Two sample emails you can work from.
Email 1: Longer
This is the email I sent to career panelists, as well as everyone on the Harvard event staff email list. The idea of sending it to the full staff list is so that other staffers have an idea of what to expect. I've made minor changes to improve readability and remove people's names.
Howdy all, I was taking a moment to review my plans for the career panel, and wanted to share my current thoughts. == Goals == * Give students a snapshot of how open source is used in industry. * Showcase the professional background of each panelist, so students have something to talk about with the speaker, at lunch. * Answer questions posed by attendees, or by panelists to each other, to keep things lively. == Guests == I wanted to keep it "small", since we have only half an hour, and the more people we add, the more people we're splitting the time between. Panelists: * A Person * Someone Else's Name * One More Person * Fourth Individual I intend to serve as a moderator, with the following structure to help achieve the goals. == Structure == First, I'll go around and get panelists to answer these questions as a 30sec-1min self introduction: * Your name, your current occupation, and your current employer. * How that work relates to open source, briefly. * Your relationship to Harvard or the Cambridge area. What I'd like to do next is ask each of our panelists to say a little bit, one at a time, on the following questions -- try not to spend more than 2-3 minutes talking, so we have time for everyone. After that, let's have more of a conversation among the panelists. Questions: * What advice would you have for if students should participate in open source things in college? Are there particular things that do or don't matter, as things to focus on? (For example, "Definitely start your own open source project rather than contribute to existing ones" or "Don't waste time talking to people on IRC".) * Do you have advice on what to do when approaching a project for the first time? Either in terms of code, or in terms of community. Recall that we'll go straight from this into lunch, so in a way, the point of the career panel is to get students excited about talking to you at lunchtime. So don't forget to actually talk with them at lunch! == How to prepare == If you want to think about how you'd answer those questions, that'd be great! To prepare for the discussion part, if you bring a piece of paper and a pencil, then you can take notes so you don't forget your points, and don't forget your responses to the exciting things others on the panel will say! == Meta == As usual, thoughts, arguments, etc. welcome. We have a few days so we can change this plan if that's a good idea. -- Asheesh.
This is what I sent to the CCSF event staff list. It is noticeably shorter.
One thing we do for half an hour before lunch is have a bit of Q&A between one of the event's organizers and a few of the staffers to provide a sense of how open source activity integrates into their careers. To do that, Katherine (if she is willing) will ask the questions listed toward the end of this email. I'd love if the following staffers are willing to be on that panel: * Person's Name * Name of Someone Else * A Third Person * A Fourth Person, if you are able to make it (last minute potential staffer) Katherine (the name of our local host, who I directed to lead the panel), use this to guide your career paneling. (Quoted from https://openhatch.org/wiki/OSCTC_Resources#Career_Panel ) 8----< CUT HERE >-----8 We aim for four panelists representing a diversity of open-source jobs. For example, past panelists have included people who work for Red Hat, BoCoup Loft, the Sunlight Foundation, and the Personal Genome Project, as well as freelancers. We start off by asking each person to introduce themselves, their current occupation, and their current employer and to talk very briefly about how that work relates to open source. Then - questions! Frequent questions include: * How did you first hear about/get involved in open source? * What advice would you have for if students should participate in open source things in college? Are there particular things that do or don't matter, as things to focus on? (For example, "Definitely start your own open source project rather than contribute to existing ones" or "Don't waste time talking to people on IRC".) * Do you have advice on what to do when approaching a project for the first time? Either in terms of code, or in terms of community. We typically do the career panel just before lunch so that attendees can socialize with panelists immediately afterwards.