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Meet Bobbie Carlton of Innovation Women

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bobbie Carlton.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Bobbie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Innovation Women is a culmination of more than 30 years of experience in PR and Marketing. I headed PR at big public companies like Cognos and PTC, worked in agencies, and with start-ups. I also own Carlton PR & Marketing, and Mass Innovation Nights.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There are challenges and obstacles with any startup – one of ours is helping people understand the difference between what we do and how a traditional speaker bureau works. Most traditional speaker bureaus only handle speakers who get paid to speak (and take a portion of the fee as their payment). By connecting speakers and speaking opportunities directly, and offering speaker bureau services to non-traditional outlets like Meetup and Eventbrite events, we can support women who speak primarily for visibility for themselves and their companies.

Then there is the uphill battle getting women on stage at conferences and events. More women do turn down speaking engagements. But it’s for some very practical reasons. Women are more likely to work for smaller companies – there isn’t someone else to pick up the work if you are out of the office. Women are more likely to work part-time. It’s hard to be out speaking if you are only in the office a few days a week. And, women are more likely to be handling kids and home… hard to be speaking at a breakfast meeting if you also need to drop the kids off at school.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Innovation Women – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Innovation Women is an online visibility bureau (think self-service speaker’s bureau) focused on connecting event managers with awesome technical, entrepreneurial and innovative speakers who just happen to all be women. IW was born out of my own frustration of attending events with #AllMale and #AllPale panels and realizing there had to be something I could do to get more women onstage.

Addressing inequality in this manner was a strategic decision on my part. Speaking engagements deliver the credibility and visibility that can make a difference in areas where women are short-changed, like funding and board seats.

Innovation Women is different from a traditional speaker bureau in that it is self-service – event managers get a free account and can search our platform for free and invite speakers directly. Speakers benefit from the visibility brings them, our list of speaking opportunities (more than 100 every week delivered to your email box), invitations directly from our platform, and promotion via our weekly newsletter and social media channel.

We’re proud of every connection, every placement but most proud when we can move whole conferences to gender-balance. The opportunities we present to our speakers have been incredibly varied. Topics include cyber-security, startup funding, distributed offices, team building, clean tech, green tech, personalization, data analysis, IoT, human enhancement, healthcare, fintech, but also “softer” topics like work-life balance, women’s issues, gender and diversity.

We’ve provided speakers for technical and startup events like IoT Evolution Expo, IEEE, HealthTech Venture Network Conference, StartupCON, Startup Grind, The Capital Network, Maine’s Startup and Create Week, and IE Venture Days, just to name a few.

PLUS, multiple speakers for an NPR speaker series and guest lecturers at Harvard, Boston University, University of Colorado, Emerson, Northeastern and University of Michigan, and so many others.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’re growing quickly (we added almost 100 speakers in December alone), expanding the team, and serving an even greater number of events and conferences. Our goal is gender-balance at all conferences and events. This will have a far-reaching impact on things like funding, the number of women in management and on boards, and even more.


  • $100/year for a speaker membership
  • FREE/for event managers looking for speakers

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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