Panels and podiums at industry conferences are often filled with White men. Some conference organizers struggle to put together a diverse slate of presenters while others may not even see the value of making the effort. A recent TEDxABQ Women event, held in Albuquerque, N.M this past December, illustrates the benefit of developing a conference that caters to the diversity of its attendees and leverages the talent of expert speakers from a variety of races, ethnicities, and other diversity dimensions.

Since its inception in 2009, TEDxABQ has been committed to ensuring all talks are relevant to New Mexico, and that all speakers reside in New Mexico, are from New Mexico, or are doing work in the state. However, despite the fact that New Mexico has long been a majority-minority state, is the only majority-Latino state in the U.S. by a large margin, and is the state with the second-highest percentage of Native Americans, TEDxABQ event organizers struggled every year to make the speaker lineup visibly diverse, and had never come close to representing the state’s rich history and demographics on stage.

The December 2012 TEDxABQ Women event was different, achieving new levels of diversity in several ways. Read more…

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