Diversity helps make communities whole. We understand that. Over the past four years, we’ve been working hard to grow the Learn Inbound community as a diverse, welcoming and warm group for all participants. In the early days of Learn Inbound, we mistakenly associated diversity and inclusion with just our lineup of speakers, but lately, we’ve been making a conscious effort to ensure that this extends beyond our stage talent. From the volunteers who are part of our team and the people that attend our events to the speakers we select, we’re attempting to build a welcoming and inclusive group of digital marketers here in Ireland.

Typically, when people refer to ‘diversity’ they mean it to be, misleadingly so, synonymous with women who are commonly the largest group ill represented at tech conferences. However, they are not the only group. The following is not an exhaustive list, but it aptly highlights some of the more common examples that should be considered when we talk about ‘diversity’. If we have missed a category then do please let us know – we’re happy to update this list.

Gender
(women, genderqueer, agender, non-gender conforming)
Biological sex
(transgender, intersex)
Sexuality
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual, asexual)
Relationship orientation
(polyamorous, open)
Race and Ethnicity Nationality, country/region of origin
(country of personal or familial origin)
Citizenship status
(immigrant/documentation status)
Language
(people whose first language is not English)
Physical appearance
(height, weight, shape, hereditary disfigurement/injury etc.)
Religion
(Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism etc.)
Chronic disease
(diabetes, cancer, Crohn’s, epilepsy, migraines, allergies etc.)
Mental illness or disorder
(schizophrenia, depression, eating disorder, addiction etc.)
Physical disability
(impaired mobility, sight-/hearing-/sensory-impaired etc.)
Personal violence/trauma survivor
(abuse survivors)
Parental status
(you are or you have: biological/adopted/foster children, guardianship etc.)
Professional experience level
(unemployed, searching for work)
Education level
(level of formal education completed)
Dependent status
(you are or you have: children/elderly/immobilized)

While we have placed a large focus on improving gender balance in our speaking lineups and audience profile, it’s important to us going forward that we understand and recognise the various marginalised groups and the barriers and issues that prevent them from attending events such as ours.

Over the past 12 months, we have launched a number of initiatives to make our events more inclusive:

Event Safety: At last year’s full-day conference, we introduced a number of event safety initiatives to ensure our attendees felt safe and able to contact our team at any time. Each attendee was handed a wristband at the check-in desk that had a contact telephone number printed on them. This number gave attendees a direct line to a member of our team if they felt uncomfortable about another person’s behaviour. Thankfully, there were no reported incidents, but the wristbands help to reinforce the fact that any form of harassment at Learn Inbound will be dealt with immediately. Along with the wristbands, we introduced the ‘Ask Angela’ posters to the bathrooms in the event venue to allow attendees to discretely inform any member of staff about harassment taking place.

Free Meetups: We try to make our bigger events as affordable as possible, but feedback from our audience has highlighted the need for smaller, more accessible events that don’t charge an entry fee. Since we launched our ‘Pint-Sized Marketing‘ meetups in October 2016, we have welcomed over 800 people to our monthly events from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some of the people who have been in attendance so far include those searching for employment, people who have just recently moved to Dublin and are not comfortable speaking English, and students who are currently studying digital marketing.

Our Team: For some time, I have been the only person working full-time on Learn Inbound. In the build-up to each event, I typically would search for people to volunteer their time to help make an event run smoothly. It’s worth noting that as a white man who has lived in Ireland his whole life, my experience of tackling diversity and inclusion is limited, so when it came to our expanding our team, I wanted to look outside my own circle of friends. At the moment, our team spans multiple nationalities, and we’re currently searching for more people to volunteer their time to help build our community. Feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like to get involved.

Our Speakers: In the early days of Learn Inbound, gender balance was something we overlooked when we selected speakers. While we have made a number of improvements here, gender binarism is something we’re still guilty of when we analyse the speaker lineups for each of our events. These figures also ignore other underrepresented groups that are noted above. As we begin our 2019 selection process, we will be making a more conscious effort to extend diversity beyond just the sex of our speakers. As always, please feel free to get in touch with us to suggest any speakers you’d like to see on our stage.

Learn Inbound: Speaker Lineups

We Need Your Help

To improve diversity at Learn Inbound, we need your help to ensure we’re representing the digital marketing community as a whole. If you consider yourself a member of an underrepresented group then reach out to us by filling out the contact form below. We have a handful of discounted tickets available to welcome you to our upcoming two day conference in September.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and our team will be in touch shortly. We would love to hear from you.

Mark Scully

I'm Learn Inbound's co-founder, a geek and introvert at heart. When I'm not busying myself with inbound marketing, I'm relaxing with my Netflix account and a strong cup of coffee.

All articles by Mark Scully

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