I was honored to have been a 2017 MAKERS Awardee and given the opportunity to participate in the MAKERS annual conference in L.A. a few weeks ago. MAKERS is a three day conference in a swanky hotel that brings together hundreds of trailblazing women to elevate the conversation, and explore solutions for issues ranging from violence against women to gender equality at work and in the world, navigating the current political and social environment, and overcoming adversity and achieving success.
The theme this year was #BEBOLD. Here are a few of my favorite moments and larger ideas that resonated with me, I hope you find some of this useful:
1. Be Courageous.
We’ve got two hands – one to battle and one to build
— Brittany Packnett, VP National Community Alliances of Teach for America
I was inspired by the stories about women who courageously overcame adversity and achieved success in their respective industries. It reminded me that taking action doesn’t just mean politically or socially, but constantly, throughout our lives and careers.
If an issue doesn’t impact you, find someone who it does impact and figure out a way to help them
— Smart person, I forgot which one
Only have a PLAN A. Put all your eggs in one basket
— Lilly Singh, YouTube star
Courage is something that you have to practice every day
— Smart person, I forgot who said this too
We need to do a lot more listening and far less lecturing
— Lydia Polgreen, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post
Another reoccurring theme was empathic listening. Lydia Polgreen said she has no interest in fact checking or explanatory reporting within the current political climate; or writing stories that correct or lecture people. Instead, she wants to write stories that take people’s lived experiences seriously. What she was ultimately saying was that facts won’t matter to a reader if they are different to what that reader has personally experienced. As a director, I really related to this as I strive to tell stories that connect with people, and understanding others’ lived experiences will help me do this more effectively.
3. Know yourself.
Figure out where you suck and get over it
— Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Business leader, activist and entrepreneur
Play your specialist game [a.k.a know exactly who you are]
— Sarah Robb O’Hagan
The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself [AND Don’t be delusional]
– Diane von Furstenberg
Pick your friends, don’t let your friends pick you
— Tamika Catchings, Former WNBA Player
What do we gain and what do we lose when we frame our days by being pretty? [AND How much pleasure does your gender allow you?]
— Jill Soloway, genius
4. And one for the guys…
It’s our responsibility to show women how they should be loved
— Russell Wilson, super cute Seahawks Quarterback
The big lesson I took away from the MAKERs conference is that no one has the magic answer for how to change the world or how to #BEBOLD. You have to find the path that works for you. Not having a plan B just doesn’t work for everyone. Along with the other Ogilvy 2017 Maker awardees – Justine Herz and Christine Zinker, we plan to use the conference as a springboard to more action here at Ogilvy, ideas welcome! Please reach out if you want to chat about MAKERS or how we can change the world.
My favorite speakers: Gloria Steinman, Cecile Richards (President, Planned Parenthood), Diane Von Furstenberg, Hilary Clinton (sadly via webcast), Jill Soloway (writer of Transparent), Megan Smith (The 3rd U.S. Chief Technology Officer), Sheryl Sandberg, Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg, Lydia Polgreen (Editor-In-Chief, The Huffington Post), and Sherrilyn Ifill (President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund). Also actresses Eva Longoria, Rosie Perez, Octavia Spencer, Patricia Arquette, and Zosia Mammet.
Thanks for reading!
PS. Don’t look to other people to find out how you’re doing, because it’s unreliable at best
— Lisa McCarthy, Fast Forward Group