Minneapolis, MN April 9, 2016
It shouldn’t come with the job: Addressing the culture of alcohol use and abuse in design and tech

Digital design and tech fields promote a culture of alcohol use. From the company keg, to conference open bars, and recruiter happy hours, many of our workplace perks and events use alcohol to appeal to staff or attendees. I will argue this is dangerous and misguided; a focus on alcohol excludes those who wish to stay sober, while potentially creating a more hostile environment for women, minorities, and our LGBTQ peers. We need to shift the focus of our culture to support those choosing to abstain from alcohol consumption.

I will provide attendees with solutions for shifting the focus away form alcohol at work. The session will finish with a facilitated conversation between attendees.

I have a lot of experience with this topic, as I’m approaching 18 months out of an abusive relationship with alcohol. As a sober member of our community, I have experienced the greatest success of my professional career: publishing over a dozen articles, speaking at conferences, and nearing the completion of a book on the application of psychological principles to digital design. There are no prerequisites for benefiting from this session; all levels of attendees from beginner to advanced will find value in the content and conversation. Project managers, event planners, principals, and anyone managing staff will gain awareness of the issues related to a culture of alcohol, as well as techniques that can be used to address and shift the culture.