Nice to See Gender Diversity in a Speaker List

Am really pleased to see the mix of speakers coming to Blogworld East in New York City. Men…AND women. It just feels balanced and representative of the population at large.

Not to diminish this incredible progress – AND a very active effort on the part of the folks at Blogworld – but there is another next step to take:

More diversity of color.

Keep on keeping on.

Do you feel represented when you look at speaker lists at top business, technology and venture conferences? If not, what are you doing about it?

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Speaking Opps at Upcoming Conferences

We’ve started compiling a list of upcoming conferences where there are calls for speakers. Here are some fast-approaching deadlines if you are interested in submitting something.

April 9-10 Green Festival, San Francisco, CA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not mentioned
Speakers at Green Festival® are articulate, powerful advocates for a just and sustainable world. From authors and filmmakers to politicians, musicians and scientists, these renowned individuals inspire packed audiences with their expertise—one of the most compelling draws to Green Festival® since 2002.

May 14&15 Green Festivals, Chicago, IL
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified

May 24-26 Blogworld Expo East, New York, NY – DETAILS TBA

June 21-23 mLearnCon, San Jose, CA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: APRIL 15
mLearnCon 2011 is where every aspect of mobile learning will be explored in-depth. From the management strategies to the best practices to the technical details, you’ll find the answers you need here. Whether you are working in an academic, corporate, government, or military setting

June 23-25 Type-A Parent Conference (Formerly Type-A Mom Conference), Asheville Renaissance Asheville, NC
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified
For parents looking to take blogging/social media to the next level.

July 7-9 EVO Conference, The Canyons Resort Part City, Utah
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified
Join us for evo ’11—a conference that blends workshops, networking, parties and the wind-in-your-hair relaxation that can only be found by spending summertime in the mountains.

8/4/2011 Women Create Media 2011, Joan B. Croc Center For Peace Studies San Diego, CA
Link to Call for Speakers

Deadline: Not specified

OCT 12-14 IABC New Orleans – International Association of Business Communicators,  New Orleans, LA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: APRIL15
Founded in 1970, The International Association of Business Communicators provides a professional network of about 15,000 business communication professionals in over 80 countries.Speakers from all over the world are welcome to submit their information to be considered for this event. Potential speakers need to submit the form by April 15, 2011. If you have any problems with the file, please email Courtney at clsnola75@gmail.com.

And if you’re looking for some advice for submitting, here are some Tips for Proposing a Panel for Blogworld 2011 from Deb Ng that can apply for most conferences where you can pitch panels.

Where are you speaking this year or where have you proposed to speak?

Posting a Rejected Speaking Proposal

I’m going to start posting winning and rejected proposals on this blog to try to paint a clearer picture on what works and what doesn’t – although I’m not sure it will actually bring clarity but hopefully will bring some learning. Below is my most recent submission to Blogworld that was not accepted. I’m not going to make any commentary or assumptions at the moment about why it wasn’t. I just believe there is value in publishing all of the pieces to the equation of “getting more women speakers into biz/tech/venture conferences.”

Please note: I’m not picking on Blogworld in any way. I just have more immediate experience working with them – I spoke at Blogworld 2009 and have had ongoing conversations with Rick Calvert and Deb Ng – and they are willing to participate in addressing any real or perceived imbalances in thoughtful ways. I appreciate their candor and support.

I do have some theories on what works and doesn’t in terms of bringing more women to the fore at major biz/tech/venture conferences. I’ll be blogging about those thoughts later along with interviews of conference organizers; keynoters and other speakers, both male and female; and conference attendees to share all sides of this picture.

This proposal was based on two blog posts I wrote for Web Worker Daily:

How to Know a Good Fan on Facebook
How to Convert Your Facebook Superfans Into Brand Ambassadors

The Birth, Care and Feeding of Your Social Media Superfan

What is a Superfan in social media? And how can you tap into their power to enhance the value of your social media marketing efforts?

Superfans can provide us with Attention, Participation, Interaction, Loyalty, and Evangelism but how do we tap into those qualities in appropriate and effective ways?

Many of us are building our presences in social media channels, but we aren’t considering what we can provide to our Friends, Fans and Followers (FFFs) and what we’d like to get in return. We need to understand how to leverage the power of the Superfan.

Learn how to:

  • Recognize your Superfans;
  • Reward your Superfans;
  • Leverage the power of Superfans;
  • Avoid Fan backlash; and
  • Convert your Superfans into Brand Ambassadors.

You’ll hear examples of companies that have leveraged their Superfans with solid and positive impacts on their social media marketing efforts.

Learn how to develop your own Social Media Superfan and Brand Ambassador programs including:

  • What to monitor in Social Media to find your Superfans;
  • How to vet your Superfans before approaching them;
  • How to properly approach your Superfans;
  • What to offer Superfans and when to do it;
  • How to elevate Superfans to Brand Ambassadors.

Also learn best practices for avoiding backlash including how to engage transparently.

My proposal followed the guidelines of the Blogworld submission process and were written as components submitted into a submission form. There was also a section for biography which I submitted although I don’t have a copy. Chances are it was based on this bio.

Would you be willing to share your accepted and/or rejected speaker proposals and any learnings you’ve gained from the speaker submission process? Please feel free to share in the comments here or get in touch with me through this blog.

I’ll Take Chris Brogan’s Cast Offs

Chris Brogan recently announced that he’s cutting back on speaking engagements. He blogged:

In 2011, I’m cutting back my amount of time on the road. My family has been lovely at letting me get out there as often as I have been, but with new company obligations and with my family wanting me home a little more often, I’m going to pull back some of my availability on the road. Here’s how that will work.

Every month, I will be available for a total of three (3) paid speaking engagements, and (1) industry event (meaning something that pertains to my industry – like BlogWorld Expo). Thus, if you’re holding an event in January, and you’re interested in getting me there, I currently have 2 slots left, as I’ve booked one already. These will be handled first-come, first serve. My fees aren’t very negotiable.

I sent in a comment that I know many speakers – especially female ones – who would gladly take his speaking engagement cast-offs (including me).

Chris has been speaking publicly since 2006 and gets primo engagements, and not just the tech industry events but business and corporate as well. Many female speakers with comparable or even longer speaking resumes still struggle to get booked. I’ve been speaking professionally – and represented by agencies such as Greater Talent Network and more recently The Speakers Group (although I just noticed I’m still not listed on their site. Hmmm…)- since 1995.

In the 90s, I was blessed to be invited to speak globally including for an NGO gathering at De Haag; at an educational technology conference in Stockholm; at a women’s leadership conference in Wellington; and a women’s business summit in Buenos Aires. That was on top of corporate appearances such as symposiums at Arthur Anderson (now called Accenture), internal events at Kraft, and an array of national conferences for organizations such as the Association of Small Business Development Centers and the University Continuing Education Association.

I continue to work diligently to build my professional profile, publish widely (including my 8th book coming out Spring 2011 about crowdsourcing), social network with the best of them, and try to translate that into more paid speaking engagements. But the engagements that are well-suited to my background – and especially those that pay – are predominantly covered by male speakers.

This is not an attack on male speakers – and certainly not on Chris Brogan who is a lovely human being and an engaging presenter. This is just to state a reality that many female speakers face: even after years presentation experience at the keynote level with high ratings and reviews, we still have to fight tooth and nail to get a gig, and most often are offered a fraction of our male counterparts. I’ve had speaking agents tell me flat out that there are very few women on the professional speaking circuit today who can “break $10,000,” but getting $10,000 or more for even a novice male speaker is an easier sell than a seasoned female one. I kid you not.

In the spirit of full disclaimer, I haven’t yet broken $10,000, but I’m close. However, speaking gigs at that level are rarely found in the social or new media industries so my main focus of opportunities are outside of technology. There are many verticals where an expertise like mine in Internet marketing that spans 20 years can bring valuable insights to anyone regardless of if they are selling widgets, booking travel, building green buildings, or manufacturing toilets. (Yes, I’d be honored to speak at the Japan Toilet Association‘s annual conference or the World Toilet Summit in Philadelphia.)

So I’m willing to put myself out there and say to Chris Brogan “I will take your speaking cast-offs,” and if I am not qualified or available, I will gladly share the opportunities with other dynamic, experienced speakers. And yes, I’ll probably refer a lot of awesome female speakers I know who are in the same boat as me. Because we have to stick together. And if I have something to share, I will share the wealth. That’s just the way I roll.

What have been your experiences getting booked as a speaker or finding and booking speakers?