12 Women We’d Love To See Speaking (or speaking more)


There aren’t enough women speaking in our industry.

There I said it. It’s what I believe even though the Twitter masses have angrily and repeatedly told me that I’m wrong, that there are “enough” women represented, and that what conferences are really missing are more SEOs with beards (thanks for that, BTW). However, I think those people are wrong. I also think if you’re one of the many SEO conference organizers out there it is actually your responsibility to seek out and encourage these women to come speak at your event. Not women for women’s sake, but women who are equally-talented, if not MORE talented, than the men already on the stage.

Yes, sometimes that means you have to do some homework and find them. Because when you don’t, you do us all a disservice.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some fantastic women who are already household names at the many conferences that take place a year. I started out in SEO listening to women like Jill Whalen, Christine Churchill, Anne Kennedy, Dana Todd and others take the stage. As the years have gone by, fiercely intelligent women like Sonia Simone, Joanna Lord, Cindy Krum, Pamela Lund, Jen Lopez, and others have made names for themselves on the concert circuit by continuing to deliver and impress each time they’re on stage.

But I still don’t think it’s enough.

Every time I see a conference line up that’s overly full of dudes, it grates on my nerves. Because that’s not what our industry looks like.  There are not nine dudes for every woman in this industry.  But that’s what you’re left to believe if you judge the image of our industry based on what our conferences look.

And that’s a load of crap.

I’m going to be attending several conferences over the next couple of months so I thought I’d create a list of some of the women I WISH I was going to see speaking. Some because they haven’t pitched (because they’re kind of busy working), others maybe just aren’t on the right radars, and some may have been passed over. However, if Outspoken Media was in charge, these are some of the woman faces we’d like to see speaking more.

1. Michelle Robbins

Michelle’s not a new face. You probably already know her. She’s the Director of Technology for Third Door Media where it’s her job to keep the boys in line and to keep sites like Marketing Land, Search Engine Land, Search Marketing Expo, Search Marketing Now & IMTCourses.com running smoothly. I was pretty stoked to see that Michelle will be speaking at Blueglass LA in April (which I can’t get to) and I hope to see her at more events. A lot more events. Because her brain, her insight, and her experience has made her my full-on industry girl crush. There are people who are smarter and then there are people who are scary smart.  Michelle is the latter.

2. Jane Copland

My bet is you know Jane, too, especially if you’ve been hanging around SEO for awhile. Jane spends most of her time under the radar these days where she prefers to work and get shit done than spend too much time on social media talking about herself. But that’s exactly what some of us wish she would do – talk. More. While Jane isn’t a stranger to the conference circuit, we’d love to see her speaking at more events and sharing her depth of knowledge. After her presentation at Pubcon Las Vegas, she’s also the favorite “girl crush” of one of the OSM team members based on that talk.

3. Julie Joyce

I’m kind of afraid of Julie. I’m not sure why and she’s done nothing to make me fearful, but I sort of hide whenever she’s in sight and pray she doesn’t see me. Because then I’d have to say hello. And I’d probably start rambling about how I think she’s really awesome and smart and how I really appreciate that about her. Julie is co-owner of Link Fish Media and also writes for Search Engine Land’s Link Week Column. When it comes to links, Julie knows how to get them – the good, the bad and even the ugly. While she’s also not a total stranger to the conference circuit, we’d love for her voice to get louder. Much louder.

4. Annie Cushing

As far as I’m concerned, Annie Cushing is a goddess and it’s a crime that she’s not speaking everywhere, always. This woman is an analytics powerhouse. Even better than that, she can explain complicated analytics goodness into terms and ideas that people even as dumb as me can understand. Even better than THAT is that she can do it while making uterus jokes and getting everyone to crack a smile. I haven’t seen her speaking at too many conferences, but that needs to change. And if you’re smart, you’ll get her to your event first. She works at Seer Interactive now. Go find her.

5. Dawn Wentzell

We loved Dawn when she worked for Outspoken Media as a rockin’ Senior Account Manager and we love her now that she’s at SpeakFeel doing awesome things with mobile and mobile apps. The girl knows her stuff and she’s smarter about mobile than way too many of the other speakers I’ve seen out there. I’ve watched videos of Dawn’s talks and I can tell you that I leave with more actionable information and insight about mobile than I do when I listen to way too many other speakers. If you’re running a session on mobile and how to integrate it properly, get Dawn.

6. Selena Narayanasamy

I won’t lie – I don’t know Selena that well. I’ve never seen her speak (but you can catch her at Blueglass LA) and I don’t have experience with her work. But what I do have experience with is the content that she puts out regularly as the Director of Strategy Development for Blueglass. And based on that, if I found out she was speaking on a panel, my butt would be there. She’s smart and she’s coming to get you.

7. Amanda Orson

Amanda Orson is Citadel grad with a number of her own affiliate properties and takes on local lead generation and affiliate publishing consulting gigs. When it comes to affiliate stuff, she’s one of the ladies we respect most here at Outspoken Media. When she’s NOT schooling people on affiliate marketing, she’s equally kickass spending her summers on a fishing boat in Alaska, fighting the proposed Pebble Mine or writing on her blog.

8. Sarah Carling

Sarah Carling is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Obsidian Edge. I had the privilege of hearing her speak while at PubCon Vegas and I’m hoping she decides to get more active in this little SEO speaking bubble because, well, she was pretty awesome. She’s another one that’s not only smart and can handle herself, but does it in a way that people relate to.

9. Etela Ivkovic

Etela is the Director General over at Dragon Search Marketing and could give you a run for your money talking about the finer points of SEO, social media, and how to provide value for clients as an SEO agency. But she can also school you talking about business and how to go about creating a culture of awesome. I’ve never heard Etela speak, but I’ve been really lucky to grab a moment of her time in corners of rooms and I am always left smarter for the conversation.

10. Erica McGilivray

Erica is the Community Attache for SEOmoz, as well as the President & Marketing Directory for GeekGirlCon. What all of that means is that Erica is just as nerdy as the rest of us. Personally, I’d love to hear her talk putting together events, setting up in-house e-commerce systems, and, really, what it’s like to manage that crazy Mozzer community. We keep hearing that SEOmoz is made up of kickass females – I’d like to start to see more of them!

11. Ruth Burr

I got “stuck” sitting next to Ruth during a dinner at SMX Advanced last year and it’s been straight-on girl crush ever since. She’s currently listed as the Senior Manager, Search Marketing at GameHouse and specializes in on-page optimization, content creation, and PPC. She lists herself as a “data-driven marketer” and that just makes my palms sweaty. We need more people talking about data and less people talking about social media disasters and made up statistics. Lets cancel a few of those sessions, and get people like Ruth talking about metrics and measuring.

12. Kristy Bolsinger

You probably already know the name Kristy Bolsinger. Kristy works as a Social Business Consultant for Ant’s Eye View and also writes some pretty top notch content over at SocialFresh, which is what has me so obsessed with hearing from her.  I’m a fan of Kristy’s because she talks about social in a smart way.  She talks about it in a way that complements SEO, isn’t overly fluffy, and doesn’t write it off as another “quick fix”.  She’s experienced, she’s personable, and, personally, I don’t think she gets enough attention for just how smart she is.

That’s twelve ladies. Does that mean that’s it?

No. Not by a long shot. But the twelve women listed above are all folks I’d pay to see speak – which is what conferences should be thinking about — and people who I’ve never seen speak at all or who I haven’t seen enough.  Some of them are probably top of mind, but others maybe aren’t. But if your goal is to put on a premier conference, I’d venture to say you don’t get to select from just who pitches or who you drink with at conferences. You have to uncover some rocks.  You have to do your home work.  Because the industry will be better for it when we paint a more accurate picture of who’s here and whose voices deserve to be heard.

There are PLENTY more woman out there who are doing awesome things in the SEO and technical side of the industry.  Who are some names YOU’RE dying to see up on that stage?  Leave them in the comments. I’d really like to hear them.

Your Comments

  • Selena Narayanasamy

    What a great list of amazing women. I follow the majority of them on Twitter (and stalk elsewhere when available) and they’re all extremely knowledgeable and awesome at what they do.

    I appreciate the shout out too! :)

  • Aussiewebmaster

    did not see Danielle on that list mate

  • Chris Winfield

    Interesting post :)

    I’m proud to have a 4 of these women speaking at BlueGlass LA (from both of your lists) and have had other really talented women in the past.

    “I also think if you’re one of the many SEO conference organizers out there it is actually your responsibility to seek out and encourage these women to come speak at your event.”

    This is why I think this is an interesting topic. There were only 5 people who said they couldn’t speak at BlueGlass LA (it’s an invite only show for speakers) and 3 of them were women….

    Personally, I don’t look at gender, race, hair (or lack thereof), beards, height, or anything else when making decisions about speakers. But as a company that has more women than men and as a family with the same (I am outnumbered by my wife and my daughter) I would love to see more women speakers at shows…

    Also, something to keep in mind, some people (male and female) just don’t like to speak at conferences (or in public). Isn’t public speaking the number one fear that people have? I would LOVE for my wife (who is one of the people who runs BlueGlass) to speak because she is fascinating and knows her stuff cold. But it’s not her thing. Different strokes for different folks.

    • Lisa Barone

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for jumping in. I may be alone in my opinion, but I think as a conference organizer (not just you, obviously) it’s your job to see gender, just the way it’s your job to see that all topics are being covered accurately and that different points of view are being addressed. It’s what goes into making a conference more well-rounded. That’s just my opinion, I’m interested to hear what other people believe, which was the impetus for this post.

      And of course, some people just prefer not to speak at shows. But that’s a human trait, not a gender trait.

      • Chris Winfield

        “not a gender trait.”

        Yep, that’s why I said both male & female, it’s definitely not something confined to gender, race or anything else :)

        BTW – a few others (aside from @daniellew) off the top of my head:

        * Kate Morris (@katemorris) is a really good speaker who does regularly speak at shows.

        * Kerry Jones (@kerryjonesftw) is someone I my team who kills it every time she presents (mostly internally or for clients) but I am hoping she gets out there more in the coming year.

        * Jennifer Stafford (@jennstafford) from HomeAway knows her stuff and is a very engaging person.

        * Monica Wright (@monicawright) is another that I’d like to see more of too.

        • Monica Wright

          Hey thanks for the mention Chris! Just came across this post on Facebook, there is a ton of great talent. It seems like there is quite a bit of discussion here in the comments (haven’t gone through them all yet,) but over the past few years, the women I’ve gotten to know on this list (and many others that aren’t) have played a very important supportive role professionally and personally. It’s been the sincerity and the experiences they’ve shared that’s propelled me forward. They all have the expertise, but it’s inspiration that motivates me.

      • Minchala

        “… it’s your job to see gender, just the way it’s your job to see that all topics are being covered accurately and that different points of view are being addressed.”
        If the event in question is a political event or journalism summit or something, 100% agreed.

        For an online marketing conference without a specific vertical/demographic bent, 100% disagreed. IMO, job 1 for the organizer is to make sure speakers give me something new/actionable/effective for me to implement in my day to day. That could come from anyone with any combination of wedding tackle. If they’re sourcing speakers via pitch process, I can certainly get on board with blind reads where no personally identifiable info (name & gender) is visible to selection committee. If speakers are invited, it’s likely just as difficult to claim no bias as it is to PROVE bias exists. Likely why a lot of these debates go in circles.

        All that said, i like the “project” of this post as it seems to take an active approach to addressing the issue (perceived, real – doesn’t matter what your take on it is). It definitely feels like you guys are putting your money where your mouth is as well as putting the ball in conference organizers court. Though I’m also curious how the ladies listed here feel about being volunteered for speaking invites/RFPs? Chris makes the point below that its just not part of everyone’s aspirations.

        I would like to see how this develops. Will conference organizers invite these (and other) ladies to speak? Will they accept? Will this post have the intended effect? I’m staying tuned. :-)

  • David Cohen

    I’d like to second the call for Etela Ivkovic to speak. I met her at Distilled’s last conference in NYC and she is wonderful. She spent an hour talking me through a complicated SEO issue, with no expectation of anything in return.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Rhea Drysdale

      David, thanks for speaking up in support of Etela. All of the women are amazing, but I also had a chance to speak with her at Searchlove and she is so giving of her knowledge and experience. Gotta love that quality regardless of who it sits with.

  • Michelle Robbins

    Thank you so much Lisa – I really am honored to be included amongst so many incredible women – most of whom I too have been fortunate to see speak and share their insights and knowledge. And coming from one of the women I most admire in this industry, inclusion in this list means that much more.

  • Kristi

    What a great list!

    I concur about Annie Cushing. I signed up for BlueGlass LA and was super excited to hear her speak and I was crushed to see her name taken off the list after she left BG. I am looking forward to all the other speakers though. :) It’s going to be a great conference.

    From your list above, I’ve seen most of the woman WRITE on the Internet and they are awesome, so I fully agree that we all need to RUN and hear them SPEAK sometime shortly. :)

    • Annie Cushing

      Aww, Kristi! I’m sorry I missed your comment earlier – and even more that you were disappointed by the change in direction with BlueGlass LA.

      We’ll meet up sometime this year. And when we do, I’ll give you a private lesson of anything you want to learn in Excel and/or GA.

  • Kristy Bolsinger

    Incredibly honored to be included on this list!! Even more so when I look at the rest of the amazingly talented and smart ladies. I’ve had the opportunity to see a couple of these women speak and they are indeed amazing. I’d consider our industry incredibly lucky to see them all on more conference rosters!

    Thank you again :)

  • Joanna Lord

    Its great to see this list. There are so many brilliant women in our industry and seeing them more on panels over the years has been exciting. I will say I’ve never personally felt held back or overlooked because I was a women. If anything at times I have felt backlash because it felt some people thought I was ONLY on the panel to have a woman up there and not because I could speak authoritatively on the topic. Its been an interesting ride at times.

    I’ve also had women come up and say “how, as a woman, did you get on this panel” and I find myself staring at them blankly (kind of wanting to smack them) and been like… well uhmmm I pitched?

    I too grew up in this industry listening to Jill, Dana, Vanessa Fox, and others and I remember thinking… I want to do that. I want to share my stories and help solve problems, I want to talk and brainstorm, and help other marketers. I made it a point to learn the trades of good public speaking. I took notes when the best men and women spoke, I took classes, I practiced and practiced… and in retrospect it was mainly because I never wanted to be up there “only” because I am a women. I assume this is partly why I’ve never been written up as “the only woman on the panel,” or for any other adjective other than those related to my knowledge.

    Okay that was a rant, but this is close to my heart in my ways. I think the women in this industry are some of the most brilliant I’ve come across in my life, and when I think about some of my best panels over the years the ones I’ve been on with Kate Morris def sit near the top. I want more of that in my career. I urge all the women of the industry to pitch, study public speaking, and just get after it. If they find themselves getting turned down because they are a woman, I urge them to publish that pitch rejection letter… I’d like to see how that goes over. ;)

    Thanks for writing this!

    • Kristy Bolsinger

      I think you bring up some really great points Joanna. I think there is definitely truth in the idea of taking charge and as trite as it sounds “being the change you want to see”. It’s one way to look at things that women are not chosen, it’s a completely different story when we say women never stood up!

      • Michelle Robbins

        Joanna & Kristy – I agree that where there are the opportunities to pitch, women should definitely do so. Happily, both SMX and Pubcon have open pitch processes – not all shows do however, and this is likely reflected on their final agendas. Some of the best speakers I’ve seen in the past year have been women that were unknown to this industry at large, but they pitched for an SMX show, made it onto the panel, and then rocked the session!

        I think women are putting themselves out there for consideration, are speaking up and sharing their knowledge – and posts like this go a long way to help not only bring attention to bright talent, but also to an issue that is definitely in play in the conference space.

    • Lisa Barone

      I’ve certainly never felt oppressed by the fact that I’m a woman and I don’t think that’s even the issue. Yeah, there’s a responsibility for women to pitch more, to go after those spots, and to get on those panels. But I really believe there’s also a responsibility on the conference organizers to do their part, as well, and go after people they’d like to see at their events – and that means doing an accurate job representing our industry. That’s your job when you decide to put together a conference. Sitting back and washing your hands of it saying “oh, well, no women pitched to speak” seems like a cop out to me.

      Take a look at the your conference. How many women are represented? What companies are all those women coming from?

      • Joanna Lord

        Im not saying the problem is that no women are pitching, I do think there are two sides to it though. For example I was asked to speak at BlueGlass and couldnt because of conflicting schedules. Then when their agenda went up they were ridiculed for not having enough women up there. I am just saying that sometimes when the final agenda comes out there are behind the scene factors and one of them (in my experience) is that women sometimes don’t pitch.

        For the record I absolutely agree it is the conference organizers responsibility to seek out passionate women leaders in their industries. We do that here at MozCon and I have had other conference organizers ping me asking for suggestions of women they might want to reach out to (all the time actually). I know we have a way to go, but in my experiences, I see us having come along way, and going good places in regards to conference gender representation equality. Thats just my two cents.

        • Lisa Barone

          Then when their agenda went up they were ridiculed for not having enough women up there.

          I’m going to assume that’s in reference to the Twitter conversation that broke out after I said something publicly. I don’t want to pick on Blueglass in this conversation because they run a good show and I like everyone involved. But if you look at the women speaking – all but two work for the company. I think that paints an interesting picture about the female talent in the industry. I guess they’ve all been scooped up by Blueglass. ;) I know that Chris Winfield said he asked other women and they said no and I don’t at all doubt that, but I think it’s unfortunate when the numbers play out the way they do. Not putting the blame on Blueglass, not putting the blame on the women who couldn’t make it to the event, not blaming women who don’t want to speak, it’s just an observation.

          I think women are as represented now as they were 6-7 years ago when I started attending conferences. That can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

          There are some great and very smart women mentioned in this post. I hope to see them speaking at more events, for those that would be interested.

          • Aussiewebmaster

            BlueGlass may just have some of the best women in the space working for them

            As marketers we should be aware of the gender differences purely on a conversion basis – the genders think differently and successful marketing takes that in to account… why are there women’s pics in the chat boxes of most financial services companies? it is what has shown to convert best

            we need insights in to this side of the market – given there are many more guys in the space

          • Michelle Robbins

            Oh, I should add, I’m not speaking at BlueGlass, I was asked to moderate the session – no presentation, just wrangling of the guys on the session – Joost and Norcross. I will miss seeing you there!

  • Shawn Collins

    Lisa –

    Regarding your comment, “…I think as a conference organizer it’s your job to see gender, just the way it’s your job to see that all topics are being covered accurately and that different points of view are being addressed…”, I am curious if you hold the same position when it comes to race?

    I see having coverage of topics a far different discussion than the ratios of speakers by gender or any other parameter.

    When it comes to speakers for Affiliate Summit, we have a public vote, as well as a vote from our advisory board to select speakers. The speakers submit proposals to us.

    I’d like to think all speakers receive votes based on their aptitude, knowledge, and experience, and not what they look like.

    • Lisa Barone

      I’d like to think all speakers receive votes based on their aptitude, knowledge, and experience, and not what they look like.

      Sure, and I’d love to eat nothing but ice cream all day and not become unhealthy. But that doesn’t happen. So until it does, I have to do things on my end to help balance the scale (no pun intended).

      I spend A LOT of time attending conferences during a given year. I can tell you that people are not being given spots based on their “aptitude, knowledge and experience” alone.

      • Shawn Collins

        Certainly there is no perfect system, but that’s what we strive for with crowdsourcing.

        I’ve checked periodically over the years, as I see complaints about gender representation at conferences, and I’ve consistently found that the percentage of female speakers at our shows outnumbers the percentage of speaker proposals from females.

        Here is a post about it from a while back: http://www.affiliatesummit.com/women-speakers-at-affiliate-summit/

        And so with my previous question, should race also be a factor?

        • Ben Cook

          Unfortunately crowdsourcing doesn’t always take into account the talent of a speaker, relying instead on the person’s popularity.

          Just because a person is a popular blogger or whatever, doesn’t mean they’ll be good speakers. Unless the voters have all heard the person speak, they’re very likely just voting on who they like as a person or whoever asked for their vote.

          • Shawn Collins

            Yes Ben, of course – that is why we also have our advisory board voting to counter balance things, and we closely monitor attempts to stuff the ballot box.

            An additional factor that we employ is to solicit feedback at the actual sessions, as well as online after the show. When we get negative comments on speakers, whether it be over outdated information, pitching from the stage, etc., we don’t allow them back.

            Many people have learned that I have no friends when it comes to speaker selection or writer selection for our magazine. I am solely concerned about the quality of speakers, and when we have dissatisfied attendees, it keeps me up at night.

    • Amanda

      Firstly, thanks for the kind words OSM.

      Second- and speaking to Shawn’s point above- I think the crowdsourcing model has been working well thus far. I cannot speak to PubCon, SEOMoz or the like as I’m not an attendee… but Shawn and Missy have a pretty wide breadth of interests to cover and for that reason alone crowdsourcing seems logical. It’s difficult to ascertain who is at the head of what niche or subniche from year to year, nevermind semiannually.

      I can also say Shawn has solicited me on more than one occasion to become a more active participant in the wider Affiliate Summit community through writing or starting a group here in Philadelphia.

      My lack of involvement is my choice alone, not a product of lack of opportunity.

      (It is difficult to discuss actionable information in the affiliate marketing space without feeding your competition and diminishing your own ROI.)

  • Pam

    Are you speaking again this year at some of your conferences? I bet you are on other SEO companies lists of speakers they wish to hear more of!

  • Todd Lohenry

    Nilofer Merchant is one of my favorite speakers. Find her at http://nilofermerchant.com. Here’s one of her Ted Talks; http://nilofermerchant.com/2011/06/21/tedxembarcadero/

  • Lisa Williams

    Amen to that! Eight years ago I wrote a passionate plea and challenge to Danny Sullivan about having more women speakers and in true fair, journalist fashion he informed me that A) There weren’t that many pitches from women and B) Those pitches needed to be more compelling and case-study driven. To sum up, the spot is going to the most compelling pitch. Issue isn’t opportunity, it’s taking the opportunity. Pioneers in the online space are early adopters and aren’t afraid to pound their chests. They recognize that perfection is less important than delivering and knowing everything is less important than sharing what you DO know to create results. Read the About sections of blogs or Twitter profiles for men and women. Men are far more likely to categorize themselves as Experts or Gurus than women. As a woman in the space for 16 years I still feel like the more I know the more I recognize what I don’t know. These ladies (awesome list by the way!) have a lot to share and I look forward to hearing more from them. Anne Kennedy has been the best mentor through leading by example and by sharing her enormous support to me and many other women in the industry. Best thing we can do is be supportive of each other and encourage and model leadership roles. This article is a great effort in that direction, thank you Lisa!

  • Elisa

    I work at a search marketing company and I’m also a poet, and I’ve been fighting this same fight in the creative writing world for years. Even in that world, which is not dominated by men like some fields (such as math or engineering), you see men taking home more awards, speaking more at conferences, getting more review space in magazines, and so on.

    I agree with you that organizers (and, similarly, people who curate content or hire writers for group blogs, and hiring managers in general) should aim for diversity. If you go to conferences and you see only men, you could easily start to think that only men work in the industry or only men have something valuable to say. If you run a conference and you don’t really believe that, you should take an active part in trying to change those assumptions and perceptions.

  • Ben Cook

    While we’ve had this conversation a couple of different times, there’s a good level of conversation going on here & it’s much easier to discuss the topic in more than 140 character clips.

    I would prefer conference organizers seek out the best quality speakers regardless of gender, race, or any other categorization one might come up with. The only thing I care about is whether the speaker knows the information & can present it in an interesting or compelling fashion.

    I’ve listened to several of the women on your list and they are very good speakers so I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing from them more often. However, I don’t want to hear them speak more often due to the fact that they’re women.

    If you only seek out quality, and don’t consider race or gender the ratio might wind up skewed one way or the other for any given event based on schedule or availability. I don’t think that’s a problem or something that needs to be “fixed.”

    What does need to be fixed is inviting speakers based on who the organizer is friends with, who can get enough friends to vote for them, or who’s a big name in the industry without factoring their ability as a speaker.

    I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but there are a LOT of speakers that get invited to speak time and time again despite being absolutely HORRIBLE speakers.

    THAT is an issue that needs to be corrected. The more focus we put on quality, the more women like the ones on this list will get chances to speak.

    • James

      It’s called prejudice for a reason.

      When a conference organiser pre-judges the quality of a pitch, either consciously or unconsciously, due to the gender/race of the speaker etc, you aren’t getting the best speakers and the best sessions – you’re getting the best speakers and the best sessions as filtered by the conference organiser’s unconscious (and sometimes conscious) biases. To suggest otherwise is to ignore human psychology.

  • Rhea Drysdale

    Without outing anyone, I have been told by a certain conference that I performed as well as a female speaker could. (this is when my jaw dropped)

    The data is not statistically significant, but that conference found that women score below men consistently and “celeb SEOs” perform better regardless of the content they present on. That insight sparked this fire in Outspoken Media. It merits a discussion, which I’m personally excited to see happening.

    Gender, race or sexual orientation. We have biases. It’s interesting to know that women are often the individuals who rate other women below men (not men!). I believe that conscience effort still needs to be made to SHOW our industry and children an equal representation of gender and race.

    Favorite quote: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marian Wright Edelman

    More food for thought from studies done on blind auditions for orchestras:

    Using data from the audition records, the researchers found that blind auditions increased the probability that a woman would advance from preliminary rounds by 50 percent. The likelihood of a woman’s ultimate selection is increased several fold, although the competition is extremely difficult and the chance of success still low.

    As a result, blind auditions have had a significant impact on the face of symphony orchestras. About 10 percent of orchestra members were female around 1970, compared to about 35 percent in the mid-1990s. Rouse and Goldin attribute about 30 percent of this gain to the advent of blind auditions.

    • Aussiewebmaster

      if there were equal numbers who would stay home and have the babies :)

    • Ben Cook

      Rhea, do you mean scoring based on audience feedback? From what I can tell most conferences either don’t ask for audience feedback, or don’t act on it. I’ve regularly asked for any feedback the audience provided on my presentations & have yet to get ANY feedback from ANY of the conferences I’ve spoken at.

      • Michelle Robbins

        @skittzo – I don’t think you’ve ever been to an SMX show (feel free to correct me on that though!) We ask attendees for feedback on sessions, speakers, moderators and the show itself – during *every* session of our show. We provide URLs to the surveys in the conference guide, on the slides that show before and after each session, as well as make announcements about it during the sessions. A few days after the show, we also email all attendees asking them to come back and complete a survey. We thus have data about our speakers and how they are rated as a result. We provide this feedback to speakers on request. I cannot speak for other shows, of course.

        I should add – it was *not* SMX that provided Rhea the feedback she reported in her comments.

        • Rhea

          Michelle – it was not and I do appreciate the feedback SMX provides.

          Skitzzo – you’re right, most don’t provide this information in a well-formatted and reliable well. The conference I attended did and they were just as concerned by those findings. That’s te interesting part. It has nothing to do with which conference or which speakers or how those speakers are measured. In my opinion it’s a bigger issue that will still take generations to fix. Many of us do that by breaking stereotypes and giving a voice to inidividuals simply based on merit. That’s awesome and we want to see even more of that, but sometimes our gender and the other need a little reminder of that. On both sides, work needs to be done. :)

        • Ben Cook

          I haven’t been to or spoken at an SMX yet, although it’s good to hear that feedback plays an important role. If you don’t mind me asking, does the feedback determine who gets invited back/approved etc?

          The few conferences that I’ve been to or spoken at that DO ask for feedback, don’t seem to act on it or do anything with it, unfortunately.

          • Simon Heseltine

            I know that there are conferences beyond SMX that do look at the feedback and do take that into consideration when looking at who to invite back, and when looking at who shouldn’t be, but given that I don’t work for any of them, I’ll let them jump in here and talk about it. :)

            …and as for the topic in general, over the last 18 months I encouraged / cajoled / pushed 4 of my female colleagues to step out of their comfort zones and speak at search conferences, and I think they all did wonderful jobs. The challenge has been to get them to consider doing it again.

            I’m sure you won’t mind if I put a plug for toastmasters.org in here. It’s a great org that encourages and helps people to improve their speaking skills. If someone, female or male, is reticent about public speaking , they can absolutely help you out.

          • Michelle Robbins

            Ben – yes, the feedback is evaluated and taken into consideration. It would not serve us, our attendees or the growth of our business to continually put poorly rated, low quality speakers on our stages :)

            But as I mentioned, and Danny mentioned in his comment below – we do strive for diversity of perspective on topics – thus our open pitch process. We don’t have an invite only/hand picked policy. We don’t limit discussion to just one or two speakers. We think the field is broad, the tactics successfully used vary, and the markets served (thus data that can be presented) diverse. So having multiple perspectives, and diversity of information presented is our primary goal.

            Our conference chairs and session coordinators do a thorough job of vetting speakers, pitches, and then preparing for the session. A tremendous amount time and preparation goes into our agendas and sessions. We don’t do this as a side project, to sell tools, consulting, or for client acquisition. This is one of our primary businesses, and as with all our business units (Search Engine Land, Marketing Land & Search Marketing Now) – the content is our focus. When we provide quality content, our businesses grow . Thus overall, we really do not get a lot of negative feedback on our speakers. There are always outliers – but when speakers are negatively rated, it is noted, and you’re not likely to see repeat offenders.

    • Amanda

      >>”performed as well as a female speaker could”

      That is… horrible. I like to hope this industry, being so fraught with evolution and change and- thus- demanding intelligent, autodidactic individuals… isn’t actually that stuck.

      Women are ruthless. And, sadly, this reputation precedes us. See Why are women so critical of other women?

      This post has actually given me something to brood over this evening. It is not enough to be a part of the conversation, clearly there is no lack of women represented in blogs and on Twitter. But more talented women taking stage at conferences? Yeah. We could use new blood and fresh perspectives regardless of gender.

      What I largely disagree with, though, is that this is the failing of the conference creators. In my admittedly tangential experience, that has not been the case.

      What is needed is more women to step up and be, well, outspoken.

  • Jenny Halasz

    I’m really happy to have been chosen to speak at SES NY this year (my first time at SES speaking under my own name) and I’m going to do my best to impress everyone enough that I’ll make your list next year. I have to say, it warms my heart to see that there are a lot more women in the industry than there used to be (@lisabarone included), but sometimes the speaking circuit still feels like the old boys’ club. Kudos to you, Lisa, for shining a light on this topic!

  • Annie Cushing

    Thanks, Lisa, for the mention and endorsement. Much appreciated.

    I can totally picture the scenario @Rhea mentioned and experienced something very similar myself. I think, in time, the misogynists in the industry out themselves and make their prejudices apparent to all. You almost feel embarrassed for them as they hand out invitations to join in their celebrations of themselves.

    • Rhea

      To be fair, the individual and conference that shared this information was incredibly kind and just a concerned by the speaker feedback. It’s an important question to ask ourselves though — regardless of who speaks, why do women rate lower? I’d love to see conferences standardize and pool speaker feedback for a larger data set. I’m sure that’s an impossible wish, but it’d be interesting to see those results versus anecdotal evidence.

  • Lydia Fabry

    I appreciate this article and totally agree that many of the women listed have incredibly valuable bits of information from which the conferences would benefit. I know that I, in particular, just have to learn how to “reach out” more (in terms of a better online voice, blogs, training materials, videos, submit good speaking proposals, etc). It is hard, when you are working, to find the time for some of these extras. I don’t mind being the voice behind what is reflected on client websites and their online properties as they succeed. But, there are times when I wish I could do more in terms of sharing knowledge – and not just because I’m a woman, but because I can have a lot to say/share about industry topics – Lisa knows that [waves hello]!

  • Dana Lookadoo

    I could not agree more! I know at least 10 of this powerful dozen women, and they have a unique ability to explain things in ways that are understandable.

    Amazed by what someone said to Rhea… That she “performed as well as a female speaker could?” REALLY????

    Let’s put Outspoken Media in charge of putting together conferences! How about an all-women’s speaking conference with guys as the moderators?

    • Rhea Drysdale

      Just to reiterate, the conference that said that has been very pro-active in understanding what it means and trying to think critically about how to fix it and if it’s even possible to fix at their level. When and if the time comes to announce statistically sound findings, they’ve also mentioned running those past us first. You know, because we’re awesome and super smart ladies! I think they’re a big part of the solution, not the problem, they just had the balls (or ovaries?) to say it. :)

  • Jane Copland

    Thanks for mentioning me in this. It’s much appreciated. I’ve spoken a couple of events in Europe since I moved here, but I agree that I’ve been quieter recently.

    The topic of the number of women speakers is a tricky one. I know I hijacked the discussion on female speakers at BlueGlass that you began on Twitter, and I apologise for that. You didn’t appear to begin that conversation in order to have it end up where it did: I saw you and Jen talking about it, and I was reminded of an event that is particularly female-negative in its portrayal of women as sexual conference assessories, and one that has never had a female speaker. Also, one that is *heavily* promoted in comparison to its size, at least over here. Since BlueGlass send folks to that every year, the discussion combining women in the industry prompted me to speak. Enough, in fact, that I published a post that had sat in my drafts for twelve months.

    The numbers thing. I feel this is difficult. Numbers imply that there might be an optimal number. Something to constitute “enough.” But what if there were a number for “too many?” I feel that these numbers can be distracting. The more important thing, in my opinion, is how we’re are treated. How our opinions are valued. Whether what we are, who we are or what we do is given attention for the right reasons.

    I’ve written a fair but already about some of the avert, negative treatment some of us have had at search events.

    But more recently, I’ve been treated to stories about how some folks see us or speak about us. Some of it is truly awful. There could be many more women speaking at search conferences, but I’d some of the things I’ve been privvy to recently really have gone on, there is no equality. There is no respect, at least from a collection of folks. You, me and several other women in this thread have been spoken about as “targets” and goals. As soon as several of these people found out that I was newly single in 2009, I was apparently on their list and was pestered for details of my relationship status. Knowing what I know now about their intentions, it makes me feel sick. People who we feel we should respect have said these things and engaged in this shit. And I had no idea.

    People have told me these stories since I wrote about some gender inequality problems our industry still faces. And this is why I feel that numbers are important, but they’re not the most important thing. What’s most important is that no matter how many women are at an SEO conference, they’re presented by management and treated by attendees as professionals. Professionally.

    I don’t know what the right answer to the number debate is. But it does seem that we have a way to go when it comes to treating female conference speakers and attendees in a manner that has everything to do with us being professionals and nothing to do with us being women.

    • Rhea Drysdale

      Jane, late comment, but just wanted to say that for the record, your stories scare me. Of course you aren’t alone in having them, which means you’re right–despite anyone’s protests, a serious problem still exists. I don’t think that problem has much to do with the conference line-ups, it’s a much bigger issue that probably speaks to how individuals were raised, their personal experiences and relationships, societal pressures for gender stereotypes, etc. Big problem stuff. In the meantime, we can simply continue to stack the deck with diverse, qualified speakers and treat each other respectfully without listening to or condoning the actions/words of others. Thanks as always for being a smart and vocal member of the industry.

  • Jane Copland

    *if, not I’d. Typing this on a mobile phone, as I’m currently on holiday and minus a laptop :)

  • Danny Sullivan

    I’ve always had women involved in the shows I program. I make a special effort to try and ensure the panels I organize include women, if I notice they seem male-heavy. I often remind other session coordinators to include women, as well.

    This is probably the third time I’ve seen this issue come up in the time I’ve been doing shows (over 10 years now). Each time it happens, I take a close look to see how we seem to be doing with our shows. Overall, I actually think we’re doing pretty well.

    This was my last write-up on the topic:

    The very first ever search conference, as I reminded in that piece, had one all-female session, one female-dominant session, one male-dominant session and one all-male session — of the sessions that I had direct control to program.

    The other two session depended on the reps that the search engines send. That’s something that often has to be considered when people look at this stuff. As a conference organizer, I don’t control who Google or Bing send.

    I’ve got two panels at our upcoming SMX West show on personalization that will be all male. I don’t control that makeup. Those are apparently the right people that Google and Bing have determined to send, and they’re both men. In other panels during the show, search engines have sent women.

    I went through our SMX West agenda, and here’s how the breakdown looks for the 50 editorial sessions I counted:

    • All-Male Sessions: 22 (44%)
    • Equal: 10 (20%)
    • Male-Dominant: 9 (18%)
    • Female-Dominant: 5 (10%)
    • All-Female 4 ( 8%)

    I’d sure like the all-male sessions to be more equal to the all-female sessions, definitely. We’ll look further at that. But the overall conference isn’t all-male.

    In fact, the all-male session figure would be greatly reduced if I counted the moderators, who are in most cases also the people who picked the speakers on those sessions. By the way, many of those all-male panels were selected by female session coordinators. Half our programming team is made up of women.

    You can also slice-and-dice the figures in other ways. What’s the actual speaking time being given? I have one “equal” panel of two men and two women, but one of the men is only participating in Q&A. So is it really a female-dominant panel?

    For me, the bigger issue if we’re talking diversity isn’t getting more women on panels. It’s been getting more people who aren’t white. There are plenty of talented people who aren’t white who could and should be speaking, but sessions – including ours – often feel pretty white.

    Of course, the biggest issue remains trying to find the best speakers overall. That’s what people want. And it’s really easy to sit back and say there should be more of X gender or X race so there’s diversity, but there’s also an issue of diversity in viewpoints on just how to approach search marketing overall.

    That’s also one reason we continue to stick with a pitch process and having multi-speaker panels, even though we’re in a climate of smaller conferences also pitching the idea of “invite only” or “solo speakers” as being advantage.

    As a conference organizer, I’m aiming for all types of diversity. I want gender diversity. I want racial diversity. I want diversity of viewpoints on search marketing topics (enterprise speakers, small business speakers, solo practitioners, brand-based speakers, etc). I want old school vets, and I want fresh new voices who are talented to get a chance to shine and help others by being on stage.

    I’ll keep working on all that. But I can’t say enough, it’s a huge help if people recommend others during a pitch process. We do an open call and allow anyone to suggest any session (and thus any speaker) before our shows. We can reach out more, but those who are really concerned on this topic can also reach out to us, too.

      • Aussiewebmaster

        are you asking for just one more woman on the SMX roster of speakers??

        we seem to overlook the numbers generally are reflective of the workforce in general

        don’t get me wrong – I seriously think the conferences would be far better if there were only women speakers -you are on average better organized and seem to put more in to the ppt – could be a reaction to male numbers I don’t know – could be the better creative side (may seem sexist but is mapped)

        Bravo Lisa for an angle destined to generate a heated debate – I will demand full equality for women at conferences when Michael Gray gets to speak at Mommy Bloggers

    • Rhea Drysdale

      Danny, a late reply, but thank you for taking the time to comment as you did and for updating the Daggle post. We also think SMX does a really good job of balancing gender even if the data shows that things aren’t completely equal. I assure you, SMX is way ahead of conference norms.

      It’s interesting to hear you mention the session pitch process, I haven’t personally given this enough TLC in the past. I think about placing myself (and by proxy, Outspoken Media) on the panels, but in taking greater control over the content, that’s a leadership shift that can help affect the change we want to see. It’s something I’ll think about more in the future and act on, thank you for the reminder. :)

  • James Norquay

    Well it is not just fantastic women which are not presenting it is also up and coming young SEO’s both males and females who miss out on presenting at conferences! This is because the people who run them 1. Give priority to people who pay their way in or 2. Have the same people presenting at every conference for the last 5 years with the same decks. This is evidently the case in the Australian market their is only so many times you can email conference organizers till you just give up.

    That been said another great female in SEO is Liza from Techalite in Perth Australia. http://www.techalite.com.au/about/

    She recently featured on my top 15 young SEO’s list,


    Kind Regards,

    James Norquay

    • Monica Wright

      Hi James,

      I can assure you that from the conferences and events that I have spoken at here in the US, the conference pass fee has always been waved. That’s part of the incentive to get our acts together to pitch. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

      • James Norquay

        US market is very different to the Australian market it is far more advanced from a conference point of view. I believe their are only a smaller number of people who run conferences down here. I guess it is more a case of people “requested for a specific person to speak” and “Building a brand for yourself” before you get the chance from what I have seen.

  • Lydia Fabry

    While I have never felt that the conference session “pitch” process is biased towards gender, I do sometimes see the same names over and over and wonder about the in-crowd elements that might play a part. I don’t submit often as work and schedules are so tight, but I do feel equality of gender should never play a part. Equality of knowledge should. So men or women, no matter the numbers , their knowledge base should come first. But if no one knows you, because you maybe don’t get “out there” like others do (and spend more time working in online spaces for your clients), then how do they know who you are based on your pitch?! It’s a good point Matt brings up, “if people recommend others during a pitch process” then maybe people who haven’t played a part in the circuit might have a better chance. Maybe there can be a field in the entry forms to include some names of people who might recommend you/your pitch. Maybe then Lisa might say “hey” back and remember her days of being a newb online!

  • Rob Woods

    I can only hope that Aussiewebmaster’s comments are poorly advised attempts at humor which don’t translate well in online comments. Since becoming the father of two girls I’ve become more aware of the challenges they still face being treated as equal to boys. On one hand I agree that it can seem hypocritical to have women’s only events when striving for “equal” treatment. On the other hand, men as a group don’t really get to claim that they aren’t being treated equally until we have actual equality. We’ve made progress, but we aren’t there yet.

    • Lisa Barone

      My guess is that Aussiewebmaster’s comments were attempts at humor, but that’s kind of the problem. They’re not funny. And they discourage women from stepping up because they don’t want to deal with the BS that’s tolerated. But that’s supposed to be okay.

      • Aussiewebmaster

        take them down – it was a poor attempt at humor

        I never look at a conference roster from any other viewpoint but the quality of the speakers – the gender thing does not enter the picture but then being a guy I have no idea of the other perspective

        I might have left the gender out of the title and let people draw the conclusion that women are not represented well – creating the divide guarantees controversy – when will someone post the low number of African American speakers or handicapped speakers

        do the women who attend the ladies dinners etc discuss getting more representation on panels?

        I thought the article was praising women speakers not we want more speaker spots

        and before I get more backlash here and on Twitter – I have helped more women get speaking spots than guys – and while being known for being a little wild – I treat all women in this space with respect

    • Jane Copland

      I’m going to guess that Aussiewebmaster’s comments were attempts at lightening the mood too, but it’s partially comments like this that stop people from saying anything. Whenever I’ve thought to speak out against objectification, sexism, poor behaviour, etc., in the past, I haven’t because I didn’t want to deal with the bullshit. Anything from a “wink wink, look who’s into her women’s lib” jokes, to “You’re a prude / troll” insults. It feels quite nice to have thrown that fear out.

      I’m not a fan of “women’s only” events, to be honest. The goal should be for us all to be equals in a shared environment, and for those shared environments to be safe. Having said this, I’ve never been to BlogHer or a similar event, so I can’t talk about its benefits at all.

      Michelle Robbins commented on my post this morning about some of the shocking behaviour she’s encountered at conferences. Sorry to link drop, Lisa, but I thought it was an eye-opening perspective from one of the industry’s leading women: http://janecopland.co.uk/2011/12/women-as-entertainment-in-the-seo-industry/#comment-1227

      Michelle did something about the way she was treated, but she makes the point that many attendees wouldn’t have. In a way many speakers might not have. And she talks about what happens when people see bad treatment happening, and do nothing. Fear of being belittled, insulted further, of “causing a scene” or of pissing off the wrong people is what keeps people silent. Silence breeds tolerance of terrible behaviour. And not wanting to bother with the bullshit has made me think twice about speaking at certain events in the past. “Ugh, I could just not. I really don’t want to deal with that…”

      For the most recent one, I went to the organiser and voiced my concerns about “the bullshit”, and I’m really glad I did. Good people will listen if we talk about it. Empowering people to be brave enough to speak out is the first step, however. This thread has been great for that.

      So, I nearly became one of the women who turned down a conference speaking place because I couldn’t be bothered dealing with some bullshit that I’d dealt with at that conference before, and that bullshit was directly tied to me being female. I talked about it however, which I wouldn’t have done back when I was more concerned with not making a scene.

      For God’s sake, I was too scared for a year to write about this sort of thing myself. It’s not a subject that’s ripe to be joked about at the moment. The five or six horrifying stories women have told me publicly and privately about their treatment at search conferences aren’t funny.

  • Danielle Winfield

    I rarely comment on blogs, (it’s been several years at least) so please indulge me as I find my way here. This will probably be a blog post in and of itself.

    I’ve worked in this industry for 12 years in some form or another throughout many stages. I’ve been an employee, a consultant, a small business owner, and now a partner in a mid-sized firm. I’ve worked in this industry as a single woman, a woman in a relationship, a wife, and now as a mother.

    I’ve worked exclusively from home, exclusively in the office, as a work from home mom, a full time working mom who works from an office exclusively, and now most recently a hybrid of that.

    I’ve attended conferences in most of those phases, and now am in the unique position of having a conference I am directly involved in producing.

    So here is my take on this discussion.

    Firstly, BlueGlass has been mentioned in a few of the comments here. When we program our conferences we start with a list of those we would ideally like to have speak with a general idea of the sessions we’d like to have. Then we go ahead and contact those speakers. Most of the time they say yes, and sometimes they say no. If a woman says no, do we all sit down and say, “A woman declined, now we need to approach another woman.”? No. Should we? I don’t think so. We continue on and contact the rest of those people on that list and add new names as the schedule takes shape.

    BlueGlass does not have an open pitch call. However, I’ve never known a member of the leadership group here to ignore an email, dm, message, phone call, etc. If you want to speak, if you have an idea, if you want something, go for it. Even if it’s not something that fits in with the immediate conference at hand, maybe it will for next time.

    Should we do better at making that known? Possibly, and it’s definitely food for thought.

    One thing that I can tell you, unequivocally, is that no member of BlueGlass whether management or anyone else is biased against women, or any other group for that matter.

    Secondly, the bigger sub-discussion about women being treated as equals and their objectification. I’ve attended many conferences throughout the years. I’ve not been subject to what I’ve seen described here, and for that I am grateful.

    I’ve seen a lot of “questionable” behavior from both men and women.

    I’ve seen men and women go to strip clubs together at conferences. I’ve been involved in conversations with women who have commented in this very thread, who have joked about women in the work place, and how difficult it can be. I’ve seen cliques, and bullying, from women against women. I’ve seen late night drunken flirting, fighting, and everything in between.

    Should women be objectified? No way. Should we get up in arms when we feel we haven’t been treated with respect?Absolutely.

    The part that turns me in circles when I try to figure it all out though, is that it truly is a tapestry. Pulling out one thread, and coming to conclusions about the larger picture is impossible to me. You can’t judge others without looking at yourself objectively and this is not a black and white issue. As I said above, I’ve been to plenty of conferences in all stages of my life and I fortunately have not been subjected to behavior that makes me feel threatened or treated less than professionally.

    While not listed up top I was mentioned in the comments, and as Chris said, I really have no desire to speak. That is for a number of reasons.

    1 – I don’t enjoy public speaking. I am somewhat of an introvert, and speaking isn’t a personal goal.

    2 – I would have really no relevance speaking at an SEO conference unless there was a panel on it that addressed operations. I would be much more excited to sit in a session and learn rather than speak about it. I have the privilege of working with what I believe to be some of the most brilliant people I have ever met (both male and female), and with that it would be impossible to not learn as I go along. But my day to day work does not involve hands on Internet Marketing. At our last BG conference the most meaningful panel to me personally was the one with Richard Zwicky and Melanie Mitchell (another woman I love watching present) about building teams.

    While the list above is really just terrific, and yes, I would feel privileged to see any of those ladies above speaking, do they want to? Have they attempted to speak somewhere and been turned down? I don’t subscribe to the idea that ANYONE is owed ANYTHING in this life. If you want something, go get it.

    I see this post as more of a call to these women to get themselves out there more, because you and others want to hear more from them, rather than it being up to only the conference organizers. As I said, I was mentioned in the comments, and this is my take.

    As a woman, there isn’t one thing I can point to that I’ve wanted to achieve whether personally or professionally, that I haven’t been able to because of my gender. Have I worked myself to the bone? Hell yes. Of course I have. But it’s not more than the men around me. It’s different sure, but not more.

    So, that’s my $.02.

    • Amanda Orson

      I see this post as more of a call to these women to get themselves out there more, because you and others want to hear more from them, rather than it being up to only the conference organizers.

      I cannot speak for the other women on this list, but as 1/12th, I agree with you wholeheartedly. As I commented above, it has never been for lack of opportunity that I have not spoken more. It has been my choice.

      That said, I do think more people (regardless of gender or minority status) should lead from the front in the industry. We all know there is a deep, wide breadth of knowledge from relatively anonymous members of our community not being shared in industry publications or conferences.

      We all stand to benefit by coaxing their unique perspectives and experience out of the woodwork.

      • Rhea Drysdale

        Pardon the late reply, finally catching up to all of the amazing comments!

        I agree with both Danielle and you about this not being a lack of opportunity, but rather a personal decision on the part of many women. As a professional, I submit my pitches, reach out to conference organizers, and get solicited to speak. I do what my job requires for exposure and personal marketing. Do I enjoy speaking? No, I’m pretty much terrified of it, but because I am the CEO of this agency, I have to be visible. I’m sure just as many men feel the same way, we’d all rather be at home on the couch with our families, but in the roles we have, we speak to feed those families.

        Amanda, the nature of the work you do doesn’t require a speaking gig, but you’re on this list because you know I think you’re awesome. You’re insanely smart, experienced and constantly share high-quality and interesting insight on your public accounts. I want to hear you speak. I also respect your decision not to because of the need for discretion with regard to competitive information. I’d wager most affiliates, especially really good affiliates, feel the same way. And if they’re speaking it’s going to be on best practices, not the latest, most profitable tactics. But if/when the time comes that you choose to speak, sign me up!

        Danielle, I’d personally LOVE to hear you talk operations and team development. Maybe that doesn’t inherently seem like a good fit for a conference, but I bet more people would be interested than you think. Ultimately, we’re all working with a team. Hiring, motivating, managing, and training that team is tough work. That could also be considered competitive or proprietary information, so definitely your call on sharing the lessons you’ve learned.

        On that note, I have an idea. Email to come. :)

  • Josepf J Haslam

    great list, agree whole heartily. I get to speak with Etela Ivkovic on a routine basis and I’d STILL PAY to see her speak. :) (Or even Tweet more than 3x a month) Also, loved hearing you speak at the #140ConfHV last August.

    Hmmm, the #140Conf is coming to #Montreal (dang I’m hashtagging a post…) on May 15th, 2012. Short drive up 87 to beautiful Montreal… Maybe Eta can drive up with you??? Seriously, would love to have you. Tweet out to @Milaspage @Josepf or @140ConfMTL and we’ll flip you back some links!

    — best Josepf

  • Aussiewebmaster

    here is my list

    Lauren Vaccarello
    Alicia Navarro
    Becky Naylor
    Barbara Boser
    Dani Horowitz
    Cindy Krum
    Lisa Barone
    Alyssa Milano
    Stephanie Cota
    Amy-Mae Elliott
    Rae Hoffman
    Brandy Shapiro-Babin