L Michelle Smith Ranks No.3 On List of Best Female Speakers in Social Media and Marketing

L Michelle Smith Ranks No.3 On List of Best Female Speakers in Social Media and Marketing

56 Female Speakers You Should Put on Stage, and Why

October 14, 2018, Chris Strub

Some people say 2018 is the ‘year of the woman,’ but 2019 should be the year that women get their due on stage at traditionally male-dominated marketing events nationwide.

I’ve been extremely blessed to present at over a dozen marketing events over the last couple of years, and although the speaker mix still tends, overall, to favor males, I’m hopeful that this list will help conference organizers identify and bring in even more women in 2019.

And so, as a male speaker, I pledge to do more than just talk the talk: from now on, I’ll be sending this list along to every event that reaches out to me. Every one of the women listed below is extraordinarily talented, and I’d be honored to share a stage with any and all of them.

I recognize that a lengthy list like this can be tough to interpret, which is why I’ve tried to include as much relevant information as I can for you, the reader/decision-maker, to consider. This includes whether or not I’ve actually seen the person speak in real life, and if so, when and where, because I believe transparency is critical. (I have at least met all but four of these women — Jenn Herman, Jennifer Watson, Quinn Tempest and Julia Campbell — in person.)

And although this list includes 50+ people, I’ve decided to ‘rank’ only the Top 10. This was, predictably, quite difficult, and each woman mentioned here brings her own set of strengths to the stage. My biggest deciding factor in these ‘rankings’ is energy — how will this speaker leave your audience feeling?

Knowledge and teaching ability are obviously critical skills to yield, but to me, what sticks in your mind, and what inspires genuine action, is not always what you say, but instead how you say it, and how passionately you feel about it. The women listed in my Top 10 will move and authentically inspire your audience, guaranteed.

The rest of this list is in no particular order. So without further ado — here are 54 incredibly talented female speakers that you should consider in 2019:

Jenn Herman

Based in: San Diego

Twitter.com/Jenns_Trends

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but multiple times via live-streaming
Bring her in to talk about: Instagram

Madalyn Sklar

Based in: Houston

Twitter.com/MadalynSklar

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but dozens of times via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Twitter; the power of video

Julia Campbell

Based in: Wenham, Mass.

Twitter.com/JuliaCSocial

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but numerous times via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Social media for nonprofits

Brandi Boatner

Based in: New York

Twitter.com/ThinkBluePR

I’ve seen her speak: Presented together with her at the “Un-Session” at the Social Shake-Up Show 2018 in Atlanta

Bring her in to talk about: Storytelling; influencer marketing

Tiffany Lanier (above)

Based in: Boynton Beach, Fla.

Twitter.com/LiveWithTiffany

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Week Lima (Ohio) in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Living purposefully on social media

Rachel Moore

Based in: Denver

Twitter.com/RachelMooreRS

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but dozens of times via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Live Video

Kristyna Torres-Cruz

Based in: Houston

Twitter.com/PR_Kristyna

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Day Houston in 2017

Bring her in to talk about: Social media for nonprofits

Erin Cell

Based in: Denver

Twitter.com/ErinCell

I’ve seen her speak: At her Social Media Day Denver event in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Instagram

Jennifer Watson

Based in: Atlanta

Twitter.com/JWatson_Wx

I’ve seen her speak: Only via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Live video; creativity

Pam Moore

Based in: Orlando

Twitter.com/PamMktgNut

I’ve seen her speak: In St. Louis, at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Social strategy; goal-setting

 Julia Jornsay-Silverberg (above)

Based in: Buffalo, NY

Twitter.com/JBethJS

I’ve seen her speak: Only via Periscope, but met her IRL in Buffalo

Bring her in to talk about: Mental health in social media; social strategy

Marisa Lather

Based in: St. Louis

Twitter.com/MarketerMarisa

I’ve seen her speak: At the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference in St. Louis, in both 2017 and 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Influencer Marketing

Amber Tiana

Based in: Los Angeles

Twitter.com/AmberTiana808

I’ve seen her speak: At VidCon 2017 in San Diego

Bring her in to talk about: Live-streaming video

Carrie Gottschalk

Based in: Denver

Twitter.com/carriejessica

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Day Denver 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Chatbots

Rebecca Councill

Based in: Houston

Twitter.com/RebCouncill

I’ve seen her speak: At her Social Media Day Houston event in 2017

Bring her in to talk about: Social Strategy

Kerry Flynn

Based in: New York

Twitter.com/kerrymflynn

I’ve seen her speak: Never on stage, but met her in New York City

Bring her in to talk about: Current events; Technology

Amy Landino

Based in: Columbus, Ohio

Twitter.com/schmittastic

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Day Wichita (Kansas) 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Video

Quinn Tempest (above)

Based in: Phoenix

Twitter.com/QuinnTempest

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Instagram

Jana Francis

Based in: Salt Lake City

Twitter.com/jana_steals

I’ve seen her speak: At Summit Live 2016 in San Francisco

Bring her in to talk about: Being a multi-million dollar female CEO; online commerce

Cielo de la Paz

Based in: San Francisco

Twitter.com/CieloDLP

I’ve seen her speak: At the Business Vlog Summit 2017 in Las Vegas

Bring her in to talk about: Creating video on your phone

Meagan Williams

Based in: West Palm Beach, Fla.

Twitter.com/TheMegsLV

I’ve seen her speak: At the Business Vlog Summit 2017 in Las Vegas

Bring her in to talk about: Instagram; Snapchat; MLM

Cami Cruz Thomas (above)

Based in: St. Louis

Twitter.com/CamiCruzThomas

I’ve seen her speak: At the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018 in St. Louis

Bring her in to talk about: Culture marketing

Carmen S. Collins

Based in: Orlando

Twitter.com/CShirkeyCollins

I’ve seen her speak: Never actually seen her present live, but have met her multiple times
Bring her in to talk about: Instagram and Snapchat

Natalie Ellis

Based in: San Francisco

Twitter.com/NatalieDiver

I’ve seen her speak: At the Business Vlog Summit 2017 in Las Vegas

Bring her in to talk about: Instagram

Sunny Lenarduzzi

Based in: Vancouver

Twitter.com/SunnyLenarduzzi

I’ve seen her speak: On the big stage at Social Media Marketing World 2018 in San Diego

Bring her in to talk about: YouTube

Jen Cole (above)

Based in: Wichita, Kan.

Twitter.com/JenColeICT

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but many times via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Live-streaming; Twitter

Mia Voss

Based in: Denver

Twitter.com/MiaVossOnTheGo

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Week Lima (Ohio) in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Travel

Vanessa Cabrera

Based in: Chicago

Twitter.com/VanessaCabrera

I’ve seen her speak: Presented on a panel with Vanessa at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018 in St. Louis

Bring her in to talk about: Live-streaming video

Sabba Quidwai (above)

Based in: San Francisco

Twitter.com/AskMsQ

I’ve seen her speak: Only via video, but I met her in San Francisco

Bring her in to talk about: Education development

Aleshia Patterson

Based in: St. Louis

Twitter.com/IAmAleshiaP

I’ve seen her speak: Presented on a panel with Aleshia at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018 in St. Louis

Bring her in to talk about: Social media for nonprofits

Sara McDowell

Based in: Charleston, W.V.

Twitter.com/sarabinwv

I’ve seen her speak: Technically never seen Sara on stage, but have met with her many times

Bring her in to talk about: Social media for nonprofits

Samantha Kelly

Based in: Dublin

Twitter.com/TweetingGoddess

I’ve seen her speak: Didn’t catch her session, but met Sam in person at Social Media Marketing World 2018 in San Diego

Bring her in to talk about: Twitter

Teresa Heath-Wareing

Based in: United Kingdom

Twitter.com/theathwareing

I’ve seen her speak: Haven’t seen her speak, but met her in person in Nottingham in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Relationship building

Hannah McCreesh

Based in: Sheffield, United Kingdom

Twitter.com/hannahfmccreesh

I’ve seen her speak: At Marketed.Live 2018 in Nottingham

Bring her in to talk about: Podcasting

Evie Yannakidis (above)

Based in: Toronto

Twitter.com/eviewhy

I’ve seen her speak: At multiple episodes of Mario Armstrong’s Never Settle Show, Season 1 (2017) in New York City

Bring her in to talk about: Live video, or to host your event

Anh Nguyen

Based in: Houston
Twitter.com/AnhTNguyen

I’ve seen her speak: Only on video, but met her in Houston

Bring her in to talk about: Mobile

Rocky Nash

Based in: Las Vegas

Twitter.com/RockyNashLive

I’ve seen her speak: At Summit Live 2016 in San Francisco

Bring her in to talk about: Live video

Stacey DePolo

Based in: San Francisco

Twitter.com/sdepolo

I’ve seen her speak: Presented together in a three-hour live-streaming workshop at the Social Shake-Up Show 2018 in Atlanta

Bring her in to talk about: Live-streaming video; relationship building

Heather Dopson

Based in: Phoenix

Twitter.com/heatherdopson

I’ve seen her speak: At Video Marketing World 2017 in Dallas

Bring her in to talk about: Relationship building; employee advocacy

Christine Gritmon

Based in: Nyack, NY

Twitter.com/CGritmon

I’ve seen her speak: Haven’t seen her speak live, but have spent time with her in numerous cities and countries

Bring her in to talk about: Video

Amanda Robinson (above)

Based in: Toronto, but currently a digital nomad

Twitter.com/shewakeboards

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Day Denver 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Chatbots; Facebook advertising (often co-presents with Kelly Mirabella)

Kelly Noble Mirabella

Based in: Santa Clarita, Calif.

Twitter.com/Stellar247

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Day Denver 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Chatbots; Facebook advertising (often co-presents with Amanda Robinson)

Katelyn Brower

Based in: New Jersey

Twitter.com/BrowerKDnB

I’ve seen her speak: Only via live-streaming, but met her in Atlanta in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Social media for B2B

Jenn Nelson

Based in: Virginia

Twitter.com/JennsLIVE

I’ve seen her speak: Many times via live-streaming

Bring her in to talk about: Live video

Gelie Akhenblit

Based in: Phoenix

Twitter.com/Gelie

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but met her in Phoenix

Bring her in to talk about: Power of networking

Jessika Phillips

Based in: Lima, Ohio

Twitter.com/JessikaPhillips

I’ve seen her speak: At her Social Media Week Lima (Ohio) event in 2018

Bring her in to talk about: Relationship Marketing

* If you are enjoying this article, please SHARE it on your social media channels. Tag me @ChrisStrub on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn … wherever you like. Thank you! *

And as promised, here is my Top 10:

10. Dr. Karen Freberg

Based in: Louisville

Twitter.com/kfreberg

I’ve seen her speak: Surprisingly, never in person, but have met with her multiple times

Dr. Freberg is the world’s leading social media educator, and her impressive CV and schedule of speaking engagements backs that up. She’s the founder and trusted leader of the #SMProfs Facebook group, and her new book, ‘Social Media for Strategic Communication,’ is a timeless resource about the principles of social media, being implemented into curricula nationwide. Dr. Freberg is one of the most well-networked people in the Midwest, and one of the most supportive individuals in the space. She’d make a great addition to any conference, especially those focused on education.

9. Julia McCoy

Based in: Austin, Texas

Twitter.com/JuliaEMcCoy

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but met her in person in Austin

Julia is one of the world’s forefront content marketing experts, with several books and workbooks to her name already, but her forthcoming work will be the closest to her heart: an autobiographical memoir about her escape from her family’s cult in western Pennsylvania. Julia, the CEO of Express Writers, has been utilizing live-streaming to get beyond her fears of the camera, and in 2019, I think she’d be one of the most impactful and powerful additions to any speaking lineup, especially at an event like Content Marketing World.

8. Sara Moore

Based in: Dayton, Ohio

Twitter.com/saradmoore

I’ve seen her speak: At her Social Media Day Dayton event in 2017

Sara is one of the brightest, most inspiring individuals I’ve ever encountered, and the way she pours passion into everything and anything she does gives her a phenomenal stage presence that belies her diminutive stature. At her inaugural Social Media Day Dayton event in 2017, this young Mother of two had the audience in tears, as she emphasizes the psychological and emotional impact of the work that she does, a quality that carries over to the strategies of her company’s clients in the Dayton, Ohio area. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with a bigger heart than Sara Moore, and you won’t regret letting her demonstrate that compassionate spirit on your big stage.

 7. Daphne LeBlanc

Based in: Dallas

Twitter.com/cafeandlaptop

I’ve seen her speak: At SMTulsa 2018 in Tulsa, Okla.

Coffee is a common cliche among digital marketers, but everywhere she goes, Daphne LeBlanc hits the stage like a quadruple shot of triple espresso. Daphne is a brilliant digital marketer with an uncanny ability to deliver her message with unmatched velocity, which makes her an obvious asset to any conference organizer looking to compose a schedule that stretches through a long day. Daphne has mastered the art of both educating the audience and inspiring them to take action right on the spot — her presentation at SMTulsa had the entire crowd on its feet, interacting and engaging with one another, and creating a tidal wave of viral content that was a huge asset to the conference’s digital footprint. Daphne’s energy is infectious, and her approach on stage is fun and inviting. You’ll be thrilled with your decision to bring Daphne to your conference in 2019.

6. Holli Beckman

Based in: Washington, D.C.

Twitter.com/Apartmentalist

I’ve seen her speak: At a PR News event in San Francisco in 2017, and at the Social Shake-Up Show 2018 in Atlanta

To this day, when I chat with Holli Beckman, I still reminisce about the deeply emotional presentation she offered up at PR News’s ‘Big Four’ conference in San Francisco in 2017. Holli is a razor-sharp talent with a heart of gold, which translates to her sensational storytelling prowess on stage. As the co-founder of Apartminty.com, Holli focuses mostly on her work and limits her speaking engagements throughout the year to a few here and there, which means when she does take the mic, she’s all-in on delivering her very best work every single time. I’m a huge, huge fan of Holli Beckman, to the point that I wish she would get out and speak more often, because she’s *the* difference-maker in any speaker lineup. Smart conference organizers will get Holli on the phone and convince her to take the stage — she’s one of the very best in the business.

5. Chelsea Peitz (above)

Based in: Phoenix

Twitter.com/ChelseaPeitz

I’ve seen her speak: Never in person, but met her in Phoenix in 2017

There are tons of social media books out there, but Chelsea Peitz’s ‘Talking In Pictures’ is quite honestly one of the top two or three I’ve ever read. Chelsea isn’t your typical social media practitioner — she focuses her professional efforts in the real estate sector — but she’s developed a rabid fan base through her incredibly down-to-earth demeanor across her personal social channels. Chelsea’s ‘camera-first’ approach inspired her to research and put together ‘Talking In Pictures,’ and it’s such a spectacular read that it’s led her to a number of highly impactful speaking engagements, mostly around the Phoenix area. In 2019, major conferences nationwide, and even around the globe, should be knocking down Chelsea’s proverbial door to get her to their events, because she is one of the most relatable women in the business.

4. Miri Rodriguez

Based in: Seattle

Twitter.com/MiriRod

I’ve seen her speak: At the Social Shake-Up Show 2018 in Atlanta

Miri Rodriguez is already one of the foremost brand storytelling experts on Earth, and in 2019, her reputation should only continue to grow. To me, what makes Miri so special is the way she harnesses her extraordinary talent with a sparkling sense of unpredictability — she’s like the Cardi B of digital marketing. Miri’s tell-it-like-it-is demeanor is guaranteed to light up your conference, loosen up everyone in the room, and bring the entire crowd back to earth in ways that no other speaker I’ve ever seen can manage — and did I mention she works for one of the world’s leading technology companies, Microsoft? Miri’s inspirational, educational and encouraging presence will stick with you all year long — you’ll remember not just what she speaks about, but *how* she delivers that brilliance to you. I absolutely adore Miri Rodriguez, and if I was building my own conference, she’d be the first speaker I’d put on stage. Nobody sets the tone like Miri — she’s brilliance, personified, and she’ll make your conference better, guaranteed.

3. L. Michelle Smith

Based in: Dallas

Twitter.com/LMichellePR

I’ve seen her speak: At a Brand Innovators Summit event in New York City in 2017

Boy, this list gets tough to disambiguate as you get closer to the top. I hadn’t ever heard of L. Michelle Smith before a Brand Innovators Summit event that I attended in mid-2017, but even *before* she took the stage at Spotify HQ, you could tell she was the slate’s main event. As a senior leader at AT&T, Michelle has been a game-changing pioneer in the company’s diversity efforts, and when she yields a microphone, it’s instantly apparent how her passion, her eloquence and her confidence inspires action among everyone fortunate enough to work with her. Michelle is one of those women who doesn’t just talk about breaking the proverbial glass ceiling — she spends every day building extensions on the top of her ladder, and she’s climbing with a diamond-tipped sledgehammer. Michelle’s ambitious, question-everything, change-the-world approach — both personally and professionally — paired with her razor-sharp networking prowess, inspires everyone in the crowd to dream bigger, to think differently about their work, their goals and their own career paths. If you want your event to leave your attendees feeling empowered, inspired and truly circumspect, L. Michelle Smith is exactly the woman you’re looking for.

2. Stephanie Liu

Based in: San Diego

Twitter.com/HeyStephanie

I’ve seen her speak: Presented with her on a panel at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2018 in St. Louis (and I was *BLOWN AWAY*)

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a few days now, and this was one of the toughest calls I’ve had to make in a long time. Simply put, I am blown away by both of the last two women on this list. Stephanie Liu is a skyrocketing star in every sense of the word, and we’re going to see her keynoting some of the world’s largest conferences in the next few years, I guarantee that. Stephanie has literally everything you could possibly be looking for in a speaker — she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the digital marketing space; an unquenchable thirst to push the limits of innovative digital strategies; a legitimate determination to be an accessible, bottomless resource of knowledge for her audience; and a genuine love of the industry. If I’d never met Stephanie in person, I think I’d still have her near the top of my list, but what will truly amaze you is that she’s even *more* charismatic, even *more* energetic, and seemingly even *more* knowledgeable in real life. I’m going to make a bold statement here: Stephanie Liu deserves to be the face of digital marketing, and before we realize it, I think she will be. I’ve been blessed to meet some truly special people through my work in the social media space — Stephanie Liu has everything an individual could possibly need to be a transcendent figure in the industry. Stephanie deserves your biggest stage.

1. Bella Vasta

Based in: Phoenix

Twitter.com/Bellas_Pets

I’ve seen her speak: At Social Media Week Lima (Ohio) in 2018

Have you ever seen someone do something — anything, really — on a relatively small scale, and said to yourself, “Holy smokes, that person is going places?” THAT, to me, is Bella Vasta. I met Bella at Social Media Week Lima (Ohio) this June, at one of her first social media speaking engagements, and I knew right then and there that the trip I’d made to Ohio was well, well worth it. Bella, who’s worked her way up the proverbial ladder by being the leading resource in the country for pet-sitting and dog-walking business owners, is working on expanding her goals in the digital space by focusing on the successful model she’s built with paid Facebook groups. Similar to Julia McCoy and Sara Moore, Bella has an uncannily powerful back story of her own — her young daughter, Olivia, was born at just six months, and Mom & daughter spent several months in the hospital, with no guarantee that Olivia would even make it. These days, Olivia’s miraculous growth and growing strength seems to fuel Bella to work harder and harder at her craft. Bella’s already an incredibly talented speaker, but one of her best traits is her sponge-like ability to absorb ideas, constructive criticism and best practices from colleagues and put them into action. Although Bella is relatively new herself to the speaking circuit, she’s also spent years behind the mic with the ‘Bella in Your Business’ podcast, which has featured many of the world’s leading digital minds, in addition to a collection of pet-sitting aficionados. Her conversations have led to strong, powerful business connections, as if she’s been building a rocket ship to the top that she’s slowly but surely lighting. As our societal dependence on the Internet, and ultimately social networking, continues to deepen, Bella Vasta is positioning herself to be not just a digital pioneer, but a modern-day cultural icon. This is why I think Bella Vasta is the No. 1 speaker to bring in ASAP: in the years ahead, I think she has Oprah Winfrey-type potential, and any and every event that brings her in will be telling stories, for decades to come, of how they once had Bella on stage.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That’s it, that’s my list: 56 women you should bring to your digital marketing/social media event in 2019. I do apologize for any glaring omissions to this list, and would love to hear your suggestions as to who else you would love to see on stage next year. I encourage you to pass this article along to the organizers of your favorite events. I’ve listed the Twitter account of all 52 women on the list, and you should be able to find additional information about each speaker from there, but if you need further contact information for any of them, or would like a warm introduction, please don’t hesitate to contact me, via email (chrisstrub -at- gmail) or Twitter (@ChrisStrub).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chris Strub is the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states. He is the author of ‘50 States, 100 Days: The Book,’ about his journey to work with youth-related nonprofits in all 50 states in the summer of 2015. Chris is the founder of SocialWithStrub.com, a community designed to help you get more comfortable using video on social media. Chris has online courses available about live-streaming video, relationship building on Twitter and how to make great Instagram Stories, all available at http://academy.teamstrub.com. And if you prioritize diversity and female speakers, Chris would love to speak at your event in 2019 — contact him at chrisstrub -at- gmail.

Originally posted at TeamStrub.com.
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