Success Story: Aline Paponaud

Berlin Buzzwords Success Stories is our brand new blog series where we ask people in the bbuzz network to share their own story.

Part of ensuring a wide range of opinions and ideas can be shared at Berlin Buzzwords is ensuring that people from underrepresented groups within the Berlin Buzzwords community can attend and engage with the discussions.

Historically Berlin Buzzwords, like the tech scene at large, has been a pretty white and male dominated space. One way we want to change this is to highlight some of the voices of people in our network from underrepresented groups. We want to share their stories and learn what drove them in their careers.

Today, we hear from Aline Paponaud who was a speaker and an MC at Berlin Buzzwords. We are happy to publish her story here today! Welcome, Aline!

When you ask me who encouraged me in my career, the simple answer is white men, actually. I have been lucky to cross the path of great superiors, collaborators, dev community people... in all my work experiences. I would tell I could meet various behaviors, not always appropriate but still with the best intentions.
I was very inspired, very early in my work life, by tech or agile community leaders who were passionate and ready to spend a lot of personal time with others to share their discoveries and explore them together.
Negative experiences encouraged me too! When I was crossing the path of someone a little sexist or too paternalist or simply not having the same behavior with me as with my other colleagues, this encouraged me to teach them, prove that their assumptions or original "ancestral" ideas were absolutely wrong.

About speaking for the first time:
I joined Agile Grenoble community just after graduating, I think I was 22 or 23 years old. There, they told me that the "story of a junior who discovers agility" would be a fresh topic, very interesting for a lot of people. We did it with a friend of mine, keeping that freshness and youth in mind. We put a lot of jokes in the slides and were ready for the show! When we presented the room was big and packed, with a lot of tech influencers. I think what we said was absolutely immature, funny in a way, but also senseful to understand the way the young generation saw things... Maybe simpler and more straightforward than some Agile coaches!
More than 10 years later, I see that being a woman is now a thing. I am often asked to talk about my "womanness" in tech. When my talks are accepted or when I'm invited I know that it's probably 50% due to a diversity quota. It bothers me, but it's probably necessary to do so, so that the next generation won't have to. I really hope that. Once, after my talk at a conference a guy came to me to give me feedback (which I always encourage). He said "What you said, I also know about it - I could totally have it done myself" and "How is it that they accepted someone like you?". Well, to begin, be nice and you may have your chance someday :)
About Berlin Buzzwords:
At Adelean we always had a wonderful experience at Buzzwords. Always at the edge, highly technical and specific. Meeting a lot of wonderful people IRL, or lately virtually. Keep up the great work!

What about you? Do you want to share your story here too? Feel inspired by the stories you read? Don’t hesitate to contact us at