Why the HERWorld Energy Forum should mark the death of ‘manels’

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Our powerful, global event last week wasn’t just a unique opportunity to learn about how the energy sector can “shift” into a new era. It was also the latest glaring proof that conferences everywhere — focused on business, technology, and much more — should stop booking “manels.”

Manels” are all-male panels. (The term is even in Macmillan’s crowdsourced dictionary.) One survey found they’re even still the norm.

One of the excuses organizers often use is that they couldn’t find women who had the unique expertise they were looking for.

This makes no sense, and the HERWorld Energy Forum proved it.

Want to talk Blockchain? Listen to the amazing Rebecca Hofmann. 3D printing? Laurie Markoe. Helping small business owners take the first steps toward modernizing their technology? Mary Lyke. Fracking? Bethany McLean. Entrepreneurship? La Donna Finnels-Neal. Digital transformation? Zhanna Golodryga.

HERWorld19 main stage in Houston, “Tech Shift: The Next Wave of Enterprise Innovation.”
Panelists l. to r. Mary Lyke, Laurie Markoe, Rebecca Hofmann, Zhanna Golodryga,
Josh Levs, emcee/moderator. Photo by: Fred Agho

The list goes on and on and on.

In fact, our speakers site serves as a who’s who of amazing women speakers — not just for the energy sector, but well beyond.

HERWorld19 main stage in Houston, ” The Energy Revolution in the Era of Trump.”
Panelists l. to r. Hillary H. Holmes of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Bethany McLean, author; Leslie Shockley Beyer, PESA president; Josh Levs, emcee/moderator. Photo by: Fred Agho

And this was not confined to Houston.

While I had the honor of serving as emcee at our “hub” in the energy capital, simultaneous events took place in Denver, London, and watch sites around the world, featuring women speakers.

Read our interviews with Denver keynote speaker Alice Jackson and London keynote speaker Susan Morrice.

If Pink Petro founder Katie Mehnert and her team could make this happen in energy — a sector that lags behind others in gender metrics — then event organizers in any sector can. (See Katie and HERWorld speaker Leslie Shockley Beyer, president of the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association, quoted in this Bloomberg piece about the lack of adequate female representation at certain other events.)

Note to conference heads everywhere:

If you’re not booking substantial numbers of women, you’re not looking.