Sometimes it’s unavoidable. The sick kid. The sick or injured speaker. The rescheduled board meeting. The key client with the surprise mission-critical project on a deadline. The flat tire. The missed plane.
And a speaking engagement gets passed on to someone else. Whether the speaker “makes a suggestion” or just sends someone else, it’s not them onstage. Their special set of skills and knowledge. And, a woman, or perhaps a woman of color or representing some additional diversity (and, more importantly), a diverse point of view, is missing from the group.
And somewhere, a program manager cries. The carefully planned and balanced panel is “broken”.
Next week we’re heading north from Boston (a beautiful short road trip – less than 2 hours) that will take us to Portland, Maine for Maine Startup & Create Week for the first Innovation Women Gender-balanced Conference Challenge. The team there committed fully to making sure that there is equal representation onstage, in all aspects of the event.
We’ve committed to providing every speaker with a free profile on Innovation Women, plus two profiles for a female colleague. (The male speakers can pass on their free profiles.) This will ensure a pool of worthy speakers for future Maine Startup & Create Weeks, AND other events in the area. We’ll have established as a resource in the area for years to come. (Event managers – talk to us about how YOUR conference can take the challenge!)
An inclusive and balanced conference relies on more than just the event managers to keep diversity in mind. It’s also the responsibility of the speakers, and in fact the entire community.


Keep talking,
The Innovation Women team
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