End of November 2017, I attended a conference where I had applied as a speaker. I had a very relevant topic, and was disappointed not to be selected. Especially since topics with much less relevance were selected.
Of the 28 speakers, two were women. And both appeared on the second, smaller stage.
8 days later, I officially launched on a mission to bring more diversity to speaking stages by launching KeyNote, a directory of women speakers.
What I first thought would simply be a movement to bring more diversity to the heavily male-dominated speaking industry became much more significant than I had imagined.
As a fully volunteer-based, non-profit initiative, we’re doing our part to move the needle on gender equality. By making women more visible as inspirational thought-leaders, we are widening the pool of female role models. And in our training of next generations women speakers, we are training women to go on stage and speak up. This has a ripple effect in the rest of society, where women find their voices in business, academia, government – and, as one of our first speaking training graduates said: even at home.
Committing a substantial part of my time to the purpose of diversity and inclusion is extremely rewarding. Not just by surrounding myself with kick-ass women, who voice out their messages to make the world a better place – but also the satisfaction in discovering how easy it is to give women that little nudge to speak up.
Wherever you are in the world – if you want to join us on our mission to bring diversity to speaking stages, do contact us through WomenKeyNote.com
Mette Johansson is the Founder and Chair of Women KeyNote, a non-profit initiative under the Umbrella of PrimeTime.org.sg, on a mission to bring diversity to speaking stages. She has received multiple awards, including the Asian Women Icon award, and her company, MetaMind Training, received APAC insider’s “Best Leadership Development Company 2020”.
She is the author and co-author of 3 books, and is working on another three book projects. She regularly appears in media, including Singapore’s flagship paper The Straits Times and Harper’s Bazaar.
Born in Denmark, having lived in 11 countries, she today calls Singapore home.