Speaker nominations for the 2020 3% Conference are closed.

Thanks for nominating so many amazing speakers this year! In the coming weeks, we'll be carefully evaluating each nominee and notifying our selected speakers by mid-July.

Photo of 3 Percent Conference stage in Chicago, 2019

The 2020 Annual 3% Conference

3% is coming to Atlanta, Georgia! The ninth annual event will be held at the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart on October 27-28. Adweek helped us share the news and tell the world why we chose Atlanta.

A few words about our theme: “The Future of Work”

Think of all the words you associate with work – office, boss, even salary. These aren’t the future of work – in fact, they’re about to become the past. The 2020 event will be two days of busting open the old guard and getting a peek over the clouds at the new.

A world where …

Teleworkers become commonplace
Pay transparency kills salary negotiations
Multigen is the new normal
Time mastery replaces time sheets
Routine tasks automate; rewarding tasks propagate

In this brave new world, culture is the new creativity. Because when workplaces better honor how people want to work, belonging and creativity explode.

If you are or know a speaker who is already inhabiting this brave new world, come share with the 3% Conference audience how it’s going. We also want to hear from companies in the “messy middle” of culture change, aware that the challenges of such deeply human work are a small price to pay for a glorious upside.

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 and previous events, 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.”

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.

Photo of speaker at the 3 Percent Conference in Chicago, 2019

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 or listen to you speaking.

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

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.

Photo of panel at 3 Percent Conference in Chicago, 2019

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 nominations are now closed. Speakers will be notified either way by mid-July.