I have always worked predominantly with women, whether it’s been the industries I’ve chosen or my natural inclination and trust of the fairer sex. I prefer it.
I have also long believed that women are better marketers.
When teaching Content Marketing, women just get ‘it’ faster – humility, empathy, trust and consistency. They get shit done and they do it right.
Here at CMA we are a 50% split. The quality of contribution across the board, not just by gender, but by industry is phenomenal. Our diverse and thriving community is bound together by a universal trust and understanding for one another.
It’s my job to ensure that all my members are represented within the community. I have a strong hold of influences that I take great encouragement from to ensure that happens. Mentioning only two of many; my business manager Vicky and my partner Cara – both of which are incredible business people in their own right.
Since we started our events in 2014 I’ve felt strongly about having balanced mix of men and women on our stages. We had four speakers at our first event: Zoe Griffin, Kate McQuillan, Colin Gray and Mark Pentleton.
We strive for a 50/50 balance. We don’t get it perfect every time, but working towards that balance is priority for us. That’s my job as a Curator, and I take it seriously.
My first intention with this article is to say thank you to all the incredible women who have shared their knowledge and power on the CMA stage, and who continue to inspire women and men all over the world with the work they do. I have shared them all with you right here.
Secondly, I want to answer the question: who is to blame for the lack of female speakers on stages? The answer is simple – it’s the curators and organisers. The only way to have more female speakers on stages across the world is for the curators to change their perspective and make better choices.
So, if you are in a position like myself – man or woman – you have a duty to ensure your stage is lit. No excuses.
But first, let’s showcase all the wonderful women that have shared their stories and expertise from the CMA stage.
Dear CMA women, thank you for all that you do…
Julie is an incredible teacher, business person and marketer. She spoke at CMA Live 2016 and at CMA Kick Off 2018 and has been working with CMA since the beginning.
Over the past 5 years Julie has transitioned from running a traditional photographer, to building an online business helping other photographers to be more successful.
- Website: togsinbusiness.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/julie-christie-220704b1
- Twitter: twitter.com/TogsInBusiness
— Yva Yorston (@contentboostuk) January 5, 2018
Denise is an amazing writer and CMA community member. She runs her own copy-editing and proof reading business and is the Marketing & PR Director for her professional body of peers.
She spoke at CMA Kick Off 2018 and is a CMA Award Winning Business Blogger.
- Website: denisecowleeditorial.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/denisecowle
- Twitter: twitter.com/dinnydaethat
— Anne Johnston ? (@Annejphotos) January 5, 2018
Zoe Griffin spoke at our very first CMA Live event (TCMA 2014), and was one of our very first ‘paid’ speakers. Zoe is the author of Get Rich Blogging, a columnist and fashion & celebrity blogger.
Zoe is a true example of what it takes to build a business that supports the life you want to live.
- Website: livelikeavip.com/
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/zoe-griffin-274bb99
- Twitter: twitter.com/livelikeavip
In 2016, whilst Vicky was still working full time and building up her own brand, she wrote and published 100 blogs in less that a year. Vicky won the CMA Outstanding Achievement award at CMA Kick Off 2017 and also spoke on the CMA stage that year.
Vicky has been, and continues to be, a huge motivational and inspirational voice to me, everyone in CMA and beyond.
- Website: milliesbeachhuts.co.uk and milliespetservices.co.uk
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/victoria-gunn-2450741
- Twitter: twitter.com/VickyJGunn
— Karen Slupinski (@kslups) January 6, 2017
Ann is an insightful and creative marketer and author. She was voted the best speaker at CMA Live 16 and is coming back 2 years later to be our Keynote Speaker at CMA Live 18.
There are only a handful of people that have had a significant impact on me as a marketer, and Ann continues to be an inspirational personal mentor & advisor.
— Alasdair McGill (@ali_mcgill) June 3, 2016
Pam absolutely rocks the stage. Her journey through CMA over the past 3 years has been an incredible feat. Pam’s entire workforce embrace and thrive through the principles of content marketing.
Her enthusiasm and determination has inspired many new members as they walk through the virtual doors of CMA.
- Website: livelifelovehair.co.uk
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/pam-laird
- Twitter: twitter.com/finandcohair
— Colinton Furniture (@ColintonFurn) June 9, 2017
Amy Landino (Schmittauer)
In 2016 our entire community was besotted by Amy’s Sexy Savvy Social YouTube channel. As a thriving entrepreneur using video as her main channel to connect with her audience, Amy is inspiring women (and men) all over the world.
We were very proud to have Amy open up CMA Live 16, which was her first international Keynote speech.
— Sara Mitchell (@Smitcheroo) June 2, 2016
I can still hear everyone chanting “there’s only one Laura Lucas!”…and don’t we know it!
Laura is a passionate entrepreneur with a higher purpose to serve and help others to be the best they can be.
- Website: thelauralucas.com/
- Facebook: facebook.com/laura.lucas.35912
- Instagram: instagram.com/thelauralucas/
— The App Man (@richardjeaton) June 3, 2016
Cara is a bold entrepreneur and she’s ready to take on the world. As a young woman growing up and working in the construction industry, Cara brings a refreshing and much needed new perspective for what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
Her first CMA stage performance was at CMA Live 17 an you’ll see more from Cara in the future as she develops her own message and brand.
- Website: gilliesandmackay.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/cara-mackay
- Twitter: twitter.com/NattyShedGirl
— Doug Kessler (@dougkessler) June 8, 2017
Sharon is one of the most determined and inspirational people I’ve ever met, and she’ll never give up fighting for what she believes in. With every emotionally crashing low and elating high, there’s a lesson to learn and to share with others.
Sharon brought tears to the eyes of the audience as she shared her story at CMA Live 17.
— Karen Reyburn (@karenlreyburn) June 8, 2017
Caroline knows what she wants and she works hard to get it. On the stage she is confident and commands the attention of everyone in the room.
Caroline has a clear purpose, and the focus and work ethic to make a big impact on the world.
- Website: socialgoodhq.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/carolinermckenna/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/socialgoodhq
— Gerry King i-netco (@wordpressgerry) June 2, 2016
I first heard of Kate via Marcus Sheridan’s podcast back in the early days. Kate was one of the first people I met that was truly crushing it with content marketing, and she continues to do so today.
Kate’s story of how she is growing Pet Sitters Ireland is phenomenal and massively inspirational.
- Website: petsittersireland.com/
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kate-mcquillan
- Twitter: twitter.com/PetSittersIre
— Amy (@Schmittastic) June 2, 2016
Janet has worked hard to not only create a unique brand but to also build a thriving audience of business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers.
On a daily basis I’m blown away by the engagement and interaction that Janet commands online and I expect Janet will become well known across the world.
At CMA Live 17 Janet brought her wealth of PR experience, inspirational stories and practical guidance and was one of the most talked about speakers over the two days.
— Coralie SAWRUK (@CoralieSawruk) June 9, 2017
Erika is powerful, intelligent and an incredible performer. I knew that when we chose Erika to be our Keynote Speaker at CMA Live 17 that we were going to be a part of something special.
Erika has a kind heart and accepts absolutely no bullshit. She made a massive impact on everyone in the room that day and I’ll never forget it.
— Julia Bramble (@JuliaBramble) June 8, 2017
Karen is kind, insightful and a successful entrepreneur and marketer.
She has a intrinsic desire to serve others and her personal story of niching her business and focusing only on one industry continues to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
Karen is returning to CMA Live 18 on 6th and 7th June 2018.
- Website: theprofitablefirm.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/karenlreyburn
- Twitter: twitter.com/karenlreyburn
— Emma Fox (@FreshFinancials) June 9, 2017
Danielle is incredibly smart, ambitious and confident and she was the highlight of CMA Live 17. She was our surprise guest, taking to the stage before her Dad’s Keynote session.
Danielle has a bright future ahead of her and I hope that one day in the future we’ll have her back on the stage sharing more of her story.
— Roger Edwards® (@Roger_Edwards) June 9, 2017
Karen has a bold brand and strong personality, and her talk at CMA Live 15 proved that business isn’t just about
The first time a speaker at CMA Live showed us how to be vulnerable and confident on the stage while sharing her personal journey.
— Caroline (@socialgoodhq) September 4, 2015
Immediately after graduating from university, Yva started her business journey and has just celebrated her first 6 years as an entrepreneur.
Her transparent talk at CMA Live 17 showcased how important it is to have the right people around you as you build and grow your business, because it’s not a simple straight line to success.
- Website: www.contentboost.co.uk
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/yvayorston
- Twitter: twitter.com/contentboostuk
— Colinton Furniture (@ColintonFurn) June 8, 2017
Future women speaking at CMA Live 18
We are excited to announce that there will be more incredible women speaking on the CMA Stage for the first time at CMA Live 18 on 6th & 7th June 2018 in Edinburgh.
Salma Jafri is a Video Content Strategist, YouTube Consultant and Speaker/Trainer. She helps entrepreneurs and brands build their online visibility through the power of video.
She is both YouTubeCertified, and Inbound Marketing Certified, placing her in the unique position to build a brand’s organic video marketing strategy.
Salma has worked with brands such as Deloitte, Elance/Upwork, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Dell’s Tech Page One. She was also the TeamLead for Google Business Groups for Women.
Salma speaks on international stages around the world, such as Hubspot’s annual conference INBOUND, Tech Forum Asia, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and more.
Amy Harrison is a copywriter, content trainer and owner of Write With Influence: an online resource that helps business owners write better marketing content faster and easier.
She is also the host (and many of the characters) of AmyTV: an online comedy sketch show about writing compelling business copy.
Jen Munro is the founder of ISSOS International, a company that designs, creates and operates international summer programs for 13-18 year olds from over 70 nationalities based at St Andrews, Cambridge and Yale Universities. ISSOS was launched in 2006 and catered to 51 students and now operates over three campuses catering to over 600 students every summer.
Jen has developed ISSOS to become the leading name in summer school education and is known as an educational entrepreneur.
Jen was invited to give a TEDx talk in the US on the principles behind what makes ISSOS so different, this has lead to Jen giving a number of talks on Values Led business and Values Led education.
Dear Curators, you are to blame for the lack of female speakers on stages
Like me, I’m sure you have been involved in debates and discussions on the issue of ‘finding female speakers’. These are the most popular excuses for not having more women on stages:
- Men are more forward, confident and better at promoting themselves and therefore get more opportunity than women
- If women promoted themselves more/better they’d get more opportunities
- There are more men than women
- It’s hard to find good female speakers
Here’s the hard truth for all curators: No one else has more responsibility for placing more women on stages than you.
You are the filter. You are the person that decides who gets to the stage and who doesn’t.
It’s your fault that there’s not more women on stages.
It’s your job as the curator to seek and find the talent. Once you’ve exhausted your closest network, it’s challenging to find and choose good male AND female speakers.
There are no excuses anymore.
Talent doesn’t always come knocking on your door, and it’s arrogant to think that it will.
To say that it’s ‘too difficult’, or that ‘you tried’, is essentially saying that you’re shit at your job.
To say that it’s ‘too difficult’, or that ‘you tried’, is essentially saying that you’re shit at your job.
The reason you can’t find good female speakers is because of you. Whether you know it or not,
- You have a closed mindset
- You are arrogant and egotistical
- You are playing too comfortable
- You aren’t willing to explore new and interesting speakers
- You don’t think it’s important enough
Let’s change this…
3 ways to find and select more female speakers for your stages
As I mentioned already, once you have exhausted your closest network, you need to be much more proactive to find the talent you are looking for – for both male and female speakers.
There are a few key activities that will help you to find more female speakers for your stages
1. Ask for specific introductions to female speakers
As soon as I started asking for introductions to female speakers, I was inundated with meetings and calls from women all over the world.
When you ask for help, people will help you. In turn, they get to help their friends out with more opportunities.
Make it clear to your network that you are looking for introductions to female speakers.
2. Scout for speakers and large conferences and events
Don’t simply go to conferences to learn something new, go to scout for speakers.
Deliberately go to sessions with speakers that you’ve never heard or seen before, and ask for recommendations from others.
Go out of your way to uncover talent at conferences.
3. Create your own public speaking and communications teaching programme
Back in 2014 I started working with Marcus Sheridan and in 2015 we launched our first World Class Communication event here in the UK.
Most of the speakers that have spoken from the CMA stage have graduated from the WCC programme.
Hosting a speaking teaching programme works at many levels:
- Providing educational opportunities to teach public speaking attracts new talent
- You can then cultivate and direct new talent to your stages
- The teaching increases confidence, which ultimately leads to a greater customer experience.
We all have to do better. We have the opportunity to make a difference.
Challenge yourself to choose more women for your stage. Make it a top priority for you and your team to get a 50/50 balance of men and women.
The Curator’s hold the key to change, so let’s work together to make better choices.
What can you do differently or better to select more female speakers for your stage?