Happy belated International Women's Day! All of the girl love this year made me so happy. I had the most amazing opportunity on Saturday morning to celebrate with one of my icons, Diane von Furstenberg. She's been an inspiration to me for a long, long time and her book has been one of the most formative I've read in my life. It was such an honor to meet her and, you guys, she really has the most cool, confident energy.
The morning started with a mentor walk along the High Line. We were sorted into small groups with a mentor to discuss various topics regarding women in leadership. Our mentor was actually a management coach, which was perfect! There was even a high school girl in my group who was the founder of an LGBTQ organization and a girl who worked in fundraising for the pediatrics department of a hospital. Very inspiring! Can you find me in the photo on DVF's Instagram? Hint, I'm wearing a teddy coat and taking photos for Instagram.
After the walk, we headed in to DVF headquarters for breakfast (I had the biggest blueberry muffin of my life) and to listen to a panel. The panel consisted of DVF herself, Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson, and Ariela Suster, the founder of Sequence. We heard the inspiring story of how Ariela founded her company as well as a lot of wisdom on being a woman in leadership.
After the panel, we heard from Julie Kinch, the SVP and Chief Legal Officer at Heineken. I learned that Heinken's leadership is comprised of 50% women and that their sales team is 40% female. That actually really surprised me as one would think a beer company would be so male-dominated.
Here are the three big things I took away from the panel and the day in general:
Throughout the morning, everyone kept reiterated how important it is to be yourself. Sometimes we feel pressured to develop these fake personalities because we think that's how powerful women behave. But, the true key to success is being yourself and bringing your unique qualities to the table. As an introvert and a relatively quiet person, this was a really good reminder!
Use your Voice
This means so many things. Use your voice at work, speak up when you have an idea, believe in your abilities and your knowledge. We discussed how women often don't speak up or apply for a job unless they meet every qualification or beyond, whereas men feel inherently more confident even if they are less qualified. I know that I struggle with this sometimes----if I'm going to have a conversation about something like economics or finance, I often feel like I need to have an answer to every possible question as well as factual research to back up every opinion. This is especially true when talking to men because it's so common for them to question your authority.
We also need to speak up for our fellow women, support each other, and help each other succeed!
This is a big thing that I continue to hear from DVF. Being independent is so important for your success in every aspect of life from your career to relationships. The most important relationship we have is with ourselves as we are the creators of our happiness and our destiny. If we put that power into the hands of someone else, we're cheating ourselves of our potential.
How did you guys celebrate International Women's Day? What kinds of important lessons have you learned from the women in your life?