Shoptalk Blog

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Shoptalk 2020 to Feature an All-Women Speaker Lineup

Nov 12, 2019 by Zia Daniell Wigder

At Shoptalk our goal has always been to lead the dialogue when it comes to the transformation of retail and to serve as a key catalyst for change. We were the first to bring together established brands and retailers, venture-backed startups, tech companies and investors to create a brand new community and to drive the industry forward--we also helped break down internal silos and unite individuals across marketing, digital, stores, operations and many other traditionally disparate areas.

We have also, from the very beginning, been a huge advocate for women in our industry.

As we enter our fifth year of Shoptalk, we’ve seen women founding companies, driving startups forward and rising through the ranks at brands, retailers and technology companies. Yet there are still far too few women at the most senior levels in our industry. This problem is by no means unique to retail--there are now more college-educated women than men in the workforce, yet the percentage of S&P 500 companies led by women still remains just 5%, a percentage that is simply unacceptable and untenable.

We have therefore decided that Shoptalk 2020 will feature an all-women speaker lineup. That includes track sessions and main stage keynotes alike. We believe this groundbreaking move--a first in events to our knowledge--is necessary to propel our industry forward and showcase many incredibly talented women who are working to transform retail in every way. Starting in 2021, Shoptalk will feature 50/50 male and female speakers every year.

We have always worked hard to do the right thing, no matter how difficult or inconvenient that might be. For us that means putting the industry first. We’ve therefore asked our 60+ confirmed male speakers for Shoptalk 2020 to nominate a woman at their organizations to take their place as a speaker--that way our audience will still hear from the most prominent brands in the industry that are already set to speak.

Gender parity in 2020 would have been relatively easy, but it would not have shifted the dialogue in the way that Shoptalk has done consistently. Is this all-female speaker approach extreme? Absolutely, but we think extreme problems require extreme solutions. Our goal has always been to drive the industry in the right direction, and we feel the time is long overdue for women to be leading the dialogue.

Our team couldn't be any more excited as we head into our fifth year!