I can't attend this year, as I have to be somewhere in Europe at that time, but the two Cascadia events (2013 and 2014) I've attended have been some of the best conferences I've ever been to, both from the point of view of speaker and listener. Everybody is extremely supportive, respectful and welcoming, the organisers care an awful lot about you, I always come back with new friends and ideas, and learn a ton of stuff.
Their CFP is open until the 15th of March; please submit a talk! Or just attend and enjoy it! Trust me--you will!
I feel CascadiaJS 2013 was the first "proper talk" I gave. It took me a bunch of attempts until I got it sort-of-right! I also had lots of help from more experienced speakers, but specially Angelina Fabbro, who patiently sat down through my initial talk drafts, despite the terrible jetlag they were experiencing, and helped me edit and reshape the talk until it had the right flow. Then, the audience at Cascadia was wonderful, they were super forgiving of all the mistakes I was committing, and just laughed and engaged with me in a way that made it essentially impossible to give a bad talk.
A group of us were going to get lunch at La Taqueria in Vancouver, and Raquel Velez, who I admired, was there. I was fairly new to conferences and Mozilla in general, and I only knew Angelina from that group. I shyly introduced myself to Raquel, and she was approachable and open and made me feel super at ease. And then we sat down at a little park nearby to eat the tacos, and had this beautiful picture taken:
One of my fondest memories of the conference!
Sadly Raquel wasn't at Cascadia 2014 but the rest of us did meet for dinner again last year, and with more new friends we found at the conference (hiii Florida!). It was great to discuss how things had changed, or not, and just generally be merry.
Another great memory of 2014 was CJ Silverio's talk. I generally don't get really moved in the same way that North American audiences get. Maybe I'm this boring grumpy ice-hearted European person, but listening to CJ made me, for the first time ever, want to stand up and clap like there was no tomorrow. I was part of that thing they call "standing ovation". I felt like it wasn't only me-there was more people like me. We were not alone! This is what Cascadia is great at.
Not the first time I link this video, and probably not the last one either:
My offer to you, potential speaker
I know I will miss being there this year, but being the troublemaker that I am, I want to sort of be there somehow. So if you're unsure about proposing a talk, or propose the talk and get accepted and then are panicking because it's actually your first talk and you don't even know where to start, get in touch with me and I'll help you. Go do it! :-)