“Power Couples” Speaker Panel

Description

This speaker-panel event focuses on dual-earner couples. They discuss what it's like for them to be in high powered careers while sharing home responsibilities like chores and child raising.

Goals

  • Expand the awareness of students to understand how partnerships can be more mutual in terms of careers, housework, and raising kids
  • Show how important it is that men participate in chores and child raising
  • Provide useful tips and skills to navigate equitable partnerships

Theory of Change

  • Hearing stories of how partnerships can be more mutual in terms of careers and housework, seeing how big an impact becoming a caretaker has on a career, and providing useful tips and skills leads to greater awareness and behavior change

Logistics

Costs and food

  • You shouldn't have any significant costs for this. Speakers/couples will most likely come for free either as alumni or from companies who partner with the school.
  • Food (optional) – nice to have appetizers and drinks after the speaker to continue the conversation

Target / likely audience

  • Women
  • Enthusiastic to somewhat skeptical men – even skeptical men have female partners who they care for and plan to balance work and career with.
  • Make sure to include a same-sex couple on the panel so that gay and lesbian students hear relatable stories and experiences about sharing family and career too

Location / Participation size

  • The room necessary capacity depends on how popular the panel is going to be and the crowd that your PR efforts can draw
  •  If you do want to have small group discussions afterwards, then you'll need to also book smaller breakout rooms or hold the entire event in an auditorium that functions both as a speaking venue and a room for small group discussions.

A/V Needs

  • Amplified audio
  • Screen and projector if speakers/couples want to show slides or video.

Other resources needed

Allyship club handouts

Roles and responsibilities

  • Program leadPlan way ahead. Ability to pay attention to many small details. Create moderations prompts and questions. Solicit questions and topics from colleagues. Ensure logistics for the panelists are covered. Create gift bags.
  • Panel moderator(s) – This could be a student or someone else. It could be one person, or a pair. They're in charge of asking questions, calling on panelists, and making sure the conversation is lively and dynamic. Introduce the speakers/couples and provide an introduction to the audience.
  • Panelist contact person  If you have popular panelists (especially those who are on the road a lot), have someone designated as their handler. The contact person meets and brings them to where they need to be. Ensure that speakers have water and A/V needs met. The contact person should have panelists' cell phone numbers or preferred communication method for last minute logistics.
  • A/V lead – Someone who knows how to check and fix any A/V issues.
  • Food logistics – Order food, ensure proper tableware (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, etc), ensure food delivery arrives to right location on time
  • Photography, social media, and documentation – Take pictures during event. Have folks write down something they learned on a piece of white paper, take a photo of them, and upload to community social media. Document learnings to be shared out to larger audience.

Agenda / Program

  • Introduce the topic, provide a bit of background on it. Explain why it was chosen and the general interest in it
  • Introduce the panelists, their virtues, and why the club wanted them to come
  • Panelists speak with facilitation from moderator
  • Q&A with audience
  • Reception with food

Tips and pitfalls

  • Depending on the speakers and the size of event, you may need quite a bit of lead time for this event.
  • Sourcing the right speakers and that they’re the right fit for an event like this is one of the main keys to success

Timeline

3 months prior to event

  • Book a room big enough to hold the size of you expect to show up
  • Began reaching out to potential speakers. You’ll want 3-4 couples. That means creating a list of about 20 to reach out to. Include alumni as well as contacts from companies that recruit at your school. Reach out to your network to see if anyone know a couple that’s doing a good job of balancing career and family in a heterosexual couple.
  • Create RSVP method to collect RSVPs
  • Create calendar event to add RSVPs to

2 months prior

  • Have most of your panelists confirmed. Busy professionals, especially if they have kids, need lead time.
  • Get bios of speakers/couples

1 month prior

  • Begin publicizing event
  • Reach out to campus media – the business school PR/communications person, campus newspaper, etc
  • Re-confirm with speakers/couples
  • Re-confirm room/location
  • Assemble volunteer team

2 weeks prior

  • Confirm you have all volunteer slots filled
  • Assemble gift bags
  • Communicate to RSVPs
  • Send speaker/couple bios
  • Solicit questions and topics from fellow students

1 week prior

  • Confirm with speakers, room/booking, A/V setup, volunteers, campus media
  • Finalize event schedule with engaging questions and topics
  • Remind RSVP list

1 day prior

  • Confirm with speakers, room/booking, A/V setup, volunteers

Event day prep

  • Check A/V equipment
  • Collect unanswered questions and topics and other subjects that came up

1 day after

  • Thank speakers/couples individually with personalized thank you note
  • Email attendees with list of topics/questions that came up as well as brief summary of learning document
  • Post pictures and learnings on class social media

1 week after

  • Email links related to unanswered questions and topics

  • Communications

    Link to sample flyer

    Sample communication to speaker

    Dear [potential speaker name],

    My name is [your name], and I am reaching out to you on behalf of [women in business club] at [your bschool]. I care deeply about gender issues as they affect both women and men. While at the [your bschool], I have been active in our male allies program that gets men here educated, equipped, and engaged on different topics of gender equity.

    We would love to invite you to participate as a featured panelist for “Power Couples,” an annual event we host with successful couples managing dual careers. The event is slated to take place on [date] from [time].

    As mentioned above, we host this “Power Couples” event each year to inspire conversation in the community about how families can support dual careers. These kinds of events at other schools have attracted around 20% of the student body. It provides a unique opportunity for students, significant others, and speakers to speak candidly about challenges they face in maintaining healthy work and family lives.

    In planning for this year’s event, we naturally thought of you because of [person or reason you thought of them]. We would love to feature you and your [spouse/husband/wife] as panelists and hear your perspective on dual-career couples.

    Please let us know if you would be interested in this opportunity; because we’re handling so much logistics, it would be very helpful if you could send a response by [date for response].

    Best,
    [your name]

    Sample marketing communication

    What does it take to have a successful dual-career relationship? Join us for an honest discussion, workshop, and dinner with four Power Couples as they share their experiences. RSVP for one of our signature events of the year!

    Panelists:

    • Name 1 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 2 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 3 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 4 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 5 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 6 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 7 (grad year) - title, company
    • Name 8 (grad year) - title, company
    Moderated by Moderator 1 and Moderator 2