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I was thrilled to be asked by Lenny Murphy to help chair IIeX Europe by developing a track of new speakers who had never spoken at a conference before. Intent to find great innovative talent, I headed directly to a variety of LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and specialized groups within other social networks to find people engaged in the fringes of marketing research. There were so many groups focused on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, facial coding, eye tracking, gamification, semiotics, predictive analytics, I could go on forever.

However.

Among the people who really wanted to present how their work has implications for marketing and market research, quite a few simply couldn’t do it. They worked solo, they had no company backing, their work was a side project that had no funding. They simply couldn’t afford $1500 to travel to a conference and show how awesome their work is. If tons of good stuff is happening with people who can’t share it, we risk losing out on their ingenuity and innovation.

Let’s change this. Let’s get awesome on stage. Let’s raise some money so that these hidden geniuses can speak on our stages.

I have set up a GoFundMe page named DiversityOnStage and funding has already begun. (THANK YOU Lenny Murphy for getting things started in a huge way!) Please consider donating, even if it’s only $5.

A worthy candidate is waiting for funding right now. If we smash through the goal, I will be able to help several candidates get on their way to speaking at a conference. My lofty, long-term goal is that this funding continues to grow and I have to start take applications for funding. We can do this. I know we can.

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