If you’ve recently attended an event and sensed unique anticipation in the air as the speaker took the stage or experienced a renewed sense of excitement and purpose as the keynote engaged the audience, chances are, that speaker was a woman. We are moving through a moment in history that has shined an overdue light upon the wisdom and importance of the achievements and stories of women.
The Road to Diversity
This week marks the annual celebration of International Women’s Day. One of the many themes of the 2019 event is #BalanceforBetter. Evolving a more gender-balanced world requires both women and men to commit to making changes that will transform and elevate organizational culture. A recent EY study found that companies with greater gender diversity are more likely to have their leaders work together to create new solutions, work across an organization’s silos, exhibit a growth culture, and better poised to exhibit strong leadership. Overall, the study revealed gender diversity contributed to these companies being exceedingly more prone to sustained, profitable growth.
Include Fresh Perspectives
The road to gender diversity in the workplace begins with embracing perspectives that are fresh, varied and inclusive. The event industry is taking a powerful step forward in order to reflect a tapestry of voices that resonate with evolving audiences. Meeting, conference and event planners hold a particularly influential position to impact and balance the front line and illuminate the global conversation. The recipe is simple, invite a woman to take the stage and watch minds open and horizons expand.
Finding a Woman Speaker
In my role as co-founder of Chasing Light Speakers, an empowering, all-women speakers agency, I often hear clients say “we would like to book women speakers, but they are hard to find, ” or “I’ve only been able to locate men keynotes in tech (or finance etc.), are there women out there?” The answer is a resounding yes. This perception is morphing daily, as there are women at the apex of every field imaginable. In all sectors from business and start-ups, to technology, politics, science, sports, literature, education, arts, finance, sports and religion, women are being recognized for leading the way. They are transforming corporations, changing lives, and building communities. Women share engaging and inspiring stories and they light up the room. They tend to be open and communicative, dynamic and bright. Their engaging stories reflect the tenacity, inner strength and commitment they harnessed along the road to where they are today and that is a message everyone can embrace.
Women have become adept at successfully launching and fostering their own forums. They passionately share their knowledge while making personal and professional connections with colleagues in their respective fields. Some of the most popular women led conferences include: The Forbes Women’s Summit, The Maker’s Conference, and TEDWomen, among numerous others. A host of highly influential networking groups for women are thriving and most recently, we have witnessed the establishment of well-funded, women-only workspaces such as Modernwell in Minneapolis, Evolve Her in Chicago and The Wing in Brooklyn, NY.
The Benefit for Audiences
The percentage of women on boards of directors is climbing steadily thanks in part to organizations like Direct Women, The 30% Coalition, and 2020 Women on Boards. These incubators have established a strong foundation on which to achieve an equally significant mission. As these initiatives continue to grow and flourish, we have reached the time for women to share the power base at the helm of every room. Audiences benefit when they hear the whole story, not only 49% of it.
The Best Fit
I encourage my clients to remember that sometimes the most essential and ideal speaker match to achieve impact may not be the most outspoken or well-known woman, but perhaps the most amazing woman they’ve never heard of. Though her story may be lesser known, it can be the most significant and relevant when tailored for a group’s size, interests and budget. Women of all backgrounds, areas of expertise and levels of experience have dynamic stories and insights to share and their messages highlight perseverance, creativity and moxie.
In this unprecedented era of event growth and significance, invite a woman to be the luminary at the front of the room and watch the audience bask in the light of a truly inspiring moment!
Lisa Rosenstein is the CEO and Co-Founder of Chasing Light Speakers, a visionary all women speakers bureau committed to partnering with clients to elevate, illuminate and enrich the experience of events and company culture. Chasing Light pairs clients with diverse, powerful women presenters who lead inspiring conversations at conferences, meetings and customized trainings. By sharing their stories, women are shifting perspectives, changing lives and transforming the workplace.