Mozzer Expressions
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Mozzer Expressions

Why women aren’t invited to conferences: the cycle

The different needs of MozCon

Every talk must be actionable. Topically, MozCon started as an SEO training seminar, but Moz has expanded the educational topics we cover along with our product selection. This year, we focused even harder on balancing the topics between SEO, Content, Social, Local, and Other buckets. (Thanks, Kevin Smythe, for your spreadsheet help!)

How does the selection list get populated

When am I looking for speakers? The answer: when am I not?

  • Speaking at other Moz events, which we record (super high-value)
  • Moz internal suggestion form that I send to some external people (low-value, most speakers I already know)
  • Offhand, random recommendation emails from Rand (medium-value, often people we don’t know)
  • Stalking conversations on Twitter about great speakers in topics or when some dudebro says, “there aren’t any great woman SEO speakers” and we tell him better (medium-value, often people I don’t know don’t have videos, slides, etc., online)
  • Other online marketing conference lineups (medium-value, the closer they are as a MozCon “competitor” the less value they have as it’s either my rolodex or their own they program from)
  • Attending conferences (medium-value, super easy to tell if the person’s a good fit, but time intensive, and there’s always another “real” reason I’m going)
  • Conferences focusing on diversity in technology (low-value, often speakers aren’t going to be able to talk technical marketing or aren’t even marketers)
  • Good ole searching YouTube for videos from other conferences or on topics (low-value, most of it is crap)
Jen, Roger, and I are happy at MozCon

Other random reasons someone hasn’t spoken on the MozCon stage

When people ask me, “why hasn’t X ever spoke on your stage,” usually I hesitate to give a fully transparent answer. It’s hella awkward when a third party is asking this. Not to mention, the principle that what others actually think about you is none of your business.


I speak at conferences too, and I pitch and get rejected all the time. It sucks. I try not to take it personally because I know how conference programming goes. (Yes, even when I know other conferences program their “friends.”) I’ve been in the room where we take a list of 50 incredible speakers, all worthy of the stage, and cut it down.




The internal voices of the folks who power Moz.

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Erica McGillivray

Erica McGillivray

Intersectional queer feminist. Author. Community Professional. @GeekGirlCon alum. Books, comics, cats, & tea = best. She/Her

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