Women Leading Tech: iMedia’s Kate Kempshall On Women At Conferences & Diversity

Women Leading Tech: iMedia’s Kate Kempshall On Women At Conferences & Diversity
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

iMedia’s group sales director AU/NZ and SEA, Kate Kempshall started her career in the world of media and, after taking a break to work in education, she rejoined the industry, starting with iMedia just five months ago.

As an events company with significant experience putting on tech events, iMedia knows the challenges that women face in getting a public platform within the industry. Plus, with Kempshall’s unique perspective from having spent time out of the industry, the two are perfectly placed to help women lead tech in 2023. 

Why did iMedia choose to support the Women Leading Tech Awards?

Kate Kempshall: iMedia is always on the hunt to find, meet, and collaborate with like-minded organisations in our industry. Our involvement with these Awards was a natural fit for us, both in terms of our ethics and our values. At iMedia, we have been proudly supporting technology, especially marketing technology for the past 10 years. For example, our Future of Marketing event is designed for marketing leaders who are interested in brand building and how technology enables better brand experiences. 

The Women Leading Tech Awards, from a values point of view, is perfect. iMedia as a business is fundamentally about fairness, respect, and equal opportunities for all individuals. We’re killing it as a team ourselves — we’re three-quarters female. The Women Leading Tech Awards are the perfect chance for us to celebrate fantastic women in the industry.

We have heard from other speakers in this series that there can be a lack of female representation at tech conferences. Why do you think that might be the case?

KK: I can’t speak for other conferences. But I can say that our content team works hard to ensure that we cover all the big topics of the day, and make sure we live up to our values of diversity and inclusion. 

That means the content team works hard to ensure that our events have the best content and the best of people. It’s important to mention that diversity is not just across sex, but also gender, age, religion, and race. 

Unlike other conference organisers, iMedia can proudly say that our events are pretty much 50-50 in terms of female attendees. In fact, at some of our events last year, women were the majority, 

That might be because our events are invitation-only, and we better represent the brilliant female talent in the industry. We’re committed to representing the female talent in the industry.

Do you think that conference speaker lists simply represent the makeup of the industry they cover or is there more afoot here?

KK: We look for our independent keynote speakers to provide the most valuable content in the industry, whether that is a man or a woman. 

Our independent speakers coming up this year include Dr Catriona Wallace, founder of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance. I think women feeling more empowered to get up on stage and talk about their experiences, their learning, their professionalism and the key roles that they play in our industry, is really important.

Can you explain how the content team works and the processes they go through when choosing speakers?

KK: We’re tasked with providing world-class content on innovative global trends with the best of independent speakers across all our events.  That all starts with our advisory boards, which are comprised of the most influential people in the industry. Their voices are powerful in helping set the agenda, setting the topics, and setting the content, especially for The Future of Marketing event.  

We don’t believe in positive discrimination. We don’t have a quota. We just pick the best speakers for the topic. We know that there’s great talent out there. Unfortunately, sometimes, we need to put in a bit more effort to find the female voice. So that’s what our content team do. They put in the effort to ensure that the agendas are diverse, inclusive, and representative of the very best in Australia. 

What does iMedia do to support women within its own organisation?

KK: We are a progressive company. We have strong female leaders across all aspects of our business. Inequality is not an issue within the company. We’re not one of those companies where equality is celebrated for just one day of the year. We celebrate equality and diversity throughout the year. 

I am very lucky to be working with an amazing, strong, and capable team. And it’s not just the women. At the end of the day, representation is just not enough. It takes a real cultural change and iMedia has an amazing culture. not only in Australia, but across Comexposium internationally

What changes would you like to see in the events or the martech industries or in education to help women progress into leadership? 

KK: We’ve come a long way with equality, but there’s still a gender gap. But what we need to do now is merge equality with diversity. We need to ensure that we are showcasing the talent or the strength of women across all cultures — whether that be our indigenous culture or any other culture because Australia is so diverse. 

There is so much more support now to help empower women but I think it’s going to come down to the younger generation with diverse mentorship, and more acceptance of multiculturalism and multilingualism. We can start to see it emerging in the industry, we can start to see the empowerment, but we can get better at it. I feel very strongly about empowering younger women from diverse backgrounds.

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