Hopes, Dreams, Goals: Thoughts About & From TestBash USA

"Motivation clears the head faster than a nasal spray" 
- William Zinsser

Sometime back I took a motivational course offered by a lady in Austin. It wasn't a big eye opener, but it did leave me with this interesting little notebook with motivational quotes. I like the quotes because they remind me that if I didn't get much out of the day, other than being with a lovely group of ladies discussing topics, I did get an experience I do remember to some extent with people I liked. 

TestBash is way more than that. 

With what originally started as a writing experiment has slowly, over the last few years, turned into a sincere community for me. The community itself cultivates a diverse group of people, from all over the world, and tries really hard to be a supportive voice for those that are not often supported in the industry. Oh, and it happens to be about testing, testers, and software development. 

If anyone is looking to start any kind of group about a topic of interest, I would point Ministry of Testing out to anyone as a model of inclusion and resource offerings as a good framework to follow. 

I mentioned to a co-worker last night that the next TestBash USA will be in San Francisco. I also mentioned to him that two wonderful women in the tech community, Ash Coleman and Angie Jones, would be the mistresses of ceremony, and they are both African American. The honest look of surprise on his face was wonderful. He's also African American and told me a moment later that he had automatically assumed they were White (Caucasian - which ever term you like to use).

This changed his impression of Ministry of Testing almost immediately in regards to the conference space and the organization Rosie Sherry has built. 

Ministry of Testing is making space, and making a place for anyone, and everyone. They are transcending borders, race, orientation, organizational lines, along with being inspiring, heartfelt, and sincere about their mission to help the testing community achieve goals; whether those goals are learning more testing techniques or raising funds to support a member in community. 

With all this in mind, I want to make a list of things I'd like to accomplish in the years to come. Mostly to set goals for myself and have people remind me about those goals, and remind others that goals are achievable in this community; you only have to ask and be willing to do the work.

Melissa's Goals:

  • Publish twelve of my own articles in 2018.  
    • Make 3 or more of those articles technical topics.
  • Publish twelve blog posts about anything per year (I have three blogs at this point, they should be more active)
  • Continue working as an editor for Ministry of Testing
This might be a given. The future is never a sure thing. I want to make sure I continue working to help new voices find their voice in print as well as encouraging them to speak at conferences. Many of the folks I've worked with over the past year have become speakers as well. I would love to see that trend continue. I'm proud of the work I've done with Ministry of Testing, and I'm very happy to continue being an editor and contributor to publishing efforts.

  • MC a TestBash
 After watching Mark Tomlinson MC four different TestBash'es, and then watch others in the community step up to the job, I have to say, it's become a kind of goal to see if I could manage being an MC or a co-MC of a TestBash event. This might be a few years off or sooner than I think. I'm watching folks who are MC's now. I'm learning. 

  •  Give more talks and workshops
I have a bunch of ideas, one of which a bunch of us came up with at a post TestBash Philly cheese steak meetup (Great story - suddenly wish I had pictures... ). I want to learn about better delivery and approaches to speaking. I want to teach people what I know. I want to share what I've learned. I'll probably have this drive until I leave this planet. Hopefully I'll be able to continue doing presenting regardless of what the future brings.
  • Advocate for mental health awareness
I'm already doing some of this, but I want it to be all encompassing of what I do with other activities. I think it's absolutely important to talk about mental health as much as any other topic which has contention in society. TestBash Philly 99 second talks were raw and open. People spoke from their hearts and minds. It mirrored several other talks from folks that wanted to represent their genuine selves and let people know that they have struggles outside of the community. The community let those speakers know that we are here to support them. I want to be a part of that continuing in our community.
 There might be more later that I think of to add to this list. I might post those in the comments or add it as an addendum. We'll see. 

Dear community - if you see me, and you haven't seen something from me in a while, give me a gentle reminder. Sometimes we all need a nudge to keep going and do something brilliant.


  1. Absolutely loved this post. TestBash Philly was awesome, it was so good to hang out with you and everyone. Look forward to more adventures at the next TestBash! Random discussions over food for the win.

  2. Random discussions for the win definitely! I've already started an outline for the talk, which might be a blog post first, but either way, we'll be talking and I'll be reaching out to folks in the group for more ideas around the topic. I'm looking forward to the next TestBash I'm going to, because there will be another TestBash for me until they stop.


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