The #PowerOfThePack: Inside Day 1 Of The Girls’ Lounge @ CES 2018

The Female Quotient featured the leadership strengths of women in the Girls' Lounge community on Clear Channel digital billboards in Las Vegas during #CES18.

The Female Quotient featured the leadership strengths of women in the Girls’ Lounge community on Clear Channel digital billboards in Las Vegas during #CES18.

Amidst the usual CES buzz of robots and smart assistants, this year’s conference has a unique buzz that’s arguably far more important than a suitcase that drives itself: This CES is decidedly the year of women in tech.

First of all, some of this year’s top trends will impact women especially. Among them is the rise of connected medical devices, a change that will undoubtedly shape the caregiver industry—75% of which is female. Another trend is the proliferation of voice-controlled home devices, something that’s particularly relevant to the majority of households in which women control purchases.

However, underpinning this year’s trends is a more systemic shift: an undeniable effort to see more women thrive in the workplace—tech industry and beyond. That’s our mission here in the Girls’ Lounge at CES. This year more than ever, women are recognizing the #powerofthepack—joining together and sharing thoughts and advice on how women can rise up into leadership positions and collectively activate solutions for change.

We saw this when we hosted a walking tour of the floor where we were joined by literally hundreds of women. We’re hearing it in the words of wisdom being shared by our 82 female panelists. And while the #powerofthepack is undeniable, many of the first day of our panel discussions offered candid conversation about what each of us can do to help transform workplace culture. Here’s a roundup of some key advice heard during the panels inside the lounge about tapping into the power of collaboration and walking the walk. How are you creating change in the workplace?

Dyllan McGee, Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS with Tamika Catchings, Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist and 16-Year WNBA Superstar, Indiana Fever

Dyllan McGee, Founder, MAKERS, with
Tamika Catchings, Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist and 16-Year WNBA Superstar

Show Up. Stand Up. Speak Up.

The Girls’ Lounge at CES kicked off with a conversation about cultivating a lifelong penchant for shaking things up, particularly an establishment as seemingly impenetrable as professional basketball.

On Laying the Foundation “Everyday going to school I realized how different I was… I always sat in the front of the class and thought that anything the boys could do I could do better.” ~Tamika Catchings, Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist and 16-Year WNBA Superstar, Indiana Fever

#SeeHer In Media, See Her Transform Culture

The Female Quotient partnered with the ANA on the #SeeHer movement, which challenges advertisers to break stereotypes and make ads that accurately portray women so that, by 2020, we can see ourselves in the media as we truly are. More than 50 companies and 1,000 brands are already participating, but 2018 could be the key year to #SeeHer. Here is what some of the panelists had to say:

Girls' Lounge @ CES 2018 #SeeHer In Media, See Her Transform Culture

CES 2018: #SeeHer In Media, See Her Transform Culture

Marketers Can Lead the Way “Marketers are in the position to make a difference in this area. Significantly and soon. We of course need to take collective action, but there’s nothing stopping an individual marketer from making changes in their plans right now. We can go back to our desks next week and have a better media plan by the summer.” ~Stephen Quinn, Chair, #SeeHer

The Stories We Hear Matter “You are a product of the story you’ve been told. If we tell women they need to be beautiful caregivers, it will play out: 95% of nurses are women, and 75% of teachers. Destiny follows story.” ~Anna Griffin, SVP, Corporate Marketing, CA Technologies

Actions Speak Louder Than Words “Deeds not words. It’s easy to say you’re going to make a difference, it’s hard to do it. You need to do it in an authentic way.” ~Andrea Riley, CMO, ALLY Financial Inc.

Start With Diverse Teams “If we have diverse and inclusive teams at the beginning… that’s the only thing that’s going to change the system.” ~Gail Tifford, VP, Media and Digital Engagement, Unilever NA and Co-Founder, #SeeHer

Diversity, Inclusiveness And Belonging: How Can We Get There?

CES 2018: Diversity, Inclusiveness And Belonging: How Can We Get There?

Diversity, Inclusiveness and Belonging: How Can We Get There?

The movement to build workplaces that better reflect the world at large is shifting towards swapping quotas  with creating more holistic cultures of  belonging—workplaces in which every employee feels like she belongs and her voice is being heard. Some words of wisdom:

The Difference Between Diversity and Belonging “Diversity is about categorizing people into groups. Inclusiveness is about bringing people together. Belonging feels personal. We all want to feel belonged.” ~Shelley Zallis

Getting to the Table Isn’t Enough “I was always sitting outside the table, and somewhere along the line, I realized I needed to get to the table, but that’s not enough. You need to be prepared to be at the table. It’s preparation meets opportunity. And then when you get there, bring other people to the table.” ~Gayle Fuguitt, Chief of Customer Insight and Innovation, Foursquare

If You Don’t Feel Like You Belong in the Group, Change the Group “The first time I went to Cannes I remember feeling like ‘I don’t belong here.’ So I had a choice: Was I going to take myself out of the game and not do these things? No. What did I do? I came to CES and I invited my four girlfriends… I never want someone to feel like they don’t belong. And that’s what happens in the workplace. Had I let myself not belong, I would not be here today.” ~ Shelley Zalis

The Work Family Responsibility “We have this concept of onlyness. There’s a loneliness that happens where you’re the only one. At Salesforce we try to create environments where people can get together and remedy that. We have a concept of ohana: this is your chosen family. It’s not your birth family, but it’s your chosen family, and you’re responsible for them.” ~Molly Ford, Director of Global Equity Programs, Salesforce

CES 2018: Representation Matters: Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Talent

CES 2018: Representation Matters: Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Talent

Representation Matters: Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Talent

Committing to a more diverse workplace is just the beginning: It’s also key for companies to to backup that commitment with actual practices to recruit and retain talent. Here are a few examples of things that are working.

Don’t Over-Complicate Diversity Efforts “If I had a magic wand, I would just hold people accountable… it’s not that complicated. Do for minorities what you do for the majority counterparts: equal pay for equal work. Tie it to leadership bonus structures. Set goals, be transparent and hold leadership accountable.” ~Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Intel

Listen Up to the Quietest Voices “Sometimes it’s as simple as having courageous conversations and not being afraid of the conversation coming up. Be cognizant of the people around the room who need help being heard.” ~Andrea Richardson, Head of Diversity/Multicultural Marketing, Hilton Hotels

CES 2018: Smart Home Tech & The Fully Integrated Life

CES 2018: Smart Home Tech & The Fully Integrated Life

Smart Home Tech & The Fully Integrated Life: Powerful.Secure.Connected.

Some of the most buzzed about innovations of CES have specific implications for women (talking to an voice assistant while breastfeeding is likely a use-case that no male engineer ever considered) and could shape their lives in and out of the workplace.  Below are a few interesting insights:

Advertisers Should Be Looking To Women “Women are more excited about smart home tech than men and more likely to consider purchasing a smart home device.” ~Marisa Lalli, Vice President, WE Communications

Products Need To Solve A Problem “We’re not going to just buy tech for tech’s sake, it needs to enhance our life… You need to start with a problem. If a user doesn’t feel the product is going to solve a deep-seated problem, you won’t succeed.” ~Carley Knobloch, Tech Expert

CES 2018: Career Forecasting: Leaders On The Year Ahead

CES 2018: Career Forecasting: Leaders On The Year Ahead

Career Forecasting: Leaders on the Year Ahead

The final session of the day highlighted themes of all the previous panels, and offered a powerful endnote: It’s up to the women who have made it to the table to show the next generation the way. What the leaders inside the lounge had to say:

Being A Leader Means Having Presence “I did things that gave away my power, and I teach women not to do that. If you’re the most powerful person at the meeting, sit at the head of the table, not at the middle of the table. I would find myself unpacking the food for a meeting I was running, and I’d think ‘Why am I doing this? I’m an idiot, this isn’t my job.’ I make sure that women on my team don’t give away their power and instead pull up a seat at the table.” -~Shirley Hughes, Managing Director, FRUKT North America

The Value of Being Uncomfortable “If there was an unknown space in something we were doing, I’d run at it with arms wide open. Figuring out how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable has gotten me to where I am.” ~Alicia Hatch, CMO, Deloitte Digital

Share Your Vulnerablities “You have to have that insight or sensibility into the Boys’ Club. But being in a room like this and openly sharing our vulnerabilities and fears is extremely important for the next generation.” ~Tonia O’Connor, Chief Revenue Officer, Univision Communications Inc.

This Year Is Looking Bright For Women “It’s never been a better time to be a woman in business. You can lean into your strengths. The things that we’re so good at as women are more valuable than ever.” ~Alicia Hatch, CMO, Deloitte Digital

Overall, the message is clear: it’s up to all of us to do whatever we can to seize the opportunities that await in 2018—for ourselves and, by extension, for the pack as a whole.