Nominate a Speaker for the 2018 3% Conference

Please read the information below about how we choose speakers so you understand what we're looking for. Speaker submissions for the 2018 3% Conference are now closed.

Bonnie Wan speaks to Emerging Creatives

How do we choose speakers for The 3% Conference?

Many conferences take lumps for having all male lineups (or very few women). The 3% Conference has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to amazing female speakers. Every year we have to turn down very qualified, really exceptional women because so many women know about and support our mission. We state this because many people assume that any female creative director they know belongs on our stage. Yet our criteria for agenda setting is far more nuanced than that.

Here’s how we decide who ends up in our lineup:

1. Speaker has expertise on a subject matter we’re addressing.

Our event starts with content. We pay close attention to the exit surveys from last year’s conference, listening for what our attendees valued most and for what topics they want to see addressed going forward. Once we determine the “what” (ideas for various sessions), we start the hunt for the “who.” This typically starts about 8 months before the next conference (yes, we plan early). For 2018, the theme will be "Bring It" and will provide far more opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. This will include more Q&As, more live mentorship, more interactive sessions. The theme also refers to bringing colleagues who might be new to the 3% Community, especially men.

2. Speaker has familiarity with our community.

We give preference to speakers who have been to our events and understand the special kind of magic we’re after. Bonus points to attendees who follow up with specific ideas for session topics and their role in making it happen.

Emerging Creatives hear from experts.

3. Speaker combines a unique point of view with stage presence.

There are a lot of very smart people in the world who aren’t particularly watchable on stage. We look for speakers who are both. You needn’t be showy or dramatic, but it helps if you think well on your feet and are comfortable in front of a crowd. That is why we ask for links to YouTube or other places where we can watch you speaking.

4. Speaker hasn’t spoken before at The 3% Conference.

This is the hardest one. We try not to repeat speakers year to year (with very few exceptions). The reason is this: part of our mission is to raise the visibility of exceptional women and enlightened men. If we repeat folks year to year, we subliminally signal that there’s a shortage on both fronts (which is not true). Plus, we risk turning away repeat attendees who come every year for a fresh perspective.

Now I Know on the Main Stage

5. Speaker is neither a woman, nor a Creative Director.

Many people falsely assume we’re only on the hunt for female CDs to put on our stage. Not true. We’re searching for amazing speakers who can help us inspire, educate and enlighten attendees. We aim to have men as 30%+ of our speakers and we also invite professors, authors, researchers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and other folks outside of advertising to share their thinking with us. Increasingly, client-side folks are lending their voices to our event – letting agencies know how deeply they value diversity in order to make better connections with their end consumers. And we model diversity in our speaker lineup: with 50% speakers of color, speakers of varying gender/sexual identities, old and young speakers.

Speaker submissions for the 2018 3% Conference are now closed.