The playing field for getting paid is often not the same for Black and white orators regarding speaking engagements.
Every speaker should expectedly be compensated equally for their expertise, insight, and mastery. Yet, there are disparities between races.
Madison Butler launched the Black Speakers Collection to help simplify the sourcing of speakers after identifying a clear and plausible need in the space.
She told Forbes, “I started Black Speakers Collection on accident! I was tired of hearing about how companies, conferences, and events couldn’t find Black speakers and then only chose us to speak about topics like race.
An HR culture adviser and DEI consultant, Butler, added, “I posted a LinkedIn post highlighting the fact that Black speakers speak on all topics and invited Black speakers to share their info. I realized that this was beautiful data and knew it would be a loss if we wasted it.”
She also told Forbes her platform initially had 28 speakers and has risen to 1,100 in less than four weeks.
The platform is geared as a resource for Black speakers and organizations looking to amplify and diversify their panels, conferences, and company talks. Black Speakers Collection is devoted to giving Black speakers and consultants the needed exposure to get them paid what they deserve.
According to Forbes, a lack of transparency tied to rates is among the factors why a pay disparity exists between white speakers and non-white speakers. For beginning speakers, particularly from marginalized backgrounds, so-called imposter syndrome can affect views on what they should be charging.
“Too often speakers are only booked if they have a large online presence…there are so many amazing speakers who deserve to be recognized and paid,” Butler told Forbes.
“I am committed to helping more Black speakers get on stage, get paid, and get recognized so that they do not have to accept exposure as a form of payment.”