#MobilizeWomen 2018 – Ellevate Networks Mobilizing the Power of Women Summit

Yesterday, I attended the live-stream of the Mobilizing the power of women summit and am so excited to be featured on the event site as an event Blogger (kind of a pinch me moment). The energy of the day was infectious and you couldn’t help but leave each session with inspiration and take a ways.

Ellevate Network’s Mobilizing the Power of Women Summit brought together an intentionally diverse and committed group of people to take action towards equality. Download the Mobilize Women Action Guide here and subscribe to the Ellevate newsletter.

The action guide, covers:

  • How to Form Alliances
  • How to Shoot for the Moon
  • How to be True to Yourself
  • How to Advocate for Others
  • How to Spread the Word

Leading up to the summit, I had the opportunity to interview Neha Gandhi, COO and Editor in Chief of Girlboss, who was the moderator for yesterday’s Leading, Changing, and Innovating panel, as well as, Kemp Steib, CFO of The Second Shift, who was a panelist on the Sponsors, Allies, and Partners panel.

With a notebook full of notes from the day, I will do my best to share the take a ways that resonated the most with me and hope that they inspire you to #MobilizeWomen.

Female Role Models:

In the conversation between Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor of Fortune Magazine, and the voice of the RaceAhead, and Margaret Keane, CEO and President of Synchrony.

Ellen posed the question of what it was like for Margaret to be a female CEO of a financial institution in and industry where the leaders tend to all be the same, (I’ve heard the term pale, male, and stale referenced often with regards to the finance industry).

Margaret spoke about how there is a lack of diversity in general at the top, not just a lack of women and how she’s often walked into the room and been the only diverse person there. She said it’s something you have to pay attention to and she feels it’s her job to figure out how to help other diverse people be successful and to go out of her way to draw attention to this issue, as leaders we have to change the face of the people we deal with.

With regards to changing culture from the middle, Margaret talked about how leadership development needs to be implemented for women in the middle. Women tend to have a little voice in their head that tells them there not qualified or good enough. As leaders, we need to know who the talent is and pull them up and look at how we are helping them.

Margaret spoke about how it’s important to have empathy for the people who work for you, people have a whole lot to deal with between leaving their homes and getting to your door, and its leaderships responsibility to have empathy and awareness of the issues people face on a daily basis outside the office because those impact them inside. It’s important to encourage and provide opportunities to people to be in the world as it exists so that they can have empathy for each other.

She also mentioned how we need to make sure men aren’t afraid to sponsor and support women.

On how to ask people you admire for help, Margaret said, more often than note people want to help you, you just have to make it easy for them to help you. Have a plan for what you want to ask, be crisp and clear so that you can get actionable feedback, and then, ASK!

It’s important to be your authentic self at work, because that gives others permission to be their authentic selves.

As a last piece of advice, Margaret said to take a little piece of paper and write down what it says, and then throw it away. Go for it and don’t stop yourself. Let people know what your aspirations are – they can’t help you, if they don’t know what you want.

Advancing Women is a Team Sport:

Sallie Krawcheck is a financial feminist superstar and I love her book Own it: The Power of Women at work.

She spoke about how despite that fact that women have serious economic power:

We’ve somehow been convinced that we need to be given power.

She spoke about how we need to see what’s in front of us and call a spade a spade and question conventional wisdom. We’ve been socialized to think that meritocracy’s exist, when in reality, in many industries, it’s a mantocracy. Money industries especially are overlooking the facts, at the expense of making more money.

Why do we care? Because of issues like financial crises and the fact that the folks handing out the money decide which business live and die.

The way we’ve been socialized overrides the facts.

What are we going to do about it? Invest in women. If you put money into women you can change the world.

It’s not about excluding men, it’s about including women.

To improve society get more money into the hands of women, they put more into their communities and not for profits.

Sponsors, allies, and Partners:

One question that was posed to Mike Steib, CEO of XO Group Inc., and husband of Kemp Steib, CFO of the Second Shift, was what the impact of me too on interactions between men and women in the office.

Mark said that at its core the movement is about people in power taking advantage of that power and about people taking, rather than taking care of other people. He emphasized the importance of being a leader who gives, not takes, and how culture and ethics are set from the top.

When the panel was asked about how to affect change, some of the responses that came up were that more and more opportunities need to be created for women. It’s about betting on talent, not experience. Again, women feel like they have to have all the answers before they take on a new position and it’s incumbent upon leadership and colleagues to catch people when their doing that to themselves and call them out.

Technology and Accessibility:

In the conversation between KR Liu, US Congressional Awarded Hearing Loss Advocate, and Julie Kearney, VP of Regulatory Affairs and CTA & President FCBA, the question of the role of tech in inclusion and accessibility was brought up. KR had this to say:

Companies should look at what problems can be solved by technology and include the communities they are trying to help at every stage of the process from development to marketing. Ex. Text messaging, something that no one can live without now was originally used for the hearing impaired to get them into mobile. Tech can help overcome the stigma associated with disability by using a similar product for all groups but thinking about the multiple use cases when designing products.

When asked how too successfully lobby congress and get laws changed, KR talked about:

  • Educating yourself and going out and start networking and talking with whatever government officials you can get access to
  • Be open and vocal about your story and put your voice and story anywhere you can
  • Stay true to why you believe it will help people and focus on the mission, when people try to side track you

She spoke about what we as individuals can do to feel more connected with people who have disabilities and how we can support them by:

  • Ask questions
  • Get to know the person first
  • Open and honest dialogue on both sides
  • Ask how you can help support them in the workplace

Change of Focus from Diversity to Inclusion & Equality:

When the panel was asked what the difference between inclusion and diversity was, Joy Fitzgerald, CDO of Eli Lily and Company, talked about how it should be about both inclusion and diversity and how it wasn’t an either or relationship, you can only have inclusion by leveraging diversity.

When asked about how to create inclusion, Allison Green, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, and Employee Engagement of Lincoln Financial group talked about how  Lincoln Financial creates and documents values and expectations around inclusion and diversity, then measures performance against these values and expectations, and holds people accountable and reports back results.

Commissioner Charlotte A. Burrows of the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission spoke about how anonymous, well-crafted climate surveys are a good tool to measure success as well as measuring and taking a look at pay disparities that you can’t otherwise explain.

Joy spoke about how companies can’t ignore the big elephant in the room about why there isn’t parity for women at all levels in Corporate America. Eli Lily and company worked on this by creating a project with a dedicated team, including data analysts to study the causes, the created a mindset of 100% transparency and 100% accountability on the project and issue. When you understand the cause(s) you can wrap a solution around it and fund it.

They set out to ask question never asked of women before and made it a data research project, they interviewed men and women and got them to share their experiences and then made a report and shared the data with everyone in the organization.

When asked what individuals can do to help moved the dial Allison talked about championing ideas you have for the organization and about companies being honest about vulnerabilities and taking action. The advice she gave is – see something, say something.

Commissioner Charlotte said to look at how assignments are given and to look at what the people who report to you are interested in and what they are good at and look at how you can create a pathway for them based on that, help smooth a way for people. Her advice was to look at how opportunity is distributed, even if you’re not at the top, there’s something you can do about it.

Joy talked about modeling inclusion by getting comfortable in your own skin, stop putting women in a box about what success looks like. We need to get comfortable hearing our own voices out loud – often even if women are invited to the meeting; the feeling is that they are not wanted to speak, especially if they have a dissenting opinion. We need to stop apologizing if our ideas are different and know our worth.

Courageous Conversations 2.0:

In the conversation between Sallie Krawcheck and Catt Sadler, Catt spoke about how we need to bet on ourselves and invest in ourselves outside of our jobs. She spoke about her experience in finding out that a male colleague who was at the same level as her was getting paid a little over two times what she was and when she asked for the same was turned down . It wasn’t that they didn’t value her, she kept getting more work and assignments added on to what she was already doing, they just weren’t willing to pay her for that value, so she had to make a difficult career decision and leave, because she knew what they were doing, just wasn’t right.

Championship Lessons:

Carly Patterson, American Olympic Gold Medalist, Gymnastics spoke about how we need to re-define success throughout our lives.

Her three lessons were:

  1. Hard work never disappears – learn how to work hard and have patience that it will pay off, eventually
  2. Success requires resilience – setbacks are opportunities to create strength, don’t let past failures/missteps prevent you from doing things going forward, each situation is a fresh start
  3. Make decisions from a place of freedom and not fear

Perfectly Imperfect:

This conversation between Jenn Romolini and Tiffany Dufu, had to be one of my favourites of the day.

They talked about how perfection is a fantasy and how you don’t have to be perfect, that flaws and messing up and taking accountability are what makes people connect with each other.

I love Jenn’s comment on how most people suck and we’re putting pressure on ourselves to live up to some non-existent ideal and how she realized, she just had to be good enough.

She talked about the projection of negative fantasies and how we have to train ourselves to identify what’s real and what’s not. If someone hasn’t told you something about yourself, it’s probably not true. (I.e. I don’t know what I’m doing, my work is crap….) We need to focus our energy on generating options for ourselves, instead of worrying about options that don’t exist or haven’t happened yet.

I will be adding both Jenn’s book “Weird in a World that’s Not” and Tiffany’s “Drop The Ball”, to my list of books to review for the blog

I believe I have essentially typed out every note I took yesterday, but somehow, I don’t think anyone will mind.

Remember to #MobilizeWomen!



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