You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

When we received the email for the upcoming Business Insider Ignition Conference, The Future of Media, it looked like time for GenderAvenger to spring into action. Six weeks out, the introductory email featured, in bold, 16 men and no women. Apparently the reason to attend this conference — intended “to explore where the media industry is headed” — was to be in the company of men. It seemed unbelievable, but there it was.

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If you managed to get to the email’s fourth paragraph you learned that four women would in fact be interviewees.

We plotted; we planned. We would launch a social media campaign and even buy a ticket or two the event in order to drum up some on-site use of the GenderAvenger Tally.

And then, we checked the website again, and, lo and behold, the array of speakers included 11 women out of 36, or just over 30%. Not great but not at the bottom of our scale.  

Where were these women a month ago?

The launch email could have featured the currently listed women, starting with the four buried in the original email. Were these women not important enough to mention in bold?

Not yet confirmed?

Not yet invited?

It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that first impressions count.

We do not want to hear, “it was just our preliminary list” or “in the end we had 11 women”. Event promoters need to think before they advertise. They need to ask what their advertised lineups say about who’s important to the conversation they are conducting.

As Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

And finally, to Business Insider, GenderAvenger will be checking back as the conference approaches, watching for new speakers… and we will ultimately check on the final agenda to see just how much women’s voices will be heard.