Bobbie Carlton

Founder, Innovation Women 

Bobbie Carlton, founder of Carlton PR & Marketing, Innovation Nights and Innovation Women, has been called Boston’s Innovation Den Mother and the Startup Fairy Godmother. She’s an award-winning marketing, PR and social media professional. She speaks regularly on marketing, public speaking and women’s issues. Her humorous approach and fiery “let’s make something happen” brand is supported by the real world results she helps drive: 1500+ new products launched, $4B in funding, 3 million monthly views and 1000+ women speaking at conferences and events. In 2010 she was called one of the “ten Bostonians who have done the most for the startup community.” See her TEDx talk for the Innovation Nights and Innovation Women stories. 

Discussion Content

“Martin Luther King Jr. Saw Three Evils in the World”  by Martin Luther King Jr 

The Atlantic 

” A More Perfect Union” – A virtual exhibit of Barack Obama’s Race Speech at the Constitution Center on March 18, 2008 

National Constitution Center 

Brief intro: 

I started Innovation Women because I was tired of going to conferences and events and hearing from the same people all the time – usually the same older white men who appeared onstage time and time again. I called attention to the existence of “Manels” (all-male panels) I saw. Too many are all-male, all-pale and all-stale – those same voices over and over again. Women and persons of color are under-represented onstage. I wanted to hear new ideas and new voices, and I know how much of a difference diversity and inclusion makes to the speakers on-stage and those in audience. When the thought leaders represented onstage represent us all, we might have a chance to impact unconscious bias too.

I’ve worked my entire career in the “visibility arts” (marketing and public relations) because it drives change.  For a corporation, visibility leads to connections with potential customers, partners, investors and the media. For an individual, visibility drives careers and opportunity. Being able to tell your story can help change the outcome. You make connections when you make a speech. You shine a spotlight on important issues and you can help change minds. 

These two speeches are reminders that the battles we fight are part of an ongoing effort. That we make progress and we need to make more progress. That we are not done but continuing our fight. The third link is to EmbraceRace is designed to help us raise the next generation of kids who are thoughtful about race and inclusion. And the fourth and fifth links connect to a seemingly exhaustive list of cognitive or social biases on Wikipedia. I find it helpful to remind myself that we all have biases – see esp. the Bias Blind Spot.  

Bobbie’s Discussion Questions (PDF for Print)

  1. When was the last time you saw or heard a speech given in-person? If the answer is never, seek one out. A great speech can be galvanizing and very different from something you see on a screen. What kind of biases do you have?   
  2.  What kind of biases do you have?   

  3. If you have children or think you will one day, how will you talk to them about racism and bias?