Volunteer-run Women Speakers Directory Aims to Change the Conference Space
USA, June 17, 2019. Singapore-based KeyNote Women Speakers Directory has officially launched in the United States. Serious Eats columnist, co-host of Heritage Radio Network Why Food? and S. Pellegrino Young Chef Finalist Jenny Dorsey; international speaker, author, and journalist Ruchika Tulshyan; and UNICEF Unite Orlando Founder Melody Garcia are among the first set of US speakers consisting of eight powerful women. The founding states are California, Washington, Utah, New York, and Florida where the speakers are based. Less than two years since KeyNote’s inception in December 2017, the directory now boasts of more than 50 women in its line-up with more women currently being vetted.
KeyNote was created to bring diversity to the speaking stages around the world. This is to counter the prevailing status quo in conferences and events. In 2016, Bloomberg reported that male speakers and male panels still dominate conferences in the US at a ratio of 2:1. That has not changed over the past two years with men still making up 68% of event speakers. The only exception according to a Bizzabo Gender Diversity & Inclusion Report were on education-focused events where female representation was 40% of the line-up.
Bringing women experts together enables KeyNote to reach out to event organisers with alternatives to the usual male sources. Its roster includes women from the Finance, Tech, Business, Marketing, Legal, and Health and Wellness industries with more currently being vetted. As opposed to other speaker bureaus, KeyNote is a purely volunteer-run, mission-driven initiative. It is a special program of Singapore-based PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association.
“At KeyNote, we’re convinced that the time is right for accelerating women’s empowerment. I see this as a huge opportunity to give women the confidence to speak on stages and make it easy for conference organizers to find inspiring female speakers. Studies show that diversity increases group intelligence. Meaning that having more women on stages is good for all of us,” said Mette Johansson, Chair of KeyNote Women Speakers Directory.
Aurelie Saada, President of PrimeTime highlighted the need for more diversity and inclusion, “We are proud of KeyNote’s progress in raising awareness and shrinking the gender gap at industry events and every sector through its various partnerships and activities.”
All the speakers in the directory are expected to give back to the community, for example through its Training Programme, now on its third cohort. The directory’s professional speakers train women pro-bono on the art and technique of public speaking, which had the positive effect of boosting their confidence in speaking up at home and in the workplace. A number of its graduates has since been invited to join the directory.
Despite the existence of other speaker bureaus in the country, Marian Bacol-Uba, US Chapter Lead, believes KeyNote can carve a place in the market. “USA KeyNote is different from other speaker bureaus because we are mission-driven, inclusive, and diverse. We focus on collaboration, community and empowering ourselves and each other.”
The other founding speakers of the US Chapter mirror the diversity of its Asian Head Office. The first set of speakers all have strong empowerment and diversity backgrounds.
Bacol-Uba is a TEDx Speaker, Conscious Business Coach, International Bestselling Author and the Founder of Thriver Lifestyle. Casey Halliley is a financial literacy expert and owner of Wealthology who motivates and inspires young students and professionals to take control of their personal finances so they can live the lives they want and deserve. Ruchika Tulshyan is an award-winning author, journalist, and keynote speaker, who advises organizations on diversity and inclusion strategy and communications through her company Candour. Jenny Dorsey is a professional chef, author, Serious Eats columnist, and artist specializing in multi-platform storytelling fusing food with social good. She leads a non-profit culinary production studio, Studio ATAO, aside from being the co-host of Why Food? podcast on Heritage Radio Network.
Meggie Palmer is the Founder of PepTalkHer. Stacy Bernal is a Speaker, Writer and Personal Development Coach. Melody Garcia is the Founder of UNICEF Unite Orlando, Multi-Media Global Influencer, Author, and Rebecca Cafiero, Founder of Elevate Your Life Project, Business and Branding Coach complete the initial list of speakers.
"Too often, I hear it's a "pipeline" problem – where people claim to be unable to find women leading as experts. That's what's so amazing about KeyNote. With this resource, there's literally no excuse to have homogeneous speakers at your events! In the long run, and with the incredible work done by KeyNote, I hope it will be completely normalized to see diversity in speakers and leaders across the globe," said Tulshyan who writes regularly for publications including Harvard Business Review, Forbes and The Seattle Times and had been in the Thinkers50 "On the Radar" list, a global community of influential management thinkers to watch.
KeyNote is the world’s leading directory of women speakers with the simple aim to bring more diversity to the world’s speaking stages. Founded in Singapore in 2017 as a special programme of Singapore’s PrimeTime Business and Professional Women's Association, KeyNote is non-profit, 100% volunteer-based. KeyNote runs purely on the effort of dozens of volunteers, who are inspired by how KeyNote and its speakers inspire the world. The listed female speakers have three things in common: being inspirational thought-leaders, supporting KeyNote’s mission, and commitment to the spirit of “giving” and paying forward. KeyNote’s mission of bringing diversity to stages around the world boils down to three areas of activities: RECOGNIZE existing accomplished female speakers; CONNECT MICE organizers to a body of diverse speakers; and DEVELOP the NextGen of inspirational female speakers. www.WomenKeyNote.com
PrimeTime is a registered non-profit with the Registry of Societies and is member of the Singapore Council for Women’s Organisations (SCWO) where its President serves as a board member. PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association provides a unique opportunity for women looking for a professional, social and community networking and learning experience in Singapore. PrimeTime members represent a wide spectrum of corporate and professional organisations, including entrepreneurs. PrimeTime’s activities and events are grouped in 3 key pillars: Professional and Personal Development, Social activities and Community Outreach activities. www.primetime.org.sg