What to expect in a keynote speaker? Be wary of self-styled heroes…

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 12 July 2018

Captivating and informative keynote speakers are hard to come by.

I had a dream a couple of weeks ago where someone came to me and said, “Be wary. Everyone wants to be a hero these days.”

And it’s true – just check the deluge of face to camera videos on social media where someone is bestowing their opinion on whatever today’s hot topic is, and those execs who are making it their business to be the pre-eminent ‘thought leaders’ of the day. Quite often these opinions are backed by little research, or sometimes even, experience.

Looks to me as though we are swimming in a sea of wannabe heroes.

Since taking over the role of curating AdNews events, I have tried to book keynote speakers who aren’t self-styled heroes, but have touches of a genuine hero about them - Visa’s Jac Phillips, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, and Cricket Australia’s Sarah Styles, for example. Each is doing incredible work in her field and has an amazing story to tell.

And so it comes to why we selected Dr Katie Spearritt, CEO of Diversity Partners, to deliver our opening keynote at the Melbourne Media + Marketing Summit on 25 July.

Katie appeared on my radar via her links with Future Women, the new digital platform aimed at professional women and female entrepreneurs headed by Nine’s digital content director Helen McCabe.

What interested me was her work in the field of diversity and unconscious bias and how she has 20 years of research in this area to deliver sound and thoughtful propositions for our industry.

Just as marketers and agencies have effectively deployed unconscious bias to influence buyer decisions, now’s the time to recognise and challenge unconscious biases and stereotypes that get in the way of diversity and inclusion progress.

Instead of taking to the stage and delivering a one-way speech to our audience, this will be an interactive presentation where the audience will take part in what will effectively be live-staged research.

We’re seeking to challenge our audience and deliver genuine take-aways that can be enacted upon across the business.

Come join us for this amazing opening to our event in Melbourne. I, for one, can’t wait.



Email Nicola at nicolariches@yaffa.com.au.

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