Last week I hosted an #upfront confidence and diversity party. Yes, it's a thing! On the 2nd February, it was exactly 365 days since I tried the #upfront model on stage at Silicon Beached. It was an excuse to celebrate one year of #upfront. We raised a glass for all of the people who have sat #upfront and we heard from some, as they took to the stage for the first time to tell their story. We cheered like it was the Oscars, we cried happy tears and we admired the voices who took to our soapbox. We wanted to share and celebrate the impact we've had over the past year; and what an impact! Together we have accomplished much, these figures speak for themselves:
- 150 men and women have sat #upfront
- 22 speakers have shared their stage and their power
- 16 conferences across 4 continents were #upfront
- 3 public #upfront confidence workshops
- 3 corporate #upfront confidence training sessions
- 1 appearance on Swedish television
- 4000 collective audience witnessed #upfront
- 99% of those who sat #upfront said it was a valuable experience
- 30% increase in the likelihood you will one day speak at an event yourself if you take part in #upfront
For those of you who are wondering exactly what #upfront is and how it works. The first 2 minutes of this clip will reveal all.
We are focused on encouraging and elevating new voices on and off the stage. This is what our workshops look like:
Here are some dates for your diary and ways you can get involved with what we are building:
- We are having a meet-up on International Women's Day. Everyone is welcome. Grab a free ticket here.
- We are running an #upfront workshop in Dundee on 4th March. Everyone is welcome. Get your ticket here.
- Our next Shero workshop; confidence for self-identifying women is on the 25th March. Get your ticket here.
Confidence and conferences need a refresh! Too many speakers derive authority from fancy job titles, overrated books, and relationships formed with elite institutions. This antiquated, homogenous culture not only breeds boredom and myopic thinking but also reinforces structural inequalities. It's time to uncover and elevate new voices. This isn't just talk. #upfront is what stages were invented for.
Thank you to our sponsors Doteveryone and Age of No Retirement. Thank you to Chris, Ashley, Lindsay, Laura and Phillippa for all your help on the night. Thank you to Zahra, Roxana and Alicia for their graphic design support. Huge thank you to each of you who showed up.
I invite you to look at the photographs, taken by Elicea Andrews and read the words of those who came to our party. Thank you to everyone who turned up, showed up and cheered, spoke, danced, sang and laughed. This is only just the beginning.
Ruth Kennedy spoke to us about being a keynote speaker who shares her stage and her power. Ruth was #upfront at Civil Service Live, where 55 civil servants applied to sit on the #upfront couch.
Katelyn Perry took to the stage to bring us Konfidence. She performed a song about coming out of her shell and being heard, sparked by her recent experience of sitting #upfront at a conference in London.
Andy Swann spoke about being the host of a conference which used the #upfront approach. He even made his own talk #upfront by sharing his stage with audience members. His conference, All About People, will be #upfront again this year.
Leila Willingham is a 17 year old badass who spoke to us about her experience of sitting #upfront a year ago and shared her opinions on equality and diversity.
Sandy Campbell spoke about his experience of coming out as trans as a 61 year old CEO. You can read his blog about the night here.
Onwards. We will persist.