A year ago, Damian had never participated in a LAWST style conference. Last night was the second time he facilitated one of our workshop events in Wellington. I believe this happened because he was asked; to attend, to present, to facilitate.
I am of the opinion that there are a number of people in software testing who are waiting for an opportunity. I hear people lamenting how difficult it is to create a community and this always makes me wonder, who have you asked?
It took weeks for our first event to fill. We asked everyone we knew. Then we asked them to ask people. Then we asked on mailing lists and twitter. I remember how excited we were to finally find 20 people who wanted to talk about testing.
After our first workshop the group started to grow. Those who attended recommended the event to others. A recommendation is not dissimilar to an invitation. In saying "you should come along to one of these" you're letting someone know that you believe they have the skills and potential to participate in, and enjoy, a challenging workshop environment.
We now have over 100 members and our workshop events can fill within hours.
We're still asking, but now the questions have changed. Do you want to start a WeTest in Auckland? Do you want to lead a community of new testers? Do you want to console a community of battered warriors? Would you be willing to sponsor a new testing conference?
You can create a community. Ask someone to help you. Ask people to join you. Ask people to share their ideas.