of Code next to her programming job.

“One thing led to another and a couple of years later I found myself leading the RGSoC program. Along with this position came the responsibility to educate myself on diversity and inclusion and forced me to be more aware of issues beyond gender diversity. It was a great (and uncomfortable) experience for me because I got to lead a team of awesome volunteers and was learning something new at the same time.”

Fighting for a better internet

Because of Laura’s experience and background, fighting for a better internet to her primarily means to think about inclusion: How do we build communities that are healthy and supportive, where people from marginalized groups feel accepted? How do we educate developers, managers, and people in leadership positions to think about accessibility first rather than making it a “nice to have”? How do we create a sustainable system to support the open source projects we are all dependent on in our day-to-day work?


“These are super difficult questions because in some cases it means completely rethinking the
systems and communities we are a part of and evaluating whether they really work; it also means
that we need to make space for people to speak and amplify the voices of marginalized folks.”

Current projects


“I’m currently taking a bit of a break to redirect my career away from management into design. I
hope to spend the next few months finishing the #DailyUI challenge — a 100-day design challenge which I started back in October and paused in mid-February”

Laura will be posting the #DailyUI work on this twitter thread.

There’s a few things Laura wants to start doing more of: writing, working on open source, collaborating with people; but she is not really sure what’s coming next, so our best bet is to follow her on Medium and twitter to stay up-to-date.

Check Laura Gaetano’s talk at the Nextcloud Conference and register now!

Contributors, app developers and all people who want to attend the conference but can’t afford to buy a ticket can shoot us an email to events@nextcloud.com and get a ticket free of charge.

See you in Berlin!

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