Closing The Gender Gap

 

This week, two different online publications featured Innovation Women as a solution to gender inequities in the world: Singularity Hub and TechTarget. While we talk about being a visibility bureau for our speakers, this kind of visibility helps the overall cause by making Innovation Women a destination for event managers and other journalists too.

“Every time we get a woman on stage, she’s able to make her business more successful or her career more successful, but she’s also a success example for others. So, the more women we get on stage, the more women we will get on stage.”

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Say “Hello” to Donna

“Yes, I had a great time!” said the caption on the smiling picture. Donna Smith Bellinger, the founder of the Business Revenue Accelerator, was posting on social media about her recent speaking engagement at ISACA’s SheLeadsTech, a half day seminar following the North American CACS conference held in Chicago April 30-May 2, 2018 — a speaking engagement she got through Innovation Women. A professional speaker, revenue accelerator and author, Donna Smith Bellinger specializes in working with those who feel they have “hit the wall” when it comes to personal or professional growth.

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Why Some Women Say ‘No’ Bingo Card

When you place as many speakers as we do, you spend a lot of time at events.  And after some of those events, you spend time buttonholing the event managers and talking about why they let so many #allmale panels take the stage. There are at least a bingo card full of excuses (tip o’ the hat to the geniuses at Jezebel) on why conferences don’t have equal representation onstage.

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Innovation Women at Interop

More than 30 years ago, I attended some of the first Interop events. This independent event for the IT community is still running today and does a great job with diversity and inclusion. This year the MAJORITY of keynotes at Interop in Las Vegas were women! So, we were extra proud to hear that Innovation Women Claritza Abreu, the founder and CEO of LatInc, was invited through our platform to speak at the 2018 InterOpITX. And thrilled to realize she was invited to speak by one of our other Innovation Women speakers, Katy Tynan.

“I was so excited and honored to host two sessions at the 2018 InterOpITX conference in Las Vegas, NV,” said Abreu. “Through the Innovation Women website, organizers contacted me and we found each other to be a great match! I was talking about our employee engagement and diversity social media platform, Areitos. Our technology helps companies facilitate their diversity and inclusion efforts. As an immigrant myself, I brought my most passionate and entertaining immigrant stories to the stage!”

Claritza also recently received an Innovation Women speaking invite from the Ellis Project, another place where her immigrant story is relevant.

According to Katy Tynan, “Claritza was great! Innovation Women was the first place I turned when I was looking for an inspiring, engaging speaker. It’s great to have such an easy way to find smart, talented presenters in the technology field.” Tynan, the founder and chief talent strategist at Liteskip Consulting Group, is the leadership track chair for InteropITX. She says she “really loves the Interop program. They are one of the few non-vendor conferences out there and the leadership track (where she placed Abreu) is always the most popular track.”

“That’s my passion,” Tynan continued. “I spent 10 years in tech, truly love the industry and the people but I know that there are still so many challenges with diversity and work-life balance. I want tech to become the destination field for everyone. It’s not just the industry that has ‘opportunity that comes with baggage.’”

That’s what Tynan was trying to showcase, and “Claritza was so perfect for that.”

(You can find both Abreu and Tynan on Innovation Women.)

The Innovation Women Justification Toolkit

Every week hundreds of events continue to promote All Male Panels and you’re still sitting on the sidelines. If you would like to be an Innovation Woman speaker but need help convincing the boss, our Justification Toolkit is here to help!  Simply copy and paste the verbiage you’d like to use and send it to your manager.

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Spoiler Alert: The Post

The Post is a new movie starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg. The dramatization of the collision between the Nixon Administration and the Washington Post over the Pentagon Papers has been widely hailed as a support for freedom of the press, and journalistic integrity and responsibility.

But I watched it through the eyes of a female business owner, coming off one of the more tumultuous years for women in such roles, and for women, period. I was watching Meryl Street as Katharine Graham, the owner and publisher of the Washington Post who, in 1971 was in the often awkward “only woman in the room” position.

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Dear Event Sponsor

While many conference managers are well aware of the issues with #allmalepanels, there is still one type of speaking engagement that remains stubbornly immune to diversity: the sponsored event. Many conferences and events are funded by selling speaking slots and the speakers tend to cluster around the male and pale category.  And event managers tend to feel like they cannot ask a sponsor to consider sending a different speaker.

With this in mind, we’ve assembled a helpful little note that you can share with your sponsors.

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