Meetup Hero competition again this year and I nominated Karo Stoltzenburg with this somewhat embarrassing gush:
Cambridge has had a really active tester community in the last few years: an evening meetup, a Software Testing Clinic, the Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing and a morning Lean Coffee. Karo runs the first two, has been ever-present at CEWT and a regular at Lean Coffee. And, in case that wasn't enough, in our team at work she's initiated a book club, a series of "What I don't know about X" sharing sessions, and brought in guests to speak at Team Eating, our brown bag lunches. Pretty much, if there's something happening with testers in Cambridge you can expect to find Karo there.
At the evening meetup she's given local testers the chance to be inspired by great speakers such as Anne-Marie Charrett, Adam Knight, and Neil Studd; to practice speaking in front of a friendly audience; to share testing stories and tips at show and tell nights; to learn Riskstorming with the creator of TestSphere, Beren Van Daele; to get stuck into (and stuck by) puzzles and games; to learn about mental health; or just have a quiet chat with some fellow explorers of the testing space down the pub. When someone new turns up, Karo will be the first to welcome them and bring them into the group.
In the Clinic her expertise and personality enhance the syllabus and the room. She is encouraging and good-humoured, always willing to offer her experience, but also extremely welcoming of contributions from others, and unstintingly enthusiastic, even on the night when she turned up and found that she was unexpectedly running things without her co-host! I have seen first-hand how thoroughly she prepares and the care she takes with the organisation to make sure that everyone's needs are considered and catered for and I'm staggered by the effort she puts in.
When she isn't running things, she's a great participant and her contributions at CEWT have been reliably thoughtful and considered. At CEWT #6 recently, she gave an inspirational talk about diversity in test teams and the risks of testers letting ourselves sit in a box defined by others. Given that, it's perhaps unfair of me to put her in a box, but I think there's one that fits her: Meetup Hero.
P.S. All of the nominees are great and I'll still be your mate if you vote for one of them, but really I'd prefer it if you'd just nip over and vote for Karo. Cheers.
P.P.S Full disclaimer: Karo is on my team and previously nominated me for this award (which was also embarrassing) but neither of those are the reasons I've nominated her.