6 Steps for Planning a Diverse Conference

By: Jessica Fleuti | July 22, 2015

Planning a diverse conference isn't easy. But it's not that hard, either.

As Net Impact’s Conference Director for the last three years, I’ve talked to a lot of experts, watched my share of YouTube videos, and invited nearly 2,000 talented and dedicated people to speak to our attendees. I’ve also witnessed a lot of events that fall short of inspirational when it comes to speaker diversity.

Net Impact is dedicated to giving young people the tools to solve our world’s toughest challenges. We know that a more diverse pool of people will arrive at more innovativesmarter, and better solutions. Our conference, which features 300+ speakers each year, is one place where we bring our commitment to diversity and equity to life. We make an effort to feature speakers that represent diversity in sector, age, political affiliation – and, of course, race and gender.

Net Impact began tracking speaker demographics five years ago. Since then, we’ve increased racial diversity in our speaker roster by 85% and now regularly reach or exceed gender parity. It’s not easy – but it’s not that hard, either – and our conference has improved as a result.

Here’s how you can approach speaker diversity at your next big event:

1. Set goals and hold yourself accountable

Before you’ve sent a single invitation, set specific representation goals for women, people of color, or whatever is a priority for your organization. Take a look at your roster from the previous year and commit to improving on it.

Figure out how you will track your progress. We ask speakers to give us some (optional) demographic information when they register. And we review our stats on gender and racial diversity each month as we’re planning the conference to see if we need to refocus our efforts.

2. Look for experts, not speakers

Women and people of color are literally everywhere. Even the most homogeneous-looking industries have qualified leaders that span gender, race, background, and experience. You’re not going to overcome gender and racial divides overnight, but you can take big steps in the right direction at your event.

Start by identifying experts in the subject matter you're presenting, rather than established "speakers."  A few years ago, we were working with an external partner to develop a session. When he suggested four male speakers, we asked if he could recommend some women to round out the discussion. His response was, “I can’t think of any women right now who I’ve seen speak on this topic.” We asked him to forget about speakers and brainstorm his contacts in the field, and he did. He came back with a long list of qualified women and people of color. It’s easy to get stuck on people who are on the conference circuit, rather than think broadly about a body of experts. Don’t.

3. Keep your entire program in view

While rallying against all male panels is a noble effort, I’m far more concerned with balance across our entire program. We put together around 100 sessions each year. Despite our best efforts, usually one or two are comprised entirely of male speakers. But there are also several sessions featuring women exclusively. Certain fields of work lean heavily male or female. It’s OK if your sessions reflect that, as long as you’re not excluding anyone critical to the conversation, and you’re keeping a bird’s-eye view on the program as a whole.

4. Ensure diversity by design

There’s nothing more boring than a panel discussion where everyone agrees, so seek out diverse points of view from the outset. Start with a well-defined topic, then identify the specific perspectives you’d like to see: that might include representatives from multiple sectors, distinct career functions, or opposing sides of a debate.

After you identify the ideal perspectives for a dynamic session, you can start seeking out the right people to represent them. Look beyond the most-quoted experts or most frequent conference speakers. Digging deeper within a field will yield new voices that will add to a compelling discussion.

5. Be transparent

The Net Impact network is vast, and each year we draw about 40% of our programming from our members. Beyond standard requests for a pithy title and description in our call for sessions, we ask how the speakers will contribute to a diverse learning environment. Asking this question underlines our commitment and yields pitches with an eye toward diversity of all kinds.

6. Keep moving forward

I’m proud of the changes we’ve made to the Net Impact Conference program, and that our speaker roster is now a more accurate reflection of our diverse network of change agents. But I know we can do better – we should continue increasing the number of people of color on the stage and in the audience at our event. And while I’ve focused on gender and racial diversity, we should also take bolder steps to welcome others to the dais, including those from the disability and LGBT communities.

We believe these shifts are important, and we hope these tips are useful to others who share our commitment.

About Jessica

Jessica is moving on from Net Impact this summer to start working on programming and partnerships for the Skoll World Forum. She still plans to attend the 2015 Net Impact Conference in Seattle this November, where she’ll finally be able to see the program through the eyes of an attendee. You can also find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Comments

It’s remarkable to visit this web site and reading the views of all mates concerning this It is my prideparagraph i much like this. Here is the complete list of indian Tv Dramas. Watch here.
Silsila Badalte Rishton Ka

We stumbled over here from a different web page andi much it thought
I might as well check things out.
Karan Sangini

Are you interested in watching philpini dramas. then are at right place. Here is the link for popular philpini TV Drama.
Ang probinsyano

Is this some workplace or a collection? It as hard to understand from either the pictures or the summary that was used listed below. In any case, the fastest web company interior design of the structure is so negating with the outsides. I wasn't expecting something so advanced inside. laws injury attorney

I, in fact, discovered this to negotiate informatics. it's miles what I was looking for.i would definitely succeeding to the lead taking the area with presently the young person wrap-up for supporting you that hold fascinated protect sharing such type of details. real estate construction

This is a really excellent site message. Few individuals would actually, the way you simply did. I am really impressed that there is a lot of info about this subject that has actually been uncovered as well as you've done your finest, with a lot of class. cleaning pest control

I really like this particular article.

FaceTime for PC Download

Thanks for the information. krogerfeedback

I, in truth, located this to negotiate informatics. it's miles what I was looking for.i would absolutely succeeding to the lead taking location through currently the child review for ideas you that hold entertained maintain sharing such sort of data. dui defense law

tempat menyewakan villa sewa villa puncak resort bermacam macam tipe dari sewa villa coolibah untuk robongan untuk acara keluarga maupun perorangansewa villa kota bunga untuk rombongan hargapun sangat murah sewa villa di kota bunga karna villa yang kami sewakan villa di kota bunga adalah villa pribadi villa kota bunga villa yang kami sewakan sewa villa kota bunga murah terdiri dari banyak tipe villa coolibah utama dari yang satu kamar villa coolibah sampai limabelas kamarsewa villa di coolibah sangat cocok untuk acara sewa villa coolibah acara liburansewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 13 anda dan keluarga anda sewa villa untuk rombongan di bukit danau villa yang kami sewakan sewa villa ada beberapa lokasi sewa villa di bukit danau di daerah puncak cisarua sewa villa bukit danau adapula di daerah cipanas villa bukit danau khusus ya di kota bunga Sewa villa joglo bukit danau di cooliba dan di bukit danau Sewa villa puncak juga ada di lokasi bougenvil satu villa puncak bugenvila dua berlokasi di jalan bukit danau hanjawar pacet cipanas cianjur cari villa murah www.villapuncakbukitdanau.com/ ajah…
sewa villa puncak resort
sewa villa puncak murah
villa puncak cendrawasih
villa di puncak cisarua
sewa villa murah
villa puncak bougenville
sewa villa coolibah untuk robongan
villa untuk rombongan
sewa villa kota bunga
villa kota bunga cipanas type alven
sewa villa di kota bunga
villa kota bunga type seruni
villa di kota bunga
villa kota bunga type katalia
villa kota bunga
sewa villa kota bunga murah
villa puncak coolibah
komplek villa coolibah
villa coolibah utama
sewa villa di puncak resort
villa coolibah murah
villa coolibah
sewa villa di coolibah
sewa villa bukit danau lot 14
sewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 13
sewa villa braja bukit danau
sewa villa untuk rombongan di bukit danau
sewa villa puncak bukit danau lot b 5 kamar
villa puncak bukit danau lot 5
villa bukit danau puncak
sewa villa bukit danau villa braja
sewa villa puncak bukit danau
sewa villa bukit danau lot a
sewa villa
sewa villa di bukit danau
sewa villa bukit danau
villa bukit danau
Sewa villa puncak
Sewa villa di puncak
https://sewavilapuncak.com

hey there this is really amazing information you shared here, shareit

Your sharing helps me a lot, thanks.
geometry dash

Pages

Jessica Fleuti

Popular Impact Articles

Subscribe to the blog

By email

By RSS