A study released last November by event-software provider Bizzabo found that nearly 70 percent of professional event speakers are male. Help change that ratio by scheduling one of these five ceiling-shattering women who have overcome institutional and individual biases to accomplish their missions and open the door for the next generation.
5 Female Keynote Speakers to Consider for Your Next Corporate Event
Gloria Steinem has been one of the most visible symbols of the women's movement since the 1960s, and at 85 still brings the female-empowerment message. A writer, lecturer and political activist, she co-founded New York and Ms. magazines, where she remains a consulting editor. Her books include the best sellers Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions and Revolution From Within. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, in 2013. (646-227-4900; harrywalker.com)
Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University outside Boston, is a leader in both the civil and women's rights movements. Hill has effectively risen above the notoriety she endured when, in 1993, she testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while he was her supervisor at two federal organizations. Now on the forefront of women's rights, Hill is spearheading "Restoring the Vision," a project to revive awareness of Title IX, the crucial law mandating equal education and employment opportunities for women. (800-698-2536; allamericanspeakers.com)
Senator Tammy Duckworth
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) has some stories to tell. In November 2004, then a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, she lost both legs when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down. Duckworth vowed not to let this define her - and it has not. In 2016, she was elected to the U.S. Senate, after spending four years in the House of Representatives. While Duckworth can point to overcoming adversity and accomplishments such as being the first disabled woman to be elected to the House and the first member of Congress born in Thailand, she also can speak to the juggling skills she has needed as a working mom, as she is the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. (800-698-2536; allamericanspeakers.com)
Straight Ds in high school and college and close to two-dozen jobs by the time she turned 23 didn't deter Barbara Corcoran from going after what she wanted. Taking out a $1,000 loan to start the Corcoran Group and through hard work and a can-do spirit, she turned that loan into a $5 billion real estate company. Corcoran is now a go-to expert on business, real estate and more, currently serving an executive coach, the real estate contributor for NBC's Today Show and an investor/shark on ABC's Shark Tank. (860-687-1116; goodmanspeakers.com)
Most people know Erin Brockovich's name from the Oscar-winning film in which she was portrayed by fellow-famous female Julia Roberts, documenting her dogged investigation to uncover that toxic chromium 6 had leaked from a Pacific Gas & Electric compressor station into the groundwater in Hinkley, Calif., compromising the health of hundreds of people who lived in the area. Her work led to PG&E paying the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents. Today, as president of Brockovich Research & Consulting, she is involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide and is a sought-after speaker. (212-903-1400; wmespeakers.com)