Category Archives: Events

Texas Conference for Women

By Samantha White

This year’s Texas Conference for Women will be hosted right here in Austin. To give you an idea of what’s on tap at this month’s event, we took a look at the four keynote speakers.

Charlotte Beers is not just an advertising woman – she is THE woman of the advertising world. According to both Fortune and Business Week magazines, Beers is among the most powerful women in America. She was the first female Senior Vice President in J. Walter Thompson’s history as a firm, and later became the Chairman/CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. She was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2009.

Cathie Black is also a media mogul. She served for 15 years as President of Hearst Magazines, a division of Hearst Corporation which publishes 20 titles in the U.S. and over 300 international editions. Black has been on Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list since its inception in 1998. She has also been a member on the Board of Directors at IBM as well as The Coca-Cola Company, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Brené Brown, a renowned speaker and professor, gave the closing talk at this year’s TED conference. For the last twelve years she has studied vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her fourth book Daring Greatly talks about having courage to be vulnerable and was released this month. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and currently is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

Gretchen Rubin, an author and blogger, actually began her career in law working for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She quickly realized she’d rather be writing and began to do so. Rubin has now authored seven books including this month’s release Happier at Home, in which she takes an entire school year (September-May) to explore ways to make the home a happier place. Her previous book, The Happiness Project, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and shares a name with her current blog in which Rubin chronicles her daily pursuit of happiness.

Since the four keynote speakers have such differing backgrounds, the conference is sure to offer something for everyone. Tickets are now available for the October 24th event.

Women in the 2012 London Olympics

Mariel Zagunis carries the US flag during Opening Ceremonies

By Samantha White

The Olympics are in full swing and we can’t get enough! It is a major topic of conversation here in our office and we’ve all been keeping an eye on our favorite athletes and events.

The 2012 games mark a big year for female athletes, so enjoy these facts about the ladies currently competing in London.

  • For the first time in Team USA history, the female athletes outnumber the males. The team is made up of 268 women and 261 men.
  • Women’s boxing is an official Olympic sport for the first time this year, with 3 Americans competing.
  • The oldest American athlete and the youngest competing this year are both females. Karen O’Connor, 54, is an equestrian while Katie Ledecky, 15, is a swimmer.
  • While 54 American athletes are fathers, a mere 13 are mothers.
  • There have now been 45 flag bearers for the US during Opening Ceremonies. The honor went to fencer Mariel Zagunis this year, who became the 11th female to carry the flag.

The 2012 Olympic Games go through August 12th, so you’ve still got plenty of time to catch some events and cheer for Team USA!

Women in the Economy: Getting to the C-suite requires a two-way street

By Stephanie Milam

An invitation-only group of professionals and industry leaders gathered together last week for the Women in the Economy conference, arranged by the Wall Street Journal.  The goal of the conference was to create action strategies for the career advancement of women through “Executive Task Force” working groups. While some argue gender inequality is no longer an issue, the forum was constructed with the understanding that there is indeed a long way to go for equal opportunities and treatment in the workplace.

The resulting strategies assembled by the working groups are easily attainable by just about any organization, but require the ready cooperation of both company executives and their employees to achieve success. From these cohesive strategies, the three points of focus for a fairer work environment and more supportive advancement opportunities are sponsorships, accountability, and flexibility.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships (or mentors or advocates) for women are currently few and far between. As mentioned in The Journal Report article on the conference, only 17 CEOs of the Fortune 500 are female.  With so few female executives, women at lower levels within an organization rarely look to the executives of the company and see someone they can aspire to be. Consequently, many women lack the resources those with sponsorships or mentors experience, especially in the form of project and job recommendations and company navigation advice.

Executives, on the other hand, sometimes choose not to sponsor an employee within the company for fear of future competition. With this in mind, what the Executive Task Force recommends is companies encouraging sponsorships between leaders and employees that are at least two levels down from their own position.

Accountability

Accountability seems to be an obvious approach because it’s always been a golden rule of success. In this case, the Executive Task Force is charging female employees with holding themselves accountable for setting goals and more aggressively pursuing them, while the higher-ups must be accountable for establishing unbiased performance metrics and appropriately rewarding a job well done.

Flexibility

One of the bigger stumbling blocks along women’s path to advancement in the workplace is maternity. As women begin having children and prioritizing their families, the goals of the female professional, as well as the organization’s goals for her, can change. The lofty work-life balance is only attainable through flexible time management, both at home and at work. As such, the female professional and her company must be willing to step up to the plate to meet the demands of the family and the job.

For advancement, women must stay motivated and aggressive. To do so requires support from sponsors and flexibility from the company. But that’s not all – structures within the organization must also be in place to allow for women to rise. Executives must be accountable for unbiased assignments, reviews, and promotions. The professional success of women, as well as of the organization, is dependent on full participation.

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