This year at the Fundraising Career Conference, we had 6 women of color presenting, out of 9 presenters in 11 sessions. 

Heres’s what I found with this lineup of speakers, after 4 years of running this online conference.

If you have lots of women of color speakers, you get more women and men of color attending and interacting with presenters!


For those of you HAND-WRINGING around the lack of diversity in fundraising staff, or worrying about the new demographics that will make people of color the majority of people in the US, and asking where are the fundraisers from those communities who will solicit those gifts- I’ll tell you right now- there’s something you can do about it. Ask People of Color to Speak at Your Event and PAY THEM.

Representation matters.

When you ask people to speak who are not from the dominant culture, you will get more people from diverse communities interested in the field, and interested in rising in the field. 

We say we want a better world, but we have to start inside our nonprofits, and inside our conferences. 

Here are some incredible speakers standing here in front of us, waiting for you to ask them to speak.


Ask Della Rae to speak. She is an HR and Culture guru, and self care advocate. She not only has tons of nonprofit experience, she is an incredible speaker on self care in your nonprofit, in how to create a better workplace culture from day one, and more. She will surprise you with her fascinating audience engagement techniques, making a truly interactive and informative session. 

Ask Desiree Adaway to speak. Desiree Adaway has tons of nonprofit experience. Her previous role as Senior Director of Volunteer Mobilization for Habitat for Humanity National saw her raising $10M in 10 years. Since then she has spoken for Rotary International, government entities, and more. Her engaging and empowering style will leave your attendees feeling more alive and ready for action. 

women asssertiveness

Ask Elaine Lou Cartas to speak. As a first generation Millennial leader, she excels at offering career advice to nonprofit audiences. She has had 25 jobs before working for herself, including a fundraising job at a university where she successfully negotiated a $12K raise. I just had her speak at my fundraising career conference and I could not be more pleased with the way that she engaged the audience.

Ask Maria Ramos-Chertok, JD to speak. I took a chance on Maria Ramos-Chertok. I had never had her present for me before, and this year, at the 2018 Fundraising Career Conference, she did a fabulous job teaching us all about sexual harassment in the workplace. I was so grateful I had someone who could patiently wade through legalese and pick out the nuggets that would be helpful to my audience of fundraising staff and nonprofit leaders. Since the recent Philanthropy.com survey showed that 1 in 4 fundraisers is harassed at work, whether by donors, staff, board or volunteers, this issue is more pressing than ever for us to address, to create safe and welcoming workplaces for us all. If you value your people, and if you want to protect them, you need a presentation from Maria Ramos-Chertok to help people understand what can be done about sexual harassment at work. I would highly recommend her to speak at your next conference.

Ask Kishshana Palmer to speak. Each year of my career conference, I’ve had Kishshana Palmer speak. That’s 4 years everybody. And each year, she consistently has the highest rating of any speaker. Is that surprising? Well, yes. She has had exalted company such as Tom Ahern and Daryl Upsall, veterans in the fundraising industry and in the speaking circuit. Yet her sessions are always the best rated through her combination of attendee engagement, compelling and vital information and her sparkling personality. She has tons of fundraising leadership experience, building incredible teams and raising millions. This year her session, called Unstuck in the Middle, Moving into a Fundraising Leadership Role with Ease, was full of happy compliments and truly deep questions from the audience. 

I have referred her to other speaking clients and have had the pleasure of seeing her shine at other national conferences. They have thanked me for referring them to her, and have been overjoyed with the results she delivers. If you want to light up your event and make it better than ever before, hire Kishshana Palmer. 


Ask Christie Lindor to speak. I recently had her speak at my conference and I would hire her all over again. Her session on how to get a career sponsor truly helped attendees understand what it takes to rise, and why they might be getting passed over for promotion. She is a management consultant with a best selling book, The MECE Muse. She was featured in Forbes, TIME Magazine, Fast Company, Boston Herald, and others. Do yourself a favor and hire her to speak on Leadership, Effectiveness and Human Capital Management at your next event. 

If you’d like to catch their sessions, it’s not too late! We have recordings of the Fundraising Career Conference available here.