Thank you for joining us for #OWiB2016 - Friday was a blast! 320 registrants spent the day learning from and connecting with one another at the Out Women in Business Conference in New York. We couldn’t have pulled off this great conference without our presenting sponsors: Accenture, EY, Liberty Mutual, our reception sponsor: Citi, and our airline sponsor: United Airlines.
As a recap, beginning around 9:00am, we heard from some incredible speakers and thinkers who broadened our minds and challenged what it means to be an out woman at work.
Arwa Mahdawi gave us a view into the complexities of diversity at work today. She spoke about how to avoid tokenism and combat institutional inequality. Taking on the adage of “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” Arwa uses humor to combat inequality. In fact, she created the satirical website Rent-A-Minority to shine a spotlight on systemic inequality!
After Arwa’s talk, we learned from five incredible people about being out women across the world. Representing Europe, Asia, and South America, Milena Otasevic (one of our steering committee members from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University) spoke withMaria Sjödin (OutRight Action International), Karen Potter (Citi), Maital Dar (EY), and Bachul Koul (A.T. Kearney) at length. They each talked about their experiences, particularly speaking to how difficult it can be to be out in regions of the world where homosexuality is either still a crime or not widely accepted in society.
After a brief break, we dug into design thinking with Lotus Child from Arson Agency. Lotus led us in a workshop to push our boundaries and keep our creativity flowing when we approach problems and design solutions. Jacob Tobia, a genderqueer activist, taught us about how problematic the gender binary is for gender justice. They encouraged us to open our minds when we think about what an “out woman” is.
Jennifer Brown facilitated a discussion across industries between Annise Parker, Roberta Kaplan, and Nevin Caple. Each of them gave lessons from their own experiences — in politics, law and sports, respectively — about how being an LBT woman has affected their professional lives and where they think the moment for equality is headed. Finally, we learned from Vivienne Ming‘s time in the tech industry and her research on the unexpected tax on LGBT people due to recruiting in the job market. She gave us great insights into how to combat the stigma from the work she’s doing. We closed off Friday with a networking reception at the end of the day, sponsored by Citi.
Then on Saturday a small group of OWiB attendees came together to meet with a dozen inner-city at-risk LBT youth for a mentor program with SCAN NY (facilitated by United). Those who were able to attend walked away inspired by their experience.
Thanks to everyone who came to learn, speak, and support Out Women in Business! We hope to see all of you again at the conference next Spring.