Amy Labenz

Head of Events @ Center for Effective Altruism
Working (6-15 years of experience)
1783Joined Sep 2016



Head of Events at the Centre for Effective Altruism


Generally, we get our contracts to have alcohol "by consumption" so we only pay for what we use. My experience with EA events is that people usually don't drink that much so the portion of spend on alcohol is typically not significant. 

Hi Evan,

Thanks for asking! I agree this can be pretty tough, especially because people are really different. 

In most cases (aside from external contractors) we don't pay people based on the number of hours that they work. So, salaries don't really vary based on the hours exactly. 

But, if someone truly is able to sustainably and productively work long hours, they will probably perform better.  As a result, this could increase the chances that they get promoted, which means higher salary etc.

However, I have also seen cases where people have needed to scale back their work in order to make better judgment calls, and take care of their health, and that ultimately led to promotion. It varies a lot!

I’m not sure. She linked to both sources her post, so I don’t think the issue is that she doesn’t know about them.

I did give her quite a bit of feedback on her application and things she might include/ways she might get involved in the future, which would have given her some additional insight into how we think about the process. That might be what she means.

A number of people have asked me whether I gave Constance permission to post a selection of my private Facebook communications and my email/the events team’s emails as part of this Forum post. I did not. I felt a bit uncomfortable with this, but I also did not ask her to take them down.

I saw that she had some suggestions for how I could improve my messages and my emails / other events team emails in the redline comments, and I agree some of her suggestions would have been improvements.

I was the person at CEA who spoke with Constance. I don’t remember asking her to promise anything, and CEA certainly didn't suggest an NDA. (Though I was surprised to see my private correspondence with her published here, since we didn't discuss publishing it.)

I don’t think I gave Constance additional insights into the admissions process that aren’t already published fairly widely (see here and CEA comments here). I did give her specific feedback on her application and her fit for the event, and other advice about how to get more engaged with the community but I did not ask her to keep that between us. I agree that we could improve communications, and we are reflecting on that.

Quick point of clarification: on the call, I recall Constance saying that her heart was set on EAG and that she was not interested in EAGx. Perhaps there was a miscommunication or I misunderstood, but that is the information I was working with throughout communications.

Hi Constance,

Quick point of clarification: I don't know what the anecdotes are referring to, but for what it's worth, we have 3.5 CEA FTEs working on EAG along with venue/production staff and volunteers. We do not have the ability to monitor all attendee interactions, nor do we want to.

We do have a community health point of contact onsite at all of our events. This person is available in case anyone experiences harassment, bullying, has a mental health concern, or needs other assistance.

Thanks for the suggestion, Zach!

I did explain to Constance why she was initially rejected as one of the things we discussed on an hour-long call. We also discussed additional information she was considering including, and I told her I thought she was a better fit for EAGx (she said she was not interested). It can be challenging to give a lot of guidance on how to change a specific application, especially in cases where the goal is to “get in”. I worry about providing information that will allow candidates to game the system. 

I don’t think this post reflects what I told Constance, perhaps because she disagrees with us. So, I want to stick to the policy for now.

Thanks for flagging this concern. I was worried someone might get the impression that this was related to animal welfare. While we don’t discuss the specifics of people’s applications publicly, that is definitely not the reason: we don’t penalize people for favoring animal welfare, global health, or existential risk reduction (or other prominent EA approaches).

Hi Constance,

I was sad to read your initial post and recognize how disappointed you are about not getting to come to this EAG. And I see you’ve put a lot of work into this post and your application. I’m sorry that the result wasn’t what you were hoping for. 

After our call (I’m happy to disclose that I am “X”), I was under the impression that you understood our decision, and I was happy to hear that you started getting involved with the in-person community after we spoke. 

As I mentioned to you, I recommend that you apply to an EAGx event, which might be a better fit for you at this stage.

It’s our policy to not discuss the specifics of people’s applications with other people besides them. I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to give more detail about why you were rejected publicly, so it is hard to really reply to the substance of this post, and share the other side of this story.

I hope that you continue to find ways to get involved, deepen your EA thinking, and make contributions to EA cause areas. I’m sorry that this has been a disappointing experience for you. At this point, given our limited capacity, and the time we’ve spent engaging on calls, email, and Facebook, I’m going to focus on building up our team in order to run more EAG and EAGx events.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the process more generally. My team is focused on EAG right now, but we plan to reflect on any structural changes after the event.

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