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The Most Diverse Conference in the Blogosphere

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This post was inspired by a Lena West post over at Lip-Sticking. Lena approached me after the Mark Cuban keynote this year and asked about speaking in 2008. (I haven’t forgotten you Lena). In the post Lena ask:

Really, where are all the female web 2.0 rock stars?

Well a lot of them were on the stage at last year’s BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to tout our record on involving women and minority speakers at our inaugural event.

I must give Dave Taylor who served as our Education Director full credit for bringing this to my attention. Early on in planning the event he told me we needed to make a concerted effort to involve female speakers. Until that point it just wasn’t on my mind but as soon as he said it I knew he was right. If we really wanted to be attract the most diverse group of bloggers the world has ever seen, then we needed to consciously reach out and include women in the same way we were reaching out to dozens of communities like milbloggers, political bloggers, godbloggers, sportsbloggers, etc.

Like Lena and so many of you I have seen the same old boys club of speakers over and over again. Many of them are great, but hearing the same talk, or the same message from the same folks every couple of months gets old.

With that said, here is a list of great women who spoke at the first BlogWorld & New Media Expo last November:

Stephanie Agresta
Paula Berg
Toby Bloomberg
Sue Bohle
Butterfly Wife
Jennifer Cisney
Anna Creech
Jory Des Jardins
Maggie Koran Fox
Vanessa Fox –
Amy Gahran
Mary Katherine Ham
Lynne d Johnson
Rachelle Jones
Marjorie Kase
Kathie Legg
Carla Lois
Charlotte-Anne Lucas
Mary Jo Manzanares
Taylor Marsh
Jeralyn Merritt
Dawn Olsen
Wendy Piersal
Daniel Phung
Sarah
Robyn Tippins
Denise Wakeman
Debbie Weil
Leora Zellman

Charline Li was originally on the schedule but had to bow out due to a conflict and was replaced by her colleague Jeremiah Owyang. Leesa Barnes had a last minute conflict and was replaced by Jason Van Orden. Arianna Huffington was scheduled to give our second keynote but had a conflict.

You can add to that list at least a dozen other women that we approached to speak but were unable to attend for one reason or another. It turns out about 30% of our speakers were women. We didn’t have a particular number in mind just that we needed to make a concerted effort to include great female speakers.

I would argue there is no other event that even comes close to attracting the diversity of bloggers that we were able to draw to the first BlogWorld.

I remember reading an issue of Wired shortly before the show where they had this pull out map of the “blogosphere” with major bloggers from different communities being the planets and similar popular blogs in those communities depicted as moons.

I knew we had achieved our goal when I saw most of blogs in their blogosphere were attending or speaking at our show.

Our goal for 2008?…

reach even further and get even more communities to participate, hold their own meet ups during the event and draw an even more diverse group both as speakers and attendees. To that end if you know a great blogger / speaker who you would like to see but who never seems to get their moment in the spotlight, please let me know rick@blogworldexpo.com.


Feedback

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  • Barbara Rozgonyi, Wired PR Works

    Wanted to add two women speakers to the BlogWorld 2007 list: Rebecca Weeks and Liz Strauss.

    In the “Smart Ways to Monetize Your Blog” session, Rebecca informed us about the benefits of posting to Divine Caroline and participating in the Real Girls Media Network.

    Liz, who was not on the original program, stepped in at the last minute to fill in for Brian Clark in the “Producing Fun and Engaging Content” session. Watching Liz use her blog as an impromptu presentation backdrop was instructive and inspiring.

    See you in September!

  • Lena West

    Rick:

    I must agree that the diversity present at BWE last year was astounding.

    I found out about great people who really have something to contribute whom I never knew existed and that just would not have been possible at many conferences.

    Kudos to the BWE team for truly understanding that variety is the spice of life.

    And, don’t you worry…I’ve already followed-up with you in re: speaking at BWE 2008 in response to your comment over at Lipsticking. 😉

    Keep it up, dude!

    -Lena

  • Rick

    Thank you Barbara. I knew I was missing a couple others.
    I had a chance to speak with Liz at the E&E reception and am very much looking forward to her SOBCon this year.

    I honestly can not express how impressed I was/am with Rebecca Weeks. She is one smart lady. I hope she can return in 2008.

    Lena,

    Thank you for the kind words 8). Looking forward to speaking with you soon about 2008.

  • Andrew Riley

    “I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to tout our record on involving women and minority speakers at our inaugural event.”

    But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it wasn’t even an issue and we were all just people.

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