MAKERS Conference — Advancing, Inspiring Women in Workplaces

Author: Casey Gale       

Makers Conference

Ava DuVernay (far right) leads a Makers Conference discussion with panelists Tina Tchen (front from left), Natalie Portman, Melina Matsoukas, Nina Shaw (from center back) and Maha Dakhil. Jill Soloway and Rashida Jones are hidden.

The MAKERS Conference, celebrating its fifth edition in 2019, is a three-day summit geared toward advancing and inspiring women in the workplace — “newsMAKERS, historyMAKERS, and changeMAKERS of tomorrow,” according to the event’s website. Each year, the conference hosts approximately 500 attendees who are working to empower women in their respective industries, in their communities, and around the world. The 2019 conference takes place Feb. 6–8 at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California.

The conference is produced by MAKERS, a feminist media brand headed by Dyllan McGee, a documentary filmmaker and founder of McGee Media. The MAKERS website claims to have the largest video collection of women’s stories in the world, with 450 interviews “ranging from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” McGee said, “to the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, Katherine Switzer.”

The Big Leagues

Since its inception in 2015, the MAKERS Conference has drawn heavy-hitting speakers and panelists to the stage, including activist and journalist Gloria Steinem, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, designer Diane von Furstenberg, and such actresses as America Ferrera, Octavia Spencer, and Natalie Portman. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton even stopped by via video during the 2018 conference.

The MAKERS team, according to McGee, keeps a close watch on the changing news cycle and individuals who are making splashes in their respective industries.

“We appreciate women who are raising their voices for change and have a clear agenda to tackle,” McGee told Convene. “MAKERS partners with top business leaders, government officials, Hollywood heavyweights, and rising talent, talking everything from equal pay and gender parity to sexual harassment and health care. Plus, we always look for ways to push the envelope and invite unexpected voices to share their insight and inspire our attendees in new, unexpected ways.”

Why We Like It

By making sessions available on its website, the conference inspires not only in-person attendees, but the rest of the world. McGee said that she often hears that attendees share videos with their friends and colleagues to continue the conversation long after the conference’s closing session.

“The MAKERS Conference proves that [the MAKERS brand] doesn’t just talk the talk,” McGee said. “We walk the walk with programming that leaves the audience inspired and empowered to create change in their companies and communities.”

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