Hi there! I’m Jasmin Merchant, a Front-End Developer at Evolving Web. A few years ago I knew very little about the open web. That all changed when I started working here and was plunged into ongoing learning opportunities.

The EvolveDrupal Ottawa summit in 2023 was a big part of my learning curve. Hosted by Evolving Web, the event was a chance to gain new knowledge about development, accessibility, UX, digital strategy, and many other relevant topics.

What’s more, it was a great introduction to networking. This was my first tech summit and I had only moved to Canada one week before, so I was nervous to say the least. But EvolveDrupal was a valuable experience that really built my confidence.

I’ve shared my takeaways in this article to help others who are planning to attend EvolveDrupal (or any tech event). Use these 9 tips to attend with confidence and make the most of it!

Before the Summit

1. Create your own schedule

My day at EvolveDrupal Ottawa started with coffee (because obviously!). I hung out in the foyer where I could chat to people as they arrived. I was looking forward to talks on Drupal, design, AI, and much more. Crucially, I had gone through the session list earlier and planned out my day.

Having your own schedule means you can pace yourself, attend the talks you're most interested in, and maximize your networking opportunities. Remember that EvolveDrupal has a wide range of sessions and many of them run in parallel, so it isn’t possible to attend all of them.

I’d recommend making space in your schedule for a bit of down time to recharge. I found this was easy to do at EvolveDrupal—the event was very well organized with little breaks between sessions, helping me to relax and go with the flow.

A speaker points to his presentation

2. Sign up for pre-summit introductions

Evolving Web often organizes a pre-summit dinner the night before EvolveDrupal. As an introvert, I found this was a great way to ease into networking. I got to meet some really interesting, talented people and talk to them on a personal level over a nice meal. It meant that I saw some familiar faces in the crowd full of attendees the next day.

Can’t attend the pre-summit dinner? Don’t worry, you can connect digitally with organizers, speakers and participants before the summit instead. If you’ve registered for the summit, you’ll be invited to the EvolveDrupal Slack channel. 

3. Build your visibility

Post on social media to tell your connections that you’ll be at EvolveDrupal. This can help you connect with more people at the event. Remember to tag Evolving Web on LinkedIn so we can help boost your post!

Email specific contacts and invite them to the summit, too. This can be a great way to grow and strengthen existing business relationships.

Want to maximize your visibility? Apply to be a speaker or sponsor. It’s a fantastic way to get in front of an audience—both in-person at the summit and also in Evolving Web’s digital communications.


“I had a blast yesterday talking at the EvolveDrupal conference in Ottawa. Thank you for giving me the opportunity. Based on the number of people in the audience that raised their phone to take pictures of the slides, I guess the content was on point!”

– Gauthier Garnier, Platform.sh (EvolveDrupal Ottawa 2023)

During the Summit 

4. Make notes

At each session I attended at EvolveDrupal, I took notes about everything interesting and important that I was learning. Have a think about how you prefer to take notes—can you do it on your phone, or should you bring a tablet or notebook?

It’s best to jot down new knowledge and ideas at the event itself, before you forget. That said, some EvolveDrupal sessions are recorded and published a few weeks later, so you may have a chance to rewatch select talks. 

5. Embrace a bit of discomfort

While the pre-summit dinner put me at greater ease, I was still nervous about networking. But I learned that it’s ok to be outside of my comfort zone. As one of the speakers said: “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Their talk was on AI, but I think the concept can be applied to a lot more!

I started by introducing myself to people I sat near during the sessions. This felt easier as there was already a clear topic to start the conversation. I met many more people at lunch and kept taking mental notes that I wrote down later. If there’s someone you want to follow up with, ask for their business card or record their name so you can add them on LinkedIn.

It’s also worth engaging with the speakers who interest you. As experts they can offer valuable information, and they’re usually more than happy to expand on their talk if you ask questions.

The audience at EvolveDrupal

6. Stick around for evening events

EvolveDrupal Ottawa finished with a networking reception, but my day didn’t end there! I attended a post-summit dinner and drinks with people who wanted to continue connecting. As it was the end of the night, everyone was relaxed and chatting easily. It was a good chance to speak again with the people I’d met that day and get to know them better. Evolving Web often arranges a post-summit dinner, so leave your evening open if you can. 

After the Summit

7. Follow up with your connections 

I added most of the people I met at EvolveDrupal Ottawa on LinkedIn. It’s an easy way to stay connected because you can respond to their posts or share useful things with them. It’s also a good idea to send a personalized message to new contacts who you want to develop a deeper relationship with, such as business prospects and potential employers. Ask for a phone call or face-to-face meeting to discuss opportunities. 

8. Organize and apply what you learned 

Write up your notes soon after the summit. If you leave it too long, you may forget them or find they don’t make sense any more! Also, decide how you’re going to integrate your new knowledge into your workflows and projects. Act quickly while you’re still feeling energized from the event.


“It was a treasure trove of UX wisdom… Big thanks to the amazing speakers and organizers for making this experience unforgettable. Can't wait to apply what I've learned. Count me in for the next one!”

– Milan Nayak, UX Designer (EvolveDrupal Toronto 2023) 

9. Share your insights and experience 

My time at EvolveDrupal was eye-opening, so I wanted to share my experience in an article to help future participants. You can also share takeaways via an email, team meeting, or internal presentation. Finally, it’s always nice to thank the speakers on social media and tell them what you liked about their session.

I hope this article inspires you to attend EvolveDrupal with confidence and purpose. Sign up for updates to hear about upcoming events. Our next stops are in Atlanta (April 12) and Montreal (June 14)—we look forward to seeing you there!