It’s About Time Speakers Get Paid

For 8 years, MnSearch has held our annual MnSearch Summit as a place for digital marketers to come together to exchange ideas and push our thinking. Historically, speakers have joined us to share their wisdom and network with attendees in exchange for our gratitude.

While gratitude matters, it’s not enough. So, this year, we’re switching things up.

MnSearch Pays Our Speakers

We believe it’s time for speakers to get paid for the effort they put into creating presentations, taking time off work, traveling from home, and sharing their insights with eager audiences.

For many years, unpaid speaking gigs have been the norm. This traditional model is prohibitive for minority populations who may not have the luxury of taking time off work, or who may not have at-home support to afford out-of-state travel.

As MnSearch continues making moves toward Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), we’re working to reduce obstacles that prevent speaker lineups from reflecting the diversity our audience and Board desire.

This resulted in our collective commitment to pay our speakers—both monthly event speakers and MnSearch Summit speakers. We know not all marketing organizations offer compensation. Our hope is that if enough decision-makers can commit to this change, the industry will follow suit.

What Our Speakers Are Saying

As a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, we carefully considered how this decision affects our long-term finances, and we’re confident that for-profit organizations can follow a similar path if their teams are committed to DEIB.

To quote some of our speakers from the 2022 MnSearch Summit:

“I’ll admit the money to help cover expenses was a big incentive [to speak].”

“I really appreciate that you’re even paying speakers too. So few event organizers do this.”

Let’s Work Together to Increase Diversity in Speaker Lineups

In addition to paying our speakers, we’re committed to programming a diverse lineup, both for the Summit and our monthly events. Our promise to you is this: we will always host a conference representing a lineup of speakers with diverse backgrounds, covering everything from multiple races and ethnicities to gender identities and beyond.

Increasing representation from minority populations is a priority for us, and our Board is continuing to work toward making our community a welcoming, inclusive place for everyone.

The marketing industry can do better. And if a non-profit organization can cut costs and make speaker payments happen, so can yours.

Let’s work together to make payment the rule, not the exception.

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