23 Jun How to Promote Gender Diversity at Your Marketing Event
I’ve attended sufficient tech and advertising occasions to make just a few generalizations:
- Women are massively underrepresented; whether or not it’s a panel or a convention speaker lineup, likelihood is it’s overrun with white males.
- Sexism is prevalent, and it spans from refined (assume underrepresentation, pinkwashed women’ lounges) to overt (assume harassment, non-consensual advances).
There are exceptions (there all the time are), however that is the overall rule, and it’s an enormous stain on the trade you and I are each part of.
Now I would like to make it clear, I’m not right here to chastise anybody. As a used-to-be convention organizer, I’m responsible of it too.
When I ran Unbounce’s first-ever Call to Action Conference (CTAConf) 4 years in the past, I invited 4 ladies to converse, two of which spoke on a panel. The different seven had been — you guessed it — white males.
My purpose was an all-too acquainted one: “There aren’t enough qualified female speakers.”
This is rubbish. It’s unacceptable. And it’s not a purpose at all — it’s an excuse. What it actually got here down to was, I wasn’t attempting exhausting sufficient.
I wasn’t asking my community for suggestions. I wasn’t doing sufficient analysis. I wasn’t making the additional effort required to widen the pool of audio system. I wasn’t dedicated to gender range.
Fast ahead to at the moment and my perspective has fully modified. Not solely as a result of it’s essential to me on a private stage, but in addition as a result of it makes enterprise sense.
See, whenever you pull from the identical pool of audio system as people in your trade, every little thing begins to appear like white bread — bland and borderline junkfood. Your convention seems to be like that different convention that occurred just a few months in the past. And the content material? Yep, it’s the identical, too.
By digging a bit deeper and increasing your search a bit wider, you possibly can uncover contemporary up-and-coming expertise with new views, new issues to educate. And you present feminine attendees that their voice and their skilled growth matter.
And did I point out you promote tickets and appeal to extra feminine attendees?
Moz, which hosts its personal convention (MozCon), reported that because the p.c of feminine audio system elevated so did the p.c of feminine attendees. What else can I say however duh?
I see a variety of progress being made round bettering gender range in advertising and tech. People are asking questions, they’re holding firms accountable, they’re having these powerful conversations, which is a good begin.
But what are folks truly doing about it?
This publish will dig into particular steps you possibly can take to enhance gender range at your subsequent occasion. They’re the results of an honest-to-goodness want to do the fitting factor and our personal cringe-worthy fumbles (extra on that later).
It’s my hope that the following tips and techniques will assist to alleviate any hesitation you or your group might need about taking the leap.
Commit to gender parity
At Unbounce, we’ve been having conversations round gender range for months, so when Unbounce CEO Rick Perrault challenged us to commit to gender parity at CTAConf 2017, the response was a convincing YES, YES, YES.
It’s so simple as this. And but it’s a bit extra nuanced as nicely.
The fact is, reaching gender parity did take a bit extra time and a bit extra effort. But the result’s a extra dynamic lineup of audio system and a possibility to faucet into an viewers that in any other case may’ve handed in your occasion.
Forget ROI — speak about RO why not?!
So how did we do it? How did we stack our lineup with proficient male and feminine audio system? (And extra importantly, how are you going to?)
- Leverage your social community and ask for suggestions by way of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (like Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner did for the Unbounce Road Trip in 2015).
- Pull from present complete lists corresponding to this listing of 1,000+ tech audio system who aren’t males and this one that includes 100 influential ladies entrepreneurs.
- Trade previous speaker lists and rankings along with your community of occasion organizers. I despatched private emails to each occasion organizer I knew asking them for his or her previous speaker lineups and rankings, and in alternate I shared our listing and rankings. This tactic is one is my faves, and it’s how we scored a ton of speaker leads for CTAConf.
- Email previous presenters and audio system and ask them for suggestions. It’s how we discovered Claire Suellentrop, who’s talking about creating high-converting campaigns utilizing Jobs To Be Done at this 12 months’s convention.
Sponsor the ladies at your personal firm
I actually consider that everybody has one thing to educate. EVERYONE. Regardless of gender, no matter age, no matter job title, everyone seems to be an knowledgeable in one thing.
It’s this perception that gave me the braveness to increase my very own hand and ask to converse at final 12 months’s CTAConf.
But I wasn’t a quote unquote speaker. I suppose you possibly can have referred to as me a speaker in residence. I spoke at just a few small-time occasions right here and there, however I’m not well-known like Seth Godin. I don’t journey the world talking at trade occasions or conferences.
I used to be caught in a traditional Catch-22: I couldn’t develop into a speaker with out expertise, however I couldn’t get expertise as a result of I wasn’t a speaker.
But quite than specializing in what I didn’t have, our speaker choice committee targeted on what I did have: enthusiasm and an entire lotta occasion advertising expertise to boot.
Once the committee deliberated, I spent two hours whiteboarding my speak with Oli. He and Unbounce Senior Conversion Optimizer Michael Aagaard additionally reviewed my slide deck a number of occasions, offering constructive suggestions.
Their experience helped fill the gaps in my resume, in order that once I stood up on that stage I felt ready and supported.
And guess what? It went rather well.
So this 12 months we reserved one CTAConf speaker slot for workers, and we despatched a callout asking for candidates. The response blew my thoughts: Four candidates, all ladies. And although the selection was a tricky one, I’m happy to say Alexa Hubley — Customer Communications Specialist and first-time convention speaker — shall be on stage at CTAConf 2017 together with her speak “Master Customer Marketing By Watching Romantic Comedies.”
So what are you able to do to enhance gender range at your upcoming occasion? You can begin in your very personal yard. Encourage high-performing ladies at your organization to converse at occasions, and supply them mentorship and help to get them up on stage.
And should you’re a person who’s been requested to converse at an occasion, take into account if there’s a girl who’s equally certified to converse on the topic. If there’s, supply up your slot. In truth, Oli already did this, when he really useful me to converse at CIMC 2017.
Create a code of conduct
A transparent code of conduct helps create a secure surroundings in your employees and your occasion attendees by setting expectations for what’s and what’s not acceptable habits.
From a range perspective, a code of conduct is an particularly useful software for making ladies really feel at ease, as a result of there are strict insurance policies in place to deter discrimination and harassment.
Creating a code of conduct out of skinny air might sound intimidating, so I recommend pulling inspiration from present codes and including your personal private taste.
When we created our code of conduct, we appeared to different firms we admired, particularly Moz and Atlassian.
Wistia has written an distinctive publish about how and why they created their code of conduct for WistiaFest, together with how they made it seen. Humble people that they’re, they highlighted the place they may have improved (so you possibly can study from their errors!).
You’ll discover three core ideas outlined in all these codes:
- Be good/respectful/form/inclusive
- Be skilled
- Look out for others
Including these three core ideas and your organization’s core values is a good place to begin.
And keep in mind, there are not any guidelines when it comes to making a code of conduct, besides one… you’ve to be ready to implement it.
Enforce your code of conduct
A code of conduct is like insurance coverage; you hope you by no means have to use it, however in these unlucky circumstances, you’ll be glad you’ve one thing to again you up.
At this 12 months’s convention, we’re making our code of conduct entrance and heart with printed posters hung across the venue.
You’ll additionally discover the code on the CTAConf web site in addition to in our convention app. And we’ve made it easy to report a violation by together with a direct cellphone quantity to our occasion advertising coordinator in our code of conduct.
While I can’t go into the specifics of each reported incident, I can inform you we’ve enforced our code a number of occasions, with attendees and audio system.
Yes, audio system.
Remember once I talked about cringe-worthy fumbles? Well learn on, readers.
See, dwell occasions are a tough beast. You have this very passionate particular person up on stage who’s pumped up and perhaps a bit nervous. You don’t know what’s going to come out of their mouth. You hope it received’t be something offensive, however you actually don’t know.
You do, nonetheless, have management over their content material, particularly their slide deck. This is one thing we realized the exhausting manner:
Props to Annette for calling us out. It wasn’t our slide, however as occasion hosts, the content material that will get projected for all our friends to see is our accountability. Period.
So what did we begin doing to be sure that this by no means occurred once more? We leaned on our code of conduct:
- We ship all our presenters the code of conduct beforehand by way of electronic mail
- We embrace the code of conduct in our Speaker Field Guide, which incorporates every little thing a speaker wants to know, corresponding to contact data, journey and lodging data and slide deck specs
- (This one’s a biggie.) We evaluation and log out on everybody’s slide decks, slide by slide, to guarantee there’s no offensive or discriminating content material
- We don’t invite again audio system who’ve damaged our code of conduct
And subsequent 12 months, we’ll take a web page out of Moz’s e-book by together with our code of conduct proper in our speaker and sponsor contract.
So does all of this “extra stuff” add to our workload? You wager it does. But it’s one thing we account for now. And the payoff is invaluable.
We’ve nonetheless obtained rising to do
You might have observed this publish is targeted on how to create a gender various occasion and never a various occasion. The fact is, we all know we are able to #dobetter at elevating people who aren’t sometimes requested to converse at occasions — not simply white ladies, however folks of coloration, non-binary people and members of the LGBTQ neighborhood.
We know we’ve got extra rising to do and we’re dedicated to it, simply as we had been dedicated to reaching gender parity at this 12 months’s convention.
I feel we’ve come a great distance as an organization, and I feel I’ve come a great distance as a champion for girls. The excuse I gave as a convention host almost 4 years in the past — that there weren’t sufficient certified ladies audio system — is now not an excuse.
We’re welcoming 10 distinctive males and 10 extraordinary ladies to the CTAConf stage in June, and I couldn’t be extra excited.
Hope to see you there 🙂