The Apache Software Foundation


Women’s stories from past Travel Assistance Recipients

This is part of our series of stories from past ApacheCon and Apache Big Data attendees whom the Apache Travel Assistance committee helped be at the event. To learn more about TAC, visit the main TAC page. For more stories, see the TAC stories index page.

Keren Ouaknine

What’s your name?

Keren Ouaknine

Which ApacheCon/Apache event did you attend?

ApacheCon in Miami, FL 2017.

What Apache project(s)/Open Source Software project(s) are you involved in?

Apache AsterixDB, Apache Pig

Were you a student/academic at the time of ApacheCon?

Yes, Phd candidate at the Hebrew University.

Where in the world are you from?


What would you say to someone thinking of applying to TAC for the first time?

Apply, Apply!

ApacheCon is a unique opportunity to have great discussions with many open-source-committed people. I was grateful for the privilege to learn about the Apache community and projects. The total number of sessions and topics covered in those three conference days was mind-blowing and I can clearly remember us TAC-ers did not want it to end!

What unexpected things did you learn at ApacheCon?

Quick anecdote: I volunteered to help with the registration desk on the first day of the conference along with a friend. Naturally, I familiarized myself with many of the attenders, their names, workplace/organization. Following which, I no longer felt like a wandering soul, seeking to find a female peer to socialize with (as often happens on conferences of this scale). Instead, I was part of the TAC-ers: a united, incredibly nice, talented and organized group. During the registration process, more TAC-ers joined to help with the load and together we mastered the incoming stream with ease and good spirits!

I cherish the friendship with all the TAC members and organizers and will keep a very fond memory of this conference.

Sharan Foga

What’s your name (as you like to be called / shown for the interview)?

Sharan Foga

What Apache project are you involved in?

Apache OFBiz

Were you a student/academic at the time of ApacheCon?


Where in the world are you from?

I’m a bit of a global traveller. I’m originally from the UK but currently live in the Czech Republic.

What was the most interesting thing you learned at ApacheCon?

At the Barcamp I learned that everyone in a community is empowered to do what they think is the best for their project.

This has helped me to begin actively proposing and launching different initiatives for my project.

What unexpected things did you learn at ApacheCon?

Apachecon is for anyone involved in a community.

I’m not a developer or a technical person, so was initially concerned that I wouldnt fit in or that everyone would be speaking “techspeak”.

Instead I found that Apache is like a huge open family and you don’t have to be a techie to be a part of it.

At the time I applied, I was surprised to find out that I was the only female TAC volunteer - so I would urge women to apply.

How did the Travel Assistance program compare to your expectations?

I expected to arrive at Apachecon and then just be given a list of tasks to do.

Instead, as well as managing all my travel and accommodation planning, the TAC team organised a dinner for all the TAC volunteers, so we could meet and get to know each other informally. This meant that throughout Apachecon we became a little micro community. This was demonstrated several times when one of us was not available to do an allocated task, and someone else would quickly jump in to cover it.

From the moment you arrive at Apachecon, you are never alone!

What did your project get from having you at ApacheCon?

During Apachecon myself and other attendees from my project decided to run an informal brainstorming session. We came up with a lot of suggestions for mailing list discussion proposals. The result being that our community has agreed to progress some of these areas.

I think the dynamics of having a face to face meeting improves interaction on the mailing lists and helps collaboration.