500 by 500 bobbie carlton

Bobbie Carlton

Founder at Innovation Women, Carlton PR & Marketing, Innovation Nights

Marketing and Advertising

Education: Ithaca College
Lexington, MA, USA


Bobbie Carlton, founder of Innovation Women, Innovation Nights and Carlton PR & Marketing, is an award-winning marketing, PR and social media professional. She speaks regularly on public speaking, especially for women, social media, building innovation communities, startups and product launches, and consults with small businesses and individuals on social networking, marketing and PR.

Previously, in addition to working with a number of Boston-area PR and marketing firms, she headed global PR at enterprise software companies PTC and Cognos (now part of IBM). In 2006 she switched gears, joining a startup focused on providing positive values for preteen girls through a social network and book series.

Innovation Women is an online speakers' bureau for entrepreneurial, technical and innovative women designed to help event managers gender-balance their speaker slates. Mass Innovation Nights is a social media powered new product showcase and networking event. MIN has launched almost 1500 new products which have collectively received more than $3 billion in funding.

In 2010 she was named one of the “Ten Bostonians who have done the most for the startup community”, and in 2011 she was a recipient of a Mass High Tech All-star award. In 2015 she was named a Boston Business Journal Woman to Watch. PR News called her a PR Gamechanger in 2017. And, she was one of BostInno's 50 on Fire in 2018 and 2020.


Helping entrepreneurial, technical and professional women get more visibility that helps them super-charge their careers, connect with more customers and partners, get their businesses funded and be invited to boards and other top opportunities.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I sometimes get paid for speaking


marketing social media business strategy public relations startups product launches crowdpromoting leadership innovation entrepreneurs mentoring twitter storytelling crowdfunding female founder pr new products public speaking kickstarter advisory board boston media relations message development strategic alliances social networks mentor storyteller emcee workshops marcom mentors startwitheight tedx speaker small business growth clubhouse twitter spaces gender bias onstage

Best Story

I have so many stories I can share after more than 30+ years in the high tech community. I can talk about Innovation Nights, our social media powered monthly product launch party and networking event. We've helped to launch more than 1500 new products which have raised more than $4B in collective funding. Innovation Women has helped hundreds of women get onstage to tell their stories and connect with potential customers, partners, investors, new jobs and more. And my years in PR have given me endless stories that often sound ripped from the headlines...because they are: The Extortionist; The Murderer; The Naked Holiday Party.

Origin Story

Innovation Women is the third of my companies. The first two were founded when the startup I was working with ran out of money in November 2008 (a lot of startups had difficulties then). Innovation Nights and Carlton PR & Marketing were founded because there were no other jobs available at the time. Innovation Women came out of my personal frustration around the #allmale and #allpale panels at conferences and events, especially technical ones. I knew we could change things so I crowdfunded the original web app and the rest is history.

Example talks

Public Speaking: The Career and Business Game-changer

What does it take to become a thought leader? To be seen as the expert or the authority in your field? What will it take to get that next promotion? Or a new job? Or a board seat?

Often, nothing more than the willingness to speak up and share your thoughts and experiences in public.

Employers have always valued the employee who speaks well. Public speaking is, and always will be, an important skill, and well worth developing. But speaker training itself is only part of the puzzle. Corporations bring me in-house to give this presentation, usually in concert with various workshops and 1 on 1 consulting.

Building a No "Manel" Zone - Creating Diverse and Inclusive Events

The headline read "Men named Michael outnumber female CEOs presenting at #JPM18". RSA was raked over the coals for booking just one female keynote (out of 20), Monica Lewinsky, for their cyber security conference. CES was taken to task for not finding any female keynotes. The social media stream dishes out punishment in the form of hashtags, #AllMalePanel #NoManels. Conference organizers need to be more aware than ever before of gender-balance, inclusion and diversity, or suffer the consequences.

“Manel” is industry jargon for a panel of featured speakers at a conference or event consisting entirely of men. Creating a “No Manel Zone” at your event means you commit to not fielding any manels (a panel or a group of three or more speakers, with or without a moderator, entirely of men.) But diverse panels are only part of the equation – conferences also need to consider:

- The diversity among their keynotes, featured speakers and MCs
- How they promote their speakers
- The diversity of participation during roundtables, pitches, hack-a-thons and other event segments.

And while the dangers of failure are apparent, there are also rewards to be reaped, including larger ticket sales, better quality programming and more wide-spread impact.

Join the founder of Innovation Women, a new model "visibility bureau" designed to connect event managers (for free) to awesome speakers, presenters and experts who all just happen to be women.

- Learn more about diversity and inclusion at events and how you can avoid embarrassing situations and PR crises.
- How to handle competing organizations
- How (and why) you can achieve gender-balance, even in industries where women make up less than 20 percent of the workforce.
- The behind-the-scenes secrets of booking great speakers for your next event - and what it costs
- How to work with sponsors and partners to avoid poor balance onstage at events.
- How the right mix of speakers can help drive increased visibility for your conference and ticket sales too.
This talk is for event managers, conference organizers and management at associations. It can be delivered as a talk or a workshop. It was originally created and delivered to the content providers for the NAB Show. The NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters.

Building Your Innovation Community: The Mass Innovation Nights Story

In 2009, the economy had fallen off a cliff and the startup I was working for ran out of money. There were no jobs and I had a stay-at-home husband and two kids to feed. But social media was on the rise and new era of event marketing was upon us. Suddenly everyone in Boston was running grassroots events and the landscape for launching new products in the local community was changing.

In the last ten years, our monthly new product showcase, Mass Innovation Nights (MIN), has helped to launch more than 1500 new products (ranging from apps to enterprise software to medical devices, food, toys and more) that have received more than $4B in collective funding. How? Through the use of crowdpromoting – the practice of activating and building a community to promote an idea, business or product.

Learn how MIN works and how you can use our tactics to build your local innovation economy and get more exposure for your own new products. You’ll learn how we encourage participation (our community generates more than 3 million views a month); how we support the effort even though we don’t charge the entrepreneurs and we don’t sell tickets; why companies like IBM, Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Google, MITRE and Draper vie for the opportunity to host our events, and how we remain one of the most popular events in Boston, hosting 200-700 attendees a month. I give this presentation at economic development, chambers of commerce, social media and startup-oriented events.

Ladies...No Excuses: How to get yourself on stage

Are you tired of sitting through yet another DAMP (Dreaded All Male Panel)? Your story will never be heard sitting in the audience. Being onstage is powerful but the issue with many women is that they don’t know how to get there. We give you the tools you need to get onstage, be heard, and, sometimes, even get paid to speak! This inspirational speech is often the keynote at women in tech events and has been part of several Women in Tech Summits.

How to Use Crowdpromoting to Launch Products on a Budget

Big marketing budgets don't always mean big results. Big companies spend a fortune on their product launches—millions and millions of dollars—and even they don’t have all the budget they’d like to have. Startups and small companies have almost none. Over the last ten years, we’ve launched more than a thousand new products. These companies have gotten more than $3 billion in funding and we haven’t spent much more than a fraction of what a large company would spend promoting a single new product. Learn the secrets to crowdpromoting today. This presentation is usually a big winner at startup and marketing events.

Why Getting Women On-Stage at Conferences and Events Will Change the World

When you think of THE leading expert on any topic, you are more likely to immediately think of a man. It's OK. It doesn't mean you are a bad person. It means you have been subjected to years of brainwashing - it's unconscious bias. You've seen the same faces and heard the same voices over and over again. Of course those must be the experts. If we insert more women into speaking engagements; if event managers do their part to gender-balance their events; if reporters call on more women as expert sources, we should eventually reach gender-parity in our perception of who leads, who should be funded, who should sit on boards and who should get new opportunities.

Search Engine Marketing: Get Found

Everyone "Googles"! And when your business is one of the top search results you win. We'll go through the basics of marketing, social media marketing and how it all relates to Search Engine Optimization or SEO. You'll walk out the door with a better understanding of how search engines work and what it means for you and your business. And You'll get at least 10 things you can do right now to help yourself "get found" online.

Business Storytelling - How to turn your best stories into business

I was recently invited to the University of Michigan to be a part of their StoryLab Premiere. I was needlessly intimidated when I learned the headliner was Glynn Washington of NPR's Snap Judgment. (Super nice!) One of the things he said that night stuck with me. Glynn had gone to law school and he said, "All I remember from law school - whoever tells the best story wins." The same holds true for business.

Innovation Women: The "Visibility" bureau for Entrepreneurial, Technical and Innovative Women

After years of attending area tech conferences and events, I'd had enough. After sitting through yet another DAMP (Dreaded All-Male Panel), I said "there must be a way to connect event managers with female speakers." And Innovation Women was born.

The Boston Innovation Community

Innovation Breakfast. MassChallenge. The Venture Café. These are all examples of important stops along the Boston Innovation Continuum. How does Boston nurture its startup community? What are the keys to creating your own Innovation Community? There are terrific resources, many of them free, for Boston area entrepreneurs. (I often give this talk at area colleges and universities.)

The Social Media Marketing Blitz

Here are 10 things you can do right now to help yourself "get found" online. We walk through the basics of social media marketing and how it relates to SEO. (I give this talk regularly at Entrepreneurship for All; McCarter English's Entrepreneurship Basics speaker series and others.)