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The Ad Club hosts a CMO Breakfast Series that I love when I have the opportunity to attend. Who doesn’t love brunch? Who doesn’t love inspiration? And who doesn’t love talking about creativity in branding?

Brian Beitler, EVP and Chief Marketing and Brand Development Officer at J.Jill, opened with a story from his little league days. His mom was the loudest in the stands as she cheered for both teams. Brian was a pitcher at the time and whenever he would strike someone out she would shout, “Way to go, Brian.” And then immediately turn to the batter and tell them, “You’ll get him next time!” The next time the batter from the opposing team got a great hit, she would cheer and shout, “Great hit! You’ll get him next time, Brian.” She cheered for success. I was hooked. I related to Brian’s mom and that story. I. Am. Brian’s. Mom. Not literally. As a longtime fastpitch softball player (now retired to slowpitch games) I often get chided by friends (particularly while watching Red Sox games) for cheering for both teams. It’s the incredible, skillful play that causes me to inadvertently let “Nice hit! Nice catch! Nice play!” slip from my lips often to the disapproving glances from friends. I just love when someone plays the game well.

Beitler was getting at that same point when it came to branding and marketing. Instead of committing to being different, commit to looking at what’s best for your customer base, even if that means taking what your competition has already done and doing it better. Commit to having conversations with your customers and listening, because they might just have the secrets to success you are looking for.


Oh my very goodness, I love Kohl’s. I am a Kohl’s shopper. I love all things Kohl’s, especially the deals. Give me a good deal and I am there with my sister and mom (experts in bargain shopping and where I learned all that I know) in tow and our shopping game faces on. One thing I noticed with all of Beitler’s roles was that he made it a point to visit the brick-and-mortar stores in person and understand the experience in that store. He uncovered many a marketing gem this way. While waiting in line at Kohl’s, Beitler struck up a conversation with a lady who was so ecstatic on saving “more than she had spent.” Upon further conversation, the woman told him that she was really good at math and that she had saved $200. Taking this insight back to his teams and embracing this saver-type culture, Kohl’s set out to update the receipts to reflect the amount saved at the bottom and circle it in red ink. It was a hit.

Lane Bryant

At Lane Bryant, Beitler did several focus groups and dug through the research to understand his new customer base. At one of the focus groups, Beitler became frustrated as they were not uncovering or digging deep enough into understanding the ladies they were looking to reach with the Lane Bryant brand. He asked one woman what mattered to her, and what he kept hearing was that she just wanted to be seen and not ignored. This discovery led to the #ImNoAngel campaign, where plus-sized models donned Lane Bryant apparel and embraced their curves in a sassy, sexy, sensual ad with a Victoria’s Secret feel. It was a hit, and later led to a model from that campaign to the cover of Sports Illustrated. Because Beitler listened to his customer base, he’s been able to spot the gold that resonates with the audiences he is aiming to reach.

David’s Bridal

During his role at David’s Bridal, Beitler visited a nearby, high-performing store to see what caused it to be so special. At the store, a bride rushed in in her nurse’s scrubs and announced to the team she had 30 minutes to find a dress. The employees went to work, set her up with a room and sure enough she walked out of the fitting room with the dress. The manager of David’s Bridal was overjoyed and rushed to bring the bride-to-be a bell. She told her that it was tradition for all the brides to ring the bell. At first the rushed bride refused, but the store manager insisted. The bride acquiesced and the store manager told her to close her eyes and picture the life that she was going to share with her soon-to-be husband and then to ring the bell. The bride and all those around her began to tear up. On a Saturday, when the store is hustling and bustling with brides, it’s just magic. The store manager had found a way to “shine the light” on one customer and bring a boutique feel to a large store. I love that description of shining a light on one person, one item, one thing that makes someone feel heard, connected, and special. Imagine if we all did this in our every day lives or if every brand attempted to do this for their customers.

Beitler gave shout-outs to mission-inspired companies like Tom’s and creative, hipster companies like Warby Parker, a couple of my favorite brands as well. Through ads that spoke to their customer base with a brand personality, and through simple imagery and copy, they were able to paint a picture of all that the brand stood for and at the same time connect with the audiences that they cared about reaching. They were building a brand that was relatable to their audiences. In each of his companies, Beitler brought to life the things that his customers cared the most about and tied it to the brand in a genuine, authentic way. He genuinely listened to what his customers were saying.

He is doing this currently at J.Jill. By talking with his audiences he’s understanding his J.Jill customers are accomplished ladies who don’t need their clothes to be complicated. He’s translating this in J.Jill’s branding.

Building relationships and having conversations with your audience is important to discover the qualities that make your brand special to your customers and to learn how to embrace that quality for the success of everyone. Go Brian! You’ll get ’em next time.


Digging in to your brand and your customer stories and what they love most and value most about your brand is at the heart of it.

Stay curious and ask questions in and out of the office.

Combine analytics with first-party research to inform your marketing.

Partner with brands you trust like Food Network and Oprah Magazine.

Love all sorts of success, especially when anyone plays the game well.

You can find me at Kohl’s.

“Huge reward, no risk”: What Brandathon has meant for Mugatunes

Last year, music-sharing site Mugatunes got paired with agency Viewpoint Creative in the 2nd Annual Brandathon. The agency went on to take home 1st place bragging rights and a cash prize, and Mugatunes got a full re-brand. You can watch Viewpoint Creative’s full brand pitch here.

Brandathon 2016 is now accepting entries. So we sat down with Drew Meagher, founder of the college-focused site that’s out to ban “shitty music”, to find out how post-Brandathon life is treating the young company.


Can you give us a brief history of Mugatunes?

So we were founded at Trinity College. Last year we were a part of Brandathon, which was huge for us. Now we’re still going very strong. We’re on almost 100 campuses. We’ve really grown a lot there. We have over 200 contributors. We’re about to have a brand new website. We’re about to get funded, hopefully, this summer.


What was your experience with Brandathon like?

We actually found it just totally coincidentally…. We were like, “Wow, this looks like something we have a really good shot of winning.” It was an incredible experience, for us as young entrepreneurs, to just, experience our first real taste of the industry, and startup world. Then, obviously, what Viewpoint came up with was unreal; we still use their branding. We had a pitch in Canada the other day, and we used all their stuff.

One of the best prizes for us was the three months of office space in [IdeaSpace], which we took advantage of in the fall. Again, as young entrepreneurs, actually having a conference room to bring clients into, and do that kind of stuff, is great for us. It was an unbelievable opportunity.


How did having this new brand identity change Mugatunes?

The work they did for us was very legitimizing, because of how professional it was. The logos, the videos, the marketing materials they put together for us, really took us from a college startup, to people taking us seriously. We really tried to utilize all of the content they gave us. Like I said, I think when we first applied Brandathon, we were at about 25-30 campuses, and now we’re almost at 100. We’ve really grown a lot.


What would you say to a startup who was thinking about entering Brandathon, but wasn’t sure if it was worth it?

I think that first of all, you have nothing to lose…It’s really not a startup competition, it’s a branding competition. We just kind of got to sit there and let them do all the work, and reap the benefits. There’s really no downside. Huge reward, no risk, and again if you’re a young company, just get your foot in the door.

The amount of connections we’ve made just from the original first meetings, we met people, and obviously, now this is the fourth or fifth thing we’ve done with you guys. It really is just an unbelievable opportunity, especially in Boston with The Ad Club. You guys have so many connections… I would definitely say that any startup that thinks they have shot, absolutely go for it. You have nothing to lose.


So when they started pitching, you were in the audience, and you actually hadn’t seen any of it yet…

It was unreal. We were dying laughing, first of all. It was hysterical. We couldn’t believe that they had done all that in 72 hours. I think that was the biggest thing, the amount of creativity too.

Their campaign was to stop spreading shitty music on campuses, like it’s an actual epidemic. It was so smart, so funny, and everything, like I said was so well done. We almost couldn’t believe that this was our company that they were doing this with. We were very nervous too, but it was just so cool to watch what they’d done in front of us, with our baby. It was really cool.


What was your reaction to seeing it that first time?

Oh man I don’t even know. We were very excited… I know that Kathy [Kiely, President of The Ad Club] has a funny story about what she saw my partner say when he first celebrated. We went pretty crazy… I’ll leave it at that.

I know they were really proud, and we were really proud of them too, just very grateful for everything they did for us.


Do you still keep in touch with your agency, Viewpoint Creative, at all?

Yeah, we send them a lot of our important creative things, just to get their feedback. We had a pitch in Toronto a few weeks ago for this startup competition. We sent them our whole investor portfolio. We said, “Will you take a look at it?”

They’ve been really great mentors for us. We follow along with what they’re up to, and do our best to share their cool stuff too. We definitely, hopefully, have a lifelong relationship with them, thanks to you guys. It’s very cool.


What did Brandathon mean for you as founders and for Mugatunes, as a business in such its early stages?

It really was just invaluable for us. I think for a lot of us too, we had just graduated college and weren’t totally sure. This was such a leap of faith for us, to try and make this our job. When Brandathon happened, we were finally like, “All right, now we’ve got something to work with.” It was a launch pad for us, honestly. We are the most grateful, and would recommend the program/competition, anything with The Ad Club to any companies that are interested.


Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Listen to Mugatunes. That’s the other thing.

Why I’m Still Thinking About the Women’s Leadership Forum Two Weeks Later

I’m still thinking about the Women’s Leadership Forum for a number of reasons, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. Wondering why? Great, because I’m here to tell you. Yes, you—whatever gender you are or identify with—because what I took away from the Women’s Leadership Forum is not only for women to hear, relate to, or act on.

I could write pages and pages about all of what I took away from the Forum and what each of those things mean, but ain’t nobody got time for that, not even me. So, I’m going to focus on the concept that I’ve come to realize has penetrated my daily thoughts ever since that empowering Tuesday afternoon at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Unleash your unapologetic tenacity. –The McBride Sisters, Co-Founders of Truvée Wines

The McBride Sister’s notion of being “unapologetically tenacious,” infused with the teachings each and every one of the Forum’s speakers shared, has shaped the way I actively think about myself as a woman, and as a woman in business. You may be wondering what the context of “unapologetic tenacity” is, or what exactly that means, so let me sum it up with another McBride Sisters quote: “If a big old fart gets in your way, go around him, blaze your own trail, and then come back with proof [that you were right].”

In other words it means never starting your sentences in a meeting with “I’m sorry—I could be wrong—but—and we don’t have to do this—but…” and ending them with “does that make sense?” It means never obstructing a great idea from escaping the confines of your own thoughts for fear of being dismissed. It means exploring your ideas, seeing them through, and refusing to relinquish your determination in the face of rejection, because as a woman you will experience a lot of it.

As a society we have been socialized to believe that women have less to offer than men—that they are less than—and so of course we, as women, start our sentences that way and of course we don’t always share our ideas, even when we know that they’re kickass. But a pledge to unapologetic tenacity is a rejection of that socially constructed norm, a recognition that we too have every right to be unapologetically tenacious, and a stride towards breaking the cycle of socialization. Since recognizing a desire in myself to make a commitment to being unapologetically tenacious two Tuesdays ago, I’ve realized how excessively and needlessly apologetic I actually am. I’ve also realized how excessively apologetic my female co-workers, friends, and family members are, too. Amy Poehler once said “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.” I’m ready to unlearn, starting with myself, and then working towards influencing change in others.

These past two weeks, I’ve actively worked on changing the way that I outwardly communicate, whether it’s the manner in which I verbally share my ideas or the words I choose to write my emails. I try to avoid the “I could be wrong, but” introduction to an idea. I now actively think to delete the “sorrys” in my emails when they are not needed and keep the word “just” out of my vocabulary altogether because, no, I am NOT “just checking in to see if you’ve had the chance to blah blah,” I AM (definitively) checking in. Almost more importantly, I’m actively working on changing the way I inwardly communicate with myself. Changing “don’t say that because there’s a chance you’re wrong” to “be confident in the larger chance that you’re right and know that the smaller chance that you’re wrong won’t kill you; it’s okay to be wrong sometimes,” which leads me to my next point, so eloquently and succinctly expressed by Reshma Saujani as she closed out the Forum:

We’ve socialized our girls to be perfect, and we’ve socialized our boys to be brave. –Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO of Girls Who Code

As I’ve proved, there is something unacceptably damaging about that truth, which should stir in us a desire to change it. This is the part of the post where I make good on the promise I made in my introduction, claiming that what I took away from the Women’s Leadership Forum is important for everyone. This is where I ask our men to let our women be unapologetically tenacious—not at all in the sense of permission, but rather in the spirit of respect where respect is due. I ask our women to commit to it. And I ask us all to encourage our young girls to commit to it as much as we encourage our young boys to already. I promise that the world will be better for it.

Your turn.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts—agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it. As I’ve learned, it’s okay to be wrong.


This blog first appeared on . Written by Alyssa McBryar, Associate Account Executive at AMP Agency.

Key Lessons from the Ad Club’s 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum

The 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum organized by the Ad Club could be summed up by its hashtag: No Filter. 1,100 women gathered together to listen to empowering speakers discuss how they paved their way to success in male-dominated fields and got “shit done”. It was a forum to reflect on the challenges that we face as career women as well as a platform to discuss the implications of a cultural landscape that has been shaped by men and, thus, caters to men. It was an event to inspire women to act now— to run for office, to learn how to code, to speak up in general— because with men outnumbering women in the boardrooms, in tech, and in the government, the decisions that will shape our futures and the next generation’s futures will not be reflective of the other half of the population unless women support one another and rise to the occasion.

Below are three takeaways from the event in addition to insights that I’ve uncovered based on my own experiences as a woman pursuing a career in advertising. These are lessons we, as both businessmen and businesswomen, should begin to implement in our own workspace, so that we may (1) live with no filter and (2) get shit done.

1. Not just hoping for – but demanding a seat at the table.

“As women, as leaders, we need to start telling it like it is.” – Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General

“The world does not need another quiet, complicit daughter.”- Kelly Carlin, Performer / Storyteller

One of the challenges that was most often addressed during the forum was how women are pressured to conform to gender roles and expectations. Whether it was Sasha Digiulian being condescended by male climbers who told her that “little girls don’t climb the Eiger” or Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, being doubted by her peers even though she was more qualified than her male rival, women in business are subjected to the kind of criticism that doesn’t focus on what they can bring to the table, but rather on whether they should even be at the table in the first place.

#NoFilter, in this case, means that women don’t just have the ability to stand up for themselves, they have an obligation to. As Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, stated, “We have socialized our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave.” This particular quote struck a chord with me. I’ve always striven to be perfect: perfect grades, perfect appearance, and perfect career–everything laid out just so like a cropped and filtered Instagram photo. I was too afraid to take a chance and assert myself or else risk people possibly seeing me fail. But that’s just the thing… Saujani said in her speech that women need to risk failure more often, not just to be more authentic, but to accomplish great things. As someone working in a field where no day is truly the same, this piece of advice is important as I face new challenges.

2. Embracing leading female characters not as a rarity, but the norm.

“You cannot be what you cannot see.” – Reshma Saujani, Founder, CEO of Girls Who Code

As we grow up, our perspectives are often shaped by what we see on the screen. Saujani explained that women in tech are heavily outnumbered by men, a number that has actually decreased since the 70s. She believes it could very well be because girls literally don’t see themselves in tech— they only see men. TV shows and films depicting the tech industry don’t seem to be writing parts for females in tech that are playing pivotal roles. She explained how the number of women in professions such as medicine and law has increased perhaps because of TV shows and films that showcase bad-ass female characters with no filter.

When I think about how women are represented in the media, I’m struck by how limited they are by the roles they play. As a feminist, I am sometimes questioned as to why I even decided to take a job in advertising, an industry that is notorious for objectifying women and reinforcing gender stereotypes. I think, firstly, we’ve been seeing quite a few brands that have been embracing a more progressive stance in representing women in ads, from Always to Dove to Wells Fargo. There’s more work to be done, but I want to be a part of the movement that shapes the industry and ultimately rejects the idea of sexualizing and objectifying women. Likewise, I think that there have been more empowering roles for women in television and film, but I want to start living in a world that stops questioning why strong female characters exist in the first place.

There needs to be more of an effort on our marketers, our advertisers, our filmmakers, and our TV producers to create compelling female characters in roles that have typically been filled by men. Though gender stereotypes in the media are fortunately being called out more and more, I hope that as marketers, we can work together against reinforcing damaging heteronormative ideas.

3. Support one another as women unwaveringly

“Believe in the power of community and support other women.” – Robin and Andrea McBride, Founders of Truvee Wines

Women, who have been too often viewed through a masculine lens in business, are frequently subjected to criticism not just by their male peers, but by their female peers as well. Maura Healey explained that even women would question her choice to run as attorney general in addition to her style choices. As you can imagine, women cutting down other women is one of the least beneficial ways to represent ourselves, to respect ourselves, and to change the gender disparity in our respect professions.

Women like Linda Boff, the Chief Marketing Officer of GE, will actually set up networking events specifically for talented women to connect with other talented women. Reshma Saujani’s company Girls Who Code is based on the very idea of sisterhood and building a common bond through learning a new skill. Maura Healey will make an effort to reach out to other women at work events that are heavily outnumbered by men. I, myself, have experienced the power of women helping women when I joined a sorority, which connected me with women across the nation who gave me career advice and put me in touch with the right people. I continue to support my sisters to this day when they reach out to me and ask for my help. These are just a few examples of how we can foster that community of strong women and help each other succeed. It’s so incredibly important.

However, I feel that one thing missing from the forum was a discussion on how we, as women, can’t do this alone. As strong, intelligent, and independent as we might be, we need to work with men to get them to change their perspectives on working women. The cultural landscape cannot be shifted just on one side. We need to work together to change the ideas that women should look a certain way and act a certain way to pursue their careers.

The Women’s Leadership Forum left me feeling inspired to say the very least. I felt a rush of you-can-do-anything-ness, and as soon as I got home, I started writing down my goals and ideas— and the risks I am willing to take to achieve them. I loved this event, and I hope that there are more like it in the future.

So how do you think you can implement these lessons from the forum in your workspace and industry?


This blog first appeared on . Written by Mackenzie Lane, Associate Account Executive at AMP Agency.

It’s Our Turn

Written by Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts. This blog first appeared on Huffington Post, as part of a series produced by Havas Media (@HavasMediaUSA), in conjunction with The Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum.



I started playing basketball when I was seven. I was short (still am) and my shot barely hit the rim. But I loved basketball.

Growing up in a small town, I was often out there with my four younger brothers and sisters, working on my ball handling and shooting drills. I loved it and I’m glad I stayed with it.

It got me through high school and my parents’ difficult divorce. It got me a tryout for the national team (I was cut right away). And it got me into college where I played. When I graduated, I wanted to keep playing. So I moved to Europe, played in a professional women’s league, saw the world, made lasting friendships and grew perspective.

I experienced new freedoms and new opportunities, things I had taken for granted – the right to speak your mind and the right to make your own decisions.

That experience led me to become an advocate for those same rights, so I applied to law school. In the 20 years since then, I’ve had the uncertainty many times that comes from starting down a new path.

I loved being a lawyer at a large law firm, but I took a risk to become a civil rights lawyer for the attorney general’s office and argued cases in court that people said we couldn’t win.

In 2009, Massachusetts sued the federal government, challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which told married same-sex couples that their marriages weren’t valid. I was proud to take on the case at a time when only two states allowed same-sex couples to marry. Most Americans were still opposed to that.

But we took a risk. We built a case about our values as a society. And we won. Our case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. And we won there too. We won a victory for equality in Massachusetts and across the country.

Running for Attorney General was the scariest and most uncertain thing I’ve done in my entire life. But I knew running was the right choice. And here I am today.

Now more than ever, women are taking risks, and following their hearts. They know their personal power in creating change, see the benefits of leaning into uncertainty, and aren’t ashamed to leave their filter behind. Women are louder, bolder, and less patient about closing the gender gap. Women are true leaders – and one will soon become our next President of the United States.

But we need to keep pushing. Here in Massachusetts, we’re taking on the skyrocketing cost of higher education and the crushing weight of student debt. We’re fighting to reform our criminal justice system and keep guns off our streets. We’re tackling the heroin and prescription drug epidemic.

We also need to level the playing field – which is why supporting policies like paid family leave and raising the minimum wage are important. It’s also why we need to ensure equal pay for equal work.

In Massachusetts, our simple vision of equal pay has proved hard to achieve. Despite the Equal Pay Act that was passed 71 years ago, wage disparities persist and they are significant. In Massachusetts, women still only earn 80 percent of what men earn for doing the same job. The gap is even wider for mothers and women of color. When women’s pay falls behind, families fall behind.

Today, we are working to make the first real update to our Equal Pay Act. We have the power to change these laws. If we don’t do it, no one will.

As women, as leaders, we have learned to start telling it like it is. There are big fights we need to take on, but many of them will be waged in State Houses and boardrooms and courthouses across the country. And we need a seat at the table.

That’s why from the steps of our health clinics to the halls of the Supreme Court, we’re fighting for reproductive freedom, to make sure that every woman in this state has access to birth control if she wants it – and health care when she needs it.

The simplest and most important thing we can do is support other women – whether that’s mentoring younger women, encouraging our female colleagues, or having honest conversations about the challenges we all face.

In the end, it all comes down to taking risks. When I decided to run for office, I had never been on a ballot, never raised a dollar, never asked for a vote.

People said it wasn’t my turn, but I guess they were wrong.

Now it’s OUR turn.


Follow Maura Healey on Twitter:

Are Female Firsts Becoming Irrelevant?

Written by Sasha DiGiulian, World Champion Climber. This blog first appeared on Huffington Post, as part of a series produced by Havas Media (@HavasMediaUSA), in conjunction with The Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum.


Today I’m speaking at a Women’s Leadership Forum in Boston. An incredible event put on by The Ad Club, the event features renowned speakers from across the country with varying backgrounds and professions. I’m humbled to be included with the likes of Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, and the Chief Marketing Officer of General Electric, Linda Boff, among others.

The Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum was created to recognize and honor inspirational women for their leadership, accomplishments and for paving the way for the next wave of female leaders. The event is all about women. Successful females inspiring 1,000 other females with the hopes of one day truly closing the gender gap… In sports, that gender gap is viewed as an achievement gap.

I’ve dedicated my career, as a professional sport climber, to closing the achievement gap. I do this by seeking out ascents that have not been conquered by a female. Once complete, these accomplishments are tagged as a “First Female Ascent.” It is my hope that this empowers and urges other women in our sport.

“Female” as a Qualifier

There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not the term “female” is important to include in recognizing an ascent. One side of the debate argues that the inclusion of “female” as a qualifier for why an ascent may be significant has negative implications on women in that it deems women as inferior to men. This side argues for “first female ascents” to be eradicated and for all ascents to be the same. The other side of the debate argues that men and women are biologically different and that there is no reason to eradicate gender in sports.

Female and Male climbers have the potential to achieve equally, but there is no reason to eliminate the celebration of female firsts in climbing in that women are historically the minority in climbing and reinforcement of progression is a powerful tool in encouraging female achievements. What is important to recognize is that as climbing fills a more macro level space, we consider the role that it can have on issues like gender politics and the need for women’s empowerment still at hand today.

While I recognize with the fact that women and men are capable of climbing equal difficulty, it is important to still reiterate the first ascents done by women. In my opinion, the actual flagging of Female highlights this notion of empowerment. While yes, the name of a female achieving something could theoretically be a sign enough, the fact is that the world is not yet at that point to not need reinforcement of female achievement.

I often receive letters from young girls thanking me for inspiring them. This fuels my motivation. I want to serve as an example that anyone, no matter what gender, size, or demographic you represent, can pursue his or her dreams.

Recently I spoke with Lynn Hill, one of the leading competitive sport climbers in the world, about this topic. She stated:

“I agree that women should support women and that it’s important to have female role models. Back in the early days, women were left out of books such as, “The Vertical World of Yosemite” by Galen Rowell. In his intro to the 90’s, he didn’t put a single photo of a woman climber in the book because he said that there were no significant first ascents done by a women during the formative years of climbing in Yosemite. I felt that it was important to show what women WERE doing rather than ignore them because of what they weren’t doing!”

Not There Yet…

While it is a romantic idea to say we are at a point that “Female” does not need to be reinforced, the fact is, we are not. Women have been routinely underrepresented in sports, politics, and business throughout history. Despite our hyper modern world, we are still at a point that “female” achievements should be acknowledged and highlighted.

I am motivated to establish First Ascents. I have accomplished many First Female Ascents thus far in my career and I am proud of them and will continue to flag the “Female” in the ascent to encourage the women out there who would otherwise be timid in the shadows of the boys to go out and try things despite only men having succeeded on them before.

My hero is Lynn Hill for setting the precedent for men and women. Her achievements and highlighting that she is a woman narrow the gender gap. I think that there is something to be said about women putting themselves out there and going after their dreams regardless of what history tells them.

Perhaps people who are not in favor of emphasizing “female firsts” find organizations like the Women’s Sports Foundation and UN Women irrelevant as well. Perhaps they are also against Title IX, thinking that all women should just buck up and try out for the men’s hockey team. Maybe cut Olympic competition in half by eliminating the women’s medals. And while we’re at it, scuttle the WNBA and women’s soccer as well? I guess we shouldn’t hold these incredibly inspiring female-centric conferences, like The Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum, either. You won’t see me defending these stances.

Reinforcement of female achievements are necessary to encourage progression – and progression is what we need.

I am inspired by female leaders in a multitude of fields and that range of success in on display today.

It is important for women to recognize that the opinions of others are irrelevant to the task. Self-confidence and drive surpass any oppositional negativity.

I would love to see women join together in this effort to empower each other and to show the world that yes, She Can.


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