Who says there’s not enough great women speakers or panelists?!

November 14, 2017

GSA Ink – Notes from our CEO

Want #NoMoreManels ?  

We’re with you. 

Want to #AmplifyHer ?  

We’re with you. 

 

This year, the Canadian Personal Finance Conference #CPFC17 committed to sourcing women to speak: 

…This year we are aiming for an all-female roster of speakers!

And, André Picard made a public declaration that he would no longer participate in all male panels, aka #Manels, as a show of commitment to diversity in programming.  He’s one of our most popular speakers, panelists and MC’s for healthcare conferences, and we support this decision. 

 

Recognizing the Challenge…and Opportunity:

As a speakers bureau, It’s our role to represent, recommend and secure impactful speakers for conferences and events across the country and around the world.  The trending topics of #NoMoreManels and #AmplifyHer, got me thinking about whether we’re doing enough in our role to ensure attention to the great diversity of speakers and thought leaders available for conferences and events.

From an article in The Atlantic, “One mathematician’s formula suggests that all-male lineups don’t “just happen,” despite what conference organizers might claim.”  Mathematician Greg Martin notes:

“…in any conference with over 10 speakers, say, it would be extremely rare to have no female speakers at all—less than 5 percent chance.”

I’ve become ever more aware of our responsibility, notably as a business owned and run by two women, to consciously source out a wide range of speakers who are experts in their fields, and who can inspire, inform and engage an audience, especially if their voices are underrepresented at events. It’s a win-win-win for speakers, programmers and audiences to experience diversity in programming. 

When we redesigned our website a few years ago, we struggled with whether to include ‘Women’s Voices’ as a Topic area unto itself, or refer to it elsewhere. We decided at the time to house it in our ‘Programming Ideas’ section, but admittedly that section wasn’t getting much traffic

I’ve made a decision to return Women’s Voices to our primary list of Topics, to give it higher ranking in our search results and make it easier for meeting professionals to find great women speakers

 


Showcasing Diversity:

For our own Engage Speaker Showcase’s the past three years in a row, we’ve made a commitment to diversity of voices on the program, and it wasn’t difficult to program an impactful roster of both women and men we’re proud to represent, showcasing a range of valuable perspectives and experiences, including: Dr. Julielynn Wong physician scientist on 3d printing and innovation; Dr. Brynn Winegard on building better business brains; DJ & Co-Founder of A Tribe Called Red Ian Campeau on recognizing your privilege, and media trailblazer Denise Donlon on Ethical Leadership. 

See more of the highlights here

Our Goal:

As you plan your conferences and events for 2018, we’ll work to make it easier for you to ensure diversity in your programming. 

If we send you a proposal recommending speakers for your event and we haven’t included great female speakers, or diversity in race, experience, gender or other perspectives, call us on it and we’ll consciously bring those names to the forefront. 

We still have a ways to go to ensure greater diversity on our own roster on our team and in our marketing, but we’re working on it.

And if you’re planning an International Women’s Day event for spring 2018, please find below just a sampling of some of our top women speakers to consider, including:

Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell

Secretary General of la Francophonie  Michaëlle Jean

Wellness Expert & Personal Development Coach Nova Browning Rutherford

Rocket Scientist Natalie Panek

Finance Entrepreneur Ann Kaplan

Kidnap Survivor and Negotiator Mother-Daughter Duo Amanda Lindhout & Lorinda Stewart

And many more!
View the full list here