FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions 2019. Gabrielle Union. Dwyane Wade.

15 Inspirational Quotes from Top Leaders on Creating Change

Gender equality is projected to be 202 years away— but we’re not waiting that long. Equality is a choice. And change doesn’t happen through pledges or petitions. Rather, it happens through micro-actions, or the small steps that each of us can take in our everyday lives.

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we launched the #MakeEqualityMoves campaign to encourage global leaders who are creating the messages that shape our culture to take steps—both big and small—to make a real impact. Throughout the week, we spoke with hundreds of leaders in the FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions to find out how they’re making moves towards a better future. Here’s what we learned.


On creating messages that matter…

“Even search engine algorithms are biased. When you search for artists, you see men. When you search the world’s greatest thinkers, you see men. We want to give equal visibility to women and men.”
—Ilaria Resta, President, North America Hair Care, P&G


“When you look at the younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z, you see that they want advertisers to talk to them, not at them.”
David Roter, VP, Global Agency Partnerships, Snap Inc.


“We all know it’s the right thing to do. We need a world where we walk side by side and we need to be represented that way in everything. The fact that the numbers tell the same story and it has a sales lift should drive all marketers to follow suit.”
— Nadine Karp McHugh, SVP Omni Media Strategy, Investments, Data-Driven Marketing, and Creative Solutions, L’Oréal


On authenticity and success…

“I’m not depending on anyone else. It’s failed me too many times. I’ve been told, ‘You need a little more strategy and a little less fire.’ People say, ‘You need a little more alignment and a little less passion.’ They’re all coded words that mean I can’t show up as myself. You can’t leave it to forces outside yourself to create your destiny. You have to do it yourself.”
Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer, Endeavor


“If we all have a seat at the table, I will hold open the door for as long as I can. I’ll bring as many people as possible. I’m going to empower them and I’m going to pay them.”
Gabrielle Union, Actress, Executive Producer, and Best-Selling Author


“We [Gabrielle and I] are individual brands and a brand together. We’ve figured out how to balance both and support each other. She’s supported me so much in my career. I’ll never stand in her way. I want to push her forward and lift her up.”
Dwyane Wade, CEO, Wade Enterprises Inc.


On turning pain into purpose…

“When I became the first person to broadcast from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, it was very much male-dominated. There were a lot of people who didn’t want me there at that time. I was in people’s way. I got pushed around a lot. But I came back and I kept coming back.”
Maria Bartiromo, Anchor and Global Markets Editor, Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel


“I wasn’t Indian enough when I was in India and I wasn’t American enough when I was in America. But the way to deal with rejection is to just keep going.”
Padma Lakshmi, Food Expert, Model, Actress, and Best-Selling Author


“I believe that the no’s are a part of life. We’ve all been told no. We’ve got to learn to say yes to ourselves. We have to understand that we cannot follow another person’s no to define who we are. That means surrounding yourself with people who are ‘say-yes’ people, who will uplift you, not bring you down. The full potential of a nation, of a community, of a country, of a people, cannot be realized unless the full potential of women is realized.”
Kwame Alexander, New York Times Best Selling Author/Newbery Medalist, Founding Editor, Versify/HMH Books for Younger Readers


On driving impact…

“I’ve seen a great evolution in the last five years. Five years ago, we were talking a lot about the product, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile, social, and platforms. Now, we’re talking a lot more about humanity, people and the relationships between people and brands. The conversations are much more purpose-driven, and that’s an important theme that I’ve taken away from this year.”
—Jason Wagenheim, Chief Revenue Officer, Bustle


“Empathy and collaboration are going to be the difference between the organizations that win and the ones that fall away.”
Stacy Kemp, Principal, Deloitte Consulting


“We fundamentally believe in the power of economic opportunity for all, which means our employee base and seller base are diverse. By unlocking possibilities for everyone, we’re inherently collaborative.”
—Bridget Davies, VP of Revenue and Seller Growth, eBay Americas


On helping parents achieve work-life integration…

“When you have kids, you become the last person on the list to be taken care of. Work became a place where I got professional satisfaction, but I also carve out the time to take care of myself in those hours.”
Angela Courtin, Global Head of YouTube TV and Originals Marketing, YouTube


“As leaders, we need to help people manage boundaries. Whether you’ve just had a child, are adopting, fostering or whatever your situation is, we need to always make sure people have those allowances to make sure they can enjoy that time in their life.”
Daniel Head, Chief Revenue Officer, Braze


“When we have both mothers and fathers taking parental leave, we’ll start to see equality.”
Piera Gelardi, Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director, Refinery29


The FQ Lounge @ Cannes Lions was all about passion, purpose and making an impact. To catch up on more equality news from the lounge, check out:

#SeeHer 2020: GEM’s Global Influence on Increasing Gender Equality in Media

The Future is Feminine: How Men Can #MakeEqualityMoves

How Brands Can Leverage the Power of Purpose to Grow