Year in Review 2020
Yes, this is another post that starts by saying 2020 was rough…. it’s no secret. But we’re not going to harp on it. What we want to showcase is how the Ellevate Values have guided us through 2020 to make this year not just survivable, but impactful to our coalition of smart, supportive women+ looking to change the culture of business.
In a nutshell:
- The Ellevate community grew to 242.6K+ members including ~6K women+ sponsored by our 56 corporate partners
- We pivoted our event offering to be relevant in a completely digital world, hosting more than 1,100 events with 46K+ attendees
- We responded to the pandemic by offering more of our signature programing, including a special cycle of Squads, our virtual peer-mentoring program, on the topic of Leading Through Uncertainty
- More than 2,000 women participated in Squads, and 80% of them reported their Squad helped them overcome their work-related challenges.
Why? Because we live by our values.
We, as a community, are intentional in taking action to create moments and connections that will change how you, your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers think and talk about equality.
We understand that identities don't exist in silos. People are multi-faceted, and our approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging celebrates the nuances that make each and every one of us human.
We know the 242.6+ thousand members of Ellevate are all unique - you have your own dreams, stories, goals, and identities. We see you. And we’re here for you.
Not only does intersectionality lie at the center of our community, but it extends to diversity, equity and inclusion work we do with our 56 Corporate Partners from all industries, and the 5,850 women+ who have received memberships through their employers as a prime source of personal and professional development. So to Accenture, RBC Wealth Management(US), London Stock Exchange Group, Verizon Policy, Shearman and Sterling, IBM, Lincoln Financial Network and all of our other partners, we applaud you for investing in your employees and their wellbeing in 2020, when we’ve all needed connection more than ever before.
Due to unrest in 2020 and in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, we focused in on how we can stand up and create space for the Black women in our communities. The “Become and Find Allies for Women of Color” playbook was published in June, and we now host monthly Holding Space Roundtables - a safe space for Black women to connect and share their experiences.
We know that it takes guts to put yourself out there. As a community we are unafraid to embrace who we are and who we want to become.
It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a room of strangers (whether physical or virtual) and to be vulnerable and share your story. In honor of International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month, we launched Raise Her Voice: Untold Stories of Women in the Workplace, a special movement dedicated to encouraging women to speak up and candidly share their experiences.
Close to 600 women were nominated to be a storyteller, over 10,000 votes were tallied, and around 100 women were selected to be a Raise Her Voice storyteller at a local event. A few international storytellers were featured on the Ellevate Podcast.
Raise Her Voice was incredibly special to all of us at Ellevate. We are grateful to be the platform for underrepresented voices. A second iteration of Raise Her Voice is underway, so be sure to nominate someone in your life and to vote for your favorite stories.
We foster communities and experiences where each individual can express their best, authentic self.
What do you do when you host hundreds of in-person events every year and, suddenly, the world shuts down? You pivot. For us, keeping our community connected in the face of a pandemic was paramount. We knew that now more than ever, you needed your people as a lifeline, and opportunities to listen, learn, and engage with others focused on similar challenges and questions.
In March 2020 we transitioned all of our programming online, hosting 1,184 events throughout the year with a total of 46,292 participants.That’s a lot of hours on Zoom.
And we went a step further — our Roundtables became a place for women to come together and have open and honest conversations about the challenges they’re facing. Whether you are senior executive, a manager looking for support, a rising leader, or are changing careers — you can find your people.
We practice collective trust and integrity to unleash the unique strengths and qualities of one another.
When you have people you can trust, you can face any challenge. Trust is at the center of Ellevate Squads — a twelve-week program allows you to make your future a priority. In Squads, you'll spend 30 minutes each week video conferencing with driven, intelligent and supportive women.
This year we added a special Squads cycle focused on leading through uncertainty to help our community navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic. More than 2,052 women participated in our three Squads cycles, and 80% of them reported their Squad helped them with work-related challenges.
As a way to support our partners in retaining top talent and investing in rising leaders, we created Corporate Squads - where employees from across all lines of our partners’ business come together to learn from each other, improving internal communication and becoming stronger leaders.
We are privileged to lead the way to a more equal world.
We know how lucky we are to do a job that we love, to build a community that is so special, to make strides for a world where everyone has full and equal access to power. We always put our mission at the center of our work and in 2020, when women have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, we knew we had more work to do than ever. In response, we created The Action Guide - a toolkit for organizations and employees navigating through the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Due to the increasing job losses and economic impact on women through COVID-19, the future of women in the workplace was (and continues to be) at great risk. But in true Ellevate fashion, we are not here to let go of decades of progress made on gender equity. So we launched EllevateHER Forward, a fellowship granting fund supporting women facing the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.
157 people contributed to the fund, along with RBC as a corporate sponsor and Dr. Nina Ansari as a champion for women. And for every contribution made, Ellevate matched it with the same amount. Thanks to your generosity and your will to take action, we were able to welcome 250 fellows to EllevateHER. They have been able to take advantage of all that is offered in a community like ours — from professional development to connections when they needed it the most.
And as the year is coming to a close, 348 of our Executive members paid it forward to women in their lives and we’re welcoming more than 1,200 additional women+ into our community. How incredible is that?
We approach our work with enthusiasm, seek excitement in the everyday, and celebrate each victory. We find joy in what we do and the individuality of those who surround us.
And one of our biggest wins this year? We pivoted our annual Mobilize Women Summit in this new world and changed it into a 5-day online experience. In addition to being the center of our mission, Mobilize Women Week, hosted in August, showcased the zest that is always apparent in Ellevate. The energy, excitement and incredible discussions that happened during the 12 sessions, among 3100+ attendees, 36 speakers and 11 sponsors, was felt even in this online forum.
A special thank you again to our Mobilize Women sponsors, including RBC Wealth Management, Accenture, London Stock Exchange Group, Columbia Business School, Lincoln Financial Network, Guardian, Baker Hostetler, NFP, MM LaFleur, and Fiera Capital.
For those of you who have been with us, those who have called Ellevate a lifeline through these times, thank you. We hope you continue to join us and help us spread the word. Together, we can change the world.
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