by Jean Freeman
Last week, I was honored to represent Zambezi and women-owned businesses at MAKERS. This was my second year attending, and my first as a member of the MAKERS Board of Directors. The whole experience was inspiring and exciting!
The theme for this year was All of Us, and the programming was exceptionally curated to live up to this theme. Founder and creator Dyllan McGee has continued to elevate the MAKERS platform by telling the stories of trailblazing women, and underscoring the common threads in all of these individual stories.
There were so many highlights, but here are a few of my favorites:
* Glennon Doyle gave a mesmerizing talk about the power of forgiveness, infused with lots of laughs and tears. Glennon has a strong following in the Christian blogging community, and her book Love Warrior explores the power of love and forgiveness through her family journey.
* Regina Wilson, one of the few African-American women firefighters, led a discussion with senior women from LAFD. Only 4% of all firefighters are women.
* Susan Schuman, CEO of SYPartners -- and coach to such luminaries as Meg Whitman and Howard Schultz -- spoke about the shifts in leadership needs for today’s CEO. I did not stop taking notes during her talk. My favorite takeaway: “Shift from having all the answers to coaching through this beautiful mess.”
* Lisa Borders, inaugural CEO for Time’s Up, talked about how her career prepared her for this moment. Time’s Up is starting “The 4% Challenge” which strives to increase the number of women directors in Hollywood; currently only 4% of the top 100 studio films over the last decade have been directed by women. Lisa described growing up in Atlanta, where her father was a chauffeur for Coca-Cola executives, and her tremendous pride that in only one generation she was able to ascend to the executive ranks of Coca-Cola, where she formerly served as Vice President of Global Community Affairs. She was interviewed by movie star Jennifer Garner, and one of my favorite takeaways from the interview was Lisa’s definition of leadership: Leadership = Passion + Action.
* Jamella Jamil, actress and activist, gave an impassioned talk about the need to change male stereotypes which she wrote about in her poem “Tell Him.”
On Friday morning, I was honored to take the stage with other members of the MAKERS Board of Directors to make our pledges of what we will do this year inside our own companies to continue to promote the MAKERS mission of gender equality. Zambezi is committed to conducting a wage audit to ensure pay equity and correct like-for-like discrepancies. As I reiterated on stage, “As we all know, money equals power.”
To watch the full sessions click here.
Here’s to a powerful 2019!
Jean Freeman is Principal + CEO of Zambezi, LLC and charting the future for one of the largest female-owned businesses in the advertising industry. Jean has successfully grown Zambezi from a startup to what it is today – a thriving agency named Small Agency of the Year by AdAge and one of the top Largest Women-Owned Businesses by the Los Angeles Business Journal.