Do you care about diversity/true representation on stage?

It’s the bee in my conference organiser bonnet right now.

Anyone else sick of seeing panels of middle aged white men? Or is your industry more with the times than the recruitment space?

I’d love to talk with anyone who really cares about this stuff and has some ideas of ways to tackle it (educating event organisers, helping “diverse” speakers increase their profiles, etc?)



You should speak to @Erica who is passionate about booking diverse speakers. She gave loads of great tips on finding the right speakers during her AMA:

Happy to chat more about specific questions you may have around this. I’ve done a ton of work around diversity and inclusion on stage and off-stage too. As Belinda mentioned, there’s a lot of information in my AMA.

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Thanks Erica - will check out your AMA first

Its a tricky question! Diversity is highly desirable but not as a gesture of tokenism. I work with a lot of technology companies and finding leading women in tech is frustratingly and surprisingly difficult. However, I would rather a speaker who can represent the topic with passion, experience and in-depth knowledge than invite a speaker based on balance of sex/race/gender persuasion etc

Totally agree with you, but it’s a kind of chicken and egg situation - if individuals of a certain sex or race etc. don’t see people like them represented in an industry it will deter them from entering it. That means that sometimes it might be desirable to give the minority a platform, even if they’re not absolutely the most knowledgeable on the topic. It’s a difficult one!

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I helped to organize an event that dealt specifically with Inclusivity in Leadership. It was refreshing to see an audience and speakers at an event in Toronto that finally “looked” like Toronto.

While I agree there’s no need for the token <race, gender, orientation, disability> speaker, I don’t think it is too difficult to find inspirational guests that represent the un/underrepresented. Thankfully, with our 21st century technology and access to ideas/people from around the world, finding experts in many fields has become a lot easier.

And on the topic of tokenism, a truly inclusive event/forum/symposium would have that issue dealt with just by nature of existing.


Working in the Motor industry, I see a very similar scene at our conferences. I know that our recruitment and HR department are focusing on recruiting more women and have made changes in working patterns etc. to help with this. I think a lot a power falls in Marketing, so I get asked to direct the photographer/videographer to focus on female and ethnic minority speakers and delegates. Their idea is that by skewing the view towards those we want to attract, the hope is that will will indeed attract them! This is slowly changing and as is does, I can get more and more diversity up on stage and the discussions and insights will develop and benefit the business as a result.

If there are any other top tips that I can put into action, please share :slightly_smiling_face:

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I must say, I watched the first episode of The Bodyguard on BBC and I did remark about how all the senior ranking security and defence officials depicted were female. It seemed a bit unrealistic - maybe positive skewing is what was going on there!

On that platform, almost like positive propaganda… I love it!