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I want to thank people for the criticism last week on social media. People weren’t happy when they saw our first picture of our speakers for our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2 event, which is taking place on January 26 and January 27 on the heels of our GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit on January 25.

Our picture showed nine speakers and they were all men. Those who saw it thought it was just a single panel with nine men on it, all talking about their views of the metaverse. The criticism spread around enough for a lot of women in the industry to either think we made a mistake or we were Neanderthals. I appreciate those who knew our history and gave us the benefit of the doubt that this was a mistake. In fact, this was only a partial list of an event that will have many women speakers.

This is my fault. I apologize. We should not have shared that picture of only male speakers, leaving the impression we had no women speakers, and it’s one of my blind spots that I thought this was a harmless update. I should have signed up more women speakers at the start of our process. I’m thankful to get the criticism because it is a kick in the pants for me to do better in finding more women to speak at this and other GamesBeat events.

We were happy to get the speakers we had and wanted to start promoting them. This was just the beginning of socializing the metaverse event. We are going to add more speakers as they come in, and we have been paused in our selection while waiting for sponsored speakers to shake out before proceeding to name more non-sponsor speakers.

Will the actual event have a lot of women speakers? Yes. In fact, we’re going to have many. Our previous two conferences in November and April hit our goal of having 50% diverse speakers. You can see some of the speakers pictured here. We believe in having diverse viewpoints that women bring, and we appreciate that our community wants more of that.

We’re putting out a call for women speakers for all of our events in the next year, and we are going to seek more input from the community on surfacing speakers who are off the beaten path of the media spotlight. I appreciate that some of those who criticized us are making recommendations for speakers that could fit or volunteering to speak themselves.

We’ll hit our diversity goal by the time we name our 90 or 100 speakers. You see, the nine speakers in the picture were just about 10% of the final speaker count. And as we curate our events to be the best they can be, we will examine how we curate our events for diversity and change with the times.

The second annual Women in Gaming Breakfast at GamesBeat Summit 2021.
Women in Gaming Breakfast

The second annual Women in Gaming Breakfast took place at the online GamesBeat Summit 2021 in April.

We are going to have our third annual Women in Gaming breakfast during this three-day event in January. We have almost booked the emcee for that purpose and it will be a familiar women in the game industry. In our previous two Women in Gaming online breakfasts, we had more than 100 women show up each time. We had stellar panelists like Andrea Rene, Brenda Romero, Emily Greer, and Samantha Ryan. We hope to beat our records on that breakfast with the next installment.

This year, we’re still recruiting speakers for the Women in Gaming breakfast, but it doesn’t have a sponsor yet. And so we had not announced it. But we have a Women in Gaming advisory board that has participated in previous events, and they’re helping us with the breakfast. If we get a sponsor, we may do the event in person. Otherwise, it will be online. And for the third time, sponsored or not, we will do this breakfast. When we get the details straight on this part of the event, we will tell you all about it. We’ll also write about this event, since, for the first time in years, we were able to hire a GamesBeat writer, Rachel Kaser, and she will help us cover it.

I believe explaining this full context shows the history behind our intentions when we say we’re going to have a diverse event. We would not have had an advisory board, plans for our third breakfast, or existing women speakers if we were simply in a panic and responding to criticism that we had no women speakers. We ask that our community continues to trust our good intentions and plans to be allies for women.

If you’d like to help us, let me know through my social contacts. I caught some criticism here, and I take responsibility for it. I try to learn from it and realize where my blind spots are. And so while it is predictable to receive criticism and then react to it, I believe it is healthy and I try to learn from it and redouble my efforts to make the event more diverse.

So yes, I got a kick in the pants to do better, and I will.

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