What is it like to attend MozFest for the first time? Fast paced, interactive, inspiring, and fun are just a few of the words we hear often. Self-described as a choose-your-own-adventure festival, everyone’s experience is different.
Last year, Natalia Carfi was a first-time MozFest-er, and a speaker at our Opening Circle. Returning for her second year, she is excited to bring her work back to the community. Read on for more about her first Mozilla Festival experience and find out what she’s looking forward to at MozFest Virtual 2022!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and the work you do at Open Data Charter?
Hello! My name is Natalia Carfi and I’ve been the Executive Director of the Open Data Charter since last August, but I have been working in this organization since 2018.
The Open Data Charter is a collaboration between more than 150 governments, advocates and civil society organizations from all around the world. We promote policies and practices that enable governments and CSOs to collect, share, and use well-governed data, to respond effectively and be accountable in the following areas of focus: anti-corruption, climate action, land and pay equity.
2. How did you hear about MozFest and why were you compelled to attend?
Having been in the internet openness community for so long (at least since 2010), I don’t quite remember exactly how I got to know about MozFest, but it was likely via a colleague or one of the many mailing groups that I am part of!
I can share, however, that what compelled me to attend MozFest is the clear advocacy to create an open and safe place for the community to talk and discuss important issues.
There is a huge crowd that gathers and freely talks about the challenges, the tools and the inceptions they’ve had on their journeys of working on digital rights, civic tech, open data and many more related issues. It also has a lot to do with how MozFest has been organized in such a way that it allows room for everyone to learn new things while simultaneously sharing what they've come to share.
3. Describe your MozFest experience (feel free to talk about both your in-person and virtual experience if you’ve attended both!)
I had a great experience attending virtually last year. It is always a challenge to be able to connect to all the workshops, webinars and presentations one would want to attend while being online, but I took the time to make sure to immerse myself in the experience as much as I could - and I’m happy I did! Even the experience of participating at the opening presentation was great, as I was amazed by the other speakers' experiences. I would highly recommend everyone to join this year too, you will find a lot of super friendly and ready-to-collaborate people there.
4. What was your biggest takeaway from MozFest 2021?
I got to hear a lot of “AI and…” panels and sessions and it was probably the theme that I learned about the most. We have been thinking about how, from the Open Data Charter perspective, we can add value to the transparent AI conversations, and the sessions that I was able to attend shed light on some of the projects that we can connect with to share ideas with.
5. What are you excited about for this MozFest?
The sessions, the people and the new projects I’ll get to hear about! Looking forward to also hearing a couple of general project updates.
6. What advice would you give to someone attending MozFest for the first time?
Take a deep breath, have a thorough look at the agenda and plan your own schedule. Read through the speaker’s bio if they are presenting a topic you are interested in so you´ll have an idea of where they are coming from. Don´t be afraid to ask for help from the MozFest organizers and volunteers, and don´t be afraid to ask in the session either! Introduce yourself and your projects in the chat rooms so that everyone knows you are there and what you are working on. You never know what new connections might be born from there.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Invite everyone you know who hasn't participated yet to join the next MozFest! Even if you can only make it to a few sessions, you will get to know new people and projects that will make you think and rethink your own projects for sure!