S.H.E. Summit, June 14-15, 2013 – Day 1 Recap + Takeaways

Claudia Chan SHE Summit 2013 Women signS.H.E. Summit is a week-long event that celebrates women’s empowerment and leadership. The week leading up to the conference features pop-up events on everything from women’s financial health to summer event planning, and women everywhere are encouraged to host events in their own cities. The conference, held on June 14-15 in New York City, features panel discussions, keynote speakers, a marketplace, and plenty of networking opportunities. S.H.E. Summit (She Helps Empower) is the work of leadership and lifestyle expert, Claudia Chan.

I live-tweeted the whole event from @alexisdaria, so I’ve put together a recap of Day 1 with Tweeted Takeaways.

S.H.E. Summit Recap: Day 1

Agapi Stassinopoulos book signing SHE Summit

Agapi Stassinopoulos signs my copy of “Unbinding the Heart”

The first panel I arrived for was “Personal Innovation: Taking the Leap & Destroying the Fear.” Claudia Chan moderated a discussion with panelists Suparna Bhasin (She Creates Change), Elena Brower (Virayoga), Gabrielle Bernstein (Motivational Speaker & Author), and Lauren Ruotolo (Hearst). Topics ranged from personal practices for maintaining a strong inner self to finding your purpose to dealing with toxic relationships.

SHE Summit Panel 2013 Suparna Bhasin

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • Do the work now, before you’re a parent, so you don’t pass on your fears to your children. @claudiachan

  • Envision what you want. Allow yourself to think & dream big. @claudiachan

  • Important to have clear visions but hold them lightly. Be nimble. Be willing to let them change.@GabbyBernstein

  • “Things I thought I really wanted 5 yrs ago I can say Thank Effing God! that didn’t happen” @GabbyBernstein

  • You become the company you keep. You know who the toxic ones are. Even if it’s your mom, put some space but hold love for them

  • “The tension that you hold in your body is only going to keep abundance from you.” @ElenaBrower

  • “If you don’t start making change, nothing is going to change” –@SheCr8sChange

  • Service: Give 100% and expect nothing in return. (You’ll get what you need back.) @SheCr8sChange

  • .@claudiachan talks about starting Shecky’s in her mid-20s & finding her calling – helping women find purpose – much later.

  • Your business needs a strong foundation of core values & purpose @claudiachan

  • “If I’m going to play big in this world, I have to tune in big. New book title?” @GabbyBernstein

  • Give everybody in your life 5 minutes because they might change your life or your perspective. @laurenjaeNYC

  • Remove “No I can’t” from your vocabulary. @laurenjaeNYC

We watched a short, inspiring video about Wello‘s mission to unleash the capacity of women to show up fully and have an impact. Afterward, Dondeena Bradley spoke on “Collaborative Disruption: How to Rock the System, Birth a Business & Restore Humanity to the Planet.” Her three steps to rock a system are:

  1. Wake up.

  2. Speak out.

  3. Step forward.

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • One conversation at a time. Meeting someone where they are, truly engage, listen. Think & create.

  • Conversations become collective energy.

  • Women coming together and bringing their whole selves to what we do for a positive impact (Wello)

  • Hone in. Wake up & be still enough to hear the voice of your soul. Step forward, the world needs you. @DondeenaB

This was followed by another panel: “The New Business Model: Social Good Required.” Panelists included Meena Mansharamani (GoGo squeeZ), Sabrina Dupre (Breast Cancer Research Foundation), Natalia Oberti Noguera (Pipeline Fellowship), and Rachael Chong (Catchafire). There was a lot of discussion about social good, social entrepreneurship, non-profit vs for profit business models (among others), pitching, and volunteering.

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • Q: What does social good mean to you? #SHESummit

  • People, planet, profit. Social good has been around a long time but has recently been rebranded. Harder to slap on “social good” later & not as genuine. Start as a social good company from the beginning. @nakisnakis

  • Social good IS @catchafire. Helps ppl realize their ability as a changemaker through volunteering @CatchafireCEO

  • How is incorporating social good part of making a profit? It’s about how you define your brand. Partnerships @GoGosqueeZ

  • If you really are passionate about doing social good, there is no Plan B. Most social good businesses come from seeing a real problem in the world. @CatchafireCEO

  • Social good sector wasn’t getting talent it needed. Millions of professionals looking for purpose in their lives. @catchafire marries talent to purpose, builds bridge. Connects professionals to volunteer w social good companies@CatchafireCEO

  • Q: How does social good factor into the business strategy for reaching the target base? A: Authenticity is benchmark. @GoGosqueeZ

  • For aspiring social entrepreneurs thinking non-profit, Can you think of a revenue stream that isn’t just grants or donations? Aspiring social entrepreneurs go non-profit bc no funding available. I’m a huge for-profit social venture advocate. @nakisnakis

  • The point is solving a problem. THEN what is the right business structure to solve that problem? Think long term, rather than just immediate Q “Where do i get capital?” Many types of hybrid business structures @CatchafireCEO

  • Sell the values along with the brand. Maintain the internal spirit & brand w/ the ppl who make the company what it is@GoGosqueeZ

  • Pitching isn’t a zero sum game. The investors might not be interested, but they might know someone.Their feedback might get you closer to meeting market needs. @nakisnakis

  • The same way women are encouraged to ask for higher pay, ask for more money for your business.@nakisnakis

  • Volunteer. Find something you love that aligns with your values for social good. You don’t have to quit your job.@CatchafireCEO

After lunch, John Gerzema gave a presentation based on the research in his book, The Athena Doctrine. “The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future” presented statistics about the changing face of leadership and shared success stories such as @sweden on Twitter (a favorite of mine). His presentation is available here.

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • Power is about influence rather than control – 72% agree. Via @athenadoctrine

  • We need both masculine & feminine traits in leadership.

  • Feminine skills are the operating system of 21st century #leadership.

Today’s Corporate Culture Challenge: How We Can Promote Women’s Leadership” was moderated by Gloria Feldt (Women’s Leadership Speaker and Advocate) and included Anita Sands (UBS Wealth Management Americas), Joi Gordon (Dress for Success), and Charlotte Relyea (McKinsey). The main theme of this panel was ASK. Ask for what you want, ask for what you need. Panelists spoke about gender diversity in the corporate workplace and on boards of directors. They touched on mentorship, sponsorship, workplace culture, and networking.

Anita Sands offered four questions to ask yourself:

  1. What skills do I have?

  2. What’s my value proposition?

  3. What are my connections?


Tweeted Takeaways:

  • No glass ceiling when you’re starting your own business. Opportunities are endless for women in non-profit sector. @dressforsuccess @joigordon

  • Women don’t ask, don’t advertise, & are afraid of being authentic. ASK FOR THE THINGS YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Work doesn’t speak. You have to speak for yourself. Authentic #leadership is about being yourself skillfully. Have that value & variation to your style to adapt. @AnitaMSands

  • @McKinsey research: men think they’re doing better than peers, women think they are doing worse than peers. Men ask for help, for introductions, for advocacy on their behalf. Women don’t do that. When given feedback (3 pos & 1 neg): men focused on positive, women focused on 1 negative. 80% of CEOs believe gender diversity is a priority in the organization. 54% of employees believe this. Average company has 16 diversity programs, only 1/2 implemented fully. Change must be driven from top.-Charlotte Relyea

  • Mentors are like parents at work. They keep you safe. My best mentors stripped me down & built me back up again. Mentors say what needs to be said to you. Sponsors say what needs to be said about you when you’re not there. They take a bet on you. Who are you taking a bet on? Who is taking a bet on you? That’s sponsorship. -Anita Sands

  • “If corporations are not being explicitly inclusive, they are being implicitly exclusive” @AnitaMSands

  • If you’re waiting for your company to solve your career problems, you’ll be waiting a long time. If you have 8/10 qualifications, don’t obsess about the 2 you don’t have. Watch out for the invisible hand of doubt. Act on it. -Anita Sands

  • Women have an obligation to help each other in the workplace. Take responsibility to step up and stand out. If diversity is important to you, take a look at who sits on board of directors. Very few women on corporate boards.@joigordon

  • How do you mute that little voice of self-doubt? Let others support you in your ups & downs.

  • Treating people with respect starts in the office. Change that culture in the workplace. @dressforsuccess

  • “Go out and ask.” Make a list of the things you really want to ask for. Take the risk to ask. Not that scary! @McKinsey -Charlotte Relyea

  • Pick your first few bosses carefuly. Get ppl who see talent & potential in you before you see it in yourself. @AnitaMSands

  • Network intentionally w/ purpose, think of who’s in your network, how you groom back, the reach it gives you. @AnitaMSands

  • Develop your #leadership talent. Sit on a board. Non-profit sector needs people who care. @dressforsuccess

  • What is your achievement vs the amount of time you spend at your corporate desk?

  • What skills do I have? What’s my value proposition? What are my connections? HOW AM I SPENDING MY TIME? via @AnitaMSands

  • Match your specific skills and value proposition with what you do. Where is your heart telling you to go? @McKinsey

  • Go with what you feel in your gut, even if it’s risky. @AnitaMSands

  • Networking isn’t making friends. Network on purpose, have a Q to ask. Ppl are flattered re: informational interviews @GloriaFeldt

  • Q from audience: for more seasoned workers, how do you pivot to the new way of doing business? #SHESummit

  • What are skills you need to pivot? What’s your value prop? How do you package, brand, & communicate to who you speak to? Think about the relationships you have & don’t have. (Your network.) Shift your distribution of your time to search. @AnitaMSands

  • Reality check: Women are judged more harshly for asking. Pay attention. Think about how you ask. @GloriaFeldt

  • Mentorship needs to start with the girls in middle school. Build courage, confidence, & success early. Start young so she feels she has a right to succeed. Mentor girls as early as middle school. @dressforsuccess

The next session was about “How to Build & Lead a Love-Mark Brand” with Lubov Azria (BCBGMAXAZRIA) and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Gilt Groupe), moderated by Sarah Thompson (Droga5). They talked about building a strong brand and the WHY behind it, trying new things and branching off into “sub-brands,” connecting to your purpose, and implementing new ideas.

SHE Summit 2013 Claudia Chan Alexandra Wilkis Wilson Lubov Azria

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • Nothing starts without a dream. Our dream was to make women look & feel beautiful w/ affordable prices -Lubov Azria @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • Lubov Azria tells a story of finding a perfect beautiful dress when she was younger, but it was $3,000. She felt like she was not good enough, that “ppl like me don’t wear clothes like this.” So she promised “If I ever become a designer, I’ll never make clothes that expensive” so women can wear it. @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • If you don’t love what you do, you can’t be successful. Inspire people to be better than they can even imagine for themselves. Lubov Azria @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • Develop your own gut instinct when hiring, or find the person in your company who has it. @GiltAlexandra

  • Follow your dreams. A great brand needs innovation, passion, vision. Commit to what you do in order to achieve. Make a choice, then commit to that choice & stick with it. When in a tough situation, will you get harder, step back, or transcend and transform? Lubov Azria  @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • We believe in testing and trying things out. Exciting time in retail with new and disruptive strategies. @GiltAlexandra

  • Get out there. Meet editors. Pitch your story. Use social media. People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Talk about your WHY. Meet your customer. Don’t forget who your customer is. They’re not all the ppl following on SoMe. -Lubov Azria @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • Hire the right people. Hire people who are better than you are. @BCBGMAXAZRIA

  • Faster to implement new ideas in a small company. In big company, separate teams to empower them & keep fast pace @GiltAlexandra

  • How do you define a great brand? Q from @claudiachan to @droga5

  • Ppl think branding is just look & feel. That’s an aspect. Real branding is about “what is your purpose?” @droga5

  • If you want something, put it out there. Scream it. Make it known. Talk about it. What you focus on is what you get. Put your ideas out there. Don’t even worry about people taking it, bc it’s your idea, it comes from you. -Lubov Azria @BCBGMAXAZRIA

The final keynote was given by Agapi Stasstinopoulos, on “Unbinding Your Heart in Pursuit of Leadership.” She was fabulous, a very dynamic and engaging speaker. It came as no surprise that her background is in theater. She even performed a piece from Joan of Arc by Bernard Shaw as she described finding her voice on the NYC bus. During her time on stage, she spoke about fear and doubt, about how women are amazing and we don’t even know it, how we have to say what we want, stop holding back, and stay open no matter what happens. It was very inspiring and a great way to end the evening of speakers.

Claudia Chan Agapi Stassinopoulos SHE Summit 2013

Claudia Chan and Agapi Stassinopoulos at SHE Summit 2013

Tweeted Takeaways:

  • Open your heart to one another unconditionally to have more success. @AgapiSays

  • We as women are in a tribe together. @AgapiSays shouts “You are amazing!” to us all

  • “You know what’s worse than fear? Doubt. Doubt is the #1 killer of the human spirit.”

  • Say what you want! Say what you need! Shake the doubts. Move with them. Dance it out. Move your body so you can move your soul.

  • Step into your energy w/out being afraid of what people think of you. What ppl think of you is none of your business.

  • Ask for help. Cycle of giving & receiving. It’s authentic. We are afraid of being rejected so we don’t ask.

  • What happens if you have a dream and the dream isn’t happening? People would ask me, What do you do? I’m an actress. Where do you act? In my bedroom. I loved the stage. I couldn’t get to the stage.

  • Don’t ever compare your children to each other. (Her sister is Arianna Huffington.)

  • .@AgapiSays tells the story of how she found her voice & performed Joan of Arc on a NYC bus. Advice from a woman on the bus: “Go do your own thing, girl, because you’ve got it.” What happened? I HAPPENED. Stop waiting for someone else to validate. Validate yourself w/ your whole heart

  • DON’T HOLD BACK. YOU. THERE. NOT THE ONE BEHIND YOU. YOU. DON’T HOLD BACK. @AgapiSays to a woman in audience.

  • You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in your life for your evolution.

  • Just let go of what’s holding you back. How? Just let go. Then magic happens. You happen.

  • Not everyone is going to fit in with you. That’s okay. Love them from afar. Bless them…over there.

  • There is 1 choice in every moment to unbind the heart: Do I shut down or shrink? Or do I stay open NO MATTER WHAT? Stay open unconditionally and be a GO-GIVER not a go-getter, and things will open up. Synchronicity. Generosity.

  • “Our hearts are MIGHTY! Like our hips.”

  • “Hello, Doubt. I hear you, I see you. I’m moving on.” Dealing with doubt. Get up, go dance, & go do it. @AgapiSays

  • Who will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Starts w/ you. Do things to get u out of negative mindset @claudiachan

Unbinding the Heart book by Stassinopoulos SHE Summit

The conference was followed by applesauce-tinis, a Kefir frozen yogurt bar, a Luna bar vending machine, manicures (!!!), massages, and a book signing/dance party with Agapi and the ladies at Wello Water. I filmed a segment with Overture, who asked about my greatest female inspiration from when I was five years old. My answer? Wonder Woman, of course. Apparently, all but 5 women (out of the 90 who were filmed) answered someone other than mother or grandmother, and I was the 2nd person to say Wonder Woman! I’m so curious who the first person was! The guys doing the filming were really tickled by this.

SHE Summit 2013 manicure SHE Summit 2013 massage

I’m a veteran convention-goer. My dad started taking me to comic book conventions when I was 7 (and film festivals since I was 3), and as I’ve gotten older that has transferred to a love of conferences, seminars, and talks. I just like going to events and learning new things. It turns out that once I got over being shy (i.e. worrying about what other people thought of me), I found that I’m really good at talking to people.

My number one event rule is to bring food and water, so I arrived armed with two granola bars and a reusable bottle. That rule proved unnecessary at SHE Summit. They totally had us covered. Over the course of the day, attendees were supplied with snacks, beverages, caffeine, lunch, cocktails, and h’or doerves. There was a great selection, with sponsors such as Luna (power bars), Kefir (frozen yogurt pops), and Izze (carbonated juice). And there were lots of breaks between speakers, something I really appreciated.

S.H.E. Summit also has some seriously good swag. Everyone got a copy of Agapi Stassinopoulos’ book “Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love.” The swag bag contained coupons, gift cards, and lots of useful beauty and food items.

SHE Summit 2013 swag

SHE Summit 2013 swag

Swag bag highlights:

  • The POREfessional by Benefit Cosmetics (I love this stuff)

  • Dermalogica Cleanse and Prime kit

  • YesTo Cucumbers face cloths (always useful)

  • Wei of Chocolate – Wei Gratitude chai-infused chocolate (yum)

  • Godiva Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt bar

  • Wello glass water bottle

I’m glad I decided to attend S.H.E. Summit this year. I learned a lot, met some cool women, and I’m looking forward to Day 2!

One thought on “S.H.E. Summit, June 14-15, 2013 – Day 1 Recap + Takeaways

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