State of the Stage


February 2024

State of the Stage Headshot

Welcome to State of the Stage, Choir’s new resource (and my new writing outlet!) on all things conference diversity related.


Tricky Question Q&A

Over the last few years at Choir, we’ve chatted with dozens of conference and event planners. Across industries people ask the same questions about creating diverse agendas and inclusive events. I'll answer those common questions here. Check out the first installment below in the Ask Out Loud section!


Data & Trends

I'll also be sharing relevant conference trends and interesting data points that we have collected (and continue to collect) through Choir's analysis of countless conference and event agendas.


The collective learning we’ll share here is primarily written for event and conference organizers, but attendees, sponsors, and speakers may find tidbits of interest as well. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss a post.

Have a question you’d like us to address? A data point you're interested in? Send me a note.

- Sonya

State of the Stage_ Ask out Loud Skinny Banner (1500 x 200 px)

Ask Out Loud Question:

Our company and event team agree that DEI is a core value. We try to reflect that at our events. How do we know if we’re hitting the mark?

The Short Answer:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion each apply to events in distinct ways. Diversity may indicate... read more

Coming up on Ask Out Loud...

Below are common agenda diversity related questions we may address in future installments. Have another? Send it my way.

"I feel beholden to our sponsors. Sponsorship dollars cover a large percentage of the conference budget, and in exchange for sponsorship, they get to speak. I can’t tell them who to send as a speaker, and those are more than half of our speakers so putting together a diverse speaker list feels impossible."


"This is the first time we’ve been vocal about our focus on DEI. The reception from speakers and sponsors has been positive, but my team received an email with angry pushback from one person, who says he is a potential attendee. How do we respond?"


"I want my speaker lineup to be diverse but I’ve looked everywhere and there are no people of color who work in the 401K space."


"What tips can I give to my agenda committee for putting together a diverse speaker lineup? They are volunteers, with full time jobs, so it has to be something easy."


"Why am I, as an events planner, expected to fix an industry? Tech is a male dominated industry. Why shouldn’t our event reflect that?"


"We do a call for speakers, and then our agenda committee does a blind review of the submissions. If all of the top voted sessions happen to be led by white speakers, there’s not much we can do about that lack of diversity, right?"

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