The Female Quotient: Insights From Davos Through The March

The Female Quotient: Insights From Davos Through The March

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

Last Sunday, on my flight to the World Economic Forum, I came across an article entitled, “Davos Makes Glacial Progress in Hike Towards Gender Balance”. Having since spent time on the ground in Davos, I am thrilled to report the glacier is thawing and I am confident that next year’s coverage will highlight progress being made.

To its credit, the WEF reached out to The Female Quotient in 2015 as part of its efforts to proactively change the gender ratio (less than 20% women) of its flagship event. In its second year, TFQ at Davos doubled in size and produced three full days of standing room only panel discussions. With participants including Sheryl Sandberg, Paul Polman and Cherie Blair covering topics ranging from “Why Diversity is a Business Imperative” to “Rebooting the Future” to “The Future of Work”, The TFQ Lounge was a “Can’t Miss” destination along the Promenade.

So much ground was covered in three days that a true recap could fill the pages of a Thomas Friedman book (btw, he was on a panel with us this year! #fangirl). Luckily for you, much of the content was taped and will be made available via In the meantime, below are three topical highlights.

1) Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace – THE HOW:

The general consensus of all discussions was that we have been admiring the problem for the past few years, and now is the time to walk the talk. In the lounge, we heard from executives at some of the companies leading the way, including Salesforce (the gold standard), CA Technologies, Unilever, Facebook, Tradeshift, and more.

Devin Wenig, CEO of eBay, told us he made achieving pay parity part of eBay’s overall business agenda and implemented metrics and targets to measure progress, just as he does any core business agenda. This proved successful as eBay, one of the first public companies to publish pay data, recently announced that it achieved 100% pay parity.

To help move the conversation from lip service to impact, The Female Quotient, in partnership with Catalyst and Atlantic Media Strategies, announced the launch of “The Modern Guide to Equality.” The document, available online here, is a practical starting point for advancing equality in the workplace and is meant to become a living, breathing destination for thought and action-sharing.

2) Leadership in the Age of Millenials and the 4th Industrial Revolution

The definition of leadership, along with the traits that make for a good leader, is changing. As our world is rapidly being reshaped (demographic shifts, industry transformations, advances in technology, science, communication, etc.), we must reshape ourselves, our communities, our companies, and our countries in order to thrive and excel in this new paradigm. Gone are the days of the “carrot and stick” and “command and control” leadership tactics. Compassion, humility, collaboration, inclusion were the phrases most oft-repeated as traits required of leaders.

Indeed, whether they had read The Athena Doctrine or not, CEOs and leaders across Davos were touting the importance of feminine leadership traits. Luckily for us, the author John Gerzema is a friend of TFQ and joined us for a private dinner we threw for CA Technologies in our Lounge.

3) Getting Back to the Basics: The Golden Rule

Also known as the Law or Reciprocity or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” The Golden Rule has been a core tenet of cultures and religions since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that, in recent times, compassion and tolerance do not seem to be “ruling” our collective hearts or minds.

The good news: there is a call to action happening now – post 2016 and in response to Drumpf, Brexit, and increases in hate crimes, terror attacks, species extinction, etc. – that humanity band together to accept our differences and to live compassionately and sensitively toward ourselves and others. Put more simply, we’re bringing The Golden Rule back.

For more on this read our amazing panelists’ books:

“Imaginal Cells: Visions of Transformation”, curated by Kim Pollman and Stephen Vasconcellos-Sharpe.

“Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas Friedman.

As I type this I am back on a plane, heading home to LA. It has only been a week, but feels much longer. Not only has the most female-attended World Economic Forum passed, the largest Women’s March/Rally in history has taken place. Both have left me inspired, energized and with a renewed sense of hope and faith in humanity.

The March embodied so much of what was discussed in the TFQ Lounge at Davos. Certainly, it was organized by compassionate leaders across the world and reached epic participation rates (women AND men) because so many of us believe in standing up, and standing together, for inclusion and equality and compassion and love. One of the mantras of the Girls Lounge, which Shelley,  the CEO, repeats often is, “Alone we have power, together we have impact.” Never have those words rang so true.

For those asking what now? The answer is, “we keep at it.”  We stay united, engaged and activated every single day. Creating diversity and equality in the workplace will take time, as will realizing the changes we would like to see in our country and world. I will end by paraphrasing Thomas Friedman’s advice for making it through these challenging times: 1) Play the long game and avoid short-termism, 2) Wake up everyday and be a positive, active force in your immediate community, and 3) Live by The Golden Rule.

Female Powerhouses – Sheryl Sandberg & Oprah

Diversity/Equality Personal Development

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has emerged as a tremendous inspiration to female executives and working mothers everywhere. As a woman in the tech startup space, I admire her greatly. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I love that she says it – as she sees it. She is a no bullshit kinda chick who is also very witty and fun. Sheryl throws a monthly dinner at her home to bring women in business together. I have been wanting to emulate this in LA (lots of amazing female tech founders and business executives here in LaLaLand!) for a while now, and my first event, called LA Women Rising, is happening this Monday. So excited!!!  (a recap to come of course)  If you are new to the fabulosity that is Mrs. Sandberg, read this New Yorker article title, ” A Woman’s Place: Can Sheryl Sandberg upend Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture?”   Also, check out her TED talk, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.

As for Oprah, I will admit here that I participated in her Eckhart Tolle “A New Earth” online classes, and they truly helped me improve myself and my life. Probably gonna sound like “O” here, but I am all about becoming the best person I can be – and Oprah has been an amazing personal and spiritual growth “coach” for me. As a high-energy, uber-passionate worker bee living in NYC at the time of the classes, I had some major “Aha moments” re: the importance of awareness and how to “breathe” and be present.  In startupland, speed is everything. Being 100 steps ahead of the game is crucial to success, and can lend itself to focusing on the destination rather than journey.  I, as we all are, am a work in progress, and Oprah has been instrumental to that progress.  Oprah and her show have elevated the world by influencing countless individuals to empower themselves and live their most authentic life (not to mention read books, volunteer/donate to worthy causes, and know what to buy for Christmas). And, of course, it probably goes without saying that I also am obsessed with “THE Oprah” because she is a fierce businesswoman, entrepreneur and mogul.

BTW Oprah is doing new online “life classes” starting in October.  Highly Recommend!

Both these women are beyond authentic and inspirational. Watch this and see for yourself:

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5 Educational AND Entertaining Business Books to Read NOW

Founders/Startups Personal Development

I love to read.  And I almost exlusively read business books.  My favorites are both educational and entertaining.   Yes, business books can be entertaining – and even exciting.   For me, these are the ones that tell true accounts of the failures and successes of entrepreneurs/startups, and provide gems of wisdom, and lots of humor, along the way.   Below is a list of 5 of my 2010 favorites.  They make for great Holiday reading as well as great Holiday gifts.

1) Stealing Myspace – the myspace story is one of countless twists, turns, villains, and saviors.  Not only does it include a Who’s Who in today’s Internet space (Richard Rosenblatt of soon-to-go public Demand Media, Ross Levinsohn who was literally just hired last week to take control of  Yahoo!  Americas, and countless others), it also includes Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch.   It reads like a great fiction book, but is an accurate account – which makes it all the more entertaining.

2) CRUSH IT – if you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk (“Gary Vee of WineLibraryTV”) is by now, get with the program.  This guy has more passion and energy when it comes to business development than I do – I am a HUGE fan!   The book is a quick read and a must read.  Its all about hustling and the best ways to leverage social media to build your personal brand and “cash in on your passion”.   Here are Gary’s 3 Secrets to Success – which I LOVE:

        Love Your Family
        Work Superhard
        Live Your Passion

Be entertained and educated by Gary daily by reading his blog  and following him on Twitter @garyvee.

3)  The Accidental Billionaires – you have most likely seen (and loved!) The Social Network. This book is just as good, if not better. It is a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal, and also a tale of how one of today’s most prominent and dominant Social Networking/Internet companies came to be.

4)  Delivering Happiness – this is a book by an amazing entrepreneur and human, Tony Hsieh.  I had the privilege of listening to him speak at last month’s PerfectBusiness Summit 2010.  DH is an important book, as it is as much about passion and purpose as it is about profits.  It tells the story of Zappos and provides great insight into the importance of company culture in building a brand and growing a company.  It also includes thoughts on tribal theory, happiness, and what one can learn about business by playing Poker.

Keep up with Tony by following @zappos on twitter.

5)  Do More Faster – this book was put together by David Cohen and Brad Feld of Techstars.  They, as I, believe that mentoring and community are key factors in flourishing entrepreneurial ventures.  There is no better way to avoid the many pitfalls of launching a business then learning from those who have gone before.  This book is filled with 1-2 page chapters by Techstars Mentors and Mentees and is chockfull of great insights.  I read this book in 2 days and bet you will too.

I have learned a great deal by reading Brad’s blog site Feld Thoughts . You should definitely check it out as well as follow him on Twitter @bfeld

Happy reading!  Please share your must-reads with me via the Comment Box.