From October 1 to 31, 2020 took place the event “Women in Retail Leadership Days” one-of-a-kind virtual event designed specifically for women leaders at top retailers and brands. Throughout October, attendees experienced a variety of unique and exciting experiences, including inspirational and informative keynotes, interviews with leading retail executives, on-topic panel discussions, professional development workshops, networking opportunities, fun activations.
The event aimed to connect with a community of women leaders over one month, rather than just a few days. It had a mix of keynotes, panels, networking opportunities, and unique activations. The goal was to present a digestible schedule that does not require having to dedicate the entire day to watching a screen. The organizers and founders Jennifer DiPasquale and Melissa Campanelli wanted to foster interaction, engagement, and connections. Each week throughout October WOMEN IN RETAIL LEADERSHIP DAYS was focused on specific themes, including Reunite, Empower, Explore, Reflect, and Conquer. Those themes inspired the audience to grow personally and professionally.
Some of the guest speakers were Diane von Furstenberg, Chairman, and Founder of Diane von Furstenberg (DVF). Donna Karan, Founder of Urban Zen, Mindy Grossman, President, and CEO of WW International, Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, Sharonda Weatherspoon, Senior Vice President of Stores and Co-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion of Ralph Lauren, Jane Ewing, Senior Vice President of Sustainability of Walmart, Erin Condon, Vice President of Front Store and Omnichannel Marketing of CVS Health among others.
The event started with a conversation with the legendary Diane Von Furstenberg interviewed by Sandra Campos, DVF's former CEO, they discussed Diane´s career journey, her leadership style, why it's important to take risks, how she sees fashion now.
During the five weeks of the event, attendees had the opportunity to have Networking sessions type of "Speed Dating" and also Networking Peer Groups by Leadership Pain Points where women joined a targeted group of peers to discuss any or all of the similar leadership pain points they may be experiencing at their companies right now, they could ask questions, offer advice and share new ideas! Some of the topics included the following:
- Building a Diverse and Inclusive Team (and Workplace)
- Boosting Motivation During a Crisis
- The Pursuit of Work-Life Harmony
- Leading in the Time of COVID-19
- Mastering the Entrepreneurial Mind-Set
During the five days, there were wellbeing activities as well, as Self-Defense Classes, Kickboxing Classes, yoga classes, among others. Also, Think Tank Workshops, provoking and interactive workshops featuring expert speakers on a variety of topics, such as landing a spot on a corporate board, winning with negotiation skills, building a diverse workforce.
There were interactive workshops with Women in Retail Leadership Circle-certified career coaches settled in for expert advice on a variety of topics, such as making a career transition during COVID-19, leading, and motivating a team through changes and challenges, creating work-life harmony as:
- A Road Map for Navigating a Career Transition
- How to Lead a Team That Performs Miracles
- Creating a Mind-Set of Resilience
- Leading at Every Level
- Creating Work-Life Harmony
Some of the topics covered in panels were: How Leading Retailers Are Navigating Retail's Big Pivot, An Honest Discussion About Diversity and Inclusion, Girls Who Green the World. WOMEN IN RETAIL LEADERSHIP DAYS closed with the keynote: Brit Barron on Overcoming Your Fears and Embracing the Life You Were Made For. Brit Barron grew up in an Evangelical megachurch in the 1990s trying to fit neatly inside the boundaries of her church. She was boxed in by her fears and unable to realize her full potential. All that changed when she met a girl named Sami, fell in love, and chose to leave behind those narrow boundaries in favor of a fuller and more vibrant life. In this lively keynote presentation, Brit discussed the personal stories featured in her new book, “Worth It,” and along the way, inspire us to overcome our own fears — the kinds of fears that keep us from evolving beyond the narratives that have been handed to us by others. As Brit says, “we can’t avoid or outrun these fears, but if we face them, we’ll find that it was so worth it!”