The Girls' Lounge Session at Y&R New York

May 14, 2017

“A woman alone has power. Collectively, we have impact.”

- Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient and Founder, Girls’ Lounge.

 As part of Y&R’s professional development initiatives, we joined forces with The Girls’ Lounge to build our community of connected, collaborative and empowered women.

 Together we discussed ways to activate change and close gender gap. From public speaking to the challenges of balancing home and work, and mentorship to the power of feminine skills sets, the event was both inspiring and empowering.

 The Girls' Lounge session was hosted by Shelley Zalis at Y&R’s New York Headquarters. The event featured speakers including Laura Jones, VP, Strategy Director BAVLab, Sandy Thompson, Global CSO, Y&R Global, Leslie Sims, CCO, Y&R North America, Shelley Diamond, Chief Client Officer, Y&R, Madeline Park, Chief of Talent & Operations, Y&R Group and Belle Frank, Chief Strategy Officer Y&R Health.

Here are a few of the top takeaways:

-       Female representation declines as career levels rise. For example, 45% of entry level professionals are women—yet, they comprise just 17% of C-suite executives.

-       But just having a woman at the top doesn’t mean change is going to happen.

-       All change is gradual, yes. But based on the slow rate of progress today, if we don’t take action, it will take 118 years to close the gender gap.

-       Women are often hired based on past performance, while men are hired for their potential.

-       The gap in senior leadership can partially be attributed to “the messy middle”— women who are mid-way through their careers and face difficult work/life balance decisions, particularly when having a family is in the mix.

-       The challenge is both a gender issue and a caregiver issue.

-       We can create change by advancing action and collaboration by creating caring corporate cultures.

 Advice and Takeaways:

-       “Stop admiring the problem. Activate a solution.” - Shelley Zalis

-       “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” - Leslie Sims

-       “You don’t just need leadership. You need followership.” - Shelley Diamond

-       “It’s ok to have an unpopular opinion.” - Shelley Diamond

-       “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”  - Shelley Zalis

-       “When you help someone rise, we all shine.” - Shelley Zalis

-       “Every time you’re in a situation where you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, laugh. Be a duck; let the water roll off your back.” - Sandy Thompson

-       “Everyone needs a mentor AND a sponsor; someone who can advocate on your behalf and get you in the room.” - Belle Frank

-       “More diverse thinking leads to growth. We’re better together.” - David Sable

 Thank you to The Girls' Lounge for an incredible day filled with discussion and insights. We’re reminded that when passion meets purpose, we are unstoppable.