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It’s Time to Disrupt Things: The Importance of Women Innovating, with UN Women

It’s Time to Disrupt Things: The Importance of Women Innovating, with UN Women

Hi #TBT buddies — you may have noticed that I took a break last week. I was strategizing with Eileen Fisher and 100+ B Corp Women CEOs including Green Mountain Power, Athleta, and Badger about the ways that women business leaders can advocate for societal and environmental change (no big deal). Stay tuned for updates on that later…

This week, I’m thinking back to the stupendous event that EllevateUN WomenPepsiCo and Nina Ansary organized around the GICC. I’m honored to have been an advisor for the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, which is a dynamic partnership between UN Women and key representatives from the private sector, academic and not-for-profit institutions focused on developing the innovation market to work better for women and accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

During this event, we brought together women from the Ellevate community and beyond at the PepsiCo, Inc. Design & Innovation Center to learn from UN Women GICC Champions, Dr. Nina Ansary, Award-winning Author, Scholar, and Women’s Rights Advocate and Wade Davis, Former NFL Player, Thought Leader, Public Speaker, and Consultant.

Related: Defining Feminism, with Wade Davis

The aim of the event was to connect private sector expertise with local women innovators in order to provide women with the support, expertise and collaboration needed to scale their innovations. Through professional guidance and inspiration by the UN Women Champions of Innovation, we worked to support women innovators in realizing their own innovation story and creating tangible paths to success.

Nina and Wade drew on their own expertise to provide guidance, inspiration, and mentorship, and highlighted the importance of gender inclusiveness in eliminating the gender gap in entrepreneurship. When 78% of new women-owned businesses are owned by women of color yet only 0.2% of VC funding goes to women of color — there is a good amount of innovation (and disruption) to be had.

Nina drew upon her own experiences, telling us the stories of women that have personally faced this barrier to opportunity. She said, “Technology is priceless, especially when you are trying to empower women.” And I agree. The fast pace of technology can connect women worldwide with the tools and resources they need to build and scale businesses faster, to connect with advisors and mentors, and to engage customers.

Wade really hit it home when he called upon the fact that, “Women make up half of the world and if half of the world is oppressed then half of the women aren’t getting the resources they need to make the world better. When women are in positions of power, they give back — not just to their families, but to their world and communities — and that’s what we need to make sure that our world a better place.”

Read more: The Power of a Value-Driven Business

Following the stellar presentation, the event attendees broke up into small groups to discuss their inner and outer challenges and to work on telling their innovation story. It was magical, and transformative.

I hope you enjoyed this recap of the incredible people I’m learning and growing with through my work here at Ellevate. I’ll be sure to update you more on what I’m up to every week on Linkedin.

Be sure to follow Ellevate Network on Linkedin and sign up for our newsletter to know where I’ll be next.


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