So this past Wednesday was Forbes' 2020 Power Women's Summit and if you know anything about me and this brand, you'll know that this is right up our alley. Not only is our newest collection called "Power Woman Essentials" but everything that we are about is reclaiming women's access to power in whatever sphere of life/career that is important to us.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to attend the entire conference but I caught a couple of the sessions and I wanted to share some quick tidbits of wisdom that I took away from the panelists.
The first session that I attended was:
The Solver: Putting Women At The Center Of Covid-19 Recovery
by Melinda Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
I'm a huge fan of Melinda's given the work that her and Bill's foundation has done in the world as it relates to health care and access, and equality for women. My biggest takeaway from this discussion was that women around the world are facing multiple challenges and vulnerabilities at once during this pandemic. The full weight of the world is largely being carried by women who are managing households, jobs, and families on a full-time basis. Many had to either step back in their careers or worse, leave the workforce all together. The call to action here is to acknowledge that we are all managing heavy loads and it's important that we find ways to support one another.
The second session that I attended was:
Power Pairing: How To Translate Purpose Into Action
by Tory Burch, Executive Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Tory Burch LLC and
Meena Harris, Founder & CEO, Phenomenal
I really, really enjoyed this session and you can watch the replay below. Tory Burch is an icon (as far as I am concerned) because she typifies a woman who started, thoughtfully grew, and now leads a brand that exists for women while taking on additional advocacy in its purpose. Her work around reclaiming and reframing what it means to be ambitious has always been music to my ears. In her session, she talked about embracing the word ambitious as a woman and not shying away from wanting more. I ECHO THAT! Meena talked about her upcoming children's book that focuses on young girls and ambition. She also talked about tapping into a zeitgeist moment with her Phenomenal t-shirt business. I have a couple of them and LOVE showing my assertiveness on my chest. My biggest takeaway from this session was OWN YOUR AMBITIOUSNESS because it's your superpower. Don't be afraid to want more and work hard to get it!
The third session I attended was:
The Activist: Fighting For Equality On And Off The Field
by Megan Rapinoe, World Cup Champion and Co-Captain, U.S. Women’s National Team
Everyone knows Megan Rapinoe, but what I didn't know was that she was the first white professional sports player who knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. She talked about equality from a pay standpoint as well as her pursuit offer allyship given what she's faced as an out athlete. My biggest takeaway is that courage is a muscle that you exercise over time, and she deserves all the accolades she gets!
The fourth session I attended was:
Power Pairing: Post-Pandemic Playbook For Tomorrow’s Workforce
by Sara Wechter, Head of Human Resources, Citi
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Founder, theBoardlist
If you follow my blog, you'll know that Citi is about to be the first major Wall Street bank with a female head. Yup! In addition, it sounds like they are all about looking at the data and making sure that their organization and customer base is diverse. I really enjoyed listening to Sukhinder because she talked about something that is near and dear to my heart - Board Diversity. I won't go on and on about it but she touched on the advances that corporate boards have experienced by bringing on more women and people of color onto boards. She also talked about the danger of tokenization and I was pleased to hear that come up. I've heard the saying that diversity is inviting lots of different people to the party while inclusion is asking them to dance when they are there. As we make additional strides in diversity at the corporate board and executive levels, let's ensure that people have a real chance to be a part of the team.
I attended a few other session but the best was this one:
The Doer: Holding Corporate America Accountable & “Civil Rights 3.0”
by Mellody Hobson, President & Co-CEO, Ariel Investments
I am what the young folks call a "Mellody Hobson stan." Her professional accomplishments would be otherworldly admirable for a white man so as a Black woman, they are stratospheric. Mellody was recently named as Chair of the Board of a whole Starbuck and she also sits on the board of JP Morgan. In the world of corporate board dynamics, Mellody is head of the class and can teach this stuff in her sleep. She's a mom, wife, leader, and she's a fearless executive who speaks openly about race in America. I think that last point is why I really admire her. If you're Black in corporate America, speaking openly about race is an undue burden that will more than likely negatively impact your progress. Mellody is showing us how to do it all and for this, I stan!
All in all, I enjoyed the conference! I most especially loved the opportunity to see myself as a Forbes cover one day. I'll let you know when it happens.