Highlights from the 2019 Women|Future Conference
Women from around the world gathered for a two-day women's conference in New York City
The second-annual Women|Future Conference wrapped last week at the Marriott Marquis in New York City and brought women professionals from various industries together for two days of structured networking, panels, and case studies before the 16th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business ceremony.
“I wasn’t born with the gift of foresight but I would tell you that all of you are Futurists too. Each and everyone one of you try to predict the future, for your personal life and for your company strategy.”
The conference kicked off with Keynote Address by Sheryl Connelly, Futurist at Ford Motor Company: Confessions of a Corporate Futurist: Coming Trends That Will Revolutionize Your Business.
Sheryl shared her background, choosing a degree in finance to be financially secure when she really wanted to study art, then going on to law school and never ended up practicing law. She started at an entry level job at Ford, even with a law degree, and was able to work her way up to the unique job of “Futurist.” She then shared what insights made her career goals come true and how she is able to help Ford predict what trends are coming next, and how we can too.
This conference empowers you to be your best self, to be in a space with like minded individuals, and to discover best practices being used around the world for different, relevant topics. I would happily recommend this to any person wanting to improve themselves and learn in the process. - Jessica Ney, Income Access
Women in business are creating an extraordinary impact on the world and the Future Women conference is an incredible opportunity to meet leading-edge game-changers and to discover what you could be achieving in your own role. - Lauren Clemett - Audacious Agency
“Be strategic. Lead easier. Because you’re always leading.”
One of the first panels on Day One was The Significance and Simplification of Being Strategic, moderated by Erin Joy, CEO of Black Dress Circle. The panelists included Debra Kunz, Founder of the Center for Deliberate Growth, Julie Ockerby, CEO of Meli Studio Australia, Chessa Eskandanian-Yee, CEO & Co-Founder of LeaderEQ, and Andrea Arco-Mastromichalis, CEO and Founder of Arco + Associates. Each speaker offered their approach to thinking more strategically in the workplace. Tips about prioritizing, anticipating problems, and simplifying the steps to get from point A to B were brought to light, which encouraged some thought-provoking questions at the end of the session.
“61% of women look at the gender diversity of a leadership team when deciding where to work.”
After a lunch break that featured tables for structured networking sessions with other goal-oriented professional women discussing issues in today’s business environment, the day continued with The Art of Inclusion: How to Craft Your Company’s Diversity Mosaic. Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager of Income Access, A Paysafe Group, moderated the panel. Joining her were speakers Ashley Brundage, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at PNC, Tonia Morris, HR Executive of The Generational Connector, Ashira Prossack, Founder and CEO of The Generational Factor, and Vanessa Subramaniam, Manager of Sales and Support for TourRadar. Their session revolved around the comparisons between different generations in the workplace, the advantages of age diversity, and how to embrace diversity and develop a generational inclusive workforce.
“A paradox of opportunity & unintended consequences.”
Day one of the conference wrapped with the panel, How AI Is Transforming Industries, led by Brigitta Rubin, Chief Innovation Officer of Dragonfish, Inc. Attendees learned how AI will affect our everyday lives, the world of business, and job prospects. Speakers Jagathi Gururajan, Director of the Financial Services Advisory for PwC, Shimona Chadha, Associate Vice President of Marketing for HCL, and Louvere Walker-Hannon, Application Engineer for Mathworks, Inc. provided their expertise and advice regarding how marketers can unlock the potential of AI and adapt to discover new opportunities.
“When it comes to creating a future that’s gender-equal…there are things our society needs to do. There are things our country needs to do.”
The second day of sessions began with a morning Keynote by Selena Rezvani, Author of Pushback. In her talk, The Future of Work Is Female, she discussed creating a future that is gender equal. Attendees learned about the clues that reveal a company’s culture and how they could be proactive in advocating for a “women-forward culture.” Rezvani provided examples of gender bias within companies like Nike and suggested how women can strengthen their participation in decisions that affect them.
Rezvani’s Keynote was followed shortly by several breakout sessions, which covered topics such as The Power of Influence, Customer Experience, Building Communities, and Cross-Cultural Communication.
“I wanted to help impact people’s lives the way mine was impacted.”
The conference concluded with a closing panel of three case studies conducted by Sherry Smith, VP, Media, Mobile & Marketing, of Clarity PR. Each case study featured a finalist from the 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. The awards honoring women in the workplace was to be held later that evening. Finalists and speakers included Gail Becker, Founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER, Alex Coren, Co-Founder & CINO of Wambi, and Rosemary Lokhorst, Executive Director and Producer of The Digging Deep Project. Each of them gave attendees a microscopic view of how these women leaders started their companies and grew to influence the larger community.
The Women|Future Conference was a jam-packed two days of networking with incredible insight from just a fraction of leading women in the professional sphere. We look forward to an even bigger and more exciting event next year during the third annual conference, which will be held November 12-13, 2020 in Las Vegas presented in conjunction with the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.