Women & Worth Virtual Summit Day 1: Voting With Every Dollar We Spend
On Tuesday, Worth kicked off its three-day Women & Worth Virtual Summit. Since our last Women & Worth summit in March, the world has changed drastically from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the movements on social injustice issues. During day one of our virtual summit, hundreds of participants gathered to hear from leaders across different companies and backgrounds to learn how they have powered forward during these times to create impact and change for a more equal environment in the future.
To start the summit, Worth CEO Juliet Scott-Croxford met with Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and cofounder of Ellevest, to discuss what the present landscape looks like for investing in women and minorities. The current gender pay gap is 82 cents to a man’s dollar, and the wealth gap is 32 cents to a man’s dollar. Krawcheck used these statistics to promote her company’s mission, which is “to get more money in the hands of women.” By investing and empowering more women in the workforce, companies and organizations will see positive growth, productivity and change.
Women account for 85 percent of the consumer spending market, and Krawcheck stated that “every dollar you spend is every dollar you invest, so make sure you are spending your money on something you want to support.” Krawcheck explained that, as a woman, “every dollar we spend is a vote,” and that in order to create change, we need to invest in companies that not only have females in high-ranking leadership positions but also believe in advancing women. Krawcheck added that women are losing productivity while working at home, while men are gaining productivity. This is because women have additional duties around the home and often feel the need to leave the workforce because of these demands. To conclude, Krawcheck indicated that “if women viewed money as a vote and direct it to companies that align with their values, then they can change the world.”
Scott-Croxford then spoke with Ashley Etienne, Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning on the Joe Biden Presidential Campaign, to discuss advocating progress for women in politics.
Etienne opened by acknowledging that the election this November will be crucial for the country to decide the future of change. Since 2016, the United States has started to see more women in politics, which includes Joe Biden’s vice president nominee, Senator Kamala Harris.
Etienne also spoke of the greatest obstacle that women face, especially in politics. “The greatest hurdles are the ones we construct for ourselves,” Etienne stated, further explaining that “when we run, we win.” Etienne voiced that getting more women in politics must be a collective effort; women should “demand to be at the table, demand to be heard and demand our issues be addressed.”
Then, Juliet Scott-Croxford introduced Cate Luzio, founder and CEO of Luminary, for her “Lonely CEO” panel. Luzio spoke with Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, to discuss the topic of innovation. Luzio opened with, “People associate innovation with product, revenue, but now, it is associated with purpose and a company’s mission.”
Hyams then recounted his unorthodox career path, which resulted in him becoming CEO of Indeed. Since starting at Indeed, he has always been focused on the company’s mission: helping people get jobs. Hyams stated, “If it does not help people get jobs, [then it is] something we’re not interested in.”
As Indeed continues to grow, Hyams works to connect with his employees. Every Wednesday, he conducts a series called Here to Help, which includes an hour-long Q&A with current employees around the world.
Hyam shared examples of innovation at the company, such as Indeed University, which is directed toward new college graduates. The first week is intended to help participants learn about business and pitch ideas to executives. The next 12 weeks consist of working with donors to execute the projects. Indeed Incubator allows anyone in the company to pitch ideas to executives with different focuses. The best pitches are then funded, and the team has a few months to complete the project. Hyams said, “The greatest enemy of innovation is certainty.” His favorite projects are ones where people are trying to do something “completely insane” that does not work out and ones where he says that is a “terrible idea” but it ends up being very successful.
Due to COVID- 19, there are historic levels of unemployment, specifically for women. Indeed addresses this issue through its fifth value, which is inclusion and belonging. Indeed is working to eliminate the steps that will result in biased decisions, such as developing technology for employers to remove names from resumes. The discussion ended by surveying the present-day job search landscape. The difficulty of finding a new job depends on the industry, and people who are employed are less likely to be looking to change jobs due to uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next, a session moderated by Alison Gross, president and founder of Daintree Advisory, with Bettina Schaller, director of group public affairs at Adecco Group, and Dr. Lilian Ajayi-Ore, CEO and founder of Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), discussed why women are essential to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gross began by emphasizing that women are integral to the success of the SDGs, as gender equality will enable women to initiate changes on a domestic, communal and national level.
The conversation then shifted to Schaller, who examined how female government leaders responded to COVID-19 compared to their male counterparts. Schaller mentioned a study from the University of Liverpool, stating that women in government generated a faster response to the pandemic than men did, while elaborating upon the fact that a woman’s approach to a crisis often benefits both a nation’s economy and its people.
Ajayi-Ore then focused on the issue of female entrepreneurs. She mentioned that small businesses in the United States lost 22 percent of their business during the pandemic and that, of the businesses that suffered, 41 percent were managed by women. Since gender equality is central to achieving the SDGs, Ajayi-Ore highlighted that everyone needs to make a conscious effort to support small businesses, especially those managed by women and minorities, both during and after the pandemic.
To end the discussion, Schaller asserted that businesses can help women who have suffered from the economic effects of COVID-19 by providing access, employment and succession planning. Schaller said businesses should “favor and encourage women” by using technology that removes biases in the hiring process, addressing equal pay and including women at all levels of employment and leadership.
To conclude the first day of the summit, Scott-Croxford introduced the final speakers of the day to talk about the transformation of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, moderated by Gina Hadley, cofounder of The Second Shift, with Dr. Angela Jackson, a partner at New Profit, and Dee Poku-Spalding, founder and CEO of WIE Network. Both Jackson and Poku-Spalding noted that the pandemic increased their sense of community and empathy, while bringing awareness to the issue of workplace inclusivity. The speakers agreed that this issue can be addressed by diversifying one’s network, self-education and voting with one’s dollar. Jackson nicely summarized this issue and how one can engage with it by saying, “[With every] choice we make, we’re making a more equitable world or a more inequitable world.”