Update November 13 & 14 2009: I will be updating this post throughout the day featuring info and photos from Beyond Pink
Beyond Pink is a 2-day conference with speakers, panels, a tradeshow on Friday night and a gala party on Saturday night. As a media sponsor I will be blogging from the event on Friday and a bit on Saturday as well, sharing all of the insights, discussions, and innovations that I can rustle up from this promising crowd.
Some of the speakers so far include: Penny Ballem (City Manager, City of Vancouver), Fiona Walsh (Founder, FM Walsh and Associates), Patricia Graham (Editor-In-Chief, Vancouver Sun), Linda Morris (CEO, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, BC/Yukon Region), Cybele Negris (CEO, Webnames.ca), along with celebrity addresses from Allison Mack (Actor/Director), and Kristin Kreuk (of Smallville).
Friday’s schedule is workshop-driven, starting with a 9:00am keynote and ending the day with the tradeshow at 4:00pm then a dinner event at Canvas around 8:00pm. Saturday includes breakfast, more workshops, a few panels, followed by a martini reception at 6:00pm then the closing gala at 7:00pm. Today is the last day to get tickets.
Update November 13th, 2009: Arriving at Beyond Pink this morning I checked out the CRAVE talk that featured company founder, Melody Biringer along with the head of CRAVE Vancouver, Arpen Thandi. Melody gave a history of her various ventures in business which were entertaining and realistic. CRAVE (now in 10 cities and recently launched in Amsterdam) has taken 7 years to build but once she knew what it was exactly that she wanted to build and promote, things started coming together.
Many in the crowd asked if they should go out and try everything to see what sticks and Melody said it’s moreso living your life and following your passion. For example, even if your passion is to own a design firm, the first place you can start today is by working with a design firm. That way you’re still involved in the industry you love but you still have a lot of room to learn, grow, and get your business goals in order.
I found that this rang true for me personally as I have been involved in the online media realm for the last 9 years and it was only last year that I started my own company.
Melody also credited social networking with helping her build CRAVE – even the brand new CRAVE Amsterdam which came together initially over chatter on Twitter. She said the ladies in the room were very lucky to have these tools immediately available to them, “get your domain, get your Twitter.” Amen.
As the sessions end, the women in the room file out and head to the next workshop as the speakers stay put to welcome the next wave of delegates. Beyond Pink so far is very positive, the wifi is fast & free, there’s a coat check, and no shortage of inquisitive minds meeting with masters.
Update: If you were unable to attend some of the workshops and sessions today at the Hyatt, you should still try to make it out for the tradeshow this evening. Some favourites will be showcasing their wares such as: Spa Boutique, Webnames.ca, Domo Tea, and The Suburbia Clothing (just to name a few).
Update November 14th, 2009: Arriving at Beyond Pink’s second day of Workshops I had some time to walk around the conference level here at the Hyatt. There’s a “I need help with / I can help with” wall, a big banner on which to write your business dreams, and inspirational quotes peppered throughout. I’ll be heading into Patricia Graham’s talk at around 11:35am and then I’ll be covering the “all male panel” at 12:30pm. More updates will come from those sessions as I continue my Beyond Pink Day Blog coverage.
Update: I’m in Patricia Graham‘s talk: “Embracing Leadership”. As the Editor-in-Chief of the Vancouver Sun (and seeing how they have evolved so much in the new media realm this past year, I’m looking forward to hearing her insights.
Update: Patricia introduces us to the image of a young debutant, Katharine Graham (1917-2001) – a talented young woman who helped and grew her family’s newspaper business. She eventually became publisher of the Washington Post through Watergate and other important events but not without facing uphill battles.
The next slide shows a figure skater on the ice to drive home a point, “it’s okay to fall down,” which is followed by “take risks.” The imagery on Patricia’s slides is simple yet powerful, all highlighting women who became leaders through perseverance. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing – Helen Keller.”
Patricia says that it comes with the territory but you have to constantly remind yourself that you can conquer loneliness and self-doubt. “It happens to every successful person,” says Patricia but we also have to learn to conquer gratuitous criticism. For me personally, having a business in the online realm has made me wide open to all of these and it is truly a daily struggle to rise about it.
Patricia’s next tip is to be independent-minded and carve your own path. “Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice – Max DePree.”
She adds that leaders speak up – you have to be able to express your opinion, be honest, present an intelligent case, and be heard. â€œThe function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. – Ralph Nader.â€
Now this next tip from Patricia also hits close to home for me: take good care of yourself. It’s tough sometimes to consider plenty of rest, a good diet, and time for yourself as a difficult task to accomplish but it truly can be. I was talking to my friend Raul who said he was so excited to go get his hair cut. Being self-employed like I am I was totally on board with his excitement — I wish I could go get my hair done but there’s just no time (I tell myself). Taking time out to do even the basics for the sake of your own health (and sanity) will only help you be that much more productive and clear-headed in the long run.
Women start 70% of new business start ups in Canada — we are already driven. Now, it’s just time to properly manage all we want to accomplish and not get discouraged by road blocks along the way.
“If at first you don’t succeed… … find out what the loser gets.”
Update: Gearing up for the All Male Panel throughout lunch we (being @IshraSharif @SoloLisa @amyfabulous @CRAVEVancouver @Partly_Sunny and myself) had the chance to meetup with the speakers ahead of time to ask a few questions. Members on this panel include:
Each has different experiences, schools of thought, and insights to share with the group for example, Cameron Herold said, “women are already equal so let’s move on and have fun,” speaking to building on where women in the workplace are today. On the other hand, Bob Elton noted that there are still issues to work on. Chris Flett says, “it’s about those of us who get it and those who don’t,” and not feminism versus chauvinism. Mike Desjardins said that he’s all about everyone finding their own values and building a career from them, while Jason Pires speaks to minorities (not just women) in the media realm.
In the pre-panel talk there was a question about traditional companies with outdated ideals, schedules, and practices. Mike said that for every two people that retire there is a young, driven person that will step up. With today’s technology it’s even more cost effective for those old “traditional” companies to embrace things like the mobile workplace.
They all agree that jobs should be given, and sought after based on the best person for the job — not their gender. In the same vein, women need to see themselves with their skill set as valuable assets and not just the best person for the job because they are female.
The panel was asked how they show their “feminine side” in the business world and Chris replied that he’s all about getting the sale, making the money, and the nurturing side (with client relations etc.) comes into play later. However, this isn’t simply a male versus female mindset. He said that women are “the boss” at home and the final word when it comes to family matters however they just need to transfer that to the workplace. Many times these strong, powerful, independent, “tell it like it is” women leave all of that behind when they get into the office. It then becomes about community, listening, and sometimes they just need to keep kicking ass in that realm too.
With regards to that strong female role, some women are scared to become that “dragon lady” or “the bitch” at the office. Chris says that only the weak and insecure will call a strong-willed business woman a “bitch”. Those who see intelligence, ideas, drive, and innovation will get you and see you as a leader.
Mike says that it’s about stepping up and asking yourself, “am I going to be a part of the audience or the one everyone comes to watch?”
Cameron speaks to the reason why the “All Male Panel” is here, he said “we couldn’t have a guys conference and not invite women,” he says women need to “let men in” on their discussions in order to promote communication and understanding. Mike says he looks forward to feminism being simply a wikipedia entry and not something we have to promote in the future — meaning the equality will just be there. “I believe in equality, I ask for equality, but it just doesn’t come up in my world. I open the paper and there it is.” I’m thinking he means that until it’s a non-issue, it’s an issue.
Chris, “let me bring some bluntness to the panel, can you have life and career? Yes.” The panel has moved on to talking about women with families or those who want to start a family and go on maternity leave. “As long as you can make sure having a family does not impact your boss, it will have a minimal impact on your career.” He says just be up front about time off, about family plans, and about returning to your workplace. “Plan your career and business as carefully as you plan your pregnancy.” He says that women spend 8 hours online finding the perfect stroller but they also have to spend enough time plotting and preparing for their career path. “I want you to have a dozen kids as long as it’s not my issue,” said Chris. “When you’re not busy being Timmy’s mom, what do you do?”
He says you can still network and grow your career while balancing that family life if that is the path you choose.
Bob says bottom line, they want people who can function — including men who are having a mid-life crisis — they just need people to show up for their careers. “Let’s have a mature conversation about both men and women.”
Chris’ three definitions if you are…
Passive: You’re going to be someone’s bitch
Aggressive: You’re scared of being someone’s bitch so you overplay it
Assertive: You want to be assertive. If you’re assertive and someone thinks you’re a bitch then that’s because they’re weaker than you. Don’t play into it or you’ll fall into being Passive or Aggressive. You must go after what you want.
Cameron says you also need to connect with others in the company. He said that men will grab someone to go for a coffee where they can get out of the office and talk about business or their work. Women will look for a female or just go by themselves, “you won’t see a man going for coffee alone.” He sees these small workplace moments as being opportunities that women need to seize to connect.
The panel is now asked about money, why is it that for equal jobs, women are on average paid 15% less. “I think it’s systemic discrimination to be honest,” says Bob. “There’s no good reason for it however typically men ask for it more – they just asked to be paid more.”
“The reason why women make less is because they work for less,” says Chris. He says women take credit for a lot less than what they have done or accomplished. “When you stop accepting less, that’s when you’ll get more.”
So when it comes to breaking into “the old boys club” Matt Corker says that it’s about doing more than having an education – you need to break into the industry and get that real-world experience. “If you want to break into the boys club, let it go cause it will actually hurt you,” says Cameron. “You have to be the person who knows the most – be prepared, have the knowledge, and not just the looks,” says Jason with regards to TV media.
“When women can get past the scarcity side where they fight with each other to get into the boys club, that’s where you find your power,” says Chris. The women are not beat by the men, they’re beat by the themselves.
You can’t change what happens but you can change the way you react to it, added Chris. Matt says that the only difference (statistically) between “lucky” and “unlucky” people it how they reacted to the good, the bad, and the ugly situations of life.