Culture 31 December 2018
Thrilling, daring ideas are thought of every day. Many hope to share these ideas, beliefs, values or passions with others. Now they can. Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce Speakers Who Dare - SWAAY The Narrative, a groundbreaking speaker series curated like a Broadway show. Out of a sea of applicants, they will be featuring 20 people with big ideas from across the country.
Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce "Speakers Who Dare – SWAAY The Narrative." Photo Courtesy of John DeMato.
The inaugural event will take place on March 26, 2019; standup comic, Terri Trespicio, will be hosting. “There's so much conversation that needs to be had, especially those daring conversations, so we're excited about this," Broderick exclaims. This dynamic duo combines intellect with creative content. Broderick is a visibility strategist, business-building mentor and has ignited the start and growth of many businesses. Brouk is an award-winning director and producer who help speakers bring the art of performance to talks. Together they make quite a team. They sat down with SWAAY to share their excitement and what they're looking forward to.
“We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Their journey began during their days at TEDxLincolnSquare, where Brouk was Executive Producer and Broderick was Co-Producer. “When Jamie and I came together for the first TEDx, it was called, Risk Takers and Change Makers," Brouk begins. They swiftly answer questions, based on one another's responses. “The last two shows we did for TEDx were sold out and people just could not talk more highly about them," Broderick chimes in. “They were incredible, so we're just taking it up a few more notches from there." After retiring from TED, they decided it was the perfect transition into Speakers Who Dare. As daring women themselves, they wanted to create this theatrical academia, which Tricia has coined, with fewer restrictions than TED. “We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Brouk and Broderick allow each other to do their part and make the show come to life. “I am a theatre producer, film maker, a creative, so I am the Executive Producer of the show and of all the talent and the casting," Brouk says. Broderick's role is completely different. “I'm great with community building, marketing, tech, visibility," she smiled. “I create the website map, create all the social media profiles, introduce the speakers to each other and help to fill the seats and put it all together." They make the big decisions without getting in one another's lane to put on a show. “We come at it from different points of view with the same goal, which is to entertain our audience, transform our speakers and build a community," Brouk clarifies.
Speakers Who Dare differs from TED Talks in many ways. Brouk and Broderick emphasize the main difference is their theatrical academia for this series, which makes it one of a kind. This time around, they have more of a creative license and is choosing to give those with daring ideas and voices a platform. “I want to be able to give speakers who are saying the things we are thinking a safe place to do that," Brouk says. Broderick picks up Brouk's answer, to share a few other benefits. “We're not restricted to showing videos during the [event][and] Tricia can put on a whole razzle-dazzle show [that will] take things up a notch," she explains. In addition to their lineup of daring speakers, they want to build a team of sponsors who dare as well. “When a sponsor comes on to Speakers Who Dare, we can promote them [and] that is something you cannot do with TED," Brouk clarifies.
The series will take place in an intimate theatre. It will not only enhance the creative space, but also make the performances intimate. “If you're a Broadway show [or] TED talk lover, you're going to [learn], be inspired by these talks and then be incredibly blown away that you get to see Broadway performers," Brouk says. Performances will take place in the morning and afternoon shows, such as Elphaba singing Defying Gravity from the musical, "Wicked". “If you buy one ticket for the whole day, you get to see all the speakers that have been selected," Brouk excitedly shares.
Though Speakers Who Dare is inclusive of men, it has a female slant. The announced speakers are listed below:
Marc Cordon - A Revolution Of Joy
Mari Carmen Pizarro - The Impact Of The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling
Jason Harris - The Power Of Storytelling
Dr. Kristina Hallett - Watching A Talk Happen (speaker will ask the audience for an idea)
Tracey Wik - The Influence In A Zip Code
Nydia Han - Creating Community
Rachit Kansal - We Are Abusing Our Planet
Amy O'Neill - A New Way Of Approaching Resiliency
Rocco Cozza - The Practice Of Kindness
Stephanie Simpson - Artists Can Save The World
Theresa Nguyen - Immigration: A Lack Of Access To The American Dream
Jazz Biancci - A Talk Happens (speaker will channel an idea from the audience)
Sarah Nannen - Being A Renegade Widow
Mike Shereck - Man Up
Alexis Fuentes - For The Love Of Hate
Terence A. Monahan - The Importance Of Neighborhood Policing
Tonya Harris - Discrimination And Mental Health
Marla Schultz - Being An Accidental Advocate
George Andriopoulos - Not For Profit
“We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off. “[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to the preview of speakers above, Brouk has also casted two more speakers for the show who will not be coming in prepared with talks. “One of them is going to ask the audience for an idea and talk right there - talk about daring!" she happily expresses. “The other one is a channeler [who is] going to sit down, read the room and then talk."
The speakers not only get to perform, but are also provided with a stylist, photographer, a copywriter, and more. They are required to come to tech rehearsals as Brouk and Broderick plan for the big day. In doing so they can receive feedback and work directly with them. SWAAY is expanding their resources as well.
Each performer also has the chance to write op-eds for SWAAY, as well. “It's about being daring, innovating, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," Broderick says. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
PARTNERSHIPS WITH SPONSORS WHO DARE
SWAAY is one of four sponsors who dare. Brouk and Broderick agree that the partnership with this publication is important. “We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off.
“[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to SWAAY, Binge Networks is another sponsor that will be the host of all speaker series content. “There is a Speakers Who Dare TV channel [and it's] important to me because we wanted our speakers to have a greater reach than just YouTube," Brouk says. “It's a massive platform for our speakers." Recorded talks will also be shared on Apple TV, Sony, Roku, Google Play, and more.
The end goal between this dynamic duo is to put on a great show with a great set of speakers. Right now, they are in the process of licensing their brand for upcoming events. “There is a lot of power behind women coming together, collaborating and lifting each other up," Brouk says. “That's what Jamie and I do for each other, for all the people we work with."
“It's about being daring," Broderick says.
“It's about being daring, innovative, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," she goes on. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.