Education, Event

17 Min Read

Highlights from the 2018 Ellevate Mobilizing the Power of Women Summit

Yesterday I live-streamed Ellevate Network’s Mobilizing the Power of Women Summit, which in real life was located at AppNexus in New York City. You can view the full agenda here. It was very inspiring to hear from so many powerful women about how we can all take action against gender inequality. Two of the Ellevate San Diego chapter leaders went to the summit, so I’m excited to hear what they have to say about it during our next meetup. Here are some of the highlights I took away from the event.

Memorable Quotes

“No one knows your aspirations unless you talk about them.”
Margaret Keane, CEO and President of Synchrony, explaining that no one can help you achieve your goals if no one knows your goals

“Meritocracies don’t exist. They’re man-itocracies.”
Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate, CEO and Co-founder of Ellevest

“The best thing you can do to improve society is put more money in the hands of women.”
Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate, CEO and Co-founder ofEllevest

“Be true and honest to yourself from day one. Don’t hide that, don’t change that, don’t waver.”
KR Lui, US Congressional Awarded Hearing Loss Advocate

“Stop apologizing. Don’t sit in another meeting apologizing that your ideas are different.”
Joy Fitzgerald, CDO, Eli Lilly and Company 

“Leaning in is sometimes uncomfortable. I tell women lean back, kick your feet up, and own your seat.”
Joy Fitzgerald, CDO, Eli Lilly and Company 

“It is important to engineer your exit in a really smart way.”
Cat Sadler, Activist and Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

“You should be investing in yourself outside of your jobs, like today.”
Cat Sadler, Activist and Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

“We have to be able to redefine success throughout our lives.”
Olympic gymnastics champion Carly Patterson, who says she was measuring everything to that gold medal moment in her life

“If you’re allowing others to define your success, you’re not going to receive it.”
Olympic gymnastics champion Carly Patterson

“Hard work never disappears — but it may not show up quickly. Have patience. In order to have that success, you need to take the big risks.”
Olympic gymnastics champion Carly Patterson

“Make decisions from a place of freedom [and not fear].”
Olympic gymnastics champion Carly Patterson

“Success is all about enjoying your journey. It’s not about being the best at whatever you do, it’s about being the best you.”
Olympic gymnastics champion Carly Patterson

“Most people kind of suck.”
Jenn Romolini, Chief Content Officer, 

“Most of the things you worry about happening at work are never ever going to happen. You are ghosting problems that are all in your head.”
Jenn Romolini, Chief Content Officer, who later says that unless you have something concrete in front of you saying you’re terrible or your work is not good enough, don’t think that! It’s all in your head. What is real is what someone told you, not what you think they might be thinking.

On company culture and values: “Repeat the same thing over and over and just when you think you’re a broken record, everyone hears it. No amount of talking is too much talking when it comes to mission and core values.”
Steph Korey, Co-Founder and CEO, Away

“Confidence is everything when fundraising.”
Steph Korey, Co-Founder and CEO, Away, describing how one investor wanted to set a meeting two months away and she said she’d be done raising money by then but that’s ok, you’re just going to miss out. He was suddenly available.

“I’m an actress, I’m supposed to be likeable. With everything going on in this country and in this world, I can’t think about likeability. F*&^ likeability.”
Debra Messing, Actress and Activist

“Some say the future is female. I say the present is female.”
Debra Messing, Actress and Activist

“Stay angry. Stay focused. Stay active. Be leaders. Let’s create the world we want to see together.”
Debra Messing, Actress and Activist

“This is a time for us to be unapologetically powerful.”
Debra Messing, Actress and Activist

“When someone tells you something cannot be done, it is a reflection of their limitations, not yours.”
Adrianne Haslet, Boston Marathon Survivor, Ballroom Dancer, Blade Runner, Global Advocate for Amputee Rights

Additional Lessons

  • Women-run businesses have 63% better returns than male-run businesses.
  • Only 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies have women as CEOs.
  • Rent the Runway’s employees are 73% female.
  • Cat Sadler, who left E! because her male counterpart was paid twice as much and the network refused to give her equal pay, said lots of girls and women contact her and say thanks for doing that because they can’t right now but are glad she could (because of financial stability).
  • Cat is developing a series based on a deep dive of these issues with Jennifer Lawrence. She brought her mom to the event, who runs The Women Like Us Foundation.
  • One of my favorite panels was by Jenn Romolini, Chief Content Officer, and Tiffany Dufu, Chief Leadership Officer, Levo. They both have books I will be checking out. Towards the end of the panel, Tiffany said, “You’re so brilliant.” Jenn said, “I know.” The audience laughed and Tiffany asked “What did she say?”  Tiffany then says, “Oh, I didn’t know for a really long time.” “It’s recent,” Jenn said.
  • Jenn Romolini had an aside in her talk about SATC’s inspiration for the Mr. Big character, whose name was Ron Golattie.
  • Women spend on average 15 more days a year getting ready for work compared to men, said Sarah LaFleur of MMLaFleur.
  • The difference between companies with a strong HR department and those without are the difference between companies Sarah LaFleur left quickly and ones she stayed at a lot longer.
  • LaFleur worked at the same company as the Bonobos and Warby Parker founders so she thought disrupting retail was easy, since they had the same work experience. It was not easy for her! The first year in business she was not selling much, because it’s hard to understand how good the $1200 dresses, that cost $200 on her site, are unless you try them on. She had a mountain of inventory and decided to email the 1000 customers in her CRM to ask if she could send them a box to try on. 18% said yes, that they had just been busy and hadn’t gotten around to ordering in a while. The bento box was born 6 months later from that strategy, and overnight, revenue tripled. Nothing about the product changed except the way they were talking about it to first-time customers.

The International Woman of Change Award

“The International Women of Change Award represents the Ellevate Network Values – particularly the belief that the world can change for the better, and women are making it happen. We don’t wait for others to do it. The International Women of Change is someone who has used her platform (and privilege) to promote and advance women, paving the path for them to succeed.”

The first Ellevate International Woman of Change Award went to Debra Messing, well-known for playing Grace on the TV show Will & Grace. The award was for her advocating AIDS/HIV prevention and treatment. Debra said that the award should go to PSI co-founder Kate Roberts, who got her into the cause. One of Debra’s favorite college theater professors died of the disease, and a few years later Debra saw PSI’s billboards making HIV less taboo to talk about, then she met Kate at an event. They regularly visit Africa, and at one clinic where Debra was going to be filmed getting an AIDS test, Will & Grace was playing on TV. After her first trip to Zimbabwe, Debra testified before the Senate after that got $100 million for AIDS/HIV assistance for Zimbabwe. She is definitely using her voice for change!

Topics:   Education, Event