Sunday, April 19, 2009

11 speaker bureaus open doors for women

For many women focused on public speaking, half the battle is getting an invitation to speak. Getting women on the program at your community meeting, professional conference or annual gathering isn't as hard as it may seem. Even if you don't know of talented women speakers in your organization, you can consult with the vast number of women's speaker bureaus. Here's a compilation of 11 bureaus in 7 subject categories to get you started. Need more ideas? Ask the women's committee, a local university or state agency, or put out a call for submissions targeted to women speakers, to spread those opportunities around:
  1. Legal issues are covered by the American Bar Association's Women and Minority Speakers bureau is a national U.S. clearinghouse for continuing legal education speakers;

  2. For women in business, the Women's Leadership Exchange focuses on women speakers who can address business and entrepreneurial issues;

  3. Trainers, coaches and consultant speakers can be found at the Professional Woman Speakers Bureau and Outstanding Women Speakers both offer female coaches, trainers and consultants--the Professional bureau has a global team, while the Outstanding bureau focuses on U.S. and Canadian speakers;

  4. Looking for a celebrity speaker? Leading Authorities, a speaker agency, fielded a high-level team of women speakers for its Women on the World program in 2008, and the Nationwide Speakers Bureau offers a team of Women Making Headlines;

  5. For students, Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress that helps young people make their voices heard, offers a women's rights speakers bureau;

  6. In health, the Spirit of Women, a hospital network devoted to advancing women's health, offers a speakers bureau to support network members in their community outreach events, and accepts applications for new speakers, and the Society for Women's Health Research offers this team of women speakers on health issues;

  7. Statewide speakers bureaus also are a great resource. On women's issues, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women offers a team of speakers, and if estate planning, financial or investment advice for women is your topic, check out the Colorado Women's Estate Planning Council speakers bureau;.

Remember: If you don't know where to find women speakers for your next conference or event, that doesn't mean they don't exist. Start your search with these resources and ask for more recommendations.


Kate Perrin, PRofessional Solutions LLC said...

Good resources, but first organizers must be motivated to seek out women speakers. I have been surprised and disappointed at how often professional societies in which women are the majority don't make sure to include women on panels. Several times a year PRSA has panels that are all male (representing the media, PR people on how to demonstrate value, etc). Occasionally they try to balance it with a woman as moderator, but in a pink collar ghetto like PR how hard could it be to get women speakers and panelists?

Denise Graveline said...

I agree, Kate, absolutely--and thanks for adding a specific example from another industry. My hope is that this blog can raise awareness about how difficult it still is for women to get speaking engagements in many everyday settings, in hopes that those unmotivated program planners find themselves peppered with questions from their aware audience members!
And I welcome other suggestions in the comments about how women can help themselves get on the program.