Summit Summaries – Key Take-Aways from General Sessions


By Design – Lisa Walsh

Lisa Walsh - Summit 2019

• This year’s theme— “By Design”—is all about intention. It’s about envisioning the future we want to live in. It’s about the creative power in each of us and in all of us to think critically about whether or not our workplaces are living up to the promise of gender equality, then to innovate our way forward.

• When we are intentional, our every action becomes a tool for affecting change.

• You can’t change the culture if you don’t confront the ideas and actions that keep women and people of color on the sidelines.

Speaking Truth to Power – Luvvie Ajayi

Luvvie Ajayi

• One of my friends used this phrase ‘spend your privilege.’ Which means, in the rooms that you’re in at work, recognize what roles you play. Recognize your privilege and know that you can take a risk that someone else cannot take.

• You assemble a super squad by being someone so amazing that a super squad comes to you. Understand that you being amazing yourself will attract other people. Figure out how to be awesome yourself, to figure out, how you would add value to the squad.

• In those moments standing on the island by yourself, finding the words to say what you have to say, really comes from the smaller moments when we need to tell the truth.


A NEW Future: See, Make, Build – Sarah Alter

Sarah Alter

• It’s been a challenging journey, but we need to acknowledge that we’re making real strides in the right direction. Things are only getting better and we need to own that and congratulate ourselves because our current gender equality position has been hard-won by every person in this room.

• To achieve gender equality for good, we need to have a clear understanding of where we are, while envisioning the future we’re aiming for and building it from the ground up.

• With that future in mind, each of us needs to do the hard work of being an ally, supporting other women, advocating for women to advance in leadership positions and making serious organizational changes. Together, we can take action. Together, we can create a NEW future.

We are all Creative – Paul Bennett

Paul Bennett

• Design is like gardening; we are planting seeds of hope. As designers, we have to go there. Because engaging with society to make things a little better is our collective responsibility. • “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” -Truman Capote

• We have to be the agents of changed and foster creative confidence. And we can’t give up!

Brave Leaders, Bold Ideas – Susan Chapman-Hugues, Wendy Davidson and Valerie Oswalt

Wendy Davidson

Wendy Davidson

• My age, my gender, my experience… [are things that] didn't limit my ability to make a difference.

• You have a seat at the table. You have an impact on every person you interact with, and what you choose to do with that opportunity is your choice.

• Everyone deserves the opportunity to be considered for their capabilities...and let it be their choice.

Valerie Oswalt

Valerie Oswalt

• It's not where you start, but where you finish…and who you bring with you.

• Be purposeful about your life, be courageous, and have a lot of fun.

Susan Chapman-Hughes

Susan Chapman Hughes

• Having a giving spirit about everything that you do will open doors for you.

Not in Kansas Anymore - Cassandra Johnson

Cassandra Johnson

• Technology and processes are not the only important things to going through the levels [of processes], people are the most important thing.

• Change management is so crucial, though it can sometimes be overwhelming whether you’re leading it or receiving it.

Generation Z: Changing the Game for Good – Tiffany Mawhinney and Danielle Robinson


• Gen Z is going to change the way you think about work.

• The experience of welcoming millennials into the workplace might not have prepared them [businesses] for Gen Z. 

• Social media may pose unique considerations for this workforce as they continue to grow and continue in their careers. 

Finding Clarity in the Chaos – Lindsey Roy

Lindsey Roy

• If you're feeling worried about something, ask yourself how things could be worse. By the time you get to item two, you'll probably feel better.

• Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. • I really do believe that most of us, in most situations, can rise up over what's challenging us.

• A lot of times, when things don’t work out the way we want, it's easy to see that for what it is. It's harder to look at it from another window...It's the start of a new you, even if it seems preposterous.


Welcome Back - Monica Turner

Monica Turner

• I realize the road to equality is not going to be easy and will require a real, collective effort.

• Truly, the bottom line is when equality improves communities, equality improves and helps economies thrive.

• As a possibility leader, I believe that we actually can be the difference. I believe that if we’re bold and intentional individually, but especially as a powerful collective, That we will absolutely get there.

Case Study: Inside “The Talk” – Damon Jones and Crystal Harrell

Damon Jones

Damon Jones

• We are working deliberately to find ways to integrate these tough topics into the conversations that we’re having.

• We’re using our voices not only to use awareness about the individual things but also the institutional areas.

• That perfection is not going to become the enemy of progress.

Crystal Harrell

Crystal Harrell

• Be clear on what success looks like. For us and for these campaigns it’s definitely about driving conversation.

Ally-Ship: Worth the Risk?: Merary Simeon, Michael Thorne-Begland, Jorge Amadeo and Nikki Singh

Merary Simeon

Merary Simeon

• “You cannot give up. You have to be intentional. Yes, you will face resistance. I don’t believe anyone in this room is afraid of resistance, because together we’re more powerful.” – Merary Simeon

Michael Thorne-Begland

Michael Thorne Begland

• “Using my whiteness and maleness as a way to talk about things that I think a lot of white men would be incredibly uncomfortable talking about with a woman of color is how I bring others on board with allyship.” -Michael Thorne-Begland

• “Few of us have been trained in how you do this, so we’re figuring it out as we go.” - Michael Thorne-Begland

Jorge Amadeo

Jorge Amadeo

• “As an ally, you have to own it and it has to be obvious from afar.” – Jorge Amadeo

Nikki Singh

Nikki Singh

• “There’s no one group that needs allyship. It’s quite egalitarian in that way.” -Nikki Singh

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger - Soraya Chemaly and Tara Jaye Frank

Nikki Singh

• I think one of the first things is acknowledging the discomfort with this emotion and thinking introspectively about how you may feel about it or respond to it. The second thing is making meaning out of the anger that you have.

• In adulthood, we still attribute the quality of sadness to women even when they look angry...

• When we get angry, what we are actually saying is, ‘I have knowledge, I have experience.’ Anger is an epistemological emotion. It is built out of those experiences and our knowledge and so it deserves attention...and respect and recognition. In the workplace, the way that plays out is that when men get angry, they actually accrue power, because of that confirming their masculinity. But when women, in the exact same roles, doing the exact same things, saying the exact same words, get angry, we all know what that looks’s not power

Thank You and Farewell – Sarah Alter

Sarah Alter

• In the coming year, we at NEW have no intention of slowing down our progress on gender equality. We will continue to publish exclusive findings on the experiences of and barriers faced by women in the workplace by women of all backgrounds. We’ll continue to build up our future women leaders. Finally, we’ll continue to advance women by offering learning and development programs designed to bolster leadership skills and take careers to the next level.

• If we face our gender equality obstacles with courage and work together to build a future, I know we can get there faster.

Read our Summit blogs!

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