I went to SXSW expecting to meet lots and lots of men in tech, but instead I ended up meeting various inspirational ladies.
The first of which, were Jan Ryan and Virginia Miracle, both very impressive female executives / entrepreneurs / mentors / investors, all in one very friendly package. They shared some great tips on how to get more women into the C-Suite with the discussion revolving around: 1) improving negotiation skills, 2) finding the right culture to work in and the mentors that will help you reflect and evolve and 3) learn to handle conflict resolution. I found this such an upgrade compared to the normal “let’s all sing kumbaya and promote diversity” bullshit. #sxwomen
I also listened to a keynote from Princess Reema from Saudi Arabia and how she had been using her business sense (and very deep pockets) to get more women into the workforce, promote breast cancer awareness and support local female entrepreneurs. I really loved her talk and ideas but had this nagging thought in the back of my head that kept me wondering if this was all a big hypocrisy as certainly the best interest of her family is to keep Saudis in the middle ages while the royals party it up across the world. But that’s just me…#empower
I attended a panel titled: “She’s a C-Word! Lessons From Tech’s C-Suite Women”, it was led by a crazy lesbian lady (I wouldn’t even care, but she kept mentioning that she was a lesbian) with sunglasses named Kara Swisher. She kept telling everyone to f.. off and sharing stories about the time she hung out with Oprah or Sheryl Sandberg so I suppose she was someone influential as well. The other participants, Kira Wampler, CMO of Lyft and Sara Clemens, Chief Strategy Officer at Pandora were pretty damn cool and so I asked them about how could we get more women into the board rooms but was told to not even bother, because the boards are the ultimate boys club and unbreakable glass ceiling. Since I really want to be in a board (and get tons of money to work like 4 times a year), I plan on using my newly acquired Twitter skills to pester influential ladies to change the power dynamics on executive boards. #cword
In contrast to this, I went to get free makeovers at the Cosmopolitan / Cover Girl booth, where I discovered other ways for women to be useful parts of society. I could take only about 5 minutes of listening to a fashion blogger talking about how she spent her entire free time discussing hand bag features or twitting about them. And these people are making tons of money and influencing thousands of American women. Total fail.
Upon exiting their booth I ran into squirrels reading books and this definitely cheered me up and helped me regain hope with respect to the future of our society.
You can read about my learnings in the first day at SXSW here or how on Day 3 I realized that Venture Capitalists are a-holes and there are other ways to change to society here.