Think of the last ten conferences you have attended. Think about the people on the main stage giving the presentations. What do they have in common?
If you are like me, what you recall is that most of the speakers you have seen are middle-aged white men. I am not here to say that these speakers aren't great. For the most part, the industry was started by these men, and they are here to share what they have learned. But there is undoubtedly a place for a more diverse group of speakers to take the stage and present different perspectives.
I attended the Channel Partners show last September in Orlando and noticed way more diverse speakers on stage. Part of this was because the show created the Women's Leadership Summit with the Alliance of Channel Women. Another factor is that Channel Partners has actively sought out speakers from diverse backgrounds.
Adding diverse speakers is beneficial for everyone. Not only is there a solid moral and business imperative for inclusive speaker representation, but this variety leads to richer, more insightful conversations. When
traditionally underrepresented groups see people similar to them on stage, which fosters greater audience participation.
Trickle Down Effect
Adding diverse speakers to events has a trickle-down effect. This starts an industry-wide chain reaction. When a speaker from a diverse background gets the opportunity to present at a conference, it elevates their stature. They have a better chance of promotion and of getting future speaking opportunities. When the stage is more reflective of the crowd's diversity, they normalize diversity in leadership. Speaking engagements also play an essential role in building credibility and recognition, which can have long-term effects on a person's career.
Creating a Roster
Xposure and the Alliance of Channel Women have come together to create our Speaker's Bureau. We are asking people to complete a form to be added to the list. Then, when conferences are looking for speakers, they will have a unified source.