Over the past weeks, we have seen the power of people banding together to bring about change. The current spotlight on systems of racism and injustice have made us all reflect on what we can do to take action against racism.
One way the event industry can step up is by bringing in more black keynote speakers and panelists. In her Harvard Business Review article, What It Will Take to Improve Diversity at Conferences, author Ruchika Tulshyan noted,
“There has been lots of talk in the past few years about all-male panels, fondly dubbed ‘manels,’ and why they are problematic. One study found 69% of professional speakers globally are male. However, less attention has been paid to how too many events also lack racial diversity. We know diversity in teams unlocks innovation and makes us smarter. So I’m routinely surprised at the reluctance of conference organizers to prioritize this.”
Prioritize is the key word. It’s easy to fall back on a list of familiar presenters. But in every field, there are minority speakers that may be a stronger choice to share their expertise with your audience. Just take a look at the Black is Tech Conference, AfroBiotech, and Black Writers on Tour.
Below you’ll see a list of 20 outstanding speakers from Cramer’s database who represent a wide range of expertise, perspectives, and experiences. That’s just a hint of the myriad of talent out there. It is necessary to have a diverse, inclusive roster at every type of conference. To move forward, we need to take a stand. Equality on stage is an action we in the event industry are uniquely positioned to make.
At Cramer, we have made a commitment to promoting diversity at events and always providing our clients with inclusive speaker and talent options. Please join us in doing what’s right. We have a literal platform to amplify the voices of people of color.
Let’s use it.
Leland Melvin is an engineer, educator, former NASA astronaut and former NFL wide receiver. He shares his stories of perseverance to inspire communities for lasting positive change.
Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments, a value-driven money management firm — and advocate for financial literacy and investor education. She is chair of the board for DreamWorks Animation, and chairman of After School Matters, providing Chicago teens with high quality out-of-school time programs.
Marlon C. Nichols
Marlon Nichols is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Cross Culture Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm with a focus on cultural investing (global trends and shifts in consumer behavior). Before founding CCV, Marlon was an investment director at Intel Capital where he completed his Kauffman Fellowship.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women. She is an economist, author and commentator who’s popular writings have appeared in USA Today, Black Issues in Higher Education, Ms. Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Progressive and many more.
Danny Wright combines a wealth of experience creating strategic partnerships for some of the industry’ most well-known starts. As a sales and business development executive, Mr. Wright has worked with Fortune 100 brands and media companies. He is currently the Chief Brand Officer at Adweek.
Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and coauthor of numerous New York Timesbestsellers. Currently, she hosts The Karen Hunter Show on SiriusXM. She was named one of the “Heavy Hundred” (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts In America) by industry bible Talkers Magazine all three years on the air.
Lauren deLisa Coleman
As a digi-cultural trend analyst, contributor to Forbes, author, speaker, and consultant, Lauren deLisa Coleman is a leading expert at deciphering and forecasting power trends and public sentiment within the intersection of pop culture and emerging tech and the impact of such on business and governance – with a unique focus on millennials.
President and CEO of The Tech Connection, the premier marketplace for purpose driven, diverse technical talent. On top of running her business, Melissa is the founder of the Black Tech Boston Meetup, a platform created to celebrate the impact of technology within African American communities. She previously served on the board for Youth Institute of Science and Technology and the Young Black Women’s Society.
Corey Thomas is the CEO of Rapid7, as well as Chairman of its board of directors. In 2018, he was elected to the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) board of directors and the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council. He also serves on the board of directors for LPL Financial, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, sitting on its audit and health care quality and affordability committees.
Janeen Uzzell is the Chief Operating Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation and works to evolve the organization’s operations to match the growing needs and goals of the organizations. She discusses all topics of tech including diversity in AI, finding one’s ‘tribe’ and more. Prior to the Foundation, she was the head of Women in Technology at General Electric (GE), where she worked with the company’s global CEOs to improve cultivate the number of women in technical roles.
Gabrielle Jordan, now age 19, is the owner of Jewlz of Jordan – a luxury jewerly business. She is the co-founder of the; a youth based online mentoring organization providing mentorship opportunities and educational resources for entrepreneurship and leadership development. Gabrielle Jordan has taken her experience in business and her passion for inspiring others to publish the nationally recognized and #1 Amazon Bestselling book.
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Solutionist and Race & Gender Empowerment Expert. She’s the author of the award-winning book, How Exceptional Black Women Lead and Founder & CEO of the Exceptional Leadership Institute, a global personal and professional development firm grounded in the notion that the best leadership is diverse leadership.
Named as one of 19 “Women who are leading the way” by The Huffington Post, Tifanny Dufu’s life’s work is inspiring leaders to step into their power. She is an author, a dynamic storytelling, and with fresh new perspectives, she explains what it means to be a leader in the world today.
Kirk McDonald is the Chief Business Officer at Xandr, the AT&T advertising and analytics company. McDonald’s commentary on key technology trends and the future of media have been published in leading industry and trade publications including WSJ, Huffington Post, and more.
Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles
Richardson and Miles are the hosts of the Knuckleheads podcast where they invite special guests, high-profile athletes, musicians, and entertainers to get brutally honest about everything from current events to untold stories from the golden era of sports and culture.
Tiffany R. Warren
Tiffany R. Warren is the founder of Adcolor, the premier organization and award show that celebrates and advocates diversity in the creative and technology industries. Her efforts have created an undisputed platform for inclusion for all marginalized groups.
Nichelle McCall Browne
Nichelle McCall Browne is the co-Founder of Bramework (her second start-up), helping small businesses create high quality blog posts in minutes. As a full-time entrepreneur for 10+ years, she gives tangible insights into how to be a successful entrepreneur.
Carla Harris is the Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. She is the first African American to join Morgan Stanley’s management committee and truly embodies a no-excuses persona. Named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” she energizes audiences with grace and humor as she gives wisdom known as “Carla’s Pearls”
Earvin Magic Johnson
Five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP, and 12-time NBA All-Star. He is the chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, working at the forefront of urban development. New York Times bestselling author offering detailed advice to businesses and entrepreneurs hoping to make a lasting impact on their communities.
Riana is a leader in food innovation, technology, and venture strategy. A biologist turned serial entrepreneur, Riana has developed high-growth, nationally recognized technology, and food businesses. She runs the exciting new food technology company, Journey Foods, bridging the intersection of food science, AI, and supply chains