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Nine Takeaways From Global Innovators

If you weren’t able to join our unplugged virtual conversations in celebration of SXSW last week, we have you covered: Below are the top-line lessons learned from each discussion, along with key quotes and links to watch each conversation in full.

We may not be physically together, but we hope you continue to join the conversation with us — because equality never stops!

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Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels


1. Why our differences are our greatest strengths

Oscar Wilde said it best: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” It’s true: Our differences are our greatest strengths. So, don’t give in to the pressure of conforming or the fear of being perfect. Perfect people aren’t real — and real people aren’t perfect.

“Be consistent and authentic. Whatever you say internally should be the same things you say externally on social media. Whether it’s on Twitter or LinkedIn, your presence should reflect how you show up in person and how you communicate in your messaging across other channels.”- Jennifer Cobb Moynihan, Principal and Founder, Elevate Communication

“A personal brand is something that’s never static because none of us are static as individuals. If we’re doing it right, it means we’re continuing to learn and grow from those who are around us and interacting with us.” – Cally Baute, Vice President, Audience Solutions, POLITICO

 

2. How to recruit diverse talent

Research shows that women of color are some of the most ambitious — but least supported — employees. One in five entry-level employees are women of color. At the C-suite, that representation shrinks to 4%. Organizations need to rethink not just how they recruit this rising talent, but also how they support them up the corporate ladder.

“One of the reasons today that there’s so much underrepresentation in tech is because individuals tend to recommend their peers… It’s about being cognizant that the most qualified individual may not come from the universities that you historically recruited from.” – Nicole Alexander, Senior Vice President, U.S., Innovation, Ipsos

“This is going to take some boldness, to not only do the work but to make sure it sticks. Organizations have to start to view the needs of individuals or small groups of individuals, as being just as paramount as the needs of the majority within the organization.” – James Page, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,
General Assembly

 

3. Ways to flip the balance in the tech industry

Did you know that the American tech and innovation industry has about one million fewer women than men? When organizations proactively work to flip this balance, everyone wins: Diverse teams are more innovative, leading to better financial performance and better products.

“While we’re seeing the number of women increase in terms of earning STEM degrees, we aren’t seeing the correlation in STEM jobs. We need to ensure women don’t leave after 5 years. We need to truly be inclusive and promote inclusive leaders.” – Pam Jeffords, Partner, Workforce of the Future, Diversity and Inclusion, PwC

“When companies do have diverse and representative boards, leadership structures, and employees, they end up with better financial returns, better decision-making, better stock prices, and better products. If you’re not bringing in diverse and representative teams, then you’re really not doing your fiduciary duty.” – Joanna Popper,
Global Head of Virtual Reality and Entertainment, HP

 

4. Simple tips to improve your memory and learning speed

Our memory can make us better in business and in life. As Jim Kwik, the bestselling author of Limitless and founder of Kwik Learning, reminds us, “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about advancing beyond what you believe is currently possible. It’s about unleashing your potential.”

“Your mindset is what you believe is possible and what you believe you deserve. We have to be able to unravel and adjust our mindsets, removing barriers.” – Jim Kwik, CEO, Kwik Learning & Best-Selling Author, Limitless

 

5. What we can learn from Gen Z (and why we need to listen to them)

Gen Z has a sophisticated filter that comes from growing up with so much information available at their fingertips. Brands have a huge opportunity — but only a few seconds — to convince Gen Z to engage. If you do, they’ll be incredibly loyal, creating their own authentic content around the brand or topic.

“We have a generation that is seeing the world differently because they came into a world where they could talk and learn from each other globally. That’s really beautiful and we should follow their lead.” – Melissa Kilby, Executive Director, Girl Up

“We now have the tools to challenge and think about our identity in a way that our parents never did. It goes back to the practice of listening to each other and thinking critically about how we show up to work.” – Caroline, Ciaramitaro, Student & FQ Ambassador, UNC Chapel Hill

 

6. How female storytellers are changing the narrative

What happens when we position women’s stories not as niche narratives, but as universal norms? By shaping the story through the female lens, we see ourselves and communities not as they’ve been presented in the past, but more fully as they are in reality.

“Our reality is shaped by media. We need diverse perspectives telling stories. Allow people with non-traditional experience to come in and provide their point of view.” – Kiana Pirouz, Head of Marketing, We Are Rosie

“When we’re not telling diverse stories, more often than not, we lack diverse sets. As we tell more and more diverse stories, it becomes so important that we have people on set who reflect the people in the stories.” – Becky Morrison, Founder, The Light

 

7. Advice from female founders on how to support them and why we should

Even though women today are starting businesses at a rate that is 1.5 times the national average and hold increasing purchasing power, they face unique challenges as they establish and grow their businesses. Many female founders start companies to solve problems in their lives, and supporting their success could mean scaled solutions that accelerate progress toward gender equality. 

“It’s such an incredible time to not only celebrate the women who are brave and building the things we need to have in the world, but also for those who are supporting them.” – Jamie Sears, Head of UBS Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas, Co-Founder Project Entrepreneur 

“Start-ups are places of innovation because you’re not bogged down by decades of corporate culture. At my company, we were able to institute 16 weeks of paid parental leave and flexible working hours.” – Amy Nelson, Founder & CEO, The Riveter OR “Women control consumer spending. Those who make more money can spend more. It’s good for the economy.” – Amy Nelson, Founder & CEO, The Riveter

 

8. Making way for a new way of thinking 

Gen Z is coming on like a tidal wave. They are the largest, most diverse, and most technologically savvy generation, with a culture that marketers and employers alike are trying to understand. As Gen Z enters the workplace, how can we make way for new thinking? In the Lounge, we explored what makes this generation tick and how learning from them will help us better understand our future. 

“Graduating this year, we’re looking for companies that align with our views. I have, and I’ve had friends who have, turned down jobs that don’t align with our personal mission.” – Nikita Seth, FQ Student Ambassador, USC 

“Younger generations have what I like to call  ‘intrinsic motivation.’ They want that deep desire from the inside to propel them forward.” – Helaine Knapp, Founder, CITYROW

 

9. What women in the workplace really want 

We know that hiring and retaining diverse talent is good for business. Still, women in the workplace continue to be underrepresented at every level. What can we do to improve the workplace for women, what attracts them, what makes them want to stay? We say, just ask. 

“The cost of not talking about money equates to women leaving about $1 million on the table compared to their male counterparts doing the same job.”- Nekpen Osuan, CEO, WomenWerk 

“When it comes to incentivizing changes to behavior, it’s important to highlight the trickle-down effect that companies can have. We can make sure that change is echoed throughout the broader ecosystem — not just within our respective organizations — by holding partners and clients accountable.” – Amanda Edwards, Houston City Councilwoman and Candidate for Senate

“Women inherently move quickly. We mobilize and work well together. Small steps forward will enable us five years from now to create seismic change.” – Stephanie Latham, Director, Head of Industry for Technology, Facebook

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For more inspiration from women leading change, check out:

International Women’s Day 2020: How to Be #EachforEqual Every Day

20 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Stay on Top of Your Game 

Part 3: Money Mindset – Align Your Voice and Self-Worth