Choir, a diversity-tech platform and certification for finance conferences, launches today to make industry events more representative of the U.S. population. Choir’s proprietary algorithm uses hundreds of data points to assess the prominence and visibility of women, non-binary people and people of color on stages – setting the first industry benchmark for conference diversity, the Choir Certification. Choir then uses this data to provide leadership teams and event organizers with actionable guidance to maintain diverse and increasingly representative speaker lineups year over year.
Choir’s core mission is to lift the voices of women, people of color, and non-binary people who have often been historically excluded and ignored across all sectors of the financial industry. The Choir Certification helps to ensure organizations stay relevant in an increasingly competitive event market, increases attendance and sponsorship dollars from those who value representation, tracks conference’s improvement versus the benchmark year over year, and showcases their commitment to diversity on stage. Choir Certified conferences receive tailored assessments that include granular diversity metrics from their most recent event, and custom guidance and speaker introductions for future events.
“What we see across the financial industry is a collective awareness of the lack of representation of women and people of color on stage – yet, events still continue to feature predominately white men in high-visibility speaking roles,” said Liv Gagnon, co-founder of Choir. “It’s time to start putting measurable, transparent benchmarks in action that can help well-intentioned companies measure progress and showcase the important perspectives of women and people of color.”
How the Choir Certification works:
- The Choir Certification uses a proprietary assessment to determine the visibility of each speaker using seven visibility factors, including stage visibility (i.e. mainstage vs breakout rooms), the number of concurrent sessions, and the number of panelists, among others.
- Visibility factors are cross-referenced with race and gender data for each speaker, with an additional metric accounting for the multiple levels of discrimination that women of color face, then aggregated to create the Choir Score™.
- With a maximum of 100 points, the Choir Score quantifies how well a conference highlights the voices of women and people of color, in comparison to their representation in the U.S. population. Conferences scoring 60 or more points receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold tiered Choir Certification badge to show their commitment to representation on stage and are publicly listed on the Choir website.
“Who we listen to matters,” said Sonya Dreizler, co-founder of Choir. “Hearing from women, people of color, and especially women of color, benefits all of us by driving innovation, broadening our perspectives, and expanding our industry’s ability to reach more people. Shifting who our industry listens to is also a step in the direction of a more equal distribution of power because seeing women and people of color on stage expands who we view as authorities, and who gets to set the direction for a company or industry. That’s why Liv and I are so enthusiastic about working with conference teams to measure and improve representation on stage.”
Also launching today is the Choir Pledge, a public set of guidelines for speakers, sponsors, and attendees to quickly assess whether a conference’s agenda demonstrates a baseline commitment to representation. The Pledge is free to sign and is encouraged for companies and individuals looking for a turnkey way to align their event participation with their overall Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) values and goals.