Here at the FCDC, we are fans of ambitious folks with big, and scary, dreams. Not long ago, speaking at BrightonSEO was a fantasy for our founder, Chima Mmeje.
Today, she has spoken at the event twice.
At a lot of events, there is noticeably a lack of diversity in attendees and speakers. According to a study by EventMB, 35 to 40 percent of the events did not have any Black speakers on their panels in 2020.
There are not enough BIPOC people speaking at SEO events and we want to change that. We want to see more Black and Brown-skin people on the Brighton SEO stage, and other SEO event stages.
Why Diversity at Events is Important.
Diversity and inclusion at events, especially SEO events, is very important because:
- It enriches the audiences through shared experiences with different people. Thus, driving creativity and innovation at these events.
- It provides valuable opportunities for folks who can’t regularly access them.
- It brings about stimulating conversations on different topics.
How We Plan to Diversify SEO Events.
At the FCDC, we are very passionate about providing support and mentorship to BIPOC freelancers and professionals.
Mentorship gives folks looking to learn, confidence, support, and holds them accountable to their goals.
That’s why we’ve decided to launch The FCDC Speakers Mentorship Programme. The programme is aimed at opening up the event speaking scene to more BIPOC folks.
We want to start pairing first-time speakers to be mentored by a speaker who has experience conquering big stages and engaging large audiences.
These mentors can help first-timers to:
- Brainstorm ideas for their first talk
- Provide guidance on creating slides
- Look over the final slides to ensure it’s great
- Guide them on public speaking
- Be their biggest hype person when they need motivation
So far, we have paired 20 BIPOC people with experienced mentors to learn speaking skills that will help them build authority in the industry.
Some of these pairings include;
- Areej Abuali to mentor Roshni Shaikh who has big dreams of speaking at Inbound, Women in Tech SEO (WTS) Festival, and BrightonSEO someday.
- Andrew Cock-Starkey to mentor Sodiq Ajala who wants to speak at BrightonSEO.
- Miracle Inameti-Archibong will mentor Katherine Nwanorue who will like to speak at the Women in Tech SEO (WTS) Festival.
- Liam Quinn to mentor John Iwuozor who wants to speak at BrightonSEO.
- Hannah Butcher to mentor Ebere Jonathan who wants to speak at BrightonSEO.
So far the mentorship program is going great, one of our paired mentees, John Iwuozor said:,
“Had the first call with my mentor, Liam and before the end of the call, he was able to identify 4 amazing topics (to talk about in podcasts/events) for clueless me! We’re just about 2 weeks in but I already expect this mentorship to be great and yield amazing results in 2023.”
We are also thankful to everyone who has signed up as a speaker-mentor so far. It’s a big ask and you showed up.
How You Can Help.
Black people cannot attend many of these events due to a lack of funding to cover transport and accommodation. Another issue is the restrictive visa system in Africa affecting diversity at events.
To combat transportation and accommodation for black attendees, a special PayPal donation link has been created ahead of the next Brighton SEO in 2023.
100% of these funds will go towards providing transport, feeding, and accommodation for Black people who want to attend the next Brighton SEO but can’t afford it.
We’re appealing to everyone to make a minimum donation of 50 GBP every month (kindly donate more if you can) so we can get more Black people to Brighton SEO. Please donate here.
Alternatively, you can sponsor ONE Black person to attend Brighton SEO. If you’d like to do this, kindly reach out to Chima.
Diversity at SEO events is very important, because it produces a wide variety of opinions and conversations that make the events more interesting.
We also want to say a huge thank you, once again, to the mentors who are taking out time to offer guidance to first-time speakers.
However you choose to support us–by donating, sharing this article, or any other form of collaboration–we’re honored that you’re taking action to bring more visibility to BIPOC folks in SEO spaces.
Join us in diversifying the hallways of SEO conferences!
This article was edited by Temitayo Olofinlua
Passionate about content and diversity, Jadesola is a content writer. In her free time, with a cup of coffee in hand, she binges on reality shows.